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173: Mountain Drives

23 Jun

We had quite some plans before we set off on this trip to my in-laws, or so I think we did. One plan involved travelling as far as to the Indo-Nepal border, and what have you. The only thing is, and I’ll repeat again like I did here; never make plans. Or make loose plans if you so love making plans. So, having said that, it can be established that all our plans went for a fine toss. We’ve been put at home and our outings have been limited to either the market or our haunts that are not more than half an hour away. And given yesterday’s situation, today seems to have had a silver lining – because we stepped out and went beyond just a half hour’s drive.

We drove to Binsar today, which is Almora district’s forest area. As we drove past the check post and ascended its serpentine roads, one thing was getting obviously clear – the forests here looked as dense and similar in foliage as the ones you find in Kerala. I mean I always expected conifer forests and more conifers as the forests got denser, but instead I found trees (unrecognizable to me of course) that looked more like the ones you see in tropical rainforests. Nonetheless, it was fascinating to see all this foliage around me; dense, lush, beautiful, serene; and what a welcome change it was.

It’s sure to be known that there’s no better cure than time, and nature. :)

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171: Time

21 Jun

It’s been a while since I started believing in the power of time, and that there’s a time for everything. It’s been obvious to me in more cases than one where sometimes things proved difficult, if not impossible to do; rife with obstacles, while there were times when I didn’t even have to do much, and things happened.

Time has always made its intentions and its mastery clear to me, and there’s just no fighting it.

Here’s yet another example; and one I can openly share with you dear reader.

A, my brother-in-law, and I went for a cup of tea to our regular hangout. As we sat there sipping our tea, the clouds cleared in front of us to reveal the mighty Himalayas right in front of us – a phenomenon that is completely rare during the summer since the clouds shroud these pristine mountains. They’re best visible during winter – they appear threefold larger, more domineering, more imposing. However, I’ve never had the luck of seeing them as clearly as this.

Needless to say, I sat opposite them in stunned silence while sipping my tea, taking this view as yet another blessing of time’s doing. :)

167: Surrender

17 Jun

148: It’s Sunyay Today

28 May

I woke up at an unusual 6:30am thanks to a prickly bladder that wouldn’t relent till I got myself to the bathroom. There was no point in drifting back to sleep because while sleep-walking to the bathroom, I happened to get a glimpse of the weather through my door; and let’s just say it was too good to pass over sleeping in an air-conditioned room. Today morning feels like a beautiful Sunday morning in Bangalore. Despite all the changes that have happened to my home city, I still continue using it as a yardstick wherever I go. It’s true when whoever it was said that Bangaloreans are spoilt people. I haven’t found a single person who doesn’t use the (unfairly) high standards of Bangalore’s weather as a comparison. But then we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, no?

Thinking I’d get a round of laundry done while my piping hot tea reached a more drinkable temperature, I found said laundry already done, except I don’t remember when I did it in the first place. It made me feel both stupid and productive. I’m now on my third batch, and also tuned into a Sunday morning playlist on YouTube, and thoroughly enjoying this morning as it is. The only thing that has been nagging me is the sudden demise of most of my plants who have, I presume, been attacked by pests. What was one a bunch of lively, green, beautifully healthy plants is now an arid bunch of brown stems with all those gorgeous leaves dead and gone.

Given that I will be travelling, I am feeling apprehensive about this outbreak that has made my garden look ghostly. I’m standing on the precipice of giving into these feelings of sadness and helplessness versus giving my babies time to fight and make a comeback. It’s a difficult experience – to stand by and not intervene versus throwing myself into this pit of disease and darkness that has taken away all the hard work I’d put in to see my plants become what they once were. :( Do pray for my plants, will you? It is disheartening to see them perish and become lifeless.

I do also have to head in to work for a bit today, because a teacher’s life is never hers alone.

Having said that, I’ll take your leave and think about breakfast while I let this affliction nag me till I can figure a way out. You have a lovely Sunday. :)

116: Living The Tease

26 Apr

My city has a (sick) reputation of being the worst tease ever. EVER. The sky turned black today afternoon as I walked out of my staff room and approached the quadrangle. I couldn’t have asked for a better sight or thought in this scorching 40+ degree weather. I did a celebratory jig and proceeded to book my cab home – one would ideally walk in weather conditions like that, but this place is more dust-storm-esque. I reached home, savoured my lunch as I usually do all by myself, and proceeded to accompany my house help in random banter.

I spoke only about the weather, the beautifully menacing black clouds and the prospect of rain. Except she came, did her work and left, A came home and we settled down for the night and it still hadn’t rained a drop. NOT A DARNED DROP.

