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Thursday, December 13, 2018

WINTRY DAYS






W is for Winter


Finally, wintry days have arrived in the plains of North India where I live.  Looks like severe winters are slowly disappearing. We are approaching the middle of December, still, it is pleasant, and allows us to move out with just a sweater.  The mild and sweet balminess of golden sunshine gifts the bliss of warmness. Daytime warmth enjoyed while luxuriously lazing in the sun takes the night chill out of the bones.

However, the specter of global warming is real and obvious and warns the world leaders to find solutions forthwith.

Surprisingly we experienced winter rains today. There had been subdued thunder and intermittent light showers since morning. Maybe this would usher in expected and awaited wintry conditions soon. It has to be. Otherwise, piles of winter clothing stored in airtight bags would be compelled to remain in the company of mothballs for another year.

Why rainy days are welcomed by the likes of me? For one, you are least disturbed on rainy days in winters. Even the maid gets an excuse for a furlough. The boon of having plenty of me time to be yourself is pleasurable. You can spend it wilfully and comfortably. Either ensconced in the soft confines of your quilt with a book or listen to your fav songs uninterruptedly with dreamy eyes.



Winter rains are a godsend for the farmers too. The wheat crop, which is yet in its infancy, receives the much-needed slow saturation and proliferates admirably in the aftermath. A drive out of town on the highway gives a glimpse of vast fields of healthy green sheets of wheat spread like an ocean touching the horizon.

                                           Indian turnips   image Google

In our part of the country, winter is synonymous with mouthwatering cuisine. A sumptuous variety of fresh vegetables is available in plenty in the market.  Green leafy vegetables like mustard greens, spinach, fenugreek leaves are popular favorites with all. Saag (all three cooked together after fine chopping) is a much sought after preparation for tangy taste and enormous health benefits. Turnips with their fresh leaves intact make a delicious and nutritious dish. Radishes- the white beauties grated and stuffed into paranthas for breakfast waft flavorful aromas around and activate the taste buds of even the neighbors. 

I eagerly wait for winter for buying shakarkandi (sweet potatoes) another of my weakness. It makes its appearance only in winters. Slicing them into rounds after boiling and eating them with a generous quantity of honey or ketchup is a truly satisfying experience.

It is the late evening of a rain-soaked day and mild rain spell has started once again. Even with the curtains drawn closely, I can sense the atmosphere outside. Sitting in a static position in front of the computer, I feel like standing up to shake my near numb legs. I think I do deserve a hot something. Don’t you think so?

"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." - Hal Borland 

Friends welcome here as always!


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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A POTPOURRI OF BLOOMS









 V  is for a visual feast!




Enlivening the space in the front of our house!




From my archives. The delicate cactus flower seems to be the one loved by the bees.



 A park closeby presented these gleaming beauties!






Marigold troika!




The cactus flowers open up so joyfully in the morning but sadly wilt by the evening.



This one was captured when I's staying amidst hills!



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Saturday, December 1, 2018

BLUE BUTTERFLY IN MY GARDEN




Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

 After a  lon ...g  time  I could inspire myself to make an effort to capture a critter: here a butterfly.. It's an effort indeed. I followed her flight and eventually succeeded in capturing the designer beauty in my chrysanthemum patch! The morning sun accentuated the glimmer of her multiple hues!













In this pic. the butterfly is perched on the third bloom and below...



  she is sucking the nectar of the middle bloom! Lucky she!






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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

TREES ARE OUR PRIDE!




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“We have nothing to fear and a great deal to learn from trees, that vigorous and pacific tribe which without stint produces strengthening essences for us, soothing balms, and in whose gracious company we spend so many cool, silent, and intimate hours.”






 T for TREES that make us feel proud!

Trees are stately sentinels towering above us as nature’s glorious benediction. Their unique green empire is steeped in spirituality and beyond the limits of expression. God-fearing, benevolent, dutiful, they bear no grudges and claim no entitlements. They embellish our boulevards, brighten our parks and offer a visual feast around our homes. They make us feel proud.

