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Sunday, October 26, 2014

I HAVE TONS OF THINGS TO DO



Apropos indispire challenge how I’d spend a week without modern day gadgets…

Admitted that I have a long held habit of glancing at the newspaper headlines with my morning cup of tea, but this I can push aside without any remorse any time.  My favorite editorial page no longer enlightens like old days. Coverage of political events seem more  biased and less objective. Still, though infrequently, an incisive critique in a Sunday edition does stir my interest. However, to give that up is no big deal either.

Strangely, I’ve little fascination for modern day mania of mobile use. I have never tried to figure out the plethora of Apps vying for attention in all conceivable commercial ventures. My mobile use is limited to keeping in touch with my near and dear ones and well-wishers.

TV has long ceased to be any source of something, which is pleasurable. The last serial, which I watched a few episodes of, before the story was dragged to oceanic lengths, but now almost forgotten was ‘Jassi Jaisa Koi Nahi.’ I really loved the gawky and ingenuous Jassi in the brutally competitive world of fashion. About TV debates, less said the better. 

Therefore, friends do you think I’d have any regrets in giving up the above gadgets?  In fact, it’d be a situation like hitting a jackpot. I think like minded tribe is increasing by the day.

More time and my rendezvous with nature would widen its span. I’d  have plenty of time to linger in the park, while on my morning walk. I’d stop by the silver oaks, where my all weather friends: the capricious squirrels enact mind boggling display of their acrobatic skills. That too without entry tickets!  Birds on the trees will have an interested listener to their morning orchestra in the thick of foliage. The trees and other plants will swing back and forth in the cool breeze to impress the genuine admirer. My precious park companions would help me unwind by freezing the unpleasant moments. The purity of their cheerful bearing would open my mind to new ideas, for my love of writing.

At home front, more is always less.  My potted plants and herbs would be relieved to see me fussing over them lovingly. The gardener’s casual upkeep during four months of my absence had taken away their luster. The positive change in their looks would gladden my heart. What more could one ask for?  

My ‘Kindle’ in its red jacket pushed to a corner on my table looks livid because of my cold approach towards it for a long time. I know it’d come round with my loving caress and realization of our deepest and reverent bonds.

A few books, which always lift my spirits  with gems of wisdom, and provide immense pleasure would accompany me to my bed after dinner. Hours slip by in the quietude of concentration while reading your favorite books.

Time for specific trips to the market for the important shopping that was always  relegated to the end of lists for endless essentials.

 Small joys  always cheer me. I enjoy, sorting out the stuff in the cupboards to make the clothes breathe freely. The joyful gamble of coming across some items, which had been faded out of the memory zone, is an incentive enough to carry out the exercise.

Free time will  motivate me to assign regular hours for aerobic workouts and recommended exercises for my neck pain.

Not to forget the valuable time slot, which’d be available for ‘me’ time.  Up front would be introspection, focusing on self-improvement and on evolving an attitude of kindness and tolerance towards others. To develop enthusiastic participation in social causes would be  consciously contemplated.

Lack of time always stand in the way of executing pending tasks left in the lurch repeatedly. May be these have better luck this time.
 
In the absence of the onslaught of distractions, I’d laze around trying to hum lyrics of a much loved song. ‘Yeh zindgi usi ki hai jo kisi ka ho gya………
 
Friends, welcome to take ahead the conversation! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

HEARTY WISHES FOR DIWALI



 
Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers





WISHING MY FRIENDS AND WELL WISHERS IN THE BLOGOSPHERE, A JOYFUL AND PROSPEROUS 

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS.

 

This is a festival which always inspires me to celebrate it in a traditional way as was done in my parents house. Though to bring back that enthusiasm and religious fervour is impossible in the changed life styles, still I do my bit to continue with some practices which give me loads of pleasure and some satisfaction. I'm referring to lighting clay diyas. 

 Today  morning I religously prepared the wicks from the cotton puffs by placing a small piece on my left palm and twisting it patiently into wick shape with the palm of the other. A technique which my dear mother taught me in those heavenly days. I then set the wicks in the diyas and poured mustard oil very carefully to avoid spillage.  Come evening I'll place them at points where the wind won't affect them.

