Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy New You

I wish you a Happy New You.
What's that?
State of mind?
Flight of fancy?
A flippant thought?
A kiss?
A hug?
A new saree?
Hot tea?
absence of all?
Does happy exist in nothing?
Or does it need everything?
Is it even a thing?
Or, is it in all things?
Why do we attach Happy to New Year, Diwali and Xmas?

What do you think?

And how can you or I be new?

Have you planted a seed recently?
All of the plant's past incarnations live inside it--
roots, shoots, leaves, sepals, stamen and stigma.
A bit of sun, a drop of water, soft soil to caress and a gardener's love--
is enough.
Watch the tiny life furl out of the dried up seed, and you'll know
how to be new.

Be a newborn every day.
Be blown away by the miracle of a sunrise and the promise of a sunset.
Be ready to die every day, any day.
Dying begins at birth, said Anusha.
Every breath I take is taking me closer to the day I will breathe my last.
It could be today!

So, I let death become my constant companion.
Only then can I truly appreciate each breath I inhale.
For only then can I STOP wasting my precious, precious time on God's beautiful Earth
indulging in regrets and anger and what ifs.
Only then can I be a happy new me...
every day, every glorious day.

Jab jago tabhi savera 
Make this moment your first of many
new ones
and be the baby you are meant to be
gurgling with happiness
and spilling your joy
and spreading your love
inward and out.

It's not easy.
I know.
I was in the middle of typing this gyan (wise words!)
when the husband walked into the kitchen.
What's for dinner? he asked.
Leftover chana, I replied without looking up.
I don't like chana, he declared.
What? When did you decide that? 23 years of being married and today you tell me you don't like chana?
Out flew peace.
Anger danced with glee.

Yes, the new me is still petty.
The new me has an ego.
But the new me can see this.
The new me is a work in progress.
The new me is taking baby steps to find the true me.

Wishing you all a Happy New You:) And here's your treat for surviving the onslaught of my emotional ramblings above-- a bunch of sunrises and sunsets captured on Jersey shore this Christmas.

It was a fabulous family holiday. Eleven of us (mature adults, new adults, a teenager, a pre-teen and a pre-pre-teen) gathered for a week. The only items on our agenda were food and tea and chats and walks. We ate and caught up and danced to silly item numbers and got tipsy and walked and collected shells on the beach and clicked photos -- lots of photos and videos, too:)

Life, when you look back, are these moments --shared with loved ones --strung on the tender thread of memories.

I'm reading Devdutt Pattnaik's Sita these days and one line has stayed with me ever since I read it:
When it was time for them to leave, Janaka blessed his daughters, "May you take happiness wherever you go."

Happy to see the sun split itself into mini suns and play with the sea...
Happy to sit and stare: crimson and gold and blue and mauve

 cross connection!

two sides of the same coin.
Life and Death
Happy and Sad
Peace and Anger
Can't define one without the other.
But what we chose 
to define us
is ENTIRELY up to us.
Will 2017 witness your serenity
 or will drama play out?

Your choice.
You choose.

Will you let the serene settle in silence?
Will the drama of life draw you in--deeper into everything-- away from nothing;
 no-thing: where happiness lives.

Have a peaceful weekend. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Petra portraits -- of humans, animals and stones

It's been too long.

I've missed you. Let's meet soon.

Does the first weekend in December work for you?

How about Petra?


Just over a week ago, Angela and I found ourselves, bathed and ready, waiting for the door that led to the breakfast buffet to open at 5:55 am. The doors opened at 6 sharp and we entered. This was a first for both of us, waiting for a restaurant door to open for breakfast. Angela had another first to follow -- her first time in Petra. This was my second time in 7 years but this time I 'd brought my blogging eyes with me, i.e. my camera.

Going through 500 plus clicks to pick just enough to give you a feel of the place but not spoil the surprise for those of you who are planning to visit Petra in the not so distant future, turned out to be an enjoyable and tedious task. Reliving those magical moments (and there were lots of them) has put a song in my heart and even though the kitchen sink is full of unwashed dishes and there's no sign of dinner, I'm humming a happy song.

Come, feel the sun on the ancient rocks.

See how each layer, sediment and pigment lights up under the blue sky.

Lose yourself in the kohl rimmed eyes of the charming Bedouin men who flirt with you with such confidence and charm that you can't help but smile back.

Sip sweet sage tea offered by Bedouin women who show you pictures of their children on their phone and whose skin glistens and eyes smile.

And just like the clip-clop, clip-clop of the hooves on stones laid down almost 3000 years ago by the Nabataean tribes fades when the animals cross over to the sandy patches in this ancient land, dissolve in the silence of the stones.

Listen with your eyes.

And let the silence of all those who've walked these parts before us keep you company...

These pictures are in no particular order. I surrender to this wonder and let Petra show me the way...with just a few words, I promise, just the bare minimum...

Monsieur Camel, they whispered. 
 Ahmed, our guide.

 This is Hassan. He sells silver bracelets.
Saw him cleaning the Siq on our way back.

Look up!

The 450 year old tree.
Straightened her red jacket, she she caught sight of us wielding camera and phone:)

A rich man's cave, joked Ahmed, with two car garage:)
 Audi and his donkey, Michael Jackson
And we walked into an Asterix comic strip; as if the obelisks around weren't enough.

Made in India:)

That's a fully grown man in the foreground-- the Monastery.

Fifteen year old Mohammed whose family lives in the Bedouin village, down in the valley. 
He sells snacks in this shop and sleeps in a cave nearby as it's not practical to go back home everyday.

Fix roofs, add solar panels and then breathe-- inhale, exhale.
 Camel caravan...his legs wrapped in toga and the camel's belly become one with stone and history.

Art's never far...bought a portrait...will share another day.
Sad eyes, happy laugh.


Silent stones
that speak volumes
tug at you;
at the bit in you
that was there when light first touched earth
the bit that feels the connection
of air and ether
 of the cosmos within
and human history on show.

Hope to see you soon.

Have a wonderful weekend.