Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rock Solid Winds

Eons it took to pile up sediment and create the awe-inspiring monoliths that stand tall in the canyons of Utah. Yet it is known that slowly and silently the forces are cutting through the rocks, carrying tons of eroded debris. Geologists predict that there will be a time when these sedimentary monoliths shall be flattened and the landscape shall reduce to plains! It is hard to imagine that even such humongous structures can be reduced to dust. That is the power of tenacious consistency...

The only thing that is constant is change - Heraclitus (Greek Philospher)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Beauty Can't Be Owned

It lay shining in the sun, lightly tossed by an occasional wave....royal blue in hue. Until recently, I was in the habit of collecting beautiful stones and shells. Whenever I went to river banks or the sea shore, any such natural object which had a rare color, extraordinary shine, or a natural delicately polished texture would immediately find its way into my bag to be saved as a garniture. I used to think that such a beautiful thing needs to be owned... it should not lie around in this sandy slovenly surrounding, it would seem so much more valuable when positioned on the center piece of the living room; it would be the cynosure of all eyes.

But lately I realized that it was not a good idea to take away something so beautiful from where it was found one with nature. The same stone or shell would never seem so shiny in indoor lighting, nor would its color stand out like it did amidst the very slovenly sand that I thought was not a good backdrop for such a beauty. Just teaches me an important lesson..things are really beautiful when they are in their own natural self and surrounding. Take them way and they lose their charm.

The same goes for people. If you like them as they are, they are at their best. If you think that you should forge a bond with them and try to change them in a certain way that you think is better, maybe you are trying to take the shell away from the sand and put it on the center piece. Beware, it will lose all its beauty. Savor its beauty where it lies free and undisturbed in the sand, as it is.

So I did exactly that... captured its' beauty in my camera to bring home and look at, but walked away leaving it undisturbed. And because I see it in the picture lying on the sand under the tropical sun, it looks just as beautiful every time. If it were here, ornate on a red velvet cloth, dimly lit by indoor "classy" sconces, it would eventually lose all its hue and shine.

"If you are happy, let it be. Don't expect things to become ideal. Don't over-analyze your relationships. A growing relationship can only be nurtured by genuineness, not possessiveness."~Leo F.Buscaglia

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Neon Glow

Photo Courtesy: Apoorva Sharma

I have always enjoyed nature in its bare form. I love the sea, and have made many trips to beaches. I have been lucky that I stay in southern California close to many beautiful beaches. But recently a trip to New York changed my perspective of an enjoyable vacation. The beauty of the city left me awestruck.

Walking among skyscrapers towering above the streets like endless spires puncturing the skyline, I had very motivating thoughts about the human ability to thrive. It was a strange feeling as I was walking with friends from childhood, each having spent most of his/her childhood and adolescence in very small conservative towns in India. After so many years we were together in the greatest city in USA, half way around the world from our hometown. Yet in the scintillating night lights of the city we were as much at home in this cosmopolitan bustling environment as we used to be playing together in a small isolated town consisting of quaint little neighborhoods. What touched me most was the warmth in the way my friends hosted me after so many years.

It added to the hues of neon that adorned the city. She looks like a princess at night. The closest experience of such a thriving and lively city has been Mumbai in India. There is little space to spare, yet room for everyone. Enjoyment is expensive here, but priceless when savored with good company. Given an opportunity, I sure would go back and spend time in the New York again.

"The city's got the right name - New York. Nothing ever gets old around here."
-Ralph Stephenson.

Friday, May 2, 2008

"No, I Just Choose To..."

No, my silence
does not mean that I don't have the answers
I just choose to let you speak for a while,
Because listening is as important as asserting.

No, involving in a multitude of things
does not mean lack of focus.
I just choose to explore,
Because mastery alone is not holistic.

No, staying close to the ground
does not mean I don't want to fly.
I just choose to prepare well for the take-off,
Because strong wings alone can keep me soaring.

No, taking every opportunity to try something new
does not imply being undecided.
I just choose to be alive to the possibilities,
Because you never know what lies beyond, unless you tried.

No, differences
do not mean we cannot shine together.
I just choose to invite them,
Because angles, not parallels, create sparkle.

No, shedding a tear
does not mean I don't want to laugh again.
I just choose to acknowledge my pain,
Because acceptance empowers me to overcome.

No, tired,
I will never be, however much hammered.
I just choose to keep coming back,
Because they alone, are placed on the anvil, who can take the blow.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Age of Love

I liked the way Google displayed its logo on 14th February (Valentine's day) because it portrayed a very old couple as opposed to the conventional pictures of teen aged couples on cards, posters and advertisements. This little google symbol conveyed, in my opinion, what the celebration of V-day is supposed to mean.

