Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BEFRIENDING MY BALCONY



Early morning shot. The sun is rising behind me.
B is for 'BALCONY'

Every post takes some long thoughtful moments in mind mapping for hitting upon an apt theme or word, which stirs the flow of creative juices. Many subjects vie for attention, intruding the mental space but soon exit because of not finding the vital stimulating trigger. I don’t know how this particular search zeroed on the friendly and concrete ‘B’ word ‘Balcony’.

I feel each word has a personality of its own. Words can be kindly and sometimes as sharp as a razor’s edge. They picture the varied and private emotions so subtly as to affect the reader deeply. They can transport you to the heights of joy or throw you into the abyss of despair.  We all know a few appreciative words from a loved one; can catapult your spirits on the wings of delicious happiness. Alternatively, the despairing words may ruin your day.

The word ‘Balcony’ real and solid prodded my imagination and brought forth deluge of cheer and joy. I envisioned that I could somehow stretch its semantic boundaries to delve into its practical munificence.

I happen to be spending a couple of summer months surrounded by the idyllic Shivalik hills. Our flat has a balcony that overlooks  a narrow valley with magnificent view of hills, covered with groves of ramrod pines. I watch them either swaying majestically to low breeze or swathed with gossamer thin mists on rainy days. It is 7 pm and I’m in the midst of penning this piece. Suddenly I notice the darkness descending imperceptibly. I rush out to my balcony as not to miss the nature’s wonder. The clouds are in the process of cloaking my balcony with a white cover of hazy presence. I feel like holding the mystery in my hands but within seconds, it passes by.

My ‘Balcony’, in fact, has become the getaway to a new world, which is suffused with nature’s purity beyond the frivolities of everyday chores. The state of blessedness and gratitude at such holistic scenes is no less than being on cloud nine.

I bask in its glorious sunshine on cold days and allow the soft breeze tease my hair and sneak into my body playfully on warm days.

My esteemed ‘Balcony’ keeps me company while I stroll alongside its iron railing with my morning cup of tea. I listen to the mesmerizing noises of rainwater gushing down the slopes or slightly deafening but pleasing buzz of myriad entities dwelling in the forest cover.

The rain-washed gleaming vegetation all around my balcony is a source of great inspiration on daily basis. It is small but it is a source of pleasure, which sweeps away all the blues.

 Now I realize why ‘small is beautiful.’ Small spaces, petite conveniences, terraces with flowerpots, balconies, and patios lend a peculiar charm to living, considerably enhancing the quality of life.

 Thanks for coming here!


 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY


 Lucky to be part of this

During rainy season the palette of the sky changes dramatically at all times. It is a delight to capture the variations as they come along.




 A strong patch of dark clouds straining to stand the rising sun.



Evening template on a cloudy day after a rainy night.




Moving thin clouds on the top of the hills. All three shot from my balcony nestling in the lap of Shivalik hills.


Thanks for having a look at my amateurish efforts !

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

THURSDAY CHALLENGE






 This flower has an intricate structure. I got its sapling from outside my house and planted it in my backyard. The flower stands erect on its middle stem. Other flowers come on the side branches but they are small in size.It retains its freshness for more than a week.
 


Friends,  your views are welcome.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WE OWE OURSELVES TO AN APPLE

ABC Wednesday


'A' is for Apple



Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and the Tree of knowledge

I love apples not only for their numerous health benefits but also for their resplendent hues, beautiful rotund looks, the feel of their firm juicy exterior, the crunchiness of every bite, their versatility in the culinary arena and their strong allusions in religious and mythical contexts.

This apart, apple’s prominent position in common idiomatic phraseology needs stating. Its inherent abilities make it so special that it is associated with elitism. In fact, no other fruit has been blessed with the enviable and intriguing epithet of ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Well, no other word could substitute apple for the idiom ‘apple of one’s eyes’- a person dearly loved.  You can upset some one’s ‘apple cart’ by spoiling his plans through some unsound intrusion. Things in your room are in perfect order only if they subscribe to ‘apple-pie order’.  Apple of discord’- something, which provokes trouble- refers to a Greek myth of ‘golden apple of discord’, which even caused a war.

The phrase ‘Adam’s apple’ means the ‘part that sticks out in front of the throat and moves up and down when one speaks.’  According to an ancient belief, this refers to a piece of the forbidden fruit, which was embedded in Adam’s throat.

Interestingly, every child gets to know about apple’s existence as early as in kindergarten itself, when the English lesson starts with the repeat chanting of A is for apple.

It is customary for Jewish communities to eat apple dipped in honey to welcome the sweet New Year.

However, my choice of the word ‘Apple’ is due to its most significant presence in the context of literature and legend. It is linked inextricably with man’s emergence on this earth. In ‘Genesis’, the first book of the Bible, apple is described as the fruit of temptation that lead to man’s fall from heaven.

The apple plays a seminal role in the story of Adam and Eve the first parents of all humankind, versified in John Milton’s epic poem “The Paradise lost” Book ix. It was the fruit of the apple tree, which caused an abrupt end to their idyllic living in the Garden of Eden. God’s gift to them. 

In fact, the dramatic elucidation of the episode, where unsuspecting Eve is beguiled by the sinister designs of Satan, in spite of Adam’s forewarning to Eve, is the game changer for creating a many splendored world order for man. It sets some stereotypes about women as well.   

