Thursday, October 19, 2017

WHEN QUOTES WERE BEAUTIFUL GIFTS

It was an evening in September 1993 and I had just returned home from Bangalore after a work assignment. It had been just a few months since I got married and there will still a few well wishers and relatives who could not make it for the marriage, visiting us to wish us a good life as we took the road ahead. As I entered my room, I saw a quotation, beautifully framed and hanging on the wall opposite to the window. “Ours maths teacher was here yesterday and he gifted this. He was sad that he could not meet you”, said my wife. I was still looking at it really absorbed in the intensity of the words while she continued, “It will be good if we could meet him at school sometime”. Both I and my wife were students from the same school, she being just a year junior to me. The quote read “A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on those days when they struggle to like each other” – Dave Willis. From that day, every time I went into my room, my eyes encountered these words.  When marriage took me through a range of emotions, these words hit me with varying intensities and found their way into my intense thinking, creating ripples of different dimensions. With the break of dawn, through noon leading through to twilight and then into the night, I saw these words in varying shades of light and varying moods of mine. Each time I read, I felt them sinking into me deeper. It has been years now and still these words prove to be the foundation on which our marriage is riding the waves in an ocean, sometimes like a royal ship and sometimes like a flotsam sans directions. But the ride is still on. There are several corollaries that I draw from these lines and each has a different interpretation depending on the situation.



In 1994, I gifted my mother-in law, a framed quotation that read “A mother understands what a child does not say” – Jewish Proverb. That wall hang is still there adorning the wall at her home. A quote as a gift was considered respectable and many in those times gifted these for marriages and other important days. In the years between 1977, when I had grown enough to understand such quotes, till the late 90s when the internet started slowly weaving its labyrinth, I had just seen a handful of quotations including the wall hangs that my eyes had spotted in other homes. A few of these had an impact on me and had got written into my mind permanently. Of course, we did read the Bible everyday and most of the verses there, were to be memorized as part of the Sunday School exercises and competitions. But this way, we encountered each verse probably only once or twice a year when competitions came in. I am not including them in the scope of this list although some homes had wall hangings that displayed Biblical quotes too.

We have traveled forward through another twenty years and we have seen the internet invasion and the mobile invasion. Every day quotations find their way into my phone and my mail box, like a swarm of bees. By the time I read and assimilate one, the next one is here banging on the doors of my mind. Liking a quote on Whats App is the fastest disposal method most of us adopt. It satisfies the sender and also gives us the relief to go ahead and remove it from our device. But as a result, these don’t sink into our mind sufficiently for implementation. Some really fantastic words come and go and I wish I read these over and over and slept with them to make them a part of my life. But before I hug them, another bunch is knocking my doors to let them in. We no more gift quotations to our dear ones or friends as these quotations are now all around us like the air we breathe and have become very ordinary entities. We have been flooded with quotations that we almost gasp for a breath of fresh air.

May be, we should take a few and hang it on our walls again. May be it's just fine to browse through just a handful of quotations and go really deep into them so as to implement them, rather taking in a truck full and sending them into the drain with no action.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

IN LOVE WITH WATER - PYKARA LAKE

I create the biggest fuss when it comes to stepping into water rides. It's a kind of paranoia. 



My family is very cool about these rides. So they push me into it and once we are on our way, I start enjoying the water body.




Sunday, September 24, 2017

GREEN TREAT -LALBAGH

It's a pity that we were hard pressed for time and so we just rushed through this green stretch, clicking snaps. We did not sit and relish the beauty and serenity here.









Sunday, August 13, 2017

EXPLORING THE ARAVENU VILLAGE, KOTAGIRI

Our three days stay at Coonoor was about to finish and we were ready for our return journey to Chennai. We were busy with the final stint of taking snaps in the greenery at our home stay, that afternoon. We had still not thought about the suggestion given by Bala, our guide and cab driver, who had taken us around Coonoor and Ooty through the three days. It was to take the route running through Kotagiri to go to the Mettupalayam railway station.



We got into the cab and Bala took off through the normal route to the Mettupalayam railway station. That's when I asked him if we were going through Kotagiri. He told us that since we had not confirmed about it, he was taking the normal route. We requested him to take us through Kotagiri and so he turned and drove back for some distance that we had covered and then, proceeded towards Kotagiri.



Since this is a roundabout route, traffic is significantly lesser when compared to the normal route. The whole route has a beautiful canopy with tall trees standing guard on both sides. We drove through this canopy for a very long distance. I really wished that we got down and walked but unfortunately, we had not planned out our time for this scenic and quiet place. 





















Bala told us that many spots on this route were popular cine shooting places. The place is so quiet and fresh, that you will find very little sign of human habitation, for a long distance that our eyes can scan. The different birds with their songs keep us entertained right through.

We left that place with a promise that we would get back and spend more time there on our next visit. It was an irony that we got to see the most beautiful place after the whole trip was done.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

MY FIRST BOOK IN THE HANDS OF MY VERY GOOD FRIEND

It was in 2003 that I landed in Kolkata for the first time. This was as part of work. I had very few contacts there and they were in Old Kolkata. They were my very distant relatives. The work place location was pretty far from Old Kolkata and there I met a young man Vimal. He was my first point of contact there and with the passage of time we became friends. It was through him that I got connected to many other friends in Kolkata. 

After my dabbling with writing right through my school and college days, I had ventured into writing again with pretty serious objectives. sometime towards the end of 2000. And in 2003, I had just a small bunch of poems in my hand. My method of sharing these poems then was through e-mails. In 2009, I started blogging and thereafter , these poems got shared through Orkut. Later, with the advent of Facebook, the blog links got routed in there. And now we have WhatsApp, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ in addition  through which these links are getting routed.

Vimal was one of those very few who got to read those first poems that I kept distributing through my e-mails. 


Vimal, according to me has been gifted with lots of self belief and I could see that right then in 2003. He is a much younger man but he has truck loads more of self belief  than I have. There is a reason why I am saying this. After reading a few of my poems in 2003, he introduced me as a poet to everyone we met. I think it took a decade for me to believe that there was a poet in me. So many people had to repeatedly tell me "You have it in you", for me to believe it. Vimal had more belief in me that I had in myself and he was quick to spot it too. I remember presenting him with a book and a poem "Friendship's True Friend", specially written for him, when he left Kolkata for his stint in the USA.

Today I happy to see my first book in his hands in Denver, USA.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A TAILOR BIRD AT OUR HOME

Last weekend, we had a pleasant surprise in our home garden. We saw a bundle hanging at the edge of a branch right in front of our sit out place. Never would I, have ever imagined of a bird coming up with a nest at that point. All of us go past that branch everyday to check the level of the water lying in the sump that is just beyond it.


With the passage of time, we realized that it was a tailor bird busy crafting its unique piece.


I went through Wiki and found that there is lot of information out there, but what struck me most was the nest building process. A variety of processes classified as sewing, riveting, lacing and matting go into it. It begins by the piercing of a single leaf or may be more than one too. The great part of this nest building is that the piercing of the leaves do not damage them in anyway. A damaged leaf would soon turn brown but it's a miracle of nature that the leaf still remains fresh and green. The sewing is done with plant fibre or spider's web.


The irony is that while I am still debating with myself and being indecisive as to whether Chennai should be the place where I should be into the future, with all the water crisis and climate related natural disasters that it's prone to, the tailor bird has been pretty swift in deciding its location and has been very aggressive in building its home at my place too :))

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