Monday, February 28

"... let every breath of yours give expression to it."

 My thoughts are on thousands who struggle to end their tyranny in North Africa and Middle East.  
*** 

8th August 1942, Bombay


“Here is a mantra, a short one that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is ‘Do or Die’. We shall either free India or die in the attempt. We shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery” 

             (With these words, Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated the Quit India Movement, ushering in a new phase in the glorious struggle for our Nation’s freedom.)


Harking to these words immediately, seven students set out to hoist the National flag in Patna. The British mercilessly shot them. 'Martyrs’ Memorial' sculptured by Shri Devi Prosad Roy Chowdhury, outside the Secretariat Building at Patna dramatise their bold act.
***
Stamp and photos from personal collection

Friday, February 25

Can I wonder about myself today?



  "Men go abroad to wonder
       at the height of mountains, 
       at the long courses of the rivers,
       at the vast compass of the ocean,
       at the circular motion of the stars—
Yet they pass by themselves without wondering" 
...Saint Augustine



***
Photos from my lens. 
Locations from the treks. 

Monday, February 21

Writing?

 "If you write for God, you will reach many men and bring them joy.

If you write for men, you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make noise in the world, for a little while.

If you write only for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted, you will wish that you were dead." 
                                              .... Thomas Merton

Sunday, February 20

My friends...


Pets provide me warmth and acceptance. They are my friends. One of the most remarkable aspects of pets is that they give “unconditional” love.  I really do not believe that their reaction to our presence is “unconditional”. For example, my pet would wag her tail more enthusiastically if she notices the small gift for her in my hand. Nevertheless, how innocent they are: they are only asking for a little bit of hand out for all the love they share with us! 

In a lonely house, I know of a widower who lives all by his German shepherd. He tells me that his friend gives him companionship and diminishes his loneliness and anxiety. How true I thought his statement was. Doctors have ample data to show that animals lessen feelings of anger, frustration and aggression among their keepers.


In the book ‘Dog Stories’, there is a lovely narrative of a widow who lives with her Scottish terrier. She loves him so much that any visitor to her house should also talk to her terrier. She would be upset if the visitor goes away ignoring her pet. Moreover, she would be glad if the visitor were to send her terrier a Christmas Greeting! 

Cajoling my furry pet is indeed a great unwinding process after a busy and tiresome business day. Seeing her master, she is thrilled and runs about. She dashes all over the house. Running after her and holding her close is an act I love. She will occupy my lap as if I am her sole possession. I enjoy those moments and I know it gives me a comfort not found elsewhere.


I find it comfortable to look at an aquarium for hours and hours. I do not know of the time that flies by, as I watch the lazy goldfishes swim. “Beautiful isn’t it?”, I’ll ask myself.



***
Stamps: From personal collection (Animal Assisted Therapy...Full Set, Israel, 2009)
***
  

Saturday, February 19

... to touch the Earth

The empty path welcomes you,
Fragrant with grass and little flowers,
The path paved with grass and stones
Still bearing the marks of my childhood
and the fragrance of the mother earth.
Walk leisurely my friend,
Walk peacefully ...

May your feet touch the Earth deeply
Don’t let your thoughts carry you away,
Come back to the path every moment.
The path is your dear friend,
She’ll transmit to you her solidity and her whispers,
She’ll embalm you with her Creator’s colours and joy!
Walk leisurely my friend!


***
Photos from personal files

Friday, February 18

... a song of separation




IT is the pang of separation that spreads throughout the world 
and gives birth to shapes innumerable in the infinite sky.


IT is the sorrow of separation that gazes in silence 
all night from star to star and becomes lyric 
among rustling leaves in rainy darkness of July.


IT is this overspreading pain that deepens into loves and desires,
into sufferings and joys in human homes;
and this it is that ever melts 
and flows in songs through my poet’s heart. 

***
India Gate commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army 
who lost their lives while fighting for the British Indian Empire in 
World War I and in Anglo-Afghan War III. 
Today it also stands as a 'song of separation' for all those 
brave sons and daughters who fell for our country over the years of its formation.  
***
Photos from my lens
Poem quoted from Tagore's 'Gitanjali'
***

Tuesday, February 8

the Man I met ...




Long ago there live a Man who was crucified for being too loving and too lovable.
And strange to relate, I met him thrice yesterday. 
The first time He was asking a policeman not to take a prostitute to prison; the second time He was drinking wine with an outcast in a banquet hall; and the third time He was having a fist-fight with a real-estate developer inside a church.  


( 'Sand and Foam' -  writings of Kahlil Gibran)

Sunday, February 6

... to wait and watch.

... to wait and watch at the wayside
THIS IS MY delight, thus to wait and watch at the wayside where shadow chases light and the rain comes in the wake of the summer.

Messengers, the tidings from unknown skies...
Messengers, the tidings from unknown skies, greet me 
  and speed along the road. My heat is glad within,
  and the breath of the passing breeze is sweet.


