Reliving the Nostalgia

It was a cloudy and humid noon of Saturday when I was at my mother’s place.

It was as warm as an oven! The fans also didn’t help. I changed my thought of turning on the AC and went up onto the terrace to get some fresh air. It was warm outside too.

The sky looked grey and the clouds had masked the Sun completely. The birds remained quiet. There was hardly anyone on the road. The clouds growled frequently with the streaks of lightning. The trees stood so quiet as if they were punished to stand still. Especially the erect Indian Cork tree at the corner of the house caught my attention… How tall it had grown all these years!! It was adorned with the bunches of long creamy-white flowers. The women folk of our house could create long garlands of those flowers without using a string.

A sudden cool wave of breeze brought an immense shot of petrichor from elsewhere. It must be already raining somewhere. I closed my eyes and inhaled as deeply as I could.  Something familiar and amazing happened.

The Indian Cork tree swayed. Its long flowers glided down swiftly to the ground. I descended the stairs almost running and went under the tree. My childhood moments were around the corner. 🙂

It started drizzling. Now, the mother will call me while collecting the clothes from the clothes string for she fears the lightning, the father will collect the coconut-halves kept on the terrace for drying, and they both did.

I paid deaf ears to her call and took the opportunity to pick up the Tree Jasmine flowers till my both hands could not hold anymore… The flowers and a few yellow, lemon-green colored leaves rolled on the ground due to the wind.

The Flower Shed

I waited in the drizzle for a little while holding my bunch of flowers till I could feel a chilled raindrop straight on my tongue. My age, social status, and location became insignificant to me for that moment. A couple of ladies passed by hurriedly holding their flat folded bags overhead. They gave me a dirty look, which didn’t bother me. Then I rushed into the house before getting drenched.

Now, the mother will scold me a little for getting wet, the father will take my side, and they both did. 😀

I overlooked what they argued among themselves and I made her sit next to me. Then emptied my wet palms in front of her and held both her palms on my cheeks to feel the warmth. I tried making a garland of the Tree Jasmine flowers without using a cotton string while she brought a dry towel. After a couple of attempts, I realized I couldn’t…

Now, the mother will demonstrate the beautiful arrangement while I carefully watch her twining the flowers one-by-one, I will hastily take the garland halfway from her to complete, and we did.

The Flower Garland

I had found it. I had relived it. 😀

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Think Good, Get Better!

Sometimes we get better than what we wish for.

I and Arun planned to take a scooter for me. I already have a car but a scooter would save me from Pune’s congested traffic during busy hours to some extent. After a lot of homework, we decided to buy TVS Jupiter ZX: A flawless mix of beauty and power. We both decided to go for the glossy wine color.

Soon after the following couple of days, I went to the TVS dealer’s showroom near my office to book the scooter of choice. The sales lady asked me if I would like to go for a fancy number. I knew that the Regional Transport Office (RTO) conducts auctions for giving a fancy number one wants for the new vehicle. People can choose the vehicle numbers they want but they have to pay an extra amount of money.

I: “I don’t want any fancy or choice number such as 8055 that looks like the word BOSS when printed in a particular font, or the number 4040 that can be calligraphed to look like the word YOYO… But, can you get me any number, which could be memorable easily…?”

The sales lady: “I can definitely, but you still need to pay extra fees because even if I mention on paper that you want any memorable number, the RTO will consider it as your fancy number requirement.”

I thought for a while and decided that I won’t mind going for any other number that the RTO issues for my scooter.

I: “Okay, then leave the column for special instructions regarding the RTO number empty.”

The sales lady: “Okay, I will call you once your permanent number arrives. It will take a week’s time. Till then we will give you a temporary number and try to process your order as fast as possible.”

Thus, I completed the transaction of booking the scooter and stepped out of the TVS showroom.

The next day I received my brand new scooter with a temporary number. For the entire following week, I was busy like anything. I thought about the permanent number occasionally. I was not anxious about it, but I was curious. After all, it was going to be with me for next good number of years. I just wished I should get a good one.

In the following week, I received a call from the TVS for informing that the permanent number for my scooter had arrived from the RTO and the dealer would now fix the number-plate with the permanent number on the scooter.

I took the scooter to the dealer. I seated at the TVS customer-waiting area browsing through the e-newspaper. No sooner than I waited for ten minutes, the dealer while handing over the key to me told that the scooter was ready.

My week-long held curiosity came to an end. TVS ZX Deep WineI went to the scooter and saw… What a surprise! 😀

I got the number 7075! What’s more; the first half of the number depicted Arun’s birth year and the other half depicted mine!!

