Tag Archives: 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. :)

167: Surrender

17 Jun

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

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.

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.

24: This And That

24 Jan

The first thing I saw on opening today’s newspaper was that of a hit and run/accident involving yet another rich kid speeding yet again in his posh car at what seems to have been a dangerous speed for city roads, and rammed into a stationary taxi, killing its driver. Sometimes I wonder why I’ve even begun subscribing for a newspaper, even. This sort of morbidity is everyday news; it’s there every single day. These repugnant incidents, and the maddening frequency at which they’re happening, trigger such a spectrum of usually negative thoughts first thing in the morning; something I selfishly dislike and wish to stay away from as consciously as I can. It’s always at the cost of guilt and regret, because where does one draw the line between giving voice and volume to these pertinent issues which should lead to concrete action, and preventing them from settling into an obsessive, repetitive deliberation. I really do not mean to come across as being insensitive; in fact, because of the uncertainty of what the next moment holds, especially given the crass and mindless environment we live in, this makes it anything but forgettable or compassionless. However, despite it all, I can’t imagine a morning or teatime routine without a newspaper in tow. Sigh. It’s a torment, either way.

I also found myself waking up with a headache, and I wonder what I did/didn’t do, to be bestowed with such a nagging gift, first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s because Tuesday’s here; the second most insipid day of the week, after Wednesday, of course. On recollecting what I could’ve possibly done to myself which resulted in a headache, the answer seems more or less clear – I had masala green peas (the dry ones that are roasted and had with drinks) and a chocobar for dinner. To be honest, I love those green peas, and to be even more honest, I’m not on a starvation drive. I do love my food. Oh that things junk food does to us. It’s aptly clear that I’m ageing, because look what happens at the slightest ignorance these days. Do you also experience a more vocal bodily reaction now? What is also apparent is that bursting this time bubble/warp thing I’m so nonchalantly still luxuriously reclining in, is beyond my capacities. The world of denial is oft colourful, pretty, and of course, utterly misleading. Haha!

On to more interesting things, I realised that my blog had no pictures in its posts, off late or maybe even for ever. To have erred so, is blasphemous on numerous counts. So here goes, and here’s what’s making me feel utterly delighted even in this bone-chilling weather.

img_0696

I love that I can see a clean, blue sky, dotted with paintings of clouds, as opposed to the dull brownish-greyish faux sky ceiling my city has on its possession year round. These moments remind me of home in so many ways; in fact the first thing I usually do on alighting an aircraft in Bangalore is to pause and take a deep breath. It makes all the difference, and to be able to do that without choking or coughing, is a blessing untold.

As I make my exit, here’s wishing your day to be a painting as marvellous as this one is. :)

 

22: Some “Keen” Observations

22 Jan

While I was sitting outside, trying to absorb whatever Vitamin D I could from a very moody sky which refuses to give us the sunshine we need, I spotted in the Ficus trees a beautiful, long-tailed, brown bird. I’ve never been a bird enthusiast because there are too many to run back to a book for. When we were kids, and therefore imposed with many a morning walk to watch birds, it wasn’t something that really excited me; not because I don’t care about birds or nature, but because it’s too much of an effort. But today, I decided to be less ignorant and find out about the bird I saw, which was a Rufous Treepie. It’s such a pleasure to watch different flora and fauna, I promise; especially when I’m forced to watch pigeons, who, by the way, are the most useless birds this universe ever created. I don’t understand them or their purpose; they’re actually considered pests here.

During meal preps yesterday, a raucous cacophony raised by some mynahs led me to open the door and assess what was happening outside. I figured that either a baby had unfortunately fallen at the hands of a preying cat, or that it had lost its mojo to fly and fell at our doorstep (these things seem to happen a lot at our doorstep somehow), which the adults were unable to help. The scene outside was completely different, I kid you not. There seemed to be in progress, a wrestling match, with one mynah actually pinning the other one down, as the others cheered or jeered. They took a moment to look at me, assessed that they couldn’t really continue this sport any longer, broke their party up, and left with what felt like resentment in the air. These birds and their tales.

And let’s not even get started on pigeons. Apart from pushing the other off from parapets and ACs, and windowsills and off pretty much anywhere, they only otherwise twist their elastic necks and look at you, or nibble at the concrete pillars that hold the roof over our head. And yes of course, they mate and lay their eggs everysinglewhere.

My next keen observation happened when my maid told me that she wouldn’t be coming in tomorrow. I think it’s a conditioned response to feel anger/irritation/frustration when maids decide to take leave on what only seem to be scheduled births, illnesses, and deaths (twice a month, as per my maid’s conditions) that happen in places in and outside their current residence. So when K told me she wouldn’t be coming tomorrow, and that it had been decided, I naturally responded with irritation. But to be honest, there’s no one happier than me to not have the maid come in, because that means I have the house to myself for a longer period of time, that I don’t have to follow this schedule before she arrives, and that I can do whatever the hell it is that I like, without the ticking of a clock to remind me of her arrival. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for her service, I really am. But there’s nothing I love more than extended me time, even if that means I need to do the dishes once in a while.