From dawn till dusk I sit here before my door, and I 
  know that of a sudden the happy moment will 
  arrive when I shall see.



In the meanwhile I smile and I sing all alone.
In the meanwhile the air is filling with the perfume of promise. 

( Quoted from Tagore's 'Gitanjali' )
Photos: From Hempta trek and personal files.

Friday, February 4

We Pray...

We pray when we sit quiet and meditatively before God ......; 
     and we pray while we are taking out the garbage (do you recycle?); 
     we pray when we are losing our grip and ask God for help; 
     we pray when we are weeding the garden (and find ourselves fully present in the moment); 
     we pray when we ask God to help a friend who is at the end of her rope; 
     we pray when we write a letter; 
     we pray when we are in a conversation with our cynical and bullying boss; 
     we pray with our friends in church; 
     we pray walking down North Street in the company of strangers because… 
              while not everything we do is prayer, 
everything we do and say and think could be prayer.

Quoted from Rev. Eugene Peterson who paraphrased the Bible into contemporary settings 
calling it 'The Message' 

***

Thursday, February 3

the Horseshoe at Himalayas

As a grown-up, I respect charms and omens. Though I don’t share those believes with anyone, I have always been a deep appreciator of charms. May be I am a dreamer or just a fool to give a little space in my life for charms and omens. What to do!
 
I grew up in my ancestral house. It was there that I had my first tryst with a horseshoe charm. On the main doorframe of my house stood an old and tattered horseshoe.  This was nailed on to the doorframe in a secure manner. It was heavily painted brown. I have had time to discuss this horseshoe story with my long lost grandmother. She told me that my grandpa got it from a friend of him. She told me that there was a belief among the natives that a horseshoe placed on the main doorframe of a house would bring good luck.  I grew up looking at this horseshoe until I was 9 years of age. Then I left my ancestral house to move to my house. The ‘horseshoe charm’ remained deep in my heart and I had a wild wish that one day I too would get a horseshoe.

The trick about the horseshoe-charm is that it has to be a worn-out horseshoe, genuinely used by a horse, stallion or a mule. Added to it, the receiver has to have it as serendipity, as a coincidence. A purchased horseshoe will not bring him luck. One has to pick it up from the road. 


In 2007, I was in Texas, USA. Before leaving to US, the horseshoe-charm again struck me. ‘Ya, I will try my luck getting a horseshoe from a Texan road. After all, Texas is the land of cowboys’ I told myself.  True, Texas is the land of horses and cowboys. Nevertheless, I never found a horseshoe anywhere on Texan roads or super highways. After reaching Grapevine, I shared my ‘horseshoe wish’ with my US host. He treasured it in his heart. As I was packing home, my host gave me a present: a beautiful horseshoe decorated leather photo-holder!

My guide gifting me my horseshoe at Hampta. 
This happened last year. For me to pick my horseshoe-charm, I had to trek all my way up a mountain: it  was Hampta trek, at around 1600 ft. (On each trek, I am aware that Himalayan mountains are sparingly gifted with tattered horseshoes. This comes from the animals that trekkers and climbers use.) Then it happened: to my great joy, I struck a beautiful worn out horseshoe at Hampta. A photo was done: Rakesh, our guide gifting me my horseshoe.


A life without any dream is a dead life. And, in everyone’s life, there are dreams that fulfill and dreams that go dead ..In my life too this is true. ‘Horseshoe’ is just one dream that came true. And I  discount all my dead dreams to the 'Horseshoe' dream that came true in my life!   Today, this horseshoe finds its place on the main door-frame of my house... and I smile to myself each time I spot my horseshoe in my goingouts and comingins.

***

Wednesday, February 2

Remembering to re-member



Every relationship has a reason. Do I make a relationship ‘simply’? 



After the death of my Aunty, whom I love much, I have often asked myself if I can continue my relationship with her. Is it true that death sometimes deepens the intimacy? 


I have understood that distance and separation can deepen a relationship. Let me illustrate. At home, it is quite ordinary to talk about the events of the day around my dining table. I call it the ‘dining table fellowship’. However, when I am far away from home, I really know that I am missing something more than a 'dining table fellowship' ! Taking a trip far away from home gives me a strong intimacy to home that is not experienced when I am there at home!! 

I think death is more radical than taking a trip. Even after death, some people remain significant for us in our hearts through our memories. When someone loved passes away, our love to that person deepens. 

It is strange to examine the English word ‘remembering’. When we ‘remember’ a long lost and loved relationship, what we are actually doing is to re-member that person once again in our association. Remembering is much more than just thinking of a relationship. It is making that relationship an integral part of our members...part of our family... part of our whole being! When the living remember the dead, it is an experience of ‘member-ing’ them into our living world of joys and sorrows... of light and darkness... of sound and silence. When a living remember the dead, it is not we joining them...it is they ‘member-ing’ in us.



***
Photo from personal files

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