I had only wished for good but I received better! 😀

 

A Guest in the Backyard

Winter is settling down in Windhoek. Days have shortened. Early mornings and evenings bring cold winds. At times it blows really hard to bring down the wires of electric fence or dry branches, and to create loud banging music by slamming open doors or window panes.

The other day, the windy morning was quite agitating. I went in the backyard as usual to access the clothesstring. While I was putting the wet clothes one on the string, I heard some rustling noise in the nearby bushes. I stopped for a while and tried to follow the sound. But as I kept quiet, the rustling also stopped.

After a long pause I continued my work and the rustling started again. Someone was surely there around. Could it be a snake? I knew the snakes also liked basking in the morning. 😮 The thought of having a snake nearby brought goosebumps on my neck. There were some clothes still in the bucket waiting to go on the string. I left them as they were and moved back as slowly as I could. There was no rustling for a few minutes. I decided to wait.

Rock-Dassie

The rustling started again and this time I could follow the direction of the sound. All I could see was a little wondering face behind some succulent plants. 🙂 I had never seen him before in the backyard though I had seen numerous birds and a couple of mongooses there. It was somewhat like a hare and a rat. Thank God, it was not what I thought to be!! It appeared slowly from behind the plants and I understood it was a little Rock Dassie 🙂 It went to a stone and sat on it to bask in the warm morning Sun. It was staring at me with all the curiosity in the world gathered in its glass-bead-like pair of eyes. It was the first creature I found super-cute while staring!! 😀 Yes, only while staring.

When he yawned, I could clearly see its sharp incisors. Then I decided to keep distance from it. I stood there for some time. It must have become tired of sitting there. It went towards the fence, and climbed the wall. The neighbouring dog started barking as he must have noticed the Dassie on the fence. He jumped into the yard of neighbouring house. He must have managed to escape the ferocious dog as the barking stopped and the rustling of the dry leaves too.

I couldn’t see him again for long since then.

A Love Story a Magic Pen Started

It was not exactly the Valentine’s Day but a few months before it during year 1994 when their love story started. It was also not long when they both met and started knowing each other. They had met just a couple of times.

That day, he was about to go to a remote place. Since they were not going see each other for long time, he had come to see her in person before boarding the train, which was scheduled in the following couple of hours.

He presented a small gift to her, as a token of his remembrance.

She uncovered it carefully and found a beautiful black pen with an intricate print on it. Her eyes twinkled with happiness. 🙂

He: “How do you find it?” 🙂

She: “It’s beautiful!…Thank you!” 🙂

He: “You know, it is not a simple pen. It is a magic pen.” 😉

She was surprised and confused at the same time to hear what he said.

She had never believed anything since her childhood without knowing the whats, the whys, and the hows. But she believed in what he said just as she believed in him completely. If he says, then it must be surely magical…But what is the magic? She couldn’t hold her curiosity about the pen’s magic for long. He observed her funny expressions.

He (playfully): “Whenever you write a letter to me with this pen, it would automatically reach me.” 😀

She (curiously): “That’s just not possible!!” 😮

He (smiling): “Why not?… But yes, you need to do one more thing to make this pen’s magic work.”

She (anxiously): “And that is…?”

He: “Each time you write a letter with this pen, you need to write my address on the letter too, and put it into a nearby post box.”  😉 😀

She understood the magic. 🙂 She liked the way he indicated his interest to know her more. He wanted to understand her and take their brief introduction with each other to a next level. She remembered, she had got some freshly plucked jasmine flowers. She put them into his shirt’s pocket. She promised him to write letters. After spending some silent moments together, they took each other’s leave with heavy hearts.

Those were the no-cellphone days. It was not easy to speak to a remotely located person. If they did not have STD/ISD facility on their landline telephones, they used to stand in the queues of STD/ISD booths to make a long distance call. During those days, writing letters was a reliable way to stay connected.

The pen was one of her most precious possessions. During their separation times, she wrote numerous letters with that pen and sent to him from miles away. The pen went on playing its magic and wiped out the physical distance between the two hearts in love.

I still fondly possess my magic pen. 😀

love-story-with-a-magic-pen

Embracing the New Year

How was year 2016 for me? When I think of this question, a lot of recent memories crowd my mind…Year 2016 was full of experiences, zest, fun, and lessons. A year of learning the whole set of new lessons and revising the old ones…I went to places, met people, made new friends, and observed them all. I could overcome my fear of water and swim, learn basic French, and pick up photography as per my last year’s resolution. 🙂 I visited the great Pyramid of Giza, Roman Colosseum, London Bridge, and climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was so much fun to see a number of jaw-dropping places in Namibia and South Africa with my loved ones. I witnessed a wide variety of flora, fauna, and different colors of the mother earth.