I guess as I get older, I realize that it is not about the roses, chocolates or cards. It should not be about celebrating togetherness, it should be about celebrating the person who you want to be together with. These ideas might seem to be the same at first glance, but upon inspection, they are two entirely different things. People often complain that "love dies" after a while and those starry-eyed days are short lived. This disappointment arises in the first place because we tend to take the "feel good" things like dinners and gifts as being love. In reality, the measure of love should rather be how good you feel without these "feel good" things. I guess one can stay in love only if he/she loves the other person for what he/she is and not how they can make you feel. The way they make you feel will change according to circumstances... one might not have a good day at office and that might reflect in other things and so on.... but a person does not change much in a lifetime from the point of view of personality.

They are what they are ..see if you can love them for that. I guess couples that are still together after growing old together, actually love each other for what they are and that is why they could stay put through ups and downs. Its only after all those years that we can truly judge if we have reason enough to celebrate Valentine's day.

When thou sigh'st, thou sigh'st not wind,
But sigh'st my soul away ;
When thou weep'st, unkindly kind,
My life's blood doth decay.
It cannot be
That thou lovest me as thou say'st........

-- Sweetest Love, I do not Go by John Donne (1573-1631)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Floral Essence

Some things in the world can act like a panacea, but they are usually rare. Yet, God gave us one which is abundant and probably the best gift of They are everywhere, so much a part of our daily lives that we often do not realize how often we see them around us.

They bring hope and cheer up sick patients in hospital beds. They make an angry person extend forgiveness. A part of every celebration, they are perfect presents for birthdays and weddings. They show love and respect in farewells. They are a tribute to the dear departed. They are a mark of honor when presented to distinguished people.They adorn the beauty queens world over, when they hold bouquets as they are crowned.They are held with pride by victorious athletes in the Olympics as they bow to accept their medals and sing their national anthems.

They decorate our gardens, homes and offices....their images are found on our desktops, walls, curtains, sheets...almost anything that you can think of can be decorated with floral patterns. They inspire poetry, art and photography. They are vibrant with color and spread fragrance. We search for their essence in our favorite cosmetics, candles and sprays.They appear in our daily lives in truly countless ways.

Think of a day when you did not encounter flowers...while walking in a neighborhood, in the landscape of your school or office, or at least their image or fragrance in any of the stationary or personal items that you use... It would be really hard to think of even a single day when flowers did not make your day a better one.

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

"Daffodils" (1804) By William Wordsworth

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Taste of India

Golgappa alias Gupchup alias Pani-Puri is the favourite Indian snack which truly represents the taste of India.The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Indian cuisine is "elaborate" and delicious ofcourse :)

Preparing good Indian food is a craft which takes years to master and that is because the core of preparing delicious dishes is possessing the expertise of blending accurately proper amount of spices, taming as well as timing the flame and many more things. Spices...aha...One can easily find at least thirty to forty odd varieties of spices, salts and other seasoning in a typical Indian kitchen. The idea of food goes like this...

A little sweet, a little sour, a pinch of salt, a touch of chilli, few drops of oil, a hint of tamarind ...Indians apparently do not believe in using a single category of taste buds at a time. It seems like they like to exercise all their taste buds simultaneously and thats the reason why it is not easy to please an Indian in matters of food.

Golgappa perfectly symbolizes the crazy Indian taste of combining all the tastes together.Probably it's the favorite Indian snack in most parts of the country.I have personally never come across anyone who is not excited at the prospect of having Golgappas to tickle their taste buds. Its presence is synonymous to celebration... children want to have it the day their examinations are over and they are all set for vacations; Girls love having it when the first drops of monsoon bring relief from the heat (Well girls don't need an excuse or occasion, rather its presence is an occasion:) ) pregnant ladies crave for it; People crowd at the Golgappa stall at marriage receptions as if no other food is inviting enough...

How is it made ? Dry peas and potatoes boiled and mashed together are seasoned with 10 different spices. Tamarind, mint, coriander leaves, chilly and jaggery are constituents of three to four different types of garnishing pastes made and served in little bowls. Little "puris" which are cracker like and hollow from the inside are then stuffed with the mashed mixture and seasoned with a mix and match of these garnishings. And when one puts them in the mouth, it feels absolutely delicious...what an aroma........... "mouthwatering" is the word.

Yesterday I made some at home when it was raining outside . Everytime I have them here, I think of home, family and friends, my childhood and all the good times when we had Golgappas together.It is nostalgic. The spices and the seasoning do make the Golgappa delicious. And that is why the Golgappas I made yesterday tasted .... it is well beyond words to describe it.

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection" - Anais Nin.