It so happened that Satan 'evil incarnate' aka Lucifer, a wily serpent, was cast from heaven by Gods for his insubordination. He vowed revenge and planned to deceive God’s protégés Adam and Eve by using his crafty ways. In his several disguises, he watches their daily movements and strategies. Satan’s devilry was on the lookout for an opportunity, when Adam and Eve would decide to go about their daily chores separately. Then he would be able to entice innocent Eve in defying God’s orders.

He gets the chance soon enough. He seductively approaches Eve and wins her confidence by using his oily tongue to praise her beauty. Eve is so impressed by his clever talk that she inquires how has he  gained so much knowledge? He discloses that there is a tree of knowledge of good and evil and if its fruit is eaten, one becomes aware of new revelations. Eve insists on going their immediately, forgetting all about God’s directives and Adam’s advice- and tastes the fruit which is said to be the apple and later cajoles Adam to eat it too. To cut the story short both become conscious of their nakedness and want to hide themselves in shame. The rest  as they say is history

It is philosophized that God willed it that way. The fall of man was necessary. He wanted the man to be on his own, acquire the wisdom of the world, face the daunting challenges, procreate and inhabit the earth.

Ultimately, 'Apple' becomes a metaphor for justifying the ways of God to man.

Image courtesy: The Internet 
Friends, welcome here!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY


SKYWATCH FRIDAY


Shivalik hill slopes are embellished with glistening green pines, imposingly attractive and a perennial visual treat. Capturing the sky landscape on any day is a learning experience for a raw hand like me. However, I'm very excited about my new hobby and thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to share it with you!

SKY WATCH from the precincts of my balcony.

FRIENDS, WAITING FOR YOUR VIEWS...

READING GIVES PURE PLEASURE




Reading gives me immense pleasure. The experience of perusing one of my favorite books is similar to enjoying a gourmet meal.   It is my best antidote to ward off troubling thoughts. Some books I have read a number of times and each perusal provides new insights into aspects of the content, which hitherto escaped attention. Books are our all-weather friends and so loyal that they remain at our disposal at any time. In addition, they are reservoirs of knowledge and ever ready to share their secrets with us.  They transport us to the company of great minds in all spheres of life, enabling us to participate in a profound learning exercise. Books nudge the inner self out of passivity and teach lifelong lessons.

Luckily, my children developed enduring fascination for books from an early age because of my encouragement and allowing them to buy books of their choice.

Sadly, love of reading is slowly losing its appeal among the youth of today. However, they are not entirely to blame. Internet browsing, status updates on social networking sites, cell phones, i pads et al take so much of their time that inculcating interest in reading takes a back seat. Fortunately, this is not so with all the kids. Our grandchildren do indulge in operating all these gadgets but they are also avid readers. Our eldest grandson had devoured the available ‘HARRY POTTER’ volumes before he was ten. Interestingly, the younger one, as soon as he finishes his homework, relaxes with a book. The books suffused with supernatural story lines similar to that of HARRY POTTER have caught the imagination of the kids all over the world.

There is an amusing incident connected with our younger grandson, regarding his overriding interest in reading books. Once, he finished his term paper quickly in order to get out, to read the book, he got issued from the school library. In haste, he left two questions unanswered as he forgot to turn the page of the question paper.  

There are no bookworms anymore in the literal sense because with the onslaught of information deluge, children are interested in manifold activities.

There is no gainsaying that in developing reading habits of children, parents role is significant. Giving books, as gifts on special occasions, chaperoning the kids to the neighborhood library and helping them to select appropriate books can generate love of reading. Stocking home library with books on assorted subjects and dinner table light conversations about books, parents are familiar with, can whet children’s curiosity favorably.

 I consider keeping a good dictionary at a convenient place at home and persuading the kids to consult regularly. A valuable prompt to enhance vocabulary for better enjoyment of the content. Teachers by accompanying the kids to the school library and suggesting books would wield positive influence. The follow up action of monitoring the activity through student participation in class discussions can help in habit formation.

The Amazon. com’s ‘Kindle’ can store hundreds of e-books of your choice, while promoting comfortable reading at any time and place. There is no need to waste time in doctors’ waiting rooms or at airports and at other places with Kindle in your purse. The reading experience on Kindle with an adjustable formatting and background light is an asset for book lovers. 

In spite of mind boggling advancements in technology to hook the attention of the youth, the pure pleasure of sitting on the bed at the end of the day with the peculiar feel of turning the pages, is a pleasure never to be reciprocated. 

Friends,your thoughts on the topic are welcome!

THURSDAY CHALLENGE

Practical(anything tool or thing you might use most days)


Modern wonder tool the cell phone has revolutionized the global communication systems.

In India, the cell phone is a craze so addictive, especially among the poor and the middle classes that they eat, sleep and breathe it. In fact, from the domestic help, to the rickshaw puller, to construction worker, to babus in offices, to students, to professionals, to politicians and their minions and corporate honchos, owning a mobile phone is a necessity, they can’t do without.

And why not? The facilities from connecting to family, friends, relatives and people at large, text messaging (SMS), online banking, internet browsing, managing social networking sites,  taking photos, hotel bookings  and many more commercial activities are facilitated via cell phone applications.

             Here my hubby's cellphone poses for this shot!


Friends, your reactions are awaited!