Had it been Bangalore, it’d have poured with free abandon, bringing along with it the uprooting of countless trees and the snapping of wires, among other rainy urban headaches. But this place? It doesn’t give a fuck about any of us. The clouds appear, and soon enough a dust storm and wind storm ensue. And sure enough the clouds scurry along to places other than this darned heat-hole.

Ugh.

101: Summery Sights

11 Apr

where the grass remains dewy, soft, poky, yet accommodating

where the sky hypnotizes you into exhausted surrender

where birds frolic, trees dress up, and animals gather

where we’re all one, under this scorching scorching sun.

69: Straying Dandelions

10 Mar

While I was waiting for WordPress to open, which took an inconsequential sum of 92374 minutes to happen, my eyes strayed away from the dull whiteness of my laptop screen (and the endlessly rotating cursor within it) to the madness that was happening outside my window. Our balcony overlooks Ficus trees, which at this point in time, seem to be having a salsa party of their own. They’re wild, they’re unapologetic, they’re certainly unabashed. I just hope they don’t take off with the frivolities of this strange whirlpoolish wind that’s got them in this frenzy in the first place. My mind skipped along in the company of my now voyeuristic senses, flitting from one thought to the other, as if being kissed by dandelions that crossed their paths while floating in this wind. What a mad rush.

During this tête-à-tête, my mind waltzed from thoughts about nature to goddesses to religion to spirituality to the connection between them all, and then finally settled on the idea of what nature really means to me. Notwithstanding my views on certain ideologies (?) that seem faceless now because of the turn these concepts have taken, and not stepping on the line that is the precarious balance of genders and sexes (and everything else that now is a part of this spectrum of being), I’m beginning to realise a stronger and deeper affiliation with the concepts of Nature, Mothers, and this energy called Shakti. To very simply and lazily put it, they’re all the same thing in my worldview, and the more I think about them, the deeper their connections just seem to go.

There’s something immensely powerful about these entities, in a beautiful non-vengeful clean way. To be able to invoke your inner shakti, to be a mother or to have a mother (in the truest sense of the word), and of course to take lessons from an omniscient nature are some of the best gifts to ever have. I hardly can imagine anything else that’s this overwhelming, empowering, or even sacred and sacrosanct. When I look around and within and feel the presence of these powers, everything else just fades away.

63: Petrichor Therapy

4 Mar

Yesterday when I was on a walk, all my senses kept telling me was spring, I cannot take my eyes off you. The season turned sometime before I left for Bangalore, which was immediately picked up by our bodies. Our feet thirstily sought the respite of an open space in the quilt, which just a couple of days back were vehemently sealed from external intrusions by the cold. Sometime during the night, hot sweats made us push our blankets away, all when asleep. It didn’t feel necessary to seek the comfort of direct sunshine anymore. Our throats sponged cooler water more easily than warm water. Looking at ginger was off putting when tea time arrived. The cushioning of hearty wintry meals now felt heavier on our tummies. The changes were almost overnight, but so very subtle. Spring had made her grand entry, and we were all waiting.

The weather is fabulous as we speak. There’s a cool freshness in the air; everything around me is new, green, resplendent, and awake. Winter flowers and vegetables, while will be dearly missed, have made way for the months that lie ahead. They say the sun is significantly harsher during wintertime, but it feels otherwise now. The squirrels and birds around me now wait for that heady mix of shade, sun, warmth, and coolness to stretch out and relax. It’s in the air, it’s all around me, and my senses cannot have enough of this magic that’s spreading its sparkle within and beyond its reach.

I wait for the sun to travel further along its daily course, as it gets milder, softer, less prickly and overbearing. I wait, sometimes patiently, sometimes impatiently. Petrichor in part, is the fluid that traverses the veins of Gods, the Greeks say. And so the wait to indulge in its fullness, its richness, its vibrancy and depth, is hardly easy. When the sun’s out of the way, my water bucket’s full and with it, begins my (almost) daily ritual – watering my plants. The tranquillity, this meditation of sorts, is intoxicating as my surroundings brim with the experience I was thirsty for, waiting for.

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This moment, this time with my very crazy and moody babies is mine, and mine alone. There’s giving, taking, responding, and immense fulfilment. Sometimes I talk back. Sometimes I just sit and watch.

But mostly I’m just thankful.