Being ubiquitous in planned cities, towns and near modern high-rise structures, they help to diminish their concrete jungle character. They wrestle with all weathers and still stand erect uncomplaining. Trusting friends, they keep watching yet keep secrets. They act as our nurturers, silently enhancing our quality of life by purifying the atmosphere, without demanding patents. 

We're pilgrims, trees are eternal bearing seeds of legends.


*****

Friends sharing pictures of our visits to different places:




Nature cure Institute at Banglore, Karnataka


Entry to our community at my hometown Patiala.




Homeward Bound: Workforce returning home at Solan, (H. P.)


 Beautiful house nestling amidst natural surroundings at Banglore.



Silver oak around hills in Solan.



Coconut tree in a company in the precincts of a hotel in Kochi, Kerala.




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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

'NEVER SAY DIE' SPIRIT





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S is for Spirit:



ABC Wednesday’s prompt letter 'S' did put me in an unenviable state of mind.  I could not decide for almost half of the week about the appropriate subject to go with the letter 'S'. The result was procrastination. And lack of focus to generate something appealing. The task was tough so it kept on being postponed.

The comfort zone went on winning. The inner police had to remonstrate, and chide, to wake me up to shake off the self-imposed laziness. It had to go because the compulsion to write was much more powerful than temporary lassitude.

A ten-minute stroll in my driveway was a trigger point for a new idea. It’s luckily the one, which I needed to motivate myself. It’s the much-critiqued idea encompassed in the phrase ‘Never say die' spirit, which flashed suddenly into consciousness.

Friends some people are fortunate to be born with a bubbly positive outlook. Some acquire it while in the thick of life experiences. There are others who never learn it.

A healthy attitude towards life is a blessing because we traverse many rough terrains during the course of our lives. We've to endure them as they are beyond our control.

While I'm at it, let me share a few thoughts with you on the subject!

 Life is no cakewalk:

The existential crises, which everyone faces at one time, or the other have the potential of dragging us into despondency and feelings of inadequacy. Only a resilient attitude can overcome obstacles and challenges of life.

Develop confidence:

Uncertainty is the only certainty of our lives. Confidence in oneself enables an individual to muster up the courage to face all types of circumstances.  Giving up is no option for him. His never say die spirit inspires others to carry on whole-heartedly despite roadblocks. Such people always succeed where a weak one might leave the arena vanquished.

Safeguard your core values:

To sustain a balanced and resilient stance in our life we need to be vigilant not to let our core values be eroded by negativity prevailing around us.    Even in the face of coercion or intimidation stick to the fundamentals of your personality.
  
Have a good company:

The company we keep holds the mirror to us. Those who pull us down and discourage us need to be shunned. Befriend like-minded individuals with vision and willpower who'd move ahead with dedication in their preferred line of work.

Cultivate reading habit:

Reading inspiring life stories of successful people who succeeded against heavy odds and came out unscathed bolster our resolves.

Learn time management:

To be productive each day is very significant for developing overall confidence. For this, one has to learn time management.  A determined schedule for the activities of each day should be planned meticulously. My personal experience tells that a planned day achieves considerably in terms of work done. The satisfaction is highly uplifting.

Follow an exercise regimen:

It is imperative for us to look after ourselves in all aspects of life. Keeping good health is most important. We women who sit in front of computers for hours together must do aerobic exercises to keep fit. A short walk and some stretching exercises daily improve blood circulation, digestion and activate sluggish cells. A well-balanced diet energizes and makes us feel good. Deep breathing exercises promote feelings of wellness.

Control negative thinking:

Furthermore, we should always take note of the intrusion of negative thoughts in our mind, which should be crossed out immediately. Negative thoughts drain you out completely and push you into depression and inertia. These are deadly enemies of a fulfilling life.

To summarize it can be affirmed that giving up on any task how much humongous it may be is no solution to life’s situations. This option is irrelevant for living a meaningful life. 

The list can stretch endlessly but I shall be extremely happy if I can stick to the few shared above.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

PRE-WINTER RAIN COMES KNOCKING AT MY DOOR



Wishing you a happy Diwali!!!


