Friday, June 21

Rainy days and thoughts of a flower vase.

Sometimes, certain flower arrangements hold my eyes. I understand that it is an art to arrange flowers and classes are conducted to teach flower arrangement.
Looking at a flower arrangement, I am reminded of the   person who has worked behind it: the Gardner who grew it and the artist who arranged it. All of them have played a part in the goodness of the flowers. 

Last week at Coimbatore, in a cozy little hotel, there were flower arrangements. Flower vases were in my room’s bathroom too.  I was wondering why a flower vase was done in the bathroom. What struck me was that, bathrooms are more than rooms for bathing; they are also rooms where people think.  The point I pondered was not all about the bathroom, but about the flower vase.  “What are they telling me?” Standing half-dressed and looking at them, I became relaxed… totally relaxed. I walked back to bed and fell asleep.  For some reason, the flowers have a magic to relax people and I am convinced about it.

As I checked out of that hotel, the flowers and the vases kept whispering me one secret of joy: stay relaxed. 

Sunday, June 9

Clemmie's Letter

One of the most important aspects of living is to review oneself often. Someone called it "A road less traveled."  Yes, it is frightening to do a review on our own life. Spiritual communities do it on a daily basis. They call it “Examination of Conscience.” For Laymen, an explicit feedback on our life will be very useful in growing up.  
Recently I read a book where “Clementine’s Advice” was reproduced. It kept me thinking if explicit feedback on my life was essential for my improvement. Yes, I know that explicit feedback from wife, children, family, and friends will make a huge difference in each of our life, if taken positively.
Clementine Churchill had a fierce loyalty to her celebrated husband, but she rebuked his excesses and tried to repair the fractured chain of his relationships. The country, as much as he, owed a debt to such a wife because she preserved Sir Winston from succumbing to the corruption of welding absolute authority over the nation. Making an explicit comment is as tricky as the comment itself.  Else, it will do more damage to the commentator and the subject of the comment.

In June 1940, during the upheaval of WWII, she wrote him a letter. She held it for 4 days, tore up the letter, finally reconstructed the torn letter, and then sent it. It lies in the archives in that condition and reading the letter tells us why she must have hesitated: remember that was the big war in progress and Sir Winston was at the heart of it as the prime minister.

The letter goes like this :
My darling, I hope you will forgive me if I tell you something that I feel you ought to know. One of the men in your entourage, a devoted friend, has been to me and told me that there is a danger of your being dislike by your colleagues and subordinates because of your rough, sarcastic and overbearing manner… if an idea is suggested, say at a conference, you are supposed to be so contemptuous that presently no idea, good or bad, will be forthcoming. I was astonished and upset because in all these years , I have been accustomed to all those who have worked with and under you, loving you --- I said that and I was told ‘ No doubt it is the strain.’
 My darling Winston, I must confess that I have noticed deterioration in your manner; you are not as kind as you used to be… It is for you to give orders, but with urbanity, kindness, and if, possible, with Olympic calm… I cannot bear that those who serve the country and yourself should not love your as well as admire and respect you… Besides, you won’t get the best results by irascibility and rudeness… Please forgive your loving, devoted and watchful Clemmie..

I wonder if there is a "Clemmie" in my life. 

May be, the wilderness and the frozen brooks of Himalayas does helps anyone to rediscover himself and improve upon his character. But ... but a "Clemmie's" letter helps .... !

Wednesday, May 22

... thoughts on Prayer

A few thoughts on  Prayer …

Why do I pray ? 

Deep silence leads us to realize that prayer is, above all, acceptance. When we pray, we stand with our hands open to the world. We know that God will become known to us in the nature around us, in people we meet, and in situations, we run into. 

We trust that the world holds God’s secret within and we expect that secret to be shown to each of us. Prayer creates that openness in which God is given to us. Indeed, God wants to be admitted into the human heart, received with open hands, and loved with the same love with which we were created. 