There’s no better elixir than magic coursing through your being like it belongs there by default. :)

52: Everest

21 Feb

There’s always been something about the mountains that has drawn me to them. It was only till very recently that I arrived at this insight, or even found my answer to this question I was asked in casual conversation sometime ago – are you a mountain or a beach person? This awareness also arose when I was winding my way across a range of them, not so long ago. The arrival of this answer came without conflict or second thoughts, even. It was plain, simple, uncomplicated, and unprecedentedly obvious – I was always, it seems, a mountain girl. It’s astounding how some answers seem to always be around; marked, perceptible, and in plain sight most often. Perhaps it was the role of time which lends this search a hand. Anyway, I had the answer, and I scoffed because it was so unbelievably obvious. A lot of me always concluded that I was a beach bum; after all who doesn’t love the experience of being sprawled on balmy, coral beaches? Heck, my entire idea of romance revolved, and still revolves around beaches, sea sunsets, and sea breeze. Nowhere in my fantasies or desires did I ever imagine wooden floors, fireplaces, snow, and stews! Beaches, it always was. On the other hand, I associated mountains with physical activities, which were predominant during my school-going days. A visit to the mountains always included treks, nature walks, rock climbing, and every single other activity that didn’t spell comfort, excitement, or even happiness to me. For someone who has a fear of heights, as much as she does of water, visits to beaches didn’t enforce any encounters with these fears, as our mountain trips did.

Yes, I was a complete ignoramus even when these weird connections and associations with the mountains were enormously present throughout my life. For one, I do not have a bucket list of places that are imperative for me to visit; in fact, I have just three that I desire to see; of which all of them are related to the mountains. A lot of me thinks it’s some sort of an enigmatic spiritual calling. The more I analyze these thoughts, the greater they pull me towards them. For example, and I cannot explain why, I have this fascination with the Himalayas. This enchantment, I’m certain, stems from no religious foundations, because I have none, when it comes to religion. But there’s a magnetism to this entire experience which makes it progressively inexplicable, and more intense as time passes.

When A first told me about the place he comes from, and consequently over many more conversations we had before and after we got married, the one coincidence that shone out to me was that these magnanimous mountains could be seen in plain sight from his home. I saw it in his photographs, and I saw it in his eyes and expressions. However, whenever I’ve visited home, they’ve either been shrouded or fractionally visible, unlike their usual track record. If I were to lead these incidents on, I’d say that maybe I’m meant to actually visit them at their feet and not from afar. If I was to be spiritual, I’d say they’ll call me when we’re ready to meet face-to-face. If I was serendipitous, I’d lay everything in the hands of time. Perhaps it’s all, or none, or a twisted amalgamation of all three.

A couple of weeks ago, I chanced upon the movie Everest, which I’d been meaning to watch when it released in 2015, but couldn’t. To say that it absorbed me completely and wholly, would be an understatement. I proceeded on to catch this same movie twice more, by chance, I promise, and watched it again. Every watch taught me something new. Every watch felt like it was the first time. Have you seen it? Do watch it. I proceeded on to reading up about it, and about the many auxiliary topics that revolved around it. My search led me to read up about the incident in itself, about the tourist season, about the climb, the experiences, the attempts, the failures…in fact, it was just yesterday when I watched the interview with Beck Weathers; one of the survivors of the 1996 incident who miraculously made it back to the camp after being left to die/considered dead for two days. If there’s one consistent fact that highlights itself, then it is that this range of mountains, has in its keep, a plethora of lessons for every single person who crosses paths with it. The evidence of this is beyond doubt or contest. Of course everything in Nature has a lesson to teach us all, and that’s unarguably true. It’s just about where, when, and via which means, these lessons make their way to us.

I urge you to watch the movie, even if you’re not into the Himalayas, or a fan of the mountains. It’s undoubtedly inspirational on all counts. Yesterday saw me randomly browsing the internet (I actually wanted to shop), when I came across Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”, which I now want. He was one of the participants and survivors of the 1996 expedition which took the lives of many; and also has to his name another fantastic work of art titled “Into The Wild”, which was adapted into another movie that moved and worked on me in indescribable ways. I’ve written about it, here. They all speak of life, and most importantly, of its journey.

Someone great did, after all, say that life is not about the destination, but its journey.

44: Saying Goodbye For Now

13 Feb

Winter is a strange season in the north. It’s frigid, grey, dull, dark, and heavy. It’s also intoxicatingly beautiful, and overflowing with warmth in everything else it produces. I love this season the most, especially in our country. Anywhere in our country. Even the extra layers, and the hot hot baths. There’s this freshness that I look forward to, the crispness of the sun, the frivolity of the flora all around us. I’m always sad when it’s time to say goodbye, because look what I’ve to bid adieu to. 


Every season has its own purpose, its own beauty, its own lessons. But despite how harsh winters usually are, it’s this season that warms my heart the most. ❤️