Categories
Life stories

Crow’s Two Cents

There was a light drizzle in the afternoon today, I stepped out on the balcony and streched out my arms to feel the tiny drops falling from the sky. While I was enjoying the light showers, I noticed an unusual rustle in between the dense green branches of the mango tree. I stared at the shivering branches. A few moments later, out of the dense dark leaves came a horrified crow cawing loudly and flapping away for his life. As I began to wonder about why it was so worried, I saw a snake fall down from the tree. Crow must have realised the danger and flew off for life. I stood there feeling sorry for him.

All of us, at some point in our lives are in crow – snake situations. We are told to fight, to win and accept challenges. Yes, it’s all good as motivation but in life we don’t have to fight all the dangers, few are best escaped. Not all dangers are challenges and not all challenges are to be pursued. Not all battles are worth fighting for, so you choose your battles wisely.

And, what you choose to fight for, never back down!

Categories
Life stories

Lights – some guide, some blind

A long while ago, in a dreamlike world someone asked a young girl – “what she wanted to become when she grows up?” She said, “an astronaut”. She liked the sound of the word astronaut – it had a sophisticated vibe and was mystical.

A few summers passed, she grew up and moved from her modest town to a city of towering sky scrapers. She was awestruck with the bright lights and the speed of the city that enthralled her young heart. She knew she had to do something there, something exciting to keep up with the fast pace of life around her. Her astronaut dream was long forgotten and was dulled by the ever lit city. Straining her neck, her eyes would keep gazing at the magnolious buildings of shiny glass and enticing lights.
The longer she stayed in the city, the stronger her determination grew to savour preeminent success in the shimmery city.

Industrious and determined, she joined a top consulting firm after graduating from an Ivy league school. The flame of ambition was shining bright within her and she ascended the ladder quicker than others and it gave her happiness parallel to none. She was living her dream in her ever twinkling city. Could she ask for more? Perhaps.

Success is analogical to climbing a ladder or a mountain – whoever is successful, keeps climbing up the ladder or the mountain. Isn’t it what we’ve heard always! Why up?

So much was up there, she was successful but is success satisfying? There was so much more to scale to and she was inebriated with success, wanting for some more. She leapt up the levels in the hierarchy. She worked hard for what she deserved and fought for what she wanted. Why wouldn’t one after all the hardwork?

From a little girl to a young hopeful fiesty woman, she had felt the transformation of her ambitions and heart. She relentlessly chased her insatiable dreams.

Today, standing at her tower of success on the top floor of the tallest sky scraper in her city, she looks down as she smiles at destiny. A few moments pass and she keeps staring at the city around her. Slowly the arch of smile disappears from her face, involuntarily her thoughts drift from her success in this very moment to her life after she left her small town. All these years, she worked tremendously to get where she is, but was it all worth it? Did she miss anything on the way? – She wondered.

“Anyway, isn’t everything better with success?”, she questioned as she looked at a girl a few floors down in the building in front of her. She noticed that this girl struggled at her work and didn’t appear confident. She thought to herself, “she is not reaching very far up there”. Momentarily, she bounced back to her feat story – her thoughts glistened her eyes.

Some time passed, she took her heels off, flexed her toes and gently sat on the floor. Tepid city breeze was blowing her hair gently, her mind went back to the girl in the other building – would she be happy? Would she ever be as successful as I am? Does she even want that success? Her mind oscillated back to her own life – “Did I want it? Of course, I did! Am I happy today? Of course, I am! I chased my dreams my whole life, I accomplished them”. She paused and muttered, “I chased”.

She realised that she was so focused and fixated on one thing in her life that she forgot living her life. She had friends, however no time to spend with them. She had a huge house, but it was yet to become a home.

At times, we get so drowned in the fallacies of the fancy that we miss living our life. We are chasing out dreams and forget to live life.

While this world was created by God, the norms have been handcrafted by humans. Don’t fall for the so called rules of the world.

Is the desire of wealth and power so great that it blinds us forever?

Is it worth living your life for designations in the material world?

Is it possible to find happiness without pursuing what’s served on the platter?

Do we want to wake up oneday in the middle of our life, only to realise that we wasted our time?

Do we want to spend more than required time on something that may seem miniscule in the long journey?

Are our accomplishments qualifiable only as per the world?

Can we make our own worlds and seek happiness within?

If there were millions of happy worlds within this planet, wouldn’t that be a happy world!

Categories
Life stories photography

Oh..Arizona!!

I stayed in Phoenix, Arizona for a couple of months, back in 2015. I was reminded of Arizona by one of the posts today on WordPress and it gushed me with loads of wonderful memories of the beautiful desert.

