Tag Archives: Nature

Peering In.

Weekend getaways are a solace I look forward to. I find myself in the middle of nowhere, no networks to connect to, innocent, city-oblivious eyes peering out from house windows, lush green or azure seas or b both inviting me to lose myself in the peaceful insanity of it all. These short trips don’t happen as much as I want to or happen much more than my Mom wants them to. Either ways, at the end of it, both of us are happy – me with a lighter wallet, she heavy with my experiences.

But. There’s a but. While I’m on the trip, there’s a guilt accosting me often. The guilt of either knowing too much about the place or too less. Striking a balance between reading up about the most interesting places to see and ending up with a list of twenty places to cover in thirty hours is a task for me. With the extent of the reach of internet, there is not a place worth the penny you wouldn’t find a blog on, along with photographs revealing the beauty that a camera can manage to capture. But that ends up unveiling the surprise the sight has to offer! Well, and if I don’t read about the place, how would I know where from to extract the best of the experiences the place has to offer?

More on this in detail in the next blog! Meanwhile, what do you prefer? Blind dates with a place or well prepped for an apocalypse?

Graciously Yours!

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Setting Sun.

I looked up from my Kindle and out the window. The air turbulence was distracting. I wanted to stretch my legs that were getting cramped in the narrow leg space provided these days by airlines. Just a few minutes ago, the view from the window had been drab – blues of the lightest kind with fluffs of white cloud in the foreground. Or was it more than a few minutes ago? I wouldn’t know. My phone was on flight mode and my mind grappling with an Agatha Christie whodunit. Keener observation of the clouds would allow the brain to identify patterns. Sometimes it would be a horse’s head, other times a trophy and then a flock of sheep. But right now? Right now provided a view that would make it to Instagram stories, photography contests and lure amateurs towards professional photography. But I sat there watching unperturbed, unhurried. I was flight bound to home. The Sun was going home for the day too – home being the horizon. My eyes went in and out of focus, the portrait mode some call it, others name it bokeh. In an expanse of white, to the far right, soft hues of orange meshed with lighter yellows which faded into whites of the clouds. The mixed streaks seemed painted, with the flourish of pulled brush strokes. The center was a deeper, brighter, concentrated shade of orange, like the Sun itself was shining out – but you knew this was an illusion – more science than mere fabrication. The Sun was closer it to its home than it let on – this was simply a delayed telecast you were viewing. Closer to my window, making way for the scene were the clouds – bigger clouds, fog-like, misty, as if dewy-eyed at the beauty out my window. And then came the window – double paned, corners curved, waiting to be flapped down; a hole at the bottom edge of the outer window, scratches on the outer pane, whether flying bird wings or key marks, no one knows. And then I return to my Kindle, back to Christie, because I know, no matter how good the camera, it wouldn’t capture the scene my bare eyes saw. But I hope my words did.

Graciously Yours!

Rains and roads (2)

Contd from…

  • Raincoats, contrary to popular belief, can serve dual purposes – it shields you from the rains when you’re outside the car, and from the air conditioner or the winds from the rolled down windows when you are inside the car. Maybe that is what led to the invention of the windcheater. And here I thought I’d just come up with a startling idea! So disappointing that by the time you’re in the 21st century, all ideas seem to have been implemented already.

“Race! Race! Race!”

“Yayyy!”

“Who do you think is going to win?”

Wait, what do you think I am talking about? Raindrop races! Roll up your windows, let the raindrops whip against You get to race raindrops and make clouds on breath steamed mirrors.

  • Umbrellas were shown their true position. Because the two exact times we brought it out to protect us from the water and winds, it got possessed! The canopy was thrown backward by the wind, the rims got entangled and the handle had to be held on to by three pairs of hands so that the umbrella didn’t fly away. We then decided to let it stay in the boot of the car.

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  • One of the main reasons waking up early on group trips is a mandate because people end up taking lots of time to get ready – after all, you should look fresh and Insta ready! How else will you have your throwback moments to show? But for us, getting ready was the least of your worries, no accessories, no touch of lip colour or kohl, because how does it all even matter? It would all run amok, any which ways.

To be contd…

Graciously Yours!

 

Of trails and travails.