                                          Images courtesy: google

                                                                                ****


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R is for 'Rain':

Though October ushered in the much-awaited change in the weather in the plains of North India, yet the day temperature stayed uncomfortably warm. Last week’s unexpected rain stepped in unannounced to surprise us with its blessed mild chill. It marked an amazing entry. When we went to sleep at night, all was calm and serene. A clear blue sky sans any trace of clouds. No other hint of impending rain either. No thunder, no sound of speedy wind usually a precursor to rains. It came like an angel in the soft footsteps. The world down under stayed ensconced under their blankets. None was disturbed with an unusual activity in the middle of the night. Yet it rained unobtrusively, peacefully.
  
What a pleasant surprise it was when I got up in the morning, drew the bedroom curtains and saw the backyard all soaking wet. A gaping expression welcomed the scenario. The day started on a charming note. With remarkable alacrity, the sweet coolness of winter crossed the threshold to facilitate festive outings and donning of fashionable winter outfits.

The whole of India is experiencing the feverish excitement of  Diwali celebrations. Festivities to welcome the queen of festivals ‘Diwali’ are at its peak here. The glitter, pomp, and show are evident all-around. The newspapers ads are overwhelming and attract potential customers with price cuts and gifts. People are arranging strings of colorful bulbs on their roofs and entrances. The spirit of joy and gaiety pervades all households. 

The advent of November with its pleasantly moderate coolness post light spell of rain generates healthy vibes.

The sudden showers have surely added to the cheerfulness of the festival of lights!


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Doses of wild... Yam 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A QUEER INCIDENT




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Q is for Queer:
                  
Sometimes one experiences such a queer incident that one ends up being traumatized considerably.

One such incident happened to me a few years back. It shook me and scared me about my vulnerability. Sadly my faith in people got a slight beating.

We were putting up in the hills during the summer. One day we planned to go shopping in Solan (one of the important cities in H.P). It is situated at a distance of about 12 km from our place. With sufficient cash in my purse, we drove in our car to Solan. Since the narrow main bazaar was always buzzing and overcrowded with all sorts of vehicles, we preferred to park our car at a safe distance and boarded an auto rickshaw to reach our destination.

After finishing our errands, we again boarded an auto for our return journey. As soon as we sat in the auto two dark-skinned women wearing gaudy outfits, seemingly belonging to the lower class hurried towards us to get into the same auto. Though there’s space for only one the auto driver did not object. I protested mildly but thinking it was public transport didn't make it an issue. On hindsight, I realize  that they sensed a potential naïve target in me and that is why they ran to get into the same auto.

I felt very uneasy adjusting but bore it somehow. The din on the road was deafening besides it being a bumpy ride. It was painfully funny because in the small space the women were partially slipping and adjusting all the time. I just avoided looking at them and caught hold of the rod above to stabilize myself. In a vague manner, I remember the woman next to me constantly eyeing me. My purse was in my lap unattended. The duo to my relief got off on the way. 

I had not imagined in my wildest dreams that I could be robbed.  When we sat in the car, I rummaged my purse for something and found to my shock and disbelief that all my money was gone. The women thieves did it to me.  I even suspected the auto driver was part of the conspiracy. I still get goosebumps when I reminisce about the incident. It took me a few months to restore my self-confidence.

Now I act like the proverbial 'once bitten twice shy'. Whenever we go there, I prefer to walk rather than take an auto.

 ****


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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

OCTOBER: THE HARBINGER OF CHANGE



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In October the days sparkle with the clear blue sky and the moon and twinkling stars adorn the cool nights.



                                                        The stately Neem in the neighborhood
                                             
                                                   ****

In October, the weather is on the threshold of change. It can be rightly called a month in transit. It leaves behind the humidity and wetness of the monsoons and proceeds to bring crispy breeziness of autumn.

Residents open the doors and windows of their houses to let the dry air pass through to freshen up the indoors. Cupboards remain open for a few hours to drive out the moisture of stored clothes and all sorts of linen. The doors and windows, which were giving trouble in opening and closing because of the absorption of moisture and some swelling in the rainy season, get relief and are back into proper shape.  The dry air helps the sticky mold to lose its blackened presence on the outside walls and corners, which don’t get enough sunlight. The varied aromas of the fast approaching autumn replace the unpleasant smells of the prolonged monsoons. 


