Saturday, April 4, 2020

D is for Dewdrops on daisies in forests of deodar #AtoZChallenge

Every once in a while you come across someone who says something to you which makes you stop and ponder.

Last year in May, I met Alex in Dehradun.

Aparna and I had been on a trek to Chainsheel Lake in October 2018 and Maunda, a village nestled in the Himalayas on the border of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, was our base camp. We stayed in the village for two nights; once on the way up and then again on our return from Chainsheel. Something about the village and its people enchanted us so much that we decided to visit again. 

Alex joined us and in May of 2019 the three of us climbed into a comfortable white Innova in Dehradun: destination--Muanda, estimated travel time--nine to ten hours. 

Where the tarmacked road ends, Maunda begins. It is the last village reachable by motorable roads in Uttarakhand.

May turned out to be even more magical than October. Spring was still lingering on in late apple blossoms while summer had started fattening lingda fronds (wild fiddlehead fern).

This tiny village of deodars and chestnuts, a cow called Laali and a matriarch named Julie left a deep impression on me. My pahadi (of the mountains) soul felt at home among its roadside sea of stinging nettles and tricky to reach truffles. Often, during our stay, a bird or a fragrance or just the way dew drops glinted in the morning sun would unravel a longing within and I'd break into a reverie of fond childhood memories about Papaji and his garden.

Alex and Aparna would listen and watch me revel in the details of my own narrative .

"You should write about it. You are a daughter of the mountains, you should." said Alex one day as we sat sipping our drinks of choice, chai for us and coffee for him, looking over a field of daisies carpeting every inch of visible land under the shade of the ancient deodars. 

Alex's dark eyes shone a little more brightly as I looked at him and nodded. 

His words sowed a seed.

I have fantasised about writing a book for as long as I can remember. But, other than jerky starts and fanciful wishing, I have not given this dream any solid ground to take root.

Papaji used to spend hours tilling his kyarian (flowerbeds) and vegetable patch: raking the soil, mulching the ground, adding cow dung and tea leaves and composted heaps to nourish the plot -- to make it fertile and ready before dropping the seeds.

How will the seed flourish if the soil is not turned? How will ideas germinate if the learning hasn't churned into unlearning? How will words spout without practice? How will the pen write if the journey within hasn't begun in earnest? 

No matter the weather, no matter the time, if his garden jobs had to be done, Papaji did them without excuses. His garden was scared to him. The love with which he looked after it demanded a discipline that he was always willing to give. Did he ever feel lazy, I wonder. Did resistance ever make him doubt his skills as a grower of beautiful things?

"Let resistance do his work. You do yours." a quote by B.K.S. Iyengar helps me when I falter in my practice of yoga or writing.

Alex's words have been planted carefully into my days. I find the time to nurture them with regular writing. A sentence, a para or a page: it doesn't matter. I'm doing my work. 

Resistance is the shadow that follows me everywhere. She turns on the latest Netflix series and slips down rabbit holes of pretending-to-be-research-based google searches every now and then. I let her. I do my work. I toil the soil of what's sacred to me everyday so that when the sun of inspiration shines, I'll be ready.
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Have you hugged a tree recently? What did you see when you looked up?
I've cobbled together a few photos I shot in May 2019, in Chakrata, Uttarakhand to create this video:
And have used Ustad Vilayat Khan's music to accompany the daisies and the deodars.
A lone, late apple blossom will make his debut too:)
Enjoy.
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Have any words uttered by a friend, acquaintance or a stranger made you take stock of your dreams ?
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If, by chance, you have lingda growing around where you live, try this Pahadi recipe:
Pahadi lingda with garlic and herb pasta
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Wishing you all a safe and healthy weekend.

34 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    Oh yes that book lurking in side - or several! I was told by my English tutor when I was 13 that I was a writer. I've never forgotten his words and have striven towards the writing ever since... and will continue till my end!!! Am loving this ride along your memories, Arti. YAM xx

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    1. There's something quite romantic about the notion of getting ones book published, isn't it? Or perhaps it's our generations' way of looking at eternity--books outlasts humans.
      Your English tutor was right. You are a writer and the rare kind who manages to explain deep, ancient wisdom in simple to understand ways.
      So happy this blogging world brought us together Yam.
      hugs. xx

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  2. As stereotypical as it sounds, I love hugging trees, and it is an incredible feeling :)

    The Multicolored Diary

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  3. A tree... not since I was a kid and I climbed them. Your words and photography are both delightful. As one who has earned some writing cred but never been published in novel form I can suggest that one of the key tricks to writing a good book, at least in my experience, is in the preparation. Not necessarily the outline, should there be one, but in the collection and stockpiling of ideas. Coming to a place and saying, "Oh I don't know what to say now" is a dangerous momentum killer. Always have a full queue and eagerly work at getting on to the next one!

