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186: Little Conversations And Happy Vibes

6 Jul

It was yesterday while at school that it struck me how surrounded I am by different people. While my students put up what was perhaps the best assembly so far this year, I watched on like a proud class teacher would, and felt a connection with them for the first time I think. They picked the very apt, very relatable, very important topic “self-acceptance” and delivered a marvellous job which only spoke to hard work, effort, and a great connection with the subject. As the audience stood in rapt attention lapping up all they had to offer, my kids ladled praises that came their way. Much deserved and worthy of bragging, most definitely.

I’m not a very social person or a very open person. My walls are high, my boundaries very marked. I don’t cross lines and no one crosses mine; not beyond a point i.e. But I’ve been noticing this uncanny phenomenon which has been happening off late that can only be attributed to kids and their ability, to either lovingly or annoyingly, gnaw their way into a person’s heart. I’ve a varied bunch of kids from all walks of life – they’re all amazing in their own way, and equally challenging to handle.

They’ve slowly but surely started inching closer towards me, and I towards them. Professionally, of course. And somewhere in this entire process I’m reminded about just how many variant vibes I’m surrounded by – happy, jovial, youthful, energetic, humourous, beautiful vibes. I’ve been having conversations with myself, telling myself good things, even. Opening up to these youngsters all around me has helped me take these little conversations to another level; to open my eyes and see that there’s so much good energy all around me to sponge off from, to give to, to engage with.

People are strange.

But magic is stranger.

185: …

5 Jul

Ma left for Bangalore this morning. The guest bedroom is lifeless, the sheets perfect, the bed made, her purse and bags missing…just traces of her presence left behind every single where.

I hate saying bye; it’s something I despise immensely. Perhaps it’s a good thing I couldn’t get to spend as much time with her this morning since we were all getting ready to leave. As her cab moved along, all I felt was a sense of loss – of seeing her happy, smiling face everywhere; of just being in her solidly strong presence.

Thankfully there was a hectic day at school that took over everything else. I managed to sponge off some positivity from my students as we shared our thoughts and feelings before beginning our day.

She left behind, among pieces of advice, love, strength and joy, this book I almost picked up at a store but kept for later instead – Rabindranath Tagore’s autobiography – which is a keep.

His work is beyond classical and beautiful, something I thoroughly enjoy poring over bit by bit.

“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of
Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”

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. :)

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. :)

170: A Night To Remember

20 Jun

While driving back from dinner via the jungle last night, we spotted a leopard crouching right at the bend of the serpentine mountain road. As our car climbed up the curve, its headlights shone right onto the animal, which crouched and watched us, as we watched it – in awe, I’ll add.

I’ve never seen a wild animal in its habitat, so this really has to be a night I won’t forget. All of us, except my MIL, wanted to stop our car and just savour the moment. But I guess moving on and letting the leopard go its own way was the cleverer thing to do. :)

PS, there are more stars above me than I can even count. There’s a calm reassurance being blanketed by beauty, and complete magic. :)

159: Surprises

8 Jun

Ever since I’ve gotten to Bangalore, there have been couriers by my name coming my way. The first one was from a jewellery store – the same one A bought my ring from. Of course I was shocked to see it come my way, and as my mind did the usual by default – it flipped and went into overdrive. Who could’ve sent this? Why? What’s in it? This has got to be crazy? Oh dear Lord, I’m married, don’t tell me there’s a creepy secret admirer?! Of course it isn’t a creepy secret admirer, the only one who’d do something like this would be A! Oh, open it already. Just to be safe, I called A up to ask him if he’d sent something for me. All this even before opening the damn package. But you just left, why would I send you jewellery?, A joked. Maybe because there’s a latent strand of romance in you and perhaps you miss me? I urged. All said and done, A confirmed that that package wasn’t from him. Packing up whatever hopes of romance I thought might resurface with this small act, I gathered myself and opened it – to find a box of chocolates. CHOCOLATES in a box from a jewellery store. I’ll let you imagine the feeling it invoked. (PS, I didn’t even have them; the gall!!)

Anyway, another courier came my way, leaving me stumped again.

Inside it lay a collection of Gulzar’s translations of Rabindranath Tagore’s works. I stared at it, and stared at it some more. Who could’ve possibly given me such a precious gift? I eyed ma and asked her upfront, which she denied straightfacedly. I wracked my brain again wondering who could’ve known exactly what I want when I’m looking for peace, quiet, and solitude.

It turns out that the package was indeed from ma – can you imagine my shock, surprise, and sheer delight?! It was stupid of me to even wonder who so painstakingly and thoughtfully extended this gesture of love towards me – of course it had to be ma and only ma.

I’m still at a loss for words, to be very honest. Gifts like these are worth their weight in gold.

154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

144: Inspiring, Everyday People

24 May

I woke up with an unexpected sense of inspiration this morning; once I could muster getting myself out of bed i.e. As I waited for A to get ready, I logged onto Instagram where the source of my inspiration grew deeper and richer. As is with most things social media, a trail sketched itself across the profiles I flitted past till I found what made me stay, and feel like it was a good morning to wake up to indeed. For those of you who have been reading my posts, and for those of you who haven’t, here’s something that has really found a nook in me and settled down very comfortably in the momentum of my thoughts and curiosity – the entire experience that is the Himalayan expedition. I’ve written about it here, here, and here when I got hold of Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air” after obsessively watching the movie Everest, which, upon further investigation, I found him trashing completely. But I’m thankful for the trail nonetheless. It was serendipitous then, and still is, today, when I clicked on the Instagram radio button and found the magnetism of the Himalayas drawing me to them, yet again.

