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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WINTER'S COLORFUL BONANZA


Winter's inimitable Art!

January's intense cold is compensated by the luxury of gorgeous hues spotted in the park nearby. A week of blissful sunlight swept away the blues of hazy grey ambience of the previous weeks. The cheer of the smiling beauties uplifts the moods and takes away the inertia and lethargy, coaxing everyone to step out and enjoy the warmth of golden sunshine.


'B' is for bonanza:





Yellow is one of my favorite colors. It signifies strength, courage, and positivity.













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Thursday, January 11, 2018

A REMEMBRANCE



"The most treasured heirlooms are the sweet memories of family."



'A'  is the first and foremost letter of the English alphabet. It starts another stimulating round of ABC Wednesday.

A is for 'A remembrance' which is extremely close to my heart.



It is in the month of January I instinctively reminisce about my parents fondly. It was during this intensely cold month that they passed away though in different years. I’ve hung their pictures on one of the walls of my bedroom and when I turn right they come in full view. Hanging their pictures was a must. Who knows when I’d like to converse with them to share my moods, joys and life’s existential crises.  These monologues always signify a subconscious desire, for them to intervene to encourage and to uplift.   You might say how selfish I‘m. Yes, I am. Please tell me, “Is there any soul in this universe before whom I can pour my heart out ever.?”

My prompt is the thought that they are watching me wherever they are. A gratuitous reassurance! Can one buy it? Nah!

My parents' love for me was one-sided. They showered love abundantly and unconditionally. For me, it was just given. Could not be otherwise.  For that matter, not for me alone. They were endearing towards my children as well.

Both my parents believed in simple living and practiced high values. They were honest to a fault. They worked hard and believed in absolute truthfulness and righteous action. I’m grateful that they instilled these virtues in their children too.

Mom and Dad were a God-fearing couple. Every morning after bathing, faithfully, Dad would recite Gurbani (hymns) from a small sacred booklet. In the evenings, he’d go through a special recitation from the same. I recall listening to him many a time when young. Mom knew the (shabads) hymns by heart and sang while being busy in kitchen chores.

Dad served in the army. He was a Second World War veteran and fought the Japanese in Burma (now Myanmar) as part of allied forces. He was tall and railroad straight. Because of his army background, he was very active and would be fully dressed up in the morning itself. He always seemed to me the most handsome man in the world.

There was a funny anecdote, which went round in our household when I’s a toddler. To tease me they’d ask me repeatedly whom I would marry when I grew up. Everybody giggled at my expected answer that I’d marry Dad, leaving me in utter confusion.

If a daughter could be friends with her father then I can say I’s so. My Dad participated in all the milestones of my life.  He accompanied me to the first school of my life as a four-year-old. I recall hazily how I clung to him crying to be taken back home.

He chaperoned me for my first interview for a teaching job. After my selection, he went along with me when I’s to join posting in a city college away from home. He could manage proper arrangements for my board and lodging.

He introduced me to my future husband and allowed our occasional outings together. We shopped together for purchasing stuff for starting my new home. We selected my wedding dresses together. My mom told me later how he cried after I left for my in-law's place after the marriage ceremonies.

My mom’s role in my life was obviously maternal. I marvel at her courage, large- heartedness and ‘expecting nothing’ attitude. The backbreaking chores she went through to bring up her family were never recognized.  I think that was the culture then. Mothers were expected to be like that.

Even in her absence, she remains a steadfast lighthouse and anchor, always there for me in my thoughts We had a deep bonding with each other. Whenever I think of her, I feel her presence around me.

My only regret is that I never voiced my admiration for my parents. I took all their affections for granted. I was thoughtless. I do believe though that they always knew about my loyalty towards them.  They shared their concerns with me and valued my advice.

I cherish in my subconscious, countless stories of their magnanimity and pure love but that will take  humongous time to unfold.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

FOLLOW NEW YEAR PLEDGES WITH ZEST !



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"What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life."

                                                         -Bertrand Russel                                      






 Z is for Zest:


One of my NEW YEAR pledges is to do with zest and gusto, whatever I take up to do. Must muster up courage to succeed. Set reminders to prevent slackness. Be focused. Foil the tendency to avoid difficult tasks by throwing common excuses. “I’ve to do this or that and have no time.”

Such an attitude often gives birth to the malady of procrastination. It weakens our resolve to prepare for  tough jobs and ends up ruining all schedules.
  
Writing Time

Take for example the craft of writing. It certainly is hard. None can help. It starts and ends with you. Unless you brace yourself with steely resolve and set time, you can achieve nothing. The soft option of postponing is ruinous. With single-minded approach, a lot one can accomplish!
google image
 Regular Exercise

Think of the New Year promise of exercising regularly. All conscious individuals are aware of its benefits for healthy mind and body. Yet we fail to chart a select exercise regimen. What we require is a wholehearted approach to make this a ‘must do activity’. For that, one has to develop zest and doggedness to achieve the set goals. Tremendous will power and enthusiasm do yield astonishing results.