Most part of yesterday was spent by two of us, (who feel more young than, when we were really young) in arranging  multi- colored fancy strings of tiny electric bulbs on the parapet of the roof. We avoid  calling  those ill behaved urchins to do the job. BOTH of us enjoy the personal touch which we imbibe into the activity.

A visit to the Gurudwara to light the candles and offer prayers in  the evening together with visiting a couple of neighbors constitute the evening jobs. Back home to switch on the lights, light the candles and diyas  and soak in the festive spirit while twinkling lights overhead play a game of intriguing shadows around us. Before the neighborhood youth, start exploding deafening bombs and crackers, we come inside. we believe in  enjoying the Green Diwali and exhort others to do the same. 

 At last, there is  time for some indulgences, without which this special festival is incomplete. A free run to our taste buds with our favourite home made delicacies and some sweets from the market  complete the merriments of our little world. The well lighted house is ready to receive the goddess of wealth!

Lots of love and blessings to all !!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

OUR WORLD TUESDAY



EXPLORING MY CITY

 
India is a colorful country. One encounters novel situations at every step. It has uncertainties galore. On rare occasions there are unexpected 'good luck' moments, too. When one steps out, one braces up with a prayer on the lips to be able to face any challenge.  

In such a diverse country like ours, one wonders at the entrepreneurial skills of even completely uneducated people  living in one room tenements.

Last week I happen to visit an open air market which is a cheap replica of 'Flea Markets' in the West.  Mostly operating on weekends.  This one is held in a large open ground in the midst of a thickly populated area, on every Saturday. The said  ground is divided into three parts. One for vegetables and fruits, the second for hot snacks, cooked on the top of hand driven carts with gas cylinder tucked under the cart. The third one near the road displays the ready-made stuff for the whole family (the picture above).The garments on display are of cheap quality but the manufacturers have mastered the art of copying the designs of  famous brands. The children of lower middle class families wear these clothes, and from a distance they look no different from a child belonging to an upper economic class.

 IN FACT there is a textile revolution in India. Dresses which last long are available at unbelievably cheap rates. Most of the people barring very poor, can afford to buy them and they look like new after every wash.  Apart from that, shoes, bedsheets, towels and a lot more stuff is always up for sale.

Friends, welcome here as always!

 WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

Thursday, October 16, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY



Since, I've come back from hills to my home town  in the   plains,  about three weeks ago, what we saw was lifeless, hazy, pale blue sky.  However, in the beginning of the week there were welcome, but unexpected showers, which brought relief from the prolonged heat spell. I'd an enjoyable walk in my favorite park. Here is the image of the skyline above the various plants in the park on  the morning of that day.  

Friends,Welcome here!

VOTING IN INDIA



AN INTERESTING SOCIAL CAMEO!



We had  state elections in two states- Haryana and Maharashtra on 15th October. Voters in  large numbers thronged the polling booths to cast their votes, to elect representatives for the Legistative Assemblies of their respective states. The people  enthusiastically participated in the process of election. The picture shows the  women voters in a village of Haryana, waiting outside a polling  booth for their turn to cast  vote. 

Why I posted this picture to share with you is to show  the diversity and plurality of Indian cultural traditions, which are rooted in the collective consciousness of people.   It was surprising to see  young women smartly clad in their colorful embroidered dresses, but covering their faces with long veils. Even I was unaware that women in Haryana villages, still follow this age old regressive custom of veiling their faces from the village elders. It seems so incongruous in modern India which is surging ahead in almost every field.

Where is women empowerment here? What is intriguing is why these young women are conforming to the cruel diktats of the old men folks, who should be respected but not allowed to exercise authority on issues which lower women's dignity. It appears that Haryana which evidently is a progressive state, has  a long way to go before they are able to quell the inclinations towards gender bias.  Punjab the state I belong to, has overcome this long back.

Image courtesy: The Tribune

Friends, welcome here as always!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

THURSDAY CHALLENGE

TODAY'S THEME IS:

"HAPPY" (Smiles, Faces, Laughter, Humorous Things,...)

