Posted for Mundane Monday Challenge.
Posted for Weekly Photo Challenge.
If I could take you with me for a walk, I would take you to places that have mattered to me. All I have liked to do here in this town is to walk and to explore. I remember the energetic morning walks of my childhood with my dad who has been an avid walker. The air would be cool and quite a respite from the sweltering heat that swept the north Indian plains for much of the year. We walked in the deserted lanes which would soon be bustling with cycles, scooters, rickshaws and school goers. When we were lucky enough to live in the vicinity of parks, we would walk there, moving along at a brisk pace, walking the length many times.
We walked this way in each town we lived. When I went my way in the world after my studies, I continued to walk the places I now lived with friends. In times of crisis, it was the only way to keep sane. I walked miles, covered familiar and unfamiliar neighbourhoods, walked to the vibrant vegetable markets, walked through lively trimmed parks and superbly kept suburban streets.
There are days when I walk with a friend and catch up on all that is happening and the only way to do this is not in a stuffy restaurant, over stale buns and tea but in the cool, fresh air where nature’s vibrance brings alive the music in our hearts. We talk as we make our way back to our homes.
I also walk alone. I take in the sights and the smells, look at the trees shedding their leaves that slowly flutter down in the breeze and at the wild, blooming marigolds on the hill slopes. I hear the birds, the rustle of the wind in the trees and the temple bells.
And now, I would like to walk with you. I want you to see the bush where I first saw the lilies and the little kitten mewing. I want you to stand on the edge of the forest and hear the wind blow so hard that it sounds like a river rushing by. I want you to see the jagged ends of the houses teethering on the uneven hill slopes, the sun making the shadows dance. I want you to see the geometric poetry of the lodges with an old world charm. I want you to see the shuttered up windows of houses that are long abandoned. I want to walk with you to the fringe of the market where the porters bear the goods on bent backs and walk like mules. I want to climb the dated, pitted staircases with you, shadowed by the overhanging balconies of the buildings that had seen better times. I want you to hear the church bells chime competing with the psychedelic music from the new shops. I want to take you to the old book stores where time seems to stand still in the musty odour. I want to walk down with you to the ice cream parlour where the cool refreshment is accompanied by a hot discussion on the spiritual legacy of the patron.
Through these walks, I want you to see the place with my eyes. Maybe we can walk together often.
Thinking of my countless train journeys, in my mind’s eye, I see a kaleidoscope of memories, of people I met and the places I saw, of the undeniable beauty that unfolded mile after mile, of the shouts and cacophony of railway stations and the silence of the nights, and the looking out of the windows through unseen eyes.
Recalling, I can almost feel the cool breeze when we are near streams and rivers, the wheels thundering over the bridge and I can think back vividly of the unbearably hot afternoons and the landscape broken occasionally by the lone tree. I remember the verdant meadows and the delicate yellow mustard in the fields. I can only imagine the swish of the golden sheaves of wheat as they sway in the wind, the clatter of the train drowning out the gentle sound.
I think of the times I had walked along the rail tracks with friends trying to get to someplace when we were not sure of where we were going.
I can recall Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina as she sets her eyes on Vronsky and her destiny for the first time on a railway platform.
I can think of the incredibly crowded trains where people jostle for space. I sit with Margayya of R.K.Narayan’s Financial Expert, watching as a man tries to enter the train through the window just to get a seat.
I recall the many snippets of overheard conversations on the railway station and on trains that have stayed with me over the years, my mind still turning the phrases around to make sense or to understand the context.
I think of the entire gamut of human emotions that I have been fortunate to witness in those places where humanity is bursting at seams.
Over all other means of transport, it is a train for me every time. I have had so much time to day dream during those journeys.
Metanoia refers to a fundamental change in an individual’s life orientation. In psychology, it is considered a process of self healing and adaption. Metanoia comes from an ancient Greek word, which means “changing one’s mind”.
It is a journey and sometimes fraught with doubts but here are a few pointers to help us all move along towards where we want to be.
One, it is natural and normal to have doubts. We may or may not be able to find the answers we are looking for. There is no such thing as absolute truth. What is true for one individual or a particular circumstance may not be true for another. So, it is a vital skill to be able to live with doubts, searching for answers and be able to see what works for us.
Two, the catalyst for the big change in our lives is just that; a catalyst. We cannot go back to it again and again nor can we expect it to be the push for change every time. We need to know that there are many such people or places or things that can lead us to the transformation. The most important thing is an inner readiness.
Three, the biggest attitude change comes from the realization of being completely responsible for ourselves. It means we are the only ones who lead ourselves to our happiness, misery or contentment.
No matter what the change we embark upon, whether it be our hearts, minds, selves or the way we live our lives, change takes courage. What changes are you making in your life?
They won’t let railways alone, those yellow flowers.
They’re that remorseless joy of dereliction
darkest banks exhale like vivid breath
as bricks divide to let them root between.
How every falling place convoys their smile,
taking what’s left and making a song of it.
Anne Stevenson (b. 1933)
It is a grammar rule that a sentence can end with only one terminal punctuation mark. So, it can be a period (.), a question mark (?) or an exclamation mark (!). I admit there are times when I want to use both the question mark and the exclamation mark after a sentence. I would not dare do it in a formal setting, but when chatting it feels liberating!
I love the semicolon (;)! A semicolon is used to join two or more parts/ideas of sentences and those parts/ideas have an equal status. Reminds me of status updates on the social media, though. Anyway, because I like my sentences to be long and even rambling; bring in one idea after the other and sometimes introducing a poetic element, I find the semicolon handy. Psst… it is also intimidating, and I like to do that to people sometimes!
No, I do not like the exclamation mark at all! Then, why am I using it so liberally? I like to convey ideas in words in such a manner that the exclamation mark is rendered redundant.
Slashes (/), apostrophes (‘), parentheses ( ) are so good; they lend mystique to any written piece. They almost show that the ideas are brimming over and the writer wants to convey as much as possible in just a little time. Apostrophes are best used in plural for they let you show off!
However, ellipses (…) are the best! You can trail off anytime when you run out of ideas….