Every once in a while, the city closes in upon you and you choose to run after the sereneness of the outskirts, the hill stations, the backwaters, the mountains, don’t you? I almost managed to do the same. I say managed because we had failed to acknowledge how many more would also be looking for sereneness there! I visited Dehradun and Mussoorie recently, and if you think this post is about how pretty the landscape is and quiet the hills are, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Ruskin Bond’s books were my mates while growing up and the writer is famed for basing his stories around these few towns in Uttarakhand. I was obviously excited about the trip on that account too – to find myself facing those shops, houses, to walk in the trails of woods and the warmth of the people he’s written about. But I’d forgotten about the two big words – commercialisation and globalisation. With the ease of access to the towns, better roads and influx of tourists, Dehradun no longer is the regular hill station – there’s nothing hilly about it, all flat land and roads marked by McDonald’s and Bengali sweet shops, malls and Park Avenue stores. We picked up drinks from a Tibetan township thinking it’s a concoction they’d brewed at their place only to find it spread all across shops later on. So much for trying to experience something local. Well, at least, I sort of learnt to use chopsticks from one of the diner owners in the Tibetan township. Sort of.

Mussoorie has a dual face though! It’s got the ups and downs of a hill station, the roads which allow vehicles but has no space to fit two of them side by side, a mall road – typical of hill stations, which seemed commercially successful and now stretches for almost 3 km with people flocking it all times, even as late as 10:30 pm at night. The mall road boasts of eateries, brands, shops selling insignia for surrounding hill stations to be carried back as mementos of the visit and countless shops selling the same clothes! But if you take a diversion from the mall road, you’ll find the cobbled roads intact, men and women silently going about their lives, no tourists in sight and the clamour of the mall road light years away! The peace, though short-lived, I was hoping for. I also found the quaint coffee shops that take you back 50 years ago at Landour, where Bond is supposed to reside currently. On further observation, I realise the town was being redecorated to capture the old world charm by Dharma Productions for a film. Well, at least this commercialisation is pleasant to the eye!

Oh and don’t even get me started on the waterfalls! They’re no longer natural. They’ve been cemented and structured to flow the way man wants them to, with water rides, fun activities, shops, tea stalls, changing rooms set close to the rock bed of the fall. Ain’t saying it’s bad, au contraire, it’s brilliant for the people who live there. It’s just not what Ruskin Bond had written about. And no longer the spot for a getaway for me.

I came away from the hills renewed, of course, but disappointed with what we had done to places remote and almost preserved naturally till a few years ago. The human touch, we should call it.

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While trekking in Mussoorie – away from Mall Road. The irony is that the trail led us to shops at the top of the trail.
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Dharma Productions crew at work.
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Yes, that’s a waterfall. It ain’t a swimming pool.
Graciously Yours!

Belong.

Stranded, lost, fumbling to find the way back,

‘Tis too dark to see, too lonely to ask,

The way back to your heart, once that I called home,

The grass, the road, the river, the shore,

I cross it all in the hope that I will find you,

The eyes moist, voice cracked, all I wonder is,

As I shout out to the skies, from the depths of my soul,

Will I ever know where you belong.

Graciously Yours!

 

At the break of dawn.

All the while as she waited, no sign of respite, the clock ticking by ceaselessly, breathing seemingly harder.

Her optimism was gradually fading, the smile turning to nervous twitches, the feet tapping rhythmically to the gush of the wind and roar of the seas.

The night was falling darker than before, the moonless sky not helping, she wringed her hands in despair as she paced up and down the beach.

Breaking the horizon, at last, she saw a trawler approaching, she held her breath as her stomach tingled, praying that it was the one she’d helped paint.

The horizon had never seemed farther, the time never went slower, as seconds seemed like hours and eras had bygone as the trawler broke shore.

“Oh I was so worried,” she teared as she clung to her husband’s torso. Amused, he was going to mock her, but her tears made him say, “The winds held us longer than expected.”

“Are you alright, dear?”, he asked worried, when she didn’t let him go. He fell to his knees, unaware of the rocks scraping them. Blood trickled down on to the jagged pieces while he hugged her waist like never before.

“I’m pregnant, ” she’d said.

Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Pinterest.

Wheeling towards life.

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“You see that man down there who’s cycling?” said the Creator to the little baby beside Him.

The soon-to-be-born gurgled, “Yes” in baby lingo.

Soon, even his mother would understand it as well as God did.

“That cyclist doesn’t have ambitions. He hasn’t made plans on how he wants to spend his next five years. He saves much less than he spends. He helps his neighbor, an old lady, with rations every month. He gives kids, he doesn’t know, candies to eat. The world will tell you it is wrong to be him. They will tell you to think about yourself. They will mock you if you don’t plan. They will chide you for being ambition-less.”