The places I visited throughout the year were wonderful and exclusive, but it was not the case with people I met or been with. 😀 Some strangers beautifully reintroduced me to all the small and big things I could smile for. Some people I came across had less than their worth and some others had more than they deserved. Some funny people praised themselves on good results of execution of their plans and blamed others when results were unwelcomed. I met a girl who was ready to leave anything to find real love and then I met a woman who left love for money and material…I can say, I completely understood relativity! 😀

I learnt once a person’s soul departs, at no cost the person can come back…In contrast to the volatile life, this is a certainty of death. All you have are the memories of the days shared together. So it’s us to decide what kind of memories we want live with.

I learnt that I should not accept someone’s nonsense at first place. If I do then most probably I would have to submit myself to compromise my self-respect on every such nonsense in future. After all, I am responsible to condition others’ behavior too.

I used to think that if at all we quantify faith from 0 as no faith to 100 as undoubted faith then all the values between 0 and 99 are same as 0. I used to believe that I have faith only if it was 100%, complete. But according to my experience, faith can also be between 0 and 100.

I learnt that honesty and integrity are not something that weak people can handle. People will always take the easy and lazy route to hide their unethical behavior instead of choosing to condition themselves to be ethical, or not getting into unethical behavior at all.

I revised an old lesson that a person can change only if he or she wishes and works to change.

I also experienced an incredible power of pure thoughts and unsoiled character that anyone can accomplish by behaving in accordance with good virtues consistently. But sadly, a person with such character often continues the journey of growth alone.

I revised the lesson of hope. Hope and optimism go hand in hand. Hope had always been by my side even during the bad patches in my life. It is something that never ever broke my faith with it. This year I find myself equipped with little more knowledge I gained from my lessons… 🙂 I am going to release any bad memories accumulated over the past year. I am going to carry on only with the experiences and lessons.

While bidding farewell to the ending year, I find myself as anxious as a child, who awaits to open a series of gift boxes… 🙂 I am anxious to uncover what God has planned for me, day by day. I am ready to enter into year 2017 with full hope…to embrace new days, new experiences, and new lessons.

happy-new-year

Swiss Landscape on Bernina Express

“If on earth be an Eden of bliss,

It is this, it is this, it is none but this!”

When I entered Switzerland its stunning beauty made me remind these lines. Switzerland boasts Alps ranges, a large number of tunnels and bridges, highest dams, and four official languages. It displays a unique range of magnificent landscapes. We all wanted to see the mighty yet beautiful Alps ranges and the scenic beauty of this blessed piece of land hence we visited Switzerland this summer.

We planned to travel by the world-famous Bernina Express, the train especially operated for the purpose of site-seeing. We decided to take the route from Tirano to Zurich and excitedly boarded the train.

bernina-express

The train was bright red-colored from outside with refreshing cream-white color inside the compartments, which were very comfortable and lavish. A very special and noticeable feature of Bernina Express is its large and clear windows through which the passengers can see the surrounding nature. These windows are extended up to the roof and facilitate the passengers to see every bit of the beauty and find themselves as a part of the nature while being on the wheels. Another stunning feature is the height at which Bernina Express operates effortlessly on narrow-guage. It runs at an adequate speed to let one observe the surroundings. The train operates at the height of 2253 meters above sea level and makes one wonder, how successfully man has created machines and tamed them at his service.

As the train steadily kept moving ahead, the breathtaking landscapes started unfolding. It took us through pastures of lush green grass. There were healthy brown cows grazing on the slopes. They were wearing flat-shaped brass bells tied in the embroidered leather belts around their necks. The black-nosed sheep were looking as if there were few white woolen bundles kept on green carpet.

switzerland-landscape

Along the green pastures, there were small houses topped with tapered roofs and fenced with wooden bars. Sometimes they were so close to the train that I thought I could extend my hand to touch. They had little entrance gates which were adorned with bells and floral plants. The gardens in front of the houses displayed artistic arrangement of small fountains, animal figurines, and colorful pots. We spotted a little house just near the rail track where figurines of seven smiling dwarfs were kept in the garden. They looked so cute! 🙂 I tried to look for the Snow White’s figurine around but the train moved ahead and that pretty sight of the house was replaced by another beautiful view of chestnut trees.