Proper Diet

A very important part of our life is proper diet for better health. I believe most of us have some health issue or the other. Accordingly, certain foods are recommended for consumption. Certain foods we need to avoid for better health. Yet frequently we succumb to  the attraction of salt and sugar loaded eatables. The preservatives and coloring substances of processed foods harm our metabolism. We end up popping pills to neutralize the damage done to our system.
google image
 Meditation

The practice of daily meditation goes a long way in reducing tensions in our lives. Our stressed lives lead to many illnesses. In terms of person-hours, wastage is enormous. Our medicine cabinets are overflowing with bottles, pillboxes and strips of tablets. It amply illustrates the state of our physical well being. Even ten minutes of daily meditation can work wonders in calming your mind.

  Gratefulness

Make it a point of thanking God for all the blessings He has showered upon us. Look at the less privileged and note how happy they are in spite of certain deprivations. 

For a full and productive life, we must cultivate these and many more healthy habits.  Success is the  synthesis of mind, body and intellect.
.. .

Give yourself permission to enjoy life:It is unlikely anyone else will do so.
                                                                                         -Colin wright






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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

CDP THEME DAY




The challenge for Jan '18 is: Picture of the year!
No words needed. The picture tells a tale!!

 Friends,welcome here as always!

                                                                                                                   image courtesy "The Times of India"
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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"RING OUT THE OLD, RING IN THE NEW."





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'Y' is for New Year: 2018







The beauty below clicked from a park close by!




The New Year is waiting round the corner to usher in love and happiness; strength and courage; kindness and generosity; gratitude  and goodness. In the context of New Year, I  remember a poem titled "RING OUT, WILD BELLS" by Lord Tennyson a popular Victorian poet, who  was also poet laureate of England in his times. His  longings expressed in the lyrics form the basis of this  great poem. It 's during my University days that I read it and enjoyed it immensely. The poem reproduced below is a classic.  It articulates, the wishes, hopes, desires, fears and concerns of each one of us. We may be living in any part of the world  but our hearts beat with same emotions and sentiments.

The poem is so lucid that each word sums up the universal longing for change and rejuvenation.  The poet exhorts every one to banish lies, falsehood, strife and all suffering, which  threaten our  lives every day. The poem's message is in fact, relevant today, more than ever as the  untimely deaths and destruction stare us in the face daily.  Hoping that New Year will be harbinger of peace and prosperity in the whole world. 

Human spirit always wins!

.......

RING OUT, WILD BELLS
     Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)




  Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
......
 
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Thursday, December 21, 2017

WHY IS LETTER "X" SO POWERFUL?







 Wishing all  my Cyber friends  and well wishers A






"X" is a powerful, formidable and pure letter!

Though "X"  the 24th letter in the English alphabet takes the smallest space in the dictionary, its semantics boasts of unusual bearings. Hence, its fascinating imageries are worth exploring. 'X', as the prompt letter for this week needed some brain storming efforts. My attempts bore some fruit. Here it goes….

XMAS:

Let’s take up its sacred or holy connotations first. Luckily, it is in tune with the build up to the coming days of festivities globally. Oh yes, I’m referring to the hallowed festival Christmas. 'Xmas' is its common abbreviation. "X" comes from the Greek word CHI, which is the first letter of Greek word  Χριστός, that in English  stands for Christ. The MAS part is from the Latin, which is old English for Mass. "X" is the accepted representation of the word Christ for hundreds of years.'

 Xmas is the grandest occasion with multiple emotional undertones. It embraces cheer and joy of decorating Christmas trees and houses with fancy lights and trinkets. It represents affectionate reunions, elaborate dinners and shopping extravaganzas. It involves, exchange of gifts and warm togetherness around the fireplace and much more.

THE SWASTIKA SYMBOL:

The hooked cross is the swastika symbol. Traditionally the four arms of the cross represent four seasons. It is a sign of good fortune and well being. It is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In towns, I've seen this sign carved on verandah walls for good fortune and prosperity.

Its presence in German dictator Adolf Hitler’s Party flag has always been intriguing. It is alleged that Hitler regarded the symbol having magical powers, which would help him achieve world dominance.

 WHAT ARE X-RATED FILMS?:

X-rated film are films for adult viewing. Such films are not meant to be watched by the under 18s because of their content showing excessive violence, sex or obscenities.

XENOPHOBIA IS A FORMIDABLE WORD:

Its dictionary meaning terms it as an extreme fear or dislike of foreigners, their customs and their religions. This syndrome is gaining ground fast in some pockets of the world. Hate crimes, cold blooded murders, physical assaults of foreign workers, looting and burning of their businesses, are all manifestations of this malady.

SKULL AND CROSSBONES:
 
It is a symbol of danger, death or fatalities. We often see it on electric installations, poles etc. The image also appears on containers of poisonous chemicals.

X-ray:
 It is a diagnostic machine. The picture taken with this machine helps the physician to pinpoint the cause of trouble.  The chest X-rays aided considerably in the eradication of Tuberculosis in the world.

