Potato loving Elephants

As usual the truck driver was going at full speed to his destination. He knew, the more trips he made in his ramshackle truck, the more he will he earn.

And this time he was carrying a harmless load, a truck full of potatoes, and he was sure that he will complete the journey uneventfully. How was he to know what awaited him while passing through the Garhbeta forests!

He was cruising along the small but tidy road, trying not to doze off when, suddenly a dark, grey shadow emerged from the surrounding jungle, and positioned itself, bang in the middle of the road.

The driver withdrew his right heel from the accelerator and pressed the brakes hurriedly, as the truck came to a halt screechingly. It was a fully grown elephant which had crossed his path.

But the driver was used to the elephant crossing in this area, and decided to patiently wait for the elephant to cross the road, to the jungle on the other side. But the elephant had other ideas today.

It circled the truck first. Now, you will think that the truck can easily scoot away when the elephant is at the back of the truck. But you don’t know the speeds an angry elephant can achieve. The truck driver knew, hence he stayed put.

By this time, quite a crowd had gathered on the road to see the elephant and its antics. The traffic had already come to a standstill.

Like a tiger which stalks its prey, the elephant was contemplating its strategy and trying to figure out the contents of the truck. It smelled with its long trunk, its mouth watering in delight but first it had to deal with the pesky humans.

The few humans surrounding it were puny in front of it, but could make life hell for the tusker. And so they tried, by making videos and taking photos with their irritating smartphones while some of them tried to scare away the majestic animal by bursting crackers near the elephant.

But today, it was very determined to have its favourite snack and indulge its taste buds. So it went about its business in a very professional manner, not caring about the few noisy crackers thrown towards it.

With a elegant flourish of its long trunk, it unpeeled the tarpaulin covering the prized dessert, and with a quick flick of its trunk, caused the potatoes to fall off and into its easy reach. Doing this a few times, it had its fill of the juicy potatoes, and only after its full satisfaction, it went on its way into the surrounding jungle.

While going, it snaked its trunk through the driver side window, and near the driver’s ear, as if to whisper its thanks to him.

Learning – elephants like raw potatoes more than French fries.

Yatindra Tawde



Don’t watch this movie before sleeping!

Well, I couldn’t sleep. The horrific visuals stay with you for a long time after the movie is over.

The screenplay and the script are the real heroes in this very well made movie and the VFX takes it to another level altogether. It’s original and it’s scary.

A myth, an authentic sounding manufactured one, is the basis for the entire movie.

The continuous rains, whenever the story shifts to Tumbbad, give a haunting setting to the happenings. In fact, the rains are one important character in this movie experience.

Other than the rains, the sets, whether the stone Wada of Sarkar, the broken down stone dwelling of Vinayak and his family of a brother and widowed mother along with their ancient grandmother or the vintage wadas of Pune, are characters in the movie, by themselves.

Grandmother! The way she has been portrayed in this movie is something unexpected and scary. Watch the first scene where you see her face…if you can call it that. Zombies will appear childish.

The descent into the well inside the Wada, and the further descent into the goddess’s womb, makes your heart palpitate with fear, and especially the first descent and escape from the womb, with Hastar hot in pursuit, is mind numbing.

A really well made movie which will surely give you the chills.

That it has been made by a debutant Director, Rahi Anil Barve, is truly praiseworthy. You will really admire his resilience in sticking to his vision. Hats off and kudos to his spirit.

And what can one say about Sohum Shah. He is a true risk taking entrepreneur who happens to be in the film business. I think, the two films, Ship of Theseus and Tumbbad, will define this pioneer, that is, till he comes out with another gem of a movie.

Don’t miss this truly horror movie, the best to come out of India.

Yatindra Tawde


The Romantic Gift

Oh, she is so beautiful, he thought. He was mesmerised by her curves.

And loved her moves, especially the way she glided over the waves and shot into the air through the waters, flipping and twisting in grace, as she fell back into the waters.

He thought of wooing her and what better way than gifting her something; something which she would appreciate.

And what better gift than that most beautiful creation of The Almighty, the colourful , intricately designed…Sponge!!

No, I am not talking about that contraption with which dutiful husbands clean the household utensils.

I am talking about the natural sponges which attach themselves to the ocean floor.

Now which Male in his right senses would think of gifting a sponge to the female of his dreams. After all there are stones available, also called diamonds.

But we are not talking of the lowly species which prides itself to be the most intelligent on Land.

We are talking about the Male Dolphins which woo the females by breaking off big chunks of the marine sponges, balancing them on their nose or beak, and offering it, in an apparent romantic effort to mate.

Why sponges? Maybe it has something to do with them being colourful and are fluffy to touch, making the females go weak in their…fins.

Humans too, have found numerous uses for the marine sponge.

It is used as a bathroom accessory, in personal hygiene due to its inherently fluffy nature and soft touch, in the ceramic industry, in home decorating and painting, in high end footwear manufacturers and in painting and fine arts.

Of course, Man being Man, tried to replicate God’s creation and ended up making a tool for cleaning of household utensils.

And women’s liberation pushed the men to use this implement to atone for their past sins, by taking up this critical activity in the kitchen.

Yatindra Tawde


To the Mall

Nobody noticed the escape. The three who escaped were ecstatic. They thought of enjoying their sudden freedom. But how?

This was a city which was quite unlike what they had been used to. In their young age they roamed the huge savannah with a sprinkling of trees.

And then there was the enclosure. An enclosure where they were watched. Watched by the crazy colourful animals, which grinned or grimaced, just like the apes in the savannah.

But while those apes kept to themselves while eating their fruits, these colourful animals just wanted to stare at other animals, while eating from some shiny fruit-like thing, whose covering was just thrown away once they had their fill. The enclosure was full of these shiny peels.