The baby looked up at the peaceful soul beside him. He looked puzzled. Saliva dripped from the corners of his parted lips.

Chuckling, God took the baby in His lap, wiped the drool and continued, “I want you to be like him. I want you to live one day at a time, one moment at a time. I want you to dream but I don’t want you to become so blind with ambition that you forget why exactly you were living. I want you to respect the beauty of my creations and find your strengths, hopes and solace in them. I want you to always believe in yourself and in humanity. I want you to appreciate life much more than fear death.”

“Will it be easy?” the baby asked, looking down at so many unlike the cyclist.

“No, it won’t. And when it isn’t, remember that God did not bring you this far to abandon you.”

And saying so, He let go of the baby, whose head was now visible to the doctor as the mother screamed in pain.

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: What according to you is life?

Picture Credits: Ishita Shah.

Life Notes #10.

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Among the few worldly possessions I own, these are a few stones that I have. Actually they are more like pebbles from river beds. I’ll leave you guessing how I ever even laid my hands on them!

I took them out after a really long time today. A friend suggested an idea which I turned down initially but later seemed appealing to me in my boredom. The idea was primitive! Literally. Could we start a fire with these stones?

I tried it obviously. Under parental guidance! The only guidance my mother had was “Please keep the stones away from your face.”

I tried. I struck the pebbles hard and fast against each other. I was eagerly waiting for a spark to ignite! I’m sure if you looked into my eyes then, you could have seen the sparks of excitement! Well, turns out they were the only sparks.

You know how long I tried? I tried for almost four times the attention span of average humans. I tried for 30 whole seconds.

Well it’s not my fault that humans on an average have an attention span of eight seconds now. We’re down from twelve seconds in 2000. Even a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds average, a full one second more than ours! Yes, that teeny weeny goldfish which has a teenier weenier brain weighing 0.097 grams (Average human brain weighs 1.5 kilogram).

Note to self : Primitive life wouldn’t suit me. I think that the primitive man/woman who first started the fire by striking the stones for, apparently, a very, very long time was more angry than bored! Boredom suits me. Anger doesn’t. I’m happier without pebble fire!

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : How long would it really have taken to ignite a spark though? Anyone knows? Or is it all up to Google again?

The Drop.

The old man had been unwell for more than a couple of days now. The fever wasn’t breaking. He wasn’t worried about himself though. He was worried about his garden. He’d newly planted Canna Lilies in them. They were Madam’s favourite. He would have instructed his helper how to care for them well but the helper was on leave. Either ways, he wasn’t too keen on his helper’s work.

This evening, he’d tried walking out to the garden but he barely managed to reach the door of his own room. The doctor had been called. He prescribed some medicines and assured it wasn’t anything to worry about. The old man chided the cook, “I told you so.”

It hadn’t rained for a week now. It was unusually hot. If it didn’t rain soon, his garden would start wilting. In a long time, he wished his helper was here. Or at least the rains were. Either wish seemed far from being realized.

His son was around the same age as his helper. Every time he saw his helper, it reminded him of his son; a reminder that wasn’t happy or heart-stopping, a reminder that was melancholic and heartbreaking. His son was a charm with plants, but didn’t see the charm in them. “I want to do something bigger,” he used to say.

But the old man didn’t know anything bigger. Sure enough, there were bigger businesses he knew about, like the one Sir and Madam were doing. But at the end of the day, even they would come and admire his work. “What was bigger then?”, he thought. Even after his son had started working in another city, he stayed back with Sir and Madam. They loved his work and he used to love working for them. They’d given him a place to stay in their servants quarters.

After the doctor left, he tried sitting up to look at what he could of his gardens. It was dim now post dusk and his feeble eyes didn’t help either. He spent his evening alternately watching the blades of the fan rotate and dozing.

Night fell early and in spite of having slept almost all day, he slept like a log through the night too. He awoke well after the Sun had risen. He was rolling in sweat and blankets. The fever had broken. He turned towards the window and there were drops of water clinging onto the grills of the window.


Picture Courtesy : @main_samay_hoon on Instagram.
Picture Courtesy : @main_samay_hoon on Instagram.

Hopeful, he went up to the window. It wasn’t an easy walk but far less painful than yesterday. Indeed, they were water droplets. As he stood in the pool of water below his window, his eyes saw moist and glistening grass outside his window. The flowers were gleaming and waving at him in the morning breeze. He was ecstatic. The God loved His work too!

Graciously Yours!