In my mind, desert was all sandy brown, full of sand dunes and perpetual sand storms. Arizona was a bit of all this and so much more beautiful than a regular desert. I dug out some pictures from my phone and thought of sharing a few here.

Aerial view of AZ
Not so khakhee!! Look at the clouds.
Cacti bedazzle me
I swear..these are real!
I wish I could strap it my car and get it home.
You can’t get enough!!
From one of the lovely evenings there
Beautiful Watson lake. It’s breathtaking and surreal. The structures are to tickle your imagination.
Just an on-the-road shot!
Rain & rainbow
& the Grand Canyon state is incomplete without this!

This posts brings lots of happiness to me and I hope you feel it too. ❤️

Categories
Life stories

A little change!

I woke up early today to a resplendent morning – clear sky, cool breeze, soft rustle of the trees and flocks of birds gliding through the air. It is these enchanted mornings that lift my spirit high for rest of the day.

After nine in the morning – work, life errands and chaos start wrapping my mind. There’s usually no time to gaze out of the window later in the day. And I elude windows as the merciless sun scorches until sunset. 

Mid-afternoon I observed the weather change. Sun was evading behind the callous clouds and trees were bowing down to the roaring wind. It all seemed to have happened suddenly.

As I was sauntering around the house, a plant outside my kitchen window caught my eye. It was a slender yet tall newly planted basil which was on the verge of succumbing to the bend by the gust. I hurriedly ran towards the window and pushed the planter to a different direction. With this little change, the wind didn’t affect the plant anymore. It stood straight with mild gyration as if with a new sense of confidence.

This absolutely miniscule incident made me think about us – people. While most at some point in their life had people – who would love to see us snap, if only we could have someone who switched a door, a path or a direction for us just enough, for us to be a little stronger, a little bolder.

Categories
Life stories

Pitter – patter of memories

I was about twelve years old when my father who was then serving in Indian Army was transferred to Assam, one of the eastern states in India. My family shifted from Lucknow base in UP to Assam. We travelled mostly by trains those days and it took us nearly two and a half days to reach Guwahati and then from there another couple of hours to reach our Army accomodation.

Train journeys had their own charm. As kids, we would see clouds, trees and fields drifting away as the train sped up. The view of flooded fields, bright green paddy being sown by farmers who had their calves soaked in mud was quite intriguing. Witnessing the enormous Brahmaputra river from the train traversing swiftly on the bridge was frightening and super exciting. I remember people making wishes and tossing coins in the river. Brahmaputra woke everyone with its formidability. I vividly remember the tiny fisherman boats floating with the current of the mighty river. These are just a few things that I remember from my train journey to Guwahati.

Army unit was about six hours from Guwahati and bus used to be our best option. I particularly remember the red soil of Assam which was strikingly different. Mind you, I was a kid, so even the simplest and common things for adults were awe-inspiring for me.

In the next few weeks, we were pretty settled there. It was beautiful always. There was pitter-patter of rain every other hour. This place was superabundantly green. Sun rose way before five in the morning and days always seemed short as the sun used to set around five in the evening. 

With so much of nature, came the snails which were harmless, however had covered the entire backwall of our house and were also hidden in the grass, in gravel and on pavements. I hated them and inadvertently crushed a lot of tiny ones and I could never see them amidst grass, I only heard them getting crushed which scared me and I would run and hear more crushings at a faster pace. While snails were harmless, snakes were not. I saw snakes every two days, they horrified me. By God’s grace, I never had to fight one or got bitten by one. I wouldn’t have ever won with a snake.

There are so many fond memories of Assam. On my way to school I used to just gaze out of my bus and witness the waterlogged fields blossoming with lotuses. This went on for miles and miles as my school was pretty far from my home.

Even today, when I close my eyes and I can still see the lotuses in the murkiest of muck, looking as fresh as the dew that sat on them every single morning.

Categories
Life stories

Ever-changing tempo!

Life’s been intricate ever since I left college, perhaps, it always was. Life’s pace has always been dramatic – sometimes so fast that I would live days without realising the time that passed by and then so, so slow that all I would do is rewind the lost time.

I choose to believe that I prefer the high tempo of life because it leaves no hole to peek into the past and lets you glide with it in the future. The other half of me craves for the low tempo of life, the one that heals the soul and illuminates it. This other part makes me delve into the darkness of the starry night. It lets me walk on the minuscule grains of ever unsettling sand where the gentle waves kiss the shore.

Apparently, I want it both. What’s your tempo? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Life stories

Not Innate But Acquired

My outlook toward music and God was alike. I knew both existed, I enjoyed being immersed in the idea of both from time-to-time in my own way but was very selective about devoting my time to either. Being selective can be an excuse for being indolent.