SQUIRREL ON THE TREE TRUNK




I failed to find spontaneous laughter or happiness in my vicinity during the week, which would inspire me to click for the theme.  However when I stepped out for a short walk to the park, armed with my camera, I was confident that I'd be sure to encounter something in a supremely happy mood. Believe me, when I noticed this beautiful squirrel happily basking in the mild sunshine  on a cool October morning, I crossed my fingers.  I tiptoed noiselessly and luckily could capture her in this  unusual pose of hers.The next moment she raced away.

Friends, welcome here!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NATURE NURTURES



N is for Nature

Contemplating about life, environment and nature’s unique manifestations in a fresh narrative is an interesting and challenging intellectual exercise. When the inspiration emanates from ABC Wednesday’s next letter theme, it becomes more special. This week, I’ve chosen the vast reservoir of mother nature vis a vis our everyday life, to write a critique upon. It is a subject, which keeps afloat the subtle sense of wonder in my receptive psyche. The cyclic aspect of natural phenomenon is inextricably linked to the structure of our lives on this earth. Moreover, the very consciousness of this thought makes it worth writing about.

Think of the arrival of spring.  It’s symbolic of the revival of hope, beauty and well-being in the larger context of our lives. All living organisms breathe the glamor of the season and grow. When spring‘s verdure spreads its magical wings, it overlooks our inadequacies and invites us to join in the rejoicing. Its abundant profile shrouds warts and all under its lush green shawl, presenting an image of idyllic splendor. All the eyesores of winter are dressed up in the glow and glory of glistening freshness of new leaves, out to conquer the world with its renewed energy and colorful appeal.

Likewise, we too are infected with the innocent smiles of leisurely opening rose petals and resurgent plant life. The joy of being alive amidst such charm and loveliness loosens the wintry stiffness of the limbs, while injecting the sap of vitality. We strut about with a streak of confidence and assume a sort of amnesia about the issues that plagued us during winter. The glorious spring inspires us to reach our goals as the barrenness of the winter has been morphed into flower and fertility. Our lives turn around, projecting a beefed up enthusiasm for concreting our dreams. Depression and despair take to their heels in the face of childlike excitement of moving around gleaming greenery.

The rainy season soaks the parched earth of sweltering summers with the lifesaving tonic of blissful showers. Flora and fauna rejuvenate after weathering the stifling heat. Monsoon rains replenish the drying water bodies; wash the dust and grime of summer’s dusty storms and serve as a boon for the farmers of our lands. In the freshly washed atmosphere, the sky looks luminous and surreal at night. Glowworms with their peculiar twinkle warm our hearts and make us wonder at the spontaneity of this change. The artists in all fields set about finishing their products with renewed zeal.

Winter has its own distinctive character in India.We bask in the golden sunshine and savor healthy sweet meets loaded with nuts and dry herbs to strengthen our immunity. Availability of plenty of fresh vegetables is an added attraction.

Autumn in the West is a season of shimmering colors and festivities. The charm of flaming red orange and brown foliage leaves one speechless.

Nature is a teacher, pious and all encompassing. The conscious mind drinks deep the luxuriance of its very presence. Even for the uninitiated, absorbed in the throes of life’s constant battles, it soothes his journey by throwing joyfully free interjections from time to time. Nature doesn’t discriminate and gifts its wares betwixt one and all equally.

For thousands of years, nature has been man’s never failing ally. It is indefatigable in its approach of persistently greeting us smilingly.  It has steadiness, which is rock solid. It provides us a reason to live. It has a charm, which is disarming. It keeps us rooted to the ground. It teaches us the sense of wonder. It is a preserver of life. Birds of all types and hues, sprightly squirrels and hordes of living organisms thrive in its protective fold.

Negativity has no place in its scheme of things. It never grumbles or shows furrows of contempt on its visage. It never throws innuendos and invectives to score fake points. It doesn’t intimidate. It never gnaws our insides with faceless fears. Lip service is never on its agenda.  Miraculous benefits, which accrue from this interface, reinforce our resolves.

Taking lessons from the resilience of mother earth and brushing aside the irritants and hurdles, we're motivated to surge ahead on the road of life. Our ancestors must have been unknowingly enthused by the proximity to nature to face the dark dangers of their tough existence. Their relatedness to nature must have boosted their spirits into pro activity. Perhaps this is how our ancestors survived and kept climbing the steps of the ladder of progress and innovation.   