The X-factor:

X- factor is a special quality a person or thing has, which attracts others.
 Her X-factor is her charm, which makes her the much sought after actor.

XS, XL

In clothing sizes, XS stands for extra small and XL represents extra-large size. It makes our search for the right size a lot easier.

XYLOPHONE

X's musicality:
"A musical instrument consisting of flat wooden bars of different lengths which you hit with a pair of sticks that have hard round ends made from wood or plastic."

Xerox:

 Xerox machine at one time revolutionized the making of multiple copies of documents. Now we take it for granted.

X is a sign in Roman system meaning number 10.

X is a multiplication symbol in Arithmetic and a powerful algebraic symbol. Plus, minus, multiplication and division are the symbols every child gets initiated into in primary classes.

To keep one's fingers crossed:

I'm sure most  of us keep  our fingers crossed occasionally, while driving or traveling. I for one do it all the time e.g. when driving home, my husband says,'' Within ten minutes,we'll reach home." I always remark," Pl. keep your fingers crossed till we reach home safely."  Moreover we use this idiom repeatedly the days we're expecting some good news.  

There are umpteen number of feats which "X" has achieved in the field of word power but  I'll let it go now for fear of making  the narrative lengthy.

images, courtesy Google

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

WHY I LOVE WINTERS?




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“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
Helen Keller

 Sunshine smiles- Google image


     
  W is for Winter.


CELEBRATING WINTER!

A nasty bout of flu, notwithstanding, I love winters. If I’s incapacitated for more than two weeks, I’ve no reason to rile winter. The fault lies with my immune system. It played me false.

 In North India where we live, we face extreme weather conditions both in summers and in winters. Yet somehow, the severity of winter is declining as also its duration. Ceaseless construction activity, congested roads, vehicular emissions, burgeoning population   all are the culprits. Let it be for another time!

Winter ushers in fun, frolic, golden sunlight, festivals and delectable cuisines. Winters are famous for providing good things in plenty, be it vegetables or fruits, sweet dishes or crunchy crisp snacking items.

Here is the list of activities, which makes winter special for me.

Early morning picture of the rising sun in the urban milieu.
SUN AND ME:

Basking in the sun is one of the greatest pleasures of my life at this stage.  As the sun rises, our back verandah is lighted up with the mellowed luminosity and sweet raw warmth. Setting aside the curtains of all rooms, and allowing the morning glow to filter through the windowpanes is the most joyful task of the day. It fills me with gaiety and gratitude for being alive amidst such loveliness. My inner being smiles and shakes off inertia. I welcome the new day.

FIRST THINGS FIRST:

I head to the kitchen for  preparing my favorite ginger tea. I itch to go out while sipping the first cup of the day. A stroll in the driveway energizes. A tentative plan for the day emerges in the mind. What to prepare for breakfast and subsequent meals is traced in the mind’s calendar. Mental assessment of other tasks ensues. Things feel doable.   

(Prior planning has helped me all along. It enabled me to strike a balance between my home and professional life. Now retired but the habit stays. Time management helps me to carry on my creative pursuits and indulge in  my hobbies now.)

BREAKFAST IN THE BACK PATIO:

The golden mellow sunshine is so inviting that to eat breakfast inside feels like a sin. Hubby helps in transferring the eatables outside on the tiled  raised platform in the middle of the open yard.  It is a private kingly domain. We linger on enjoying every bite coupled with background music of a different kind. The chirps and peculiar sounds of the members of various avian families converged on our stately NEEM tree, add to the joy.  What a blessing!

ME TIME:

I wait eagerly for this time. Some food for thought. Newspaper is waiting. I savor uninterrupted the columns, I enjoy while the sun goes up wrapping the area in its warm blanket. It is heavenly. Thank you GOD for being so generous. I solve 'SCRAMBLE' and 'SPELLATHON' next. My grey cells need some shaking up after all. ‘THE TIMES OF INDIA’ does cater to the needs of the retirees, ha ha  ha.

WHAT I READ:

Reader’s Digest and my Kindle books provide me enough reading material to be relished in the balmy and restorative sunshine. The poor KINDLE lazed on my computer table for so many days because of my sickness. Dusted and brought to life once again. I’m reading Dostoevsky’s 'CRIME AND PUNISHMENT' for the third time. It describes  tragically life in Russia before the Revolution. Winter sun transforms even dense books into a pleasure reading.

RAINY DAYS ARE WELCOME:

I’ve no complaints even on bad days in winter. In fact, one can have a great time during winter rains and foggy days. You can sit snuggled up in your quilt with a book or pursue some hobby. I’m experimenting with a crochet hook. I’ve already learnt to crochet a circle and a square with left over wool of bygone days.


Now friends, this is just a tiny part of the trailer of my life. Like every other householder, there is always a lot in the work basket to be performed in the lapse of a day.  Yet this is how I feel on my cherished days in winter.
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