An old pic of a sacred fig tree in a temple premises.

For me, music resonated with road trips and God with my beliefs. God was approached when I was in a crisis-like situation. The idea of being spiritual was sacred and very personal. I wouldn’t visit temples although I had those just minutes away. My connect was based on a typical rebel mindset that I would do only what I feel like doing. It was more about passion and being driven by it. “Why should I do something because everyone else was doing or my parents did?”, I always thought. It all felt right at that time. It was all about passion.  

Today, I think passion is the most overrated thing in our generation. Everyone talks about passion and following it. But do we really need to have passion, to do something? Can passion not be developed?

I never felt like visiting a temple, it was probably once or twice in a year that my family could convince me to accompany them.

In the last few years, because of people around me especially my husband who’s quite spiritual, I began this journey of visiting a temple once in a week. These were not my heartfelt visits, I was only an accomplice in his spiritual journey. He would sense my unwillingness and blend it with a supper date or a visit to a plant nursery, which would keep me enthused for the evening. We had numerous weeks of these customary visits to the temple and contrary to my conviction, I did start feeling engaged in these short temple visits. Overtime, I felt as if a seed of passion was sown within me, passion to connect with the divine. I wouldn’t say, I became passionate about God, but I knew spirituality had started growing on me. I felt a strong connect with God and ironically, this burgeoned with my engagement with music. It was an atypical trance, tribal and nature. 

It’s marvelous to look back in this journey from time-to-time and squeeze all the goodness of passion that one can savour. And, it’s great because I didn’t have it, it was built within. Passion was created, this gives me hope of the unnumbered passions that one could have.

Categories
Life stories

For The Love Of Birds.

Here’s how it started.

Everyday in the morning, I nudge my husband to switch off the fan while I’m half asleep. There’s absolute silence and the only thing I hear is clock needle ticking. I get up from my bed and open the balcony door for the cool fresh breeze to gush in. I stand there for a few seconds with my closed eyes and then come back to my bed. In next few minutes, I am awakened by the birds outside, chirping hard at the break of the day. I go outside and lean on the railing and close my eyes again. This is not for me to sleep again but that’s me discerning the chirping of a kingfisher from a robin and a barbet. They’re all sound so diverse and beautiful.
I’ve been doing this for the past few weeks (since lockdown). It’s fulfilling. I feel my connect with nature has grown stronger than ever before. I had never observed the birds the way I observe them now. I spot them every morning, most of them were unknown to me until this lockdown.

First bird I spotted was a coppersmith barbet. It seemed unique with colours of yellow and orange around its head, beak and neck. I thought to myself – “must be rare”. I googled and got to know that it’s a resident of Indian subcontinent. I also had encounters with an oriental magpie robin which is a little black and white bird. An absolute stunner! A few times, I met a common kingfisher. Kingfishers are beautiful creatures who tweet daylong. I also spotted a male and a female koel. They are unlike each other. While male is all black with crimson eyes and the female has white spots all over its brown body. Albeit, she does have crimson eyes. They are always singing. I saw a blue Australian super fairy wren as well. These birds became my motivation to get up early in the morning, to witness the beauty of nature. Before I realised, this had already become a hobby of mine. I also spotted a red-vented bulbul and a greater coucal. A few times I was awed by flocks of different birds including one of sparrows which overwhelm me every single time.

My newly discovered hobby has intrigued me and it leaves me with a insatiable yearning to see more. I know what to do next when the lockdown is over!
Categories
Life stories

Living For The Weekend – No More

Until a few weeks back, we all had been living our lives in the way that can be summed up in four words – “living for the weekend”. Giving in to the grind of life from Monday to Friday and pining for the weekend to begin. Before we even knew, Monday was dawning upon us again and we would be part of an unceasing cycle. Unceasing, we thought! (Universe must be laughing at us right now).

Then, somewhere in the world, a magic went horribly wrong and Corona virus hit us. Needless to say, we still have a Monday to Friday routine, we are just oblivion to it most of the days (Universe is laughing again!).

In these times, is it time to look back at how we weighed our priorities? Is it time for us to re-consider the expectations that we call our “dreams”? A good time to contemplate the race we are dying to survive in? Do we want to run that race? Do we want to win that race? What happens when we do win it? Does the race stop? Or do we become part of another elite race and endeavour to sustain it?? There will always be a race – this, then next, then another one. We have evolved and have been programmed to be racing (Crawling, walking, running, huffing, puffing).