Changes in nature and natural phenomenon run parallel to our enigmatic sojourn here.

Friends, welcome here as always!


Monday, October 13, 2014

OUR WORLD TUESDAY



                                                                                                                   
Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers


LOVE THE CHARMING THREESOME

THE TRIO ABSORBED IN MORNING ABLUTIONS!

A NEW EXPERIENCE


























It was by chance that I spotted this gorgeous threesome of pigeons on the roof a neighbor's house, across the road. Absorbed in the cleaning routine of their bodies, it was a sight to notice the 'mindfulness' of their act.The first one had already finished the ritual before I spied them. It seems to be in the praying position of complete relaxation.  The other two are pecking vigorously their bodies from all angles and straining their necks to reach the farthest point. The middle one appears to be in that extreme act. An amateurish bird circus of sorts!

Friends,welcome here as always!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY




NIGHT WATCHMAN



In the plains your sky watch has its own limits. Dwelling units, electric poles, wires and trees on road side obstruct  your view. However last week, at dusk, it was impossible to ignore full moon's blessed invitation. Shot from the backyard of my house at Patiala.

Friends,Welcome here as always!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

THURSDAY CHALLENGE



THIS WEEK'S THEME IS:

"SHINY" (Mirrors, Reflections, Glass, Jewellery, Metal,...)


EXPERIENCING AND ENJOYING




Till today morning, I had not decided what to present for the above theme. There were a few ideas and  various images but none appealed sufficiently to share with you. While I was scanning the newspaper, I happened to look at our main entrance.The above scene  caught my attention. I immediately brought the camera and clicked. Voila! I got my Thursday Challenge entry.

I thought what better way to CONNECT  with the theme than to show nature's gem, the sun shine filtering through the net door and getting reflected  on the door, side wall and floor. Hope you like it!

I feel our immediate environs provide us a lot to explore and enjoy! 

Friends,welcome here as always!


MENACES MAJOR AND MINOR

LINKED TO ABC WEDNESDAY

M is for Menace


For the last few days, I had been thinking about the world order, we inhabit, where terribly sinister happenings are raging and we can’t but accept them helplessly. Immense empathy for the victims, gnaws our insides, though. Alternatively, we feel frustration and depression at our inability to intervene. That is all.  Terrorism is a painful reality of our times. Hair-raising accounts of the brutal beheading of aid workers and a few others have shaken our faith in the goodness of man. Mentally, we feel drained and hopeless. Man has become such a dreaded animal on the face of earth, shames us internally.

The worldwide arms race for manufacturing and acquiring weapons, ostensibly for self-defense has fed hubris at the cost of human values. The terribly destructive two world wars haven't taught us any lessons. Greed for annexation of territory belonging to the other lurks menacingly in some hearts. Why can’t we live in peace and goodwill towards all during the short time we are blessed with? Sowing seeds of hatred and revenge only lead to bloodletting, which jeopardize innocent lives. All religions teach love and compassion. Then why are we witnessing disruptions, death and destruction, which belie any justification whatsoever? No answers are forthcoming.We all know that we come into this world empty handed and leave likewise. Why then there is so much of pain and suffering?

Poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy represent grave situations in many parts of the world. They breed numerous social evils and result in untold sufferings to  millions. These can be partially overcome by  judicious intervention of rich nations with ample resources. 

Some man made disasters like floods and droughts can be taken care of via better planning, conserving water and developing scientific irrigation systems.

Google image
On a micro level, I’d zoom in on a menace which is mostly India specific but deadly in its nature and spread. It has been written about ad nauseam, but shockingly has remained unsolved. I’m talking about the palpable stray dog menace in India. Sometime back, I wrote about it in a fit of intense concern after reading a news item, where a couple of children were mauled to death by a pack of stray hounds. Nothing happened to rectify the situation after the tragic incident.

I’m again at it due to a recent personal shock which propelled me to share it with you. The other day, dear hubby went for a walk in the park close by, at dusk. I was surprised when I heard him coming back after a few minutes. To my anxious queries at the door, he blurted out that a dog that came suddenly from behind without any provocation had bitten him. It was a vicious attack on both legs. On the left leg under the knee and on the inner side of the right thigh. One wound was deep red and the other was bleeding. One does get panicky in such unexpected events and imagine the worst. We hurriedly washed the wounds with soap and water. Luckily, a practicing doctor lives nearby and he had the necessary injections as well. Later we came to know that the same bitch had bitten four others too and still wanders freely.