Moving on, and this really is not a conditioned grouse as much as it is about ethics and civility, which most people, especially the educated lot, lack severely – and that is to throw whatever garbage they fancy, right on to my balcony. This isn’t exclusive only to me. I’m sure we’ve all faced this at some point in our life. Some are serial offenders, some are just downright pathetic about the entire thing. A lot of me gathers everything I’ve got to not take said garbage and keep it at their doorstep, where it ought to really be. Perhaps that day has inched closer than I imagined it would. Human beings are, and always have been, utterly disgusting. A actually laughs and states that I love everyone more than I love people, and that’s a 100% true. It’s also why I’m not welcoming of guests unless and until I want them to come home. Lol!

Throwing Back, This Thursday

21 Jul

Because Thursday has somehow become synonymous with being reminiscent, today I thought of becoming a sheep and following the herd trend as well.

Last Thursday saw me wake up at my usual unearthly hour (for a holiday) and fumble around in the cool confines of our hotel room as I rummaged through tea bags to make myself a cup of tea at 7am. There was no bed to be made and the idea of slipping back under the sheets with my bevvy was an idea that toyed with my desire to throw all routine out of the window. However the practicality of balancing a hot mug of tea while remaining covered in bed didn’t seem very likely given the klutz I can be. So a sofa by the french windows whose drapes I’d slyly and slightly pried open without disturbing my sleeping husband (he doesn’t like the curtains open) took precedence.

13700017_10157218937725055_5247722618490786001_n

But the husband woke up soon enough and there we were, drinking our tea while he watched his tv and I read this rare gem. Soon after this entire tea ritual, I found myself being tempted by the desire to take a post bed tea snooze…I guess fluffy hotel beds with their sea of cushions and the idea of no regular weekday routine does the trick. We lazed around, read the newspaper, watched tv in bed and transformed into lazy hippos that didn’t have anything better to do; except that in sometime, our friend hunger began to make itself present.

Since our package in Shimla wasn’t inclusive of breakfast, we had the flexibility to eat from wherever we wanted to; which led us to exploring the town and the possible eateries we could feed our growing hunger at. We chanced upon a simple, non-fancy but colourful cafe just opposite Shimla’s Town Hall where quite some rather good food in the name of massive stuffed omelettes were wolfed down. But my best memory from this place was this astoundingly amazing coffee I had the pleasure of finishing my meal off with.

13775568_10157219073670055_515960613517612215_n

I was a little apprehensive about the coffee; as I always am about tea/coffee as mentioned about in my previous post; but desperately needed some. It was the best decision off the menu, ever. Hideout Cafe makes one of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had; strong, robust, energising and far from insipid like many I’ve had before. Please order it if milk coffee is your thing.

To tackle that post-meal slumber which effortlessly slides down one’s eyelids without prior notice, we walked around town and explored what seemed to be the more commercial and therefore crowded, touristy spots of Shimla. It was a good walk, though one we wanted to complete asap because we don’t like crowds or too many people in general. Sauntering through Shimla’s narrow lanes was a pleasure because not only do you walk in clouds more often than not, but because the buildings make you feel like you’re in a fun historical book…the authenticity of it heightened because not all roads allow vehicular movement on them, except garbage vans, ambulances and police vehicles. Do walk along some of these roads in Shimla and you won’t be disappointed, I promise. They speak a different story.

That was last Thursday for me. There was a lot of walking around, driving around, eating (though I wish I could’ve had that orange slush and ice cream priced at 60 bucks which is a rare find in cities – both slush and that price), and exploring scattered with slumber now and then.

IMG_4974

A loves going to the mountains; he says it refreshes him completely – his mind, body, soul and his digestive system. Haha! This is not the first person saying this to me; S thrives on going to the mountains in Kerala – it helps her immensely in every way. And they’re both right. There’s something about being in the company of these majestic mountains and all their splendid magic. We become sponges, soaking up all that fresh crisp air, greenery and general wholesomeness. While I was there this time, I really thought long and hard about the ‘beach or mountain person’ question that many ask. That’s for a separate post; for I feel like I’ve found a valid, and surprising answer.

Also, the answers you randomly chance upon when in the middle of nowhere, is strange and mind-boggling.

Also also, while I was on holiday last week; this appeared in the world.

IMG_5114

Yet another app, yet more artwork ready to morph photographs beyond recognition sometimes…yet another addictive toy to add to the repertoire of your phone’s credibility.

So yes, like I said at the beginning, I’ve become a sheep today…and I kinda like Prisma too.

Fail.

But happy throwing back to your favourite times this Throwback Thursday.