If we have to race, let’s run in our self-carved tracks and not in the ones tailored by the world for us, not the ones designed by society and not the ones shaped by corporations. Let’s not run a rat race. A quote by Lily Tomlin fits here perfectly – “the trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat”. Do we want to be a rat? I think not.

If we all run our own races, we will just be competing with ourselves. The feat will be in living, joyfully living our days, not counting them and not surviving them with a hope of a weekend. Not living for the weekend!

Categories
Life stories

Life In Times Of Corona Virus

Few months back, I was enjoying my vacation with people from different countries. I was having a blast experiencing different cultures and food. On the first day of 2020, I was on a flight and was feeling truly ecstatic because this was the first time I was flying on 1st of January. I thought – what a crazy year this will be? I was already planning for my next vacation. 

I joined back office with my tan and beautiful memories of my holiday. I just couldn’t stop smiling with the days I just lived and the days I was planning to live. I was enjoying my work and my life. In the next few days, I learnt about a virus that the entire world was talking about. I first heard something about China, then a few days later, it was Iran, then Italy. It was sprawling like wildfire globally and soon it hit India.

The idea of Corona virus hitting India was as scary as Tsunami hitting Japan (Tsunami hitting anywhere else is equally scary). India was not prepared, people were not prepared, government was not prepared.

We all were going to experience something unseen in the last 100 years. Everyone was going to get affected. There were no exceptions. Our worlds were taking a one-eighty degree turn. India a country with an unending hustle-bustle was going to get used to being quiet. I know the entire world was experiencing this, but for India, being India, this was a challenge. We are the noise makers, we don’t know what quiet is. We are deeply tied up with our families, our friends, our neighborhood, how were we going to survive this? This India would have to understand social distancing and most importantly, follow it. 

We all learnt about social distancing. By the way, this should be Oxford’s word of 2020. The virus and the word made us stay at home. No malls, no fun places to go to, no dinners outside, no vacation plans and no social gatherings. Stay where you are – is the message. A lockdown. I understand the message. We all do. We have to stay at home. Homebound only. Which means I’m working from home, just like most of the us. 

Working from home has always been a dream. It’s convenient – I always thought. Well, initially it was fun. It was so good to be in my space and delivering work. I realised I was more focused at home than office. I was so focused, just like my husband who was also working from home, that our line of personal and work space blurred. It wasn’t clear anymore whether it was time to work or to stop work. There were no breaks, no early morning chitchat with friends at work and no snack time. My husband got up every morning in a hurry to get ready for his early morning zoom meeting. Our lunches were also in a haste mostly. By the time we both were off our laptops, it was mostly eight in the evening. Then, we would prepare our dinner and it would be ten already. What was happening? We were spending twenty four hours together in the same house and not spending much time with each other. And me being the selfish one that I am, I was also worried about not having enough time to spend with myself. I am a firm believer of spending some quality time with oneself first and then with someone else. 

That evening, I started making a mental note of things that I wanted to do. I understood that the lockdown was not going to go away anytime soon. I had to do something. I had to.

First thing I did the next morning was – I picked my Nikon DSLR that I bought five years back. Yes, five years back! I could count the number of times I used it earlier and I’m not proud of myself to say that. I was so excited when I had bought it but in the daily grind of life, it was kept someplace, where I wouldn’t see it often. I cleared my mind of my past excitement and filled my heart with the freshness of early morning. In next few seconds, I was in my balcony. Now this is no ordinary balcony. This balcony gives me a view of endless greenery, hills and open sky. I’m always thankful to God whenever I’m in my balcony, this is my favourite space in my space. As I stood outside, I noticed a bird – I had never seen this bird before. I was elated to see it. The bird was Coppersmith Barbet. I clicked. Next day, it was a Bulbul, the next, a Superb Fairy Wren, the next, a Magpie Robin and the next, a Kingfisher. What was happening? Was this because of lockdown? Maybe? I wondered how I never noticed a single bird apart from the pestersome Pigeons. Now this is my hope of my every morning. This makes me happy and this gives me hope.
In these times, we need to find our own hope. We need to create new strengths and new happinesses. While we all need to work. We all need to have fun as well. We need to connect with ourselves, or else how will we connect with our families, our partners. 

Find something that will make you feel alive, I’m trying to find more. Gym is shut, so I’m trying sun salutations at home. Have no Starbucks or a Durga coffee house open, so I’m trying Dalgona at home. I’m learning about focus, aperture and white balance, things that I should have learnt five years back. Writing this article is also about me finding happiness. I hope there’s something that each one of us is able find for ourselves – finding our happiness in the times of Corona. The gloom will get defeated by each drop of happiness that we create in our lives.