The three were tired of this life inside the enclosure but they were never able to find a way out…until now.

It being nighttime, no one noticed their absence. But once they had come out they could only see huge structures everywhere which had small holes in them. Some of these holes were lighted and they saw those crazy colourful animals inside, mostly with something in their hands or staring at a big lighted box.

The three were hungry now but they couldn’t find any trees nearby as most of the area was occupied by the big structures, so they kept walking.

After a long walk, suddenly they espied bright lights in the distance. And more importantly, they saw trees.

The hungry three galloped towards the lights, the trees, and stretched out with all the elasticity in their necks towards the leaves and…crunch.

But alas! The crunch was not the leaves being eaten, but the teeth being broken!

The poor Giraffes; yes the Giraffes, lost their teeth on the artificial leaves on the artificial trees which adorned the gateway of the brightly lighted Mall.

The Mall erupted in cacophony as it was filled with the same colourful ape-like animals, who rushed towards the entrance to gape at these unusual visitors.

However some unsporting person called in the Forest department.

Soon the employees of the Forest department arrived with their paraphernalia at the Mall, aimed their dart guns at the poor, elongated souls and put them to sleep while the colourful animals had a free show without a visit to the neighbourhood Zoo.

Yatindra Tawde


Written when demonetisation struck

Got up in the morning with a prayer on my mind. Read through as many positive attitude messages as possible. Had a sacred bath similar to the one we have on first day of Diwali. Prayed to all the crore plus gods. Wife and mother put a holy tika on my forehead. Unsheathed the battle weapon, the ATM card. Put some vermillion and turmeric on it.

Now I am off to the battlefield…please wish me luck friends.

Decided to be a foot soldier. Placed the right leg out of the castle first. Like Sachin Tendulkar, when he used to come out to bat, I too looked at the Sun, crinkling my eyes.

Reached the battlefield, which is very near to my castle.

But alas, all the ATM’s were closed and I could make out that, no matter, how well I fought, I would not be able to subjugate them to release their riches. This was a minor setback to a warrior like me.

I made a strategic retreat to my territory. But it was only to strategise my future course of action. I decided to ride a chariot to mount my offensive since the battlefield had shifted to far off places. I wanted to conserve my energies, to fight the battle elsewhere. Hence the chariot was best to save valuable time and my energy, which would otherwise have been spent in reaching the battlefield on foot.

Like a mercenary, I was on the lookout for other warriors like me. Many of the ATM’s were closed hence my urge to fight got longer. My patience running out and my weapon, the ATM card, itching to come out of its sheath, I espied lot of other warriors hovering at one location. This was it!! The moment I had been waiting for, had arrived.

But here I had to change my tactics, first I had to get rid of my chariot. Leaving it at the nearest stable, I made my way on foot once again.

Here the rules of engagement were different. Here patience and slow movements were more important than any aggressive posturing. Before my eyes, stretching into the horizon, were many other warriors like me, who were showing the same patience, which I had stressed upon.

There was no shouting but only discussions and deliberations, on how the supreme leader had played his hand, in the game of chess. Inspite of so many warriors on the battlefield, all had only admiring words for the supreme leader. We were but, warriors in his war.

My progress was slow but steady.

As I reached near the mouth of the ATM, my adrenaline shot up, and so did my blood pressure.

Finally I reached the monster, that is the ATM machine, unsheathed my ATM card, and in the same clean and quick motion, stabbed the card into the belly of the red monster. With great whining noises, the monster started vibrating.

Half the battle won, I then tickled all the pressure points on its belly, and was successful in provoking it, to release its bodily papers, which are very important for us humans. As those papers, printed very beautifully with 100 denominations, fell into my palm, I let out my war cry,

“Yeh bhi Hakka…woh bhi Hakka…duniya Pagal…hai albatta…
Yeh bhi Hakka…woh bhi Hakka…duniya Pagal…hai albatta…baag lagaya Pakka…”

Then , ignoring the quizzical looks of my fellow warriors, I returned back to my castle to the blowing of trumpets and admiring looks of my better half.

Yatindra Tawde


The singing Mice!

 There are many birds who sing beautiful songs, and I am not talking about the crows and pigeons. I was in Udaipur recently and was very fortunate to, first hear the beautiful cry of the peacock and then see its elegant dance in the wilderness.

The myna birds, are very common in Thane, and my wake up callers. Almost every morning some myna birds, make it a point to come to our balcony and sing the entire range of their opera. After all these years I am able to identify their different types of tenor, of course, without understanding the meaning.

And if you go to such exotic places like Mahabaleshwar, you meet many other singing stars with their varied singing styles.

But I was shocked when I heard that the mice sing too, just like birds, so says new research. But to our good luck, this singing is in a high pitched ultra sound tones, which we humans cannot hear. I shudder to imagine, if humans were able to hear this singing…

We humans are sleeping in the night. The friendly neighbourhood dogs are having their barking competitions. A few dogs barking from the opposite locality are answered with equal fervour by the dogs in our locality. A few home-bound dogs join in the fun to add to the already loud cacophony.

Suddenly two cats decide to challenge each other with hissing and screaming. And the mice try to win over new mates with their screeching singing. As it is, whatever sounds uttered by mice are very uncomfortable to us, I cannot imagine how their singing will be.

But looking at the innumerable mice occupying the sewers, and their propensity to multiply their numbers, if we were able to hear their singing, I am sure it would drown out all other sounds in the human aural range.

So folks, I am going to sleep now, with assurance that my sleep won’t be disturbed by one more loud sound, other than those generated by fellow animals who already occupy not only the roadside but are stars of the social media as well.

And I am grateful that the mice are not on social media otherwise their singing would make them sure fire singing stars and YouTube would have cute singing mice in addition to naughty kittens and puppies.

Yatindra Tawde