Sunday, June 15, 2014

Of Doors and Shekhawati in Rajasthan.

Two weeks ago, I decided to take a month off from work so that I could catch up on reading and writing.

I haven't even picked up a book- let alone turn the first page.

And  today is the first time I've sat down to write!

Why? you ask.

Because.

Yes, the list of 'becauses' is a dark well of excuses which sucks creativity and thrives on guilt (or any other negative emotional factor).

Guilt? Why guilt? It's a funny thing guilt...somehow, WE,  the women seem to suffer from it more than the men.

My guilt skips around housework and hops on top of the kitchen stove - teasing me into sorting out the cupboards, cooking meals and folding the laundry and cleverly enticing me away from my personal pleasures- reading and writing.

So, today, after dropping my son off to school, I came back home armed with a strong resolve to get rid of the guilt, shut my eyes to the unmade bed and just write.

As I turned the key to open my front door, I realised that I had held the key to my guilt all along - that I am the chief key holder of my life. What I let in through the door is entirely my choice.

I'm sure a year of practising yoga has something to do with this 'awareness'-this simple truth that my day is mine to mould the way I want to. It is liberating.

Yes, the mundane can't be ignored but emotions like frustration, fear, guilt, regret, and anger can be asked to leave my door step after they've rung the bell because let's face it...they do tend to pay regular visits.

My front door in all it's infinite wisdom asked me to think about the many doors I open and close every day.

Doors that let in friends.
Doors that promise a warm family gathering when you open them.
Doors you look back at and check that they are secure when you leave.
Doors that glare at you with a teenager's angst when you try to enter them.
Doors that succumb to the clothes stuffed behind them and pour their hearts out when you open them.
Doors that are shut quietly when the amorous juices start flowing but still manage to groan in mischief.
Doors with big brassy name plates announcing the importance of the room's occupant.
Doors happy with 'welcome home' signs.
Doors with dodgy locks in public toilets screaming silently in panic.
Doors with sweaty slippery handles- apprehensive with the outcome of a job interview.
Doors you never knock on and
Doors you ALWAYS knock on.
Doors with a 'foot in' - promising a secure career progression.
Doors with a glass ceiling- unrelenting.
Doors that are never shut and
Doors that never open
Doors that exist only in our minds.
Doors that hide painful memories and are barred shut but do sometimes creak open.
Doors that rattle with rage when the ego is bruised.

Is opening a door different from closing one?
Do we even need doors?
Do we need these filters to protect us or the ones who live with us?
How many doors have you opened recently?
And have you shut any?

I opened a door to practising yoga a year ago
and that made me realise
that I am okay with just a door frame-
A 'dehleej', a 'chaukhat'
Where my feelings can park for a bit
And enter only if I give them permission.

I am alive and I can't deny that visitors like
love and pain, laughter and guilt, anger and joy
will stop by every day
But who I let in
and who I ask to leave
IS
Entirely up to ME.

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All this talk of doors reminded me of a trip I had taken to Shekhawati in Rajasthan.  This was in February of 2013 and I wasn't blogging then.

The trip was organised by a dear friend from college, Aparna Acharya (who deserves a post dedicated entirely to her for what she does for a living). Yes, she opens a lot of doors to let people see the beauty of India.

I won't be writing any captions for the following pictures. I would like for you to just soak in this beauty the way I did while wandering the streets of Shekhawati- the land of frescoes, doors and windows, arches and domes and warm and  inquisitive people.

And if you like what you see and would like to go, you can visit www.vistasindia.com and start planning:)
































Aparna had arranged for us to stay at Roop Niwas Kothi in Nawalgarh... the perfect place to come back to and relax after a day out in the biggest art gallery (I've ever seen) that is this town.
 http://www.roopniwaskothi.com/

I can't resist posting the following picture of our loo...


There was even a nook for my book...


The view from our room door...



So this journey comes to an end. 
It started almost three hours ago when I decided to just do it. 
I think it's time to take a break and relax. Have a wonderful day everyone and do share your doors -
memorable, ordinary, extra-ordinary, tangible or otherwise with me.

24 comments:

  1. wow arti, i am so amazed by such beauty in this world captured in your photos!! thank you so much for your gift xo

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    1. You are always welcome Ananda. And thank you for reading the post:)

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  2. I will read this again after work to soak in the beautiful description of the doors in the our lives! As always, your thoughts flow seamlessly and I feel I get to take a a nice walk among a small part of your beautiful mind that you share through your blog, every time I read a post. Next time, feel guilty about holding back these great posts from your readers and push the daily chores away for later!

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    1. Thank you for your perefect piece of advice Shweta. You are so kind with your words. I am glad you feel that way.

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  3. Thanks Arti for the mention. I agree cause opening the doors is something we all need to do time and again. There is a world of experiences, relationships and learning waiting on the other side.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly with you Aparna.

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  4. Great writing! I wonder if you have seen my collection of door pics from Georgetown, Penang (its there on fb!) :)

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    1. Thank you Mini. I haven't seen your collection, but will now. I find doors fascinating.

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  5. What a wonderfully evocative blog Arti.... thank you ...have shared

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  6. Lovely write up and a lovely post, Arti . The pics are nothing short of eye candy for somebody like me who is a sucker for doors, along with all things ancient and antique. I love Shekhawati furniture here in showrooms too but it's nothing compared to what you get to see there in it's original place.Thanks for sharing, the pics are so, so pretty. I'll drop in again and ogle some more at them :)

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation Reshma:) When the place is as beautiful as Shekhawati- capturing and sharing its beauty is effortless. I do hope you can visit this gem of a place some day...you'll love it.

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  7. hmm arti...what can I say..its beautiful..so much meaning in these lines..man!!!!.. you really think a lot and emote a lot thru words...awesome !!!!

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    1. Thank you my lovely Asha- it's awesome when someone you care about can spot the meaning. You know this post is the result of your encouragement:) So, thank you.

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  8. Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment Deepa:)

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  9. Lovely Lovley post Arti! Expressions you have made through your words and pictures is simply amazing!

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  10. Kiran (Ruchita's door)August 27, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Great piece, Arti. The perfect pics and the penetrating pen vie to out do each other...and then settle down to a peaceful truce to constitute a truly enjoyable experience for the reader.

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    1. Wow! That is a huge compliment Kiran- and coming from you- I am very happy. Thank you for stopping by and reading.

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  11. Arti, what a wonderful combination of words and photos...oh my... made me want to stay here forever & not visit other blogs. ;-) Thank you for sharing such beauty. xx

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  12. Thank you Pauline. It's such a great feeling to get this appreciation from a blogger I admire...aka you:) xx

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  13. Love the way you have personified the door. Also realised how much of one's personality is reflected through the door.
    The pictures are beautiful, they lend so much beauty to the article.
    Seeing the bike parked outside few doors , left me with anxiety and questions about the rate of urbanisation and its impact.
    Would it urbanise geometrically and will the doors be relegated to the pages of history or will they be so much manicured that they may bodily remain to reflect heritage but with damaged souls.
    Till then lets enjoy their old , rustic, traditional beauty and artistry.
    Thanks Arti for bringing it to us.

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    1. Thank you Charu for your kind comments:)
      Yes, the price of progress is too high. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could keep the body and soul together? I am an idealist and a dreamer...what can I say?

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