                   Singleton myna seems intent on the wiggling grub.
                                                 
                                                                           ****

In October, the mornings usher soothing coolness. One feels like lingering in the driveway to get the feel of the change in the weather. Though the day temperature keeps you in, evenings again invite you to step out for a walk. Thankfully, the ACs have been switched off till the next summer and ceiling fans on low speed during daytime suffice.




In North India, there is no shedding of leaves yet. The trees, bushes, and plants actually look bright green and seem to be thriving still. My Neem tree outside our boundary wall has its greenness intact. It welcomes all sorts of birds in its aromatic fold. Yesterday I saw mynas and hoopoes pecking joyfully in our front lawn and flying away quickly at my approach. They perch safely on the extended branches of the Neem and land again at the first chance. Mornings are afloat with their peculiar chirps and cheeps.

In fact, October is the ideal travel month in North India. There are very many touristy places waiting to be explored by the travel-hungry and the adventure lovers.



                              
                               Durga Puja in progress       the hindu.com
                                          
                                                     ****

October is also a festive month. Festivals like Navratras, Dushehra and Durga Puja keep the believers in grace while they visit sacred temples far and near to pay their obeisance to gods and goddesses.

                                                                                       ****

                                                                         
                           
                             Pumpkin festival in the west           Google image
                                                ****
In the West, October displays blazing autumn for the onlookers to feast their eyes on. The festive spirit generated by Halloween thrills and excites everyone. The pumpkin displays outside most of the houses some with artistically cut faces to make way for the lamps to be lighted inside extend an invitation to walk around the neighborhood.

                               Autumn hues of October in the US.

                                                 ****

October has special sights, sounds, aromas and charms to make us miss it every year.


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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

NATURE NEEDS NO REMINDERS




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Different aspects of phenomenon called NATURE in images below!!



Nature follows a perfect calendar. Have we ever doubted the appearance of the sun in the morning or the presence of the moon at night? Have we ever given a thought to the fact that seasons change on their own without any efforts on our part? Some overlapping there may be but the fundamentals remain the same.



Man’s relatedness to nature goes back to how many millennia, is difficult to guess. Even when man evolved exponentially, his kinship with nature grew stronger. His survival largely depends on nature’s bounties. Air, water, light, soil, plants, trees, warmth and energy sustain man’s life. Undoubtedly, nature all along has remained integral to man’s existence on earth.


It is axiomatic that man does not live for bread alone. God the creator had a unique plan for man to grow and lead a pleasurable life on this planet. Nature provided him with gorgeous spectacles! The mind-blowing Milky Way, vast open spaces, thick forest covers, countless flora and fauna, awe-inspiring oceans and mountains, amazing plateaus and plains and numerous bounteous gifts for his enjoyment- a testemony to His largesse vis- a- vis man.

Most of all nature endowed man with a super intellect. This intelligence, he uses to further his exploratory and risk-taking instincts.  He never feels fully satisfied and remains always in the act of becoming. Man’s imagination has transformed some aspects of the natural phenomenon for the benefit of humankind. To ward off complacency and test his resilience and endurance nature sometimes creates catastrophic situations. To find the solutions to humungous problems fuel his brainpower to battle unpleasant dynamics of life. Nature’s variety and challenges ensure that man might not self-destruct with boredom.






 Below a blazing emblem of autumn!



Man can only prosper if he lives closer to nature as it protects and heals!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

MORNING GLORY







source Internet
 
When I came back home after about three months absence, these perennials were in a pitiable condition.  Dry and withered they looked. I got them snipped completely from above the soil.  On the third day, I witnessed a wonderful scene when I went out first thing in the morning. There was a profuse upsurge of the stems with tiny buds on top. And the next day this morning glory opened up in full strength spreading its magic all around. Nature surely cast its spell with the flowering white beauties!


Early morning when they're in the process of opening up their petals in response to the sun!



This and below pics taken with different angles!








The white rose bush was growing in our complex in the hills. The rose stood neat, erect and serene!




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