On Procrastination And Other Delights

29 Jun

When we were growing up (read: under the complete and direct control of my mother; a time whose disappearance she still laments about, naturally), there was order everywhere. There was an order to our day, our waking up routine, our study time, our food habits (oh man, do you remember those times!?)… there was a sense of strict order everywhere. It went to the extent of my brother and I ordering our lives in such a way – as if like some back alley sort of dealings that siblings especially are famous for – just so that our mother could maybe not worry so much about having to keep our life in order. Not that that worked or happened. But it was a time of infinite hope propelled by childhood fantasies, let’s go back and remember. So we fixed who would go for their bath first, who would make the bed, who would get the tiffin boxes out of the kitchen, who would water the plants, who would do the dishes… These decisions never really ended amicably, but never did we seem to learn or care much about them anyway. What had to be done, had to be done. And if mom said it had to be done, then it really had to be done now. There was no question of five minutes later.

This is applicable even today, when one of us (I’m not going to name who) is inching towards their fourth (omfg!) decade at a speed that is blasphemous on all counts. Okay I’ll just replace that ghastly fourth decade phrase with thirties. Meh. So yes, this happens even today when it comes to answering her calls or messages. Whether our phones are next to us or that we’re probably in the middle of something else which doesn’t permit the presence of a cellphone is completely negated and shunned, even. Oh well, some things won’t change. I’m sure you have your list too.

However, some things have changed. Drastically.

It was the other day when my mom’s youngest sister exclaimed in horror at my procrastination skills, going to the extent of asking me if I was even one of their own, that made me sort of look back and ponder over the course of my life and its changes. I beamed with pride at the exclamation, while she continued to remain aghast. It’s not like I’m proud to be a procrastinator as much as I am proud of my ability to function despite it. When I look back, I’ve no answers to when it happened and how, or even why for that matter – because isn’t a planned, systematic, timetable-like life good, stress-free and most importantly, brimming with success stories of one’s own past? The change, it seems, was not as sudden or as drastic as I imagined, but one that took gradual conditioning and learning. On looking back, I found that the obvious answer lay in the one key and underlying fact of it all – the relaxation of my mom’s control over our life. After a point a parent becomes less authoritarian and more authoritative about the right things, where the need to control the academic life (in particular) of their children takes a back seat slowly (or so we all hope and wish for). After Standards X and XII, the change is too drastic to even recognize sometimes. It’s a different ball game and you know what I mean. Haha!

So here I am, procrastinating as proficiently as ever. Panic attacks come and go, guilt trips fade even before they can fully make it, and well, life feels like a bundle of laziness that’s just too good to be true. Till the shit hits the fan or is about to. But by then we’re up and about and have somehow managed to steer the course of events from disaster to foreseeable results. Well almost. Like I said, it took some time, lots of trials, some amounts of panic-driven crying and attacks to have arrived at where we are today – seasoned procrastinators in just about any and every single thing!

My mother and her sisters don’t understand the need to cramp it all in and work like the world is on our shoulders, but then again, there’s not much to contest in this matter. It was just the other day that my friends and I were talking about our expert procrastination skills and we did a whatsapp hi-five to celebrate just how common and pathetic we are in this respect. It looks more universally prevalent than meets the eye, and it certainly has seeped into more areas than just our former academic years. From pesky college assignments to projects, unending classwork (oh god, those practical record submissions!) to Master’s dissertation deadlines; it went on to work where I remember my ever so sweet former manager inching from reminders to gentle reminders to plain silence and walking away among other guilt-causing tactics that would make us scramble and fret. Today, I see it in postponing small errands to do (my chappal snapped over the weekend and I’m still hobbling in that broken pair) to visits to the parlour despite the awareness of the pain I’ve brought upon my own self, to something as stupid as delaying the need to make us some food. It’s ridiculous, this disease. And so addictive, no?

The past few days have been busy and I’ve kept away from my blog by force of my own accord. The next few days may also spell the same story, but hopefully things should get a bit more clear after a week. Posting has been and may be sporadic, and I do sorely miss my blog and blogging in general, but I will get back to it after I’ve got this pile of work off my hands. The shit’s waking up to hit the fan, bro!

July seems to be exciting and filled with a lot to do. So fingers crossed on that and I’ll speak of more details once I’ve got the headspace to. Talking about headspace, I was describing the weather here as totally mindfuckable, just yesterday. The heaviness, the heat and the omfg humidity is a crazy heap piled on us all. The temperatures are considerably lower than what they were in the summer what with the 40s off the weather apps now. However, the air is pregnant with I’ve no idea what because it’s almost opaque enough to be sliced through. It promises to rain mean storms, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to that, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post which feels old and dusty now. We’re all just waiting with bated breath for the green to stay, for the rain to not come and vanish within a couple of hours… we’re all just waiting for some good old celebratory relief, till the drainage systems conk off of course.

Keeping all that aside, I love staying in a place which has distinct seasons. It makes celebration and the cause for celebration even more special. Humans, animals, birds, plants – we’re all on the same plane here – parched, cranky, so spent. But we’re all being patient and waiting.

The best part about all this is the feeling of oneness. We’re all one and we’re all in this together. That makes me happy and that’s more than enough reason to hold each other’s hands for as long as it takes till we burst into song, dance, celebration and general elation.