On the Way

Admittedly, the In-Between moments are sometimes even better than the goal. Enjoy the journey, as you make your way to your destination!

I like to savour the path, its mysteries and its beauty. Here are some of the photos I clicked on my way to here and there.

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Trail through the Woods
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The Stairs
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To the Temple

Posted in response to Weekly Photo Challenge

If Wishes were Horses…

I wish I could follow my dreams

I wish I knew what my dreams were
I wish I could think clearly
I wish I could express myself
I wish I had the courage to experience an entire gamut of emotions
I wish I had not shut myself away
I wish I had the courage to take risks
I wish I could sing out my heart
I wish I could weave a few words that are simple and from the heart
I wish I could lead entire lifetimes in the course of a few years
I wish I could feel deeply
I wish I could help and not be self conscious about it
I wish I could hold a hand and comfort
I wish I could express gratitude when I needed to
I wish I were more open to the beauty around me
I wish I could attain a measure of wisdom as the years turn to decades

Reward

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Taking my daughter to the dentist on a cold, rainy winter morning, I considered the chore a reality of life. Till we reached The Mall Road, pivot of the local population’s life and the most visited place by the tourists in the hill station of Shimla (summer capital of British India and now capital of Himachal Pradesh in India).

I was struck by the rarity of having very few people about and was able to capture the bare tree on the Ridge, right next to the famous Christ Church (not in the frame) and the State Library (to the right).

My Reward for being up and about early!

Colours

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Colours transport me back to my childhood. As I finger my children’s crayons, I am tempted to rub my fingers along them, digging in my nails to see bits of colour under my fingernails.

I remember running in the driveway after my dad’s car, shouting to remind him of his promise to get me colours. That evening, I was given a box of crayons, that I took to my room. I sat on the floor next to the bed, hidden from view. I opened my box and there were so many of those glorious colours. I slipped off the paper covering of a few; some were difficult to remove and needed force. So, I broke a couple of them at least.

To this day, I forgive my children for wanting to use them on all surfaces, including tables and walls. I am tolerant when the colours are broken. I collect all the stubs and put them in a transparent plastic pouch, which already have tens of other stubs that my nephew has outgrown.

Every morning, I walk slowly up steep hill sides and mountain steps, holding my little one’s hand, keeping an eye on my older child’s step and take them to their loving teacher who hands down to them her love for vivid, thick colour. She draws, sketches, fills in with the oil pastels my children carry.

When I come to fetch my children, they excitedly show me what they have been drawing and colouring and I am transported back to my own magical adolescent years when canvas, brushes and colours were my medium of self expression.

I see the same joy taking over my children.

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Reading vs Writing

Writing is so cathartic. It is such a creative pursuit. It brings out your innermost emotions, throws them down on paper or screen of an electronic device, morphed into something unrecognisable at times, but making sense to the people who consume this art form.

Writing is the best form of self expression for me; I may be a wordsmith. Even then, I cannot say that I have been writing for as long as I remember. But I can say that for reading. Yes, I have been reading ever since I learnt the alphabet, which of course was when I was but a toddler. At perhaps 5 years of age, I could read three languages. Although I went on to become really proficient in only one-and that serves my purpose quite well, I can still identify with languages.

I worship the written word- and printed, of course. I still love etymology, the nuances of a language, the layers inherent in dialects, words, just words. A well written piece for me is something that has words conveying exactly what needs to be said, without meandering and a seamless flow of thought. As a child, I would read and re-read passages written by the masters to understand their thought process and logic. Why one sentence led to the other? How one paragraph preceded this one? How ideas flowed from one to the other?

Recently, when my local library closed for a few days, I was distraught. There is so much more available to read but I could not bear the thought of not visiting this room full of shelves and shelves of books. It was my weekly fix. I tried to write instead, to take the edge off the waiting for it to reopen but nothing compares to flipping yellowing pages, musty smelling and crinkly to touch.

Reading, reading and reading. Any day over writing!

Serenity

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Serenity in the lap of nature

This little cluster of houses is in a remote region of the hills I live in. I had to trek on precarious slopes (no trails) to reach the house of a local godman.Running water? From the stream. Food and groceries? Cultivated from the land. Milk? From the domestic goats. TV? What is that? Cell phones? Yes, why not? After all, India is in the thralls of a telecom revolution.

Posted in response to Weekly Photo Challenge.

When the library closes…I pick up my pen

It sounds funny in today’s world, when we have kindle, ebooks, online reading material, bookstores and print reading material in plenitude, that the temporary closing of the local library would cause a lot of angst-to me. But, yes, it does, incredibly so. I am the kind of person who reads everything and anything. Fiction, non-fiction, travel, anthropology, animal behaviour, philosophy, mythology, comics, newspapers, tabloids, news weeklies, women’s magazines, pamphlets enclosed with pharmaceutical products, labels on food items… I cannot resist reading the newspaper pages that are used to wrap up my groceries. I can happily munch a carrot while smoothing out the creases in the paper bag that carried my vegetables so that I can read the latest data about what is causing the most pollution around the Taj Mahal.

Coming back to the library. They’ve closed it for a month. Is it snowing? No. Is the cold severe? No. I am enjoying the excellent sunshine everyday, cracking open and eating peanuts by the trayful. Is there a security issue? No. Being a small and peaceful place, the library has a few dedicated members only, the number you can count on your fingers. They just need a break! The people running the library, that is. So, I am left dreaming of the list of books I wanted to read.

Those rough and broad spines, the smell of the ink, the sharp edges of paper, the rustle of the pages, the weight of the books all add to an amazing sensory delight not to be found elsewhere. The hush of the library room, the footsteps sounding loud on the stone floor and the timelessness into which everything is suspended! Ah! how much do I miss all these! I start ticking the days off on the calendar to the day Paradise would open its doors to me once again.

In the meanwhile, out of desperation, I pick up my pen again. Typing and sending out my own written word has become easy on the electronic devices available. Yet, feeling the grooves of the pen, the smell of the ink and the large blots it leaves on paper is oddly comforting. Vaguely, I think back to all the long letters I used to write to my friends, relatives, editors of papers and magazines… I doodle, put a few punctuation marks here and there on the sheet of paper (I have stacks of them stashed away for just such an emergency) and write. Magic! Words flow, ideas take wings and my thoughts coalesce in a strangely coherent manner-something I had not felt for quite some time.

Thanks to the dearth of reading material, I decided to really write and it is a lot of fun.