The Swedish houses had small old-styled windows of wooden frames. Almost every window was decorated with the rectangular pots placed just outside the windows, which contained plants with pink, white, yellow, and purple flowers. They made a good contrast with the color of the window frames and left us impossible to decide which one was beautifying the other 😀

There were churches seen occasionally in the backdrop of the hilly green meadows. The Swedish towns just looked like the ones portrayed in the fairy tales. 🙂 Indeed Europeans have an obsession as well as an eye for a great detail to maintain their gardens neat, clean, and attractive.

The train was taking us on bridges, through tunnels, and around orchards. The food service carts arrived full of hamburgers, sandwiches, wines, and other drinks. They also had soft toys for sale, especially the Valais Black-nosed sheep. As we progressed on our journey, we started getting the glimpse of Alps Mountain through the tall pine trees. Soon Bernina took us nearer and we were astonished to see the snow-clad tops of the Alps.

switzerland-matterhorn

It was the most breathtaking moment when we saw Matterhorn, the fifth highest peak in Alps ranges. It is in the shape of a pyramid with four steep triangular faces, each one facing a direction. Though its appearance, height, and expanse were scary, it captivated our eyes. 🙂 I find the view of large natural bodies like mountains and oceans is always spectacular. It limits one’s ego and makes one realize how negligible one’s presence is on this mother Earth!

We were so engrossed in watching the beauty around that we could not believe our destination had arrived. While we were on the train, the time seemed to pass so fast! It was an indulging experience to travel through the scenic beauty of Switzerland.

Switzerland landscapes are splendid.

It makes one’s eyes hungry and contented at the same time with its delightful beauty. 🙂

How Can I Always be Happy?

We tend to lose peace of mind and happiness because all our days are not perfect. There are rough patches in life when the things seldom seem to turn out the way we want them to. At such times, a classic question always occurs in a troubled mind: How can I Always be Happy, irrespective of difficult times in life or annoying people around? Is it really possible to always be happy?

Since I was seeking for the answer of this question pursuively and genuinely, I found it hidden in a very empowering quote of Lord Budhha. The quote says,

“There is no path to happiness: Happiness is the path.”

So simple to understand, yet difficult to follow! It says happiness is not a destination. Instead, we need to see it as a journey, spending each moment of life happily. 🙂Budhha

I have indeed been appreciating the people who are living by this statement. Living this way somehow did not seem easy to me because of a very simple reason: My body and mind often go out of synchronization. Sometimes I am physically doing whatever is required to be done at that point of time but in the background, I keep thinking of past or future…The instant my attention goes away from the present moment, my mind starts wandering in bygone memories…or I get carried away with the worries that might not even come up in future…Either way, I unknowingly push myself to the world which then only exists in my thoughts. Frequent trips to this imaginary world make me exhaust and lose serenity 😥

When I was a child; I was aware of only present tense. While growing up I experienced and learnt the other two tenses, which are quite capable of taking away one’s peace of mind. Is it not all in vain, if I could not appreciate beauty, warmth, or lesson the present moment has to offer?…Am I going pay attention to a moment in hand only when it is transferred in to the past?…or Am I going to live in future over which I have a very little control…? 

I must be able to follow Lord Budhha’s statement…Happiness IS the Path. I must realize myself as a continual happy being…It is possible only if I choose to be happy over everything else. Initially it would be difficult to remain in the present moment. Hence I will start doing that only for an hour. Then for a day. I will gradually increase the time and then at some point, being happy always would be my habit… 🙂

Now, living in today and indulging in the present moment is fine; but what if my today is not so bright? Can I still be happy?

Here I need to share what my mother says. She says, “We must observe everything keenly; even the sad time, impossible people, or the challenging situations. We certainly get to see something good in them. Every single thing that we have is either a blessing or a blessing in disguise.”

There I am! 🙂 What a perspective she shared with me! I must observe keenly. I must take the notice of small details. I must understand what I can change and what I must just accept. I must see the situations and people beyond their imperfection to be able to find something good in them. Once I realize their goodness, I would be able to deal with them in a better way.

In Indian culture, we touch elders’ feet to give them respect. In return they bless saying, खुश रहो! (Hindi) or सुखी रहा! (Marathi). This literally means Be Happy. In the context of what Lord Budhha said, this blessing is not merely a wish; it strongly suggests the recepient to remain happy in every kind of situation.

We can be always happy if we develop the attitude to be always happy. It is difficult for sure; but it is not impossible. So, let us count our blessings as well as blessings in disguise and go on being happy… 😀