This openness however does not come simply to itself. It requires a confession that we are limited, dependent, weak, and even sinful.  In each prayer, we profess that we are not God, nor want to be God, that we haven’t reached our goals yet, and that we’ll never reach it fully in this life, and that we must constantly stretch out our hands and wait for the gift of life. This attitude is difficult because it makes us vulnerable. 

Meditations quoted from "WITH OPEN HANDS" , a book on prayer by Henri J. M. Nouwen.
Photos : From my files


Friday, March 29

Rumblings around the wheels...

I often ask myself , “What if I had started cycling sooner?” But then, should I always ask “What if” questions to myself often? No, I will leave behind the “What if” questions and pedal away to reality.

Mountain roads, burning sun and the call of the solitude ....
many times, this is what cycling is all about!

Each time I reflect the places where cycling has taken me, 
I am grateful to God for the new sights and experiences that I have had. 

My life style has totally changed since I took up cycling. 
My primary form of transportation has become cycle since three years. 
Since then, friends have changed, priorities have changed… 
I believe,  even food and drink has changed.  

Seeing us, most country dogs are frightened. Last time, seeing our head gear, 
cycling vests and cycles, this mongrel took to her defense.  

... but then, who said we cannot build friends around wheels? 

From simple rides in the town, it became more elaborate rides across districts and to the nearby hills. Then it became century rides and finally we are into long distant endurance rides (called randonneuring).    


Sunday, March 24

YOU Raise Me Up ....

Subtitling on the photos: "You Raise Me Up" lyrics by novelist and songwriter Brendan Graham. This blog was inspired by the tune of Josh Groban.

Photos : Images I shot and which I'll  never forget... from mountains, rivers and the beaches  I love most.

" Thanks David Jayakar Daniel Uncle.  
You have shared a beautiful song with me in 'You Raise Me Up' "


Thursday, March 7

With Open Hands ...

Dear God,
          I do not know where you are leading me.
      I do not know what my next day,
      my next week, or my next year will look like.
      As I try to keep my hands open,
      I trust that you will put your hand in mine
      and bring me home.
      Thank you, God, for your love.
      Thank you.

Photos: (a) On the way to Roopkund, Himalayas (b) Puthiyapa Fishing Harbour, Kozhikode

Friday, March 1

Happiness on wheels ...

Come, take my eyes 
to see Your own creation,
and my ears to hear
the melodies You compose.  
                     (The Symphony)

gambler. (The Exposure)


God cannot be seen.
He can be recognized.
(The Stranger)

How many

of the loves
and dreams
and fears
of yesteryears
retain their hold 
on you 
(The River)

  Tell him what it means to you to call Him Lord. 
(The Recognition) 

an act
of love,
a kindness
to myself.
(The Mirage)

I did not know 
that the sun,
the moon,
the evening star
were the words
with which he spoke 
to me,
So I never heard
their song,
their cry,
their cosmic silence.
(The Bible)

Words: Late Rev. Anthony de Mellow
Photo: Snaps made during my spins 

Tuesday, February 26

... your name is LOVE

Dear God,
   I am full of wishes,
   full of desires,
   full of expectations.
   Some of them may be realized, many may not,
   but in the midst of all my satisfactions
         and disappointments,
   I hope in you.
   I know that you will never leave me alone
   and will fulfill your divine promises.
   Even when it seems that things are not going 
         my way,
   I know that they are going your way
   and that, in the end, your way is the 
   best way for me.
   O Lord, strengthen my hope,
   especially when my many wishes and 
         dreams remain unfulfilled.
   Let me never forget that your name is Love.

Prayer is quoted from Henri J M Nouwen's book 'With Open Hands'

Monday, February 25

... words go silent here !

Location ?
Ha! Don't worry, even the
Google doesn't know about it !
It's the forest and cardamom gardens of Malabar at its BEST!!

.... Reaching the remote estate bungalow,
we are at it ,  READY to SPIN !
Biju's Rotti wasn't comfortable with our bikes and car 

Deep in the woods, a lesson on the art of making an animal-trap.


Biju, Nazar and Abby belongs to Happy Bikers ...
We are a closed group of friends, 
who's vision is to seek the world beyond cycling...