Apart from pain, discomfort, and stipulated five injections at specified intervals, physical activity gets a beating. Also a blow to the freedom of movement.

Another fall out is that I feel scared and it'll be some time before I venture out for a walk and that too with a stick in  hand. To make up, we walk up and down in our driveway.

The moot point is why our bizarre laws prohibit eliminating even dangerous and mangy stray dogs. Moreover, they lack other means of prevention. The insensitivity of  animal lovers to human fatalities, from stray dog bites is beyond comprehension. Some victims are too poor to afford the expensive anti-rabies injections and die. The authorities sleep over the complaints. Making genuine efforts to adopt other measures like sterilization to control their burgeoning population entail comprehensive long drawn policies.

In the prevailing scenario, our life is at the mercy of hordes of freely roaming daring canines in our environs.

Friends, welcome here as always!

Monday, October 6, 2014

OUR WORLD TUESDAY




 WEEKLY VEGETABLE MARKET

FEEL LIKE BUYING THESE BRINJALS(EGG PLANTS)

Market scene captured in the evening of last Saturday

In our part of the city, a vegetable market operates on every Saturday in an open ground fixed by the municipal committee. The sales hot up in the evening. People living in communities near by rich or poor throng the market for competitive pricing.Some farmers bring their produce like cauliflower direct from the fields on their tractor trolleys. Customers get a lot of choice in sampling vegetables and fruit from multiple vendors. This is similar to the routine of grocery shopping at  weekend in the west.


Friends,welcome here as always!

Friday, October 3, 2014

KALEIDOSCOPE OF BLUE



           SKYWATCH FRIDAY






EVENING SKY AT KUMARHATTI,  ABOUT THE LAST LEG OF MONSOON PHASE!!

FRIENDS, WELCOME HERE AS ALWAYS!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

THURSDAY CHALLENGE





Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

                                                                                                                                 


UNITED FOR GOOD
Today's theme is:

"TOGETHER" (Bacon and Eggs, Things that go together,...)


 

          Needle and threads unite to  weave magic for making our lives beautiful!



     The power of   the written word made possible by the invention of paper and pen needs no 

elaboration.They're  incredible chums made for each other.
    
      Friends, welcome here as always!

L IS FOR LANTERN


LINKED TO ABC WEDNESDAY



Friends, let me take this opportunity to position you back in history, around early nineteen forties. World War II had torn asunder humanity in the fire of hatred and  greed of territorial expansionism.  My dear father,(2nd world war veteran) was part of the British forces in Burma (now Myanmar) fighting the Japanese, who  had succeeded temporarily in taking control of BURMA. All of us know, how the war finally came to an end with the tragic bombing of twin JAPANESE cities of  Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

The lantern on the left,  was part of the family legacy. It was actually purchased from Burma by my late father during that period.  Later it's gifted to me by my parents.  Many  items with  'Made in Germany' label were available  there during those turbulent historic times.

My mother told me about a couple of similar lanterns  which lighted our house  during those days. I became conscious of their presence on the days of power black outs due to technical hitches. Later,  more convenient candles replaced these messy lanterns, as procuring kerosene became a job in itself. And these beautiful specimens of artistry were relegated to an Almira, meant for goods not in use.

For many years now, I got interested in its vintage qualities. It is approximately eighty years old and has  become partly rusty, simply because of neglect and over exposure to all types of weather conditions. In fact, now, I'm entranced by its its intricate structural looks. It is intact  in its every aspect, even after weathering the fangs of time. It is perfectly operational still.  That speaks volumes about the quality of  its workmanship. Made in Germany is embedded on its oil tank along with the word 'FEUERHAND' (visible in the close up image) in German. In a patterned circle on the tank, there is a logo depicting an outstretched hand with flames emanating from it. I'm thinking of ways to restore its beauty.



So friends, this is a slice of history, I take immense pleasure in sharing with you! 

Your thoughts on the subject are awaited!