It’s already been a while since Himalayan expeditions began for the year 2017, with many attempting a successful summit experience during this spring-summer window. Now when I find people talking about this, I feel more (theoretically) knowledgeable and aware. In fact, when BBC confirmed the collapse of the famed Hillary Step the other day, I felt oddly zapped by the new monumental hurdles alpinists would now face; not that hurdles defeat them, and not that the Hillary Step and the peak itself were not enough. Of course it also made me frown in the face of this global-warming destruction we’ve brought upon ourselves, but it seriously seems like we need something more drastic and severe to wake up. Anyway, and moving on, today I found myself following two people who are right there as we speak; and one of whom I found fascinating because of how profoundly beautifully and simply he expressed his thoughts and emotions coupled with the most breathtaking photographs.

Cory Richards; photojournalist at Nat Geo, swirled me into his world of words and expressions in an instant and so effortlessly as well. If my fascination and borderline obsession with the Himalayas wasn’t enough, along came this person who gave my perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and curiosities a space to free-flow and merge into what was that ray of same inspiration I felt brightening up my morning today. Here are his words that made me feel heard, understood, capable, and not alone.

“Surrender is a funny thing. We do it constantly without thinking…when we board planes, get in our cars, or cross the street. We surrender to each other blindly all the time. Surrender in the mountains however has a unique texture. We stare up, calculate the risk, and surrender to the potential consequence. A decision is made to engage with fear and move with it. Fear is rooted in the future…an idea of something that could occur. In that sense, that which we fear isn’t real. The goal then, is to surrender to both the potential consequences and the sensation of fear. Only when I embrace it rather than fight it, am I able to move through it.”

If there was any fear holding me back, it felt more loose and less destructive. And that’s maddeningly insane coming from a normal, everyday guy, sitting somewhere in the Himalayas sending vibes to thousands of people scattered across this planet of ours. No?

Here’s his most inspirational and true (to him) story on Nat Geo as well, in case you’re interested. Enjoy. :)

142: Cheating

23 May

Today I’m cheating, and confessing about doing so. Yesterday was one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a long, long time. The school is at its fractional strength what with all the kids, except the senior students, already off. It was quiet, calm, serene, and it had rained. There was no clamouring, no crowding, no shouting, no hurrying. If this is a blessing, then I feel blessed. I even got to walk back home in a faint drizzle and under an overcast sky; there’s nothing more a Bangalore girl can ask for during a harsh North-Indian summer May Monday.

And then my internet died on me just when I was about to ease into some yoga which I haven’t been able to indulge in for an annoyingly long time. Therefore, out went my yoga and out went any chance I had of blogging as well. So here I am, writing about yesterday, today. And therefore I confess.

Yesterday was meant to be enjoyed in its entirety I presume. So there was some uninterrupted tree and sky-staring time, followed by a long conversation with P which ended a good hour later when her baby had a poop-blast situation. Because A also got back home much later than usual and I had time at hand, I did what most self-respecting domesticated wives do – cook. I made today’s lunch, dinner, and perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast as well, last night. There’s so much food in the fridge, A exclaimed, almost in fright. I’d say there’s no better friend than boxes of fresh home food to tide us through days when the last thing I want to do is cook.

There’s a box of black chana stew, dalia (a savoury broken wheat pilaf), cabbage stir fry (made in a mixed north-indian and south-indian style), mangalorean egg curry, leftover rice, dal, one piece of tandoori chicken, and some other essentials – that’s enough no? :P

137: Rooted

17 May

It happened sometime last week when A was working unpredictable and horrible hours which left me home alone longer than I usually am. It was also the week when I fiercely tried making a physical cut between my work and home; when I tried finishing all my work at work and bringing back just empty tiffin boxes and myself home. Naturally I had time at hand to while away, and that’s when it all happened.

I revisited a yoga video series that I’d ditched early this year or late last year, I can’t remember, to make myself feel more physically useful and productive. My evening walks, whenever they did happen, had been stopped as well because of this weird hay-fever I’d developed thanks to the season. Besides, it’s not fun to walk in a 38 degree environment (even post 730pm), so there just had to be a way out when I wanted the comfort of physical movement.

Back then I gave this up because I’d naturally overestimated myself and underestimated the potential and power of feeling, being, and engaging in yoga. Oh, this looks too non-challenging and blah, or, yoga isn’t for me, is what I’d always say, and that’d be that. Basically I guess I was just too out of whack to even admit that I couldn’t even comfortably do something that looked so darn easy; the false ploy of ego, I tell you.

But I desperately needed some grounding, some calm, some mindspace to give myself all that I’d planned to give myself. How could I fathom giving my mind a breather if I didn’t allow it to breathe, and how could I feel energised or even connected and rooted without giving my body that energy it needed? It took a couple of days, but I could begin to identify these minute but very evident changes that slowly took root in me. To feel grounded, rooted, connected, energised, a conductor and channel of positive flowing energy is something my body and mind were thirsty for. Back when I did yoga in school, I’d learnt the power of its mysticism, except I never stuck on with it for innumerable reasons. To understand the supremacy of a single breath and the potential it has in it is quite fascinating. Not that I’m here to get philosophical or yogic with you, but here I am, five days (I started this more than a week ago but it’s been just five days) of yoga later, feeling a feeling that I haven’t a long while.

On the floor, in what I can assume is a yoga posture, and sipping on cold water under a tireless fan, I sit, writing this blog post for you and me. It’s just us, the hustle of these keys, the distant sound of a pressure cooker, and the choir of silence that has me exactly where I want to be.

Namaste.