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    1. Thank you for that stellar piece of advice. I like the image of a queue of ideas waiting eagerly by my desk, ready to be picked and used. I'll keep this one safe for those times when Mrs. Resistance takes me hostage.

      Thank you, too, for visiting and for the encouraging feedback.

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  4. I'm not a writer, I know this after I wrote a mini book for my nephew when he was 5 years old. He still keep it and last Christmas when I was visiting, he gave it to me to read. Oh boy, I'm not a writer!! But I love trees...
    D is for Denim

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    1. I'll take a tree lover over a writer any day Frederique:)

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  5. A colleague of mine once told me that life was short and that we should live each day like it's our last. That has been very good advice. It certainly helped me put thing in perspective.

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    1. Co-incidentally Shweta, it's one of my favourite life mantras too. As Sadhguru says: To wake up each day is a miracle. So why waste a miracle?

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  6. Hug a tree! I love it! My hubby and I plant a tree every year. Everyone has a book inside them. Not everyone is a writer, but if you want to write, write from the heart and everything else will come together. Looking forward to seeing more awesome posts! Cheers.

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    1. Cheers.
      I love what you and your hubby do.
      Do you have a favourite tree you plant?
      Thank you for your words of encouragement:)

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  7. If old trees could talk, the tales they'd tell. When I look up I see the folk who've gone before me. They climbed, carved messages of love, they've simply sheltered. If old trees could talk, what a book they'd write.

    D is for...!

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    1. I know Keith...what a book that would be!

      I remember walking through a beautiful Redwood reserve in California a few years ago. Like monks, ancient and wise, those gentle giants stood around me and I thought how wonderful it would be if we could decipher their memories.

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  8. My friends have asked me why don't I write a book. Anyway, as a part of my work, I have to edit or rewrite or write a lot everyday ... Maybe someday, I will write.
    At least now publishing a book is not at all difficult, unlike some 20 years ago!

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    1. So true Pradeep. Publishing is much more accessible now.
      Your blog posts make for enjoyable reading so I'm sure your book, when it's ready, will be a good read too.

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  9. Beautiful message .. much needed
    Let resistance do its work and u do yours 👏🏻👏🏻 is now resonating with me . Thank u ❤️

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    1. Cheers my darling.
      Thank you for visiting.

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  10. I love looking up at trees. We have two trees that border the steps going down to the lake and they have beautiful intricate branches. Each season brings a different view but all of them are lovely. Weekends In Maine

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    1. That sounds lovely. What trees are they? Would love to know.

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  11. A wealth of riches in this post Arti. Seeds sown and soil to be tended. While I will wait patiently for your books to make their way into the physical, I'll also whisper encouragments so they understand they're wanted.

    I enjoyed your video and dream of fields of daisies. I love touching trees and talking to them. There is so much beauty in our world.

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    1. You're a light worker in every realm dear Deborah--even in this Blogging world.

      Thank you for your whispers.

      Hugs. xx

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  12. The fields of daisies, the horses, the last apple blossom, all so beautiful.

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    1. So happy you enjoyed it Kristin. this was spring last year. The memories and photos are even more precious today in this state of lockdown.

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  13. D for Dearones for me! So one of my most dear one ( my sister) told me once, "You are an Open Book with simple notes. Keep it like that." -Not sure if i have obeyed her. She also warned me (not just advise)"please do anything but writing!" - this i dint quite follow, as you can see in my comments, i can never make it short and sweet. It has to do either with my BA - Philosophy or just the way i am wired. My Poor man was once subject 40-50 pages of letters from me. After 2-3 months of waiting for his reply, when i would ask where is my reply? he would wink & say, "Iam still reading!!!" ha ha.
    I agree with Alex, you are a pahadi in everyway. And how I love it.
    Yes what some say stay with you forever like some fragrances unfolds memories and transport you to those moments instantly. Mogra ( Jasmine), Parijat (Nyctanthes arbour -tristis / night flowering jasmine), Roses,Rajnigandha (Mexican Tuberose)...were flowers i would go picking early morning for my Amuma's routine pooja. Would not hug the tree due to ants but would shake them so the flowers would fall on me generously and their fragrance would fill me up ....till date.

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  14. Your sister's words describe you perfectly Vidya. You are an open book.
    Love Pavi's reply:)
    Imagining you under a parijat tree is making me smile. I love the flower, its fragrance and all the stories that have been told about it.I have a parijat story too--will save it for a post I think:)
    Thank you for your lovely heart warming comments.
    Hugs. xx

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  15. Many of us are either too lazy to pursue our dreams or we feel what benefit will it be... Like I want to write a book too but then what stops me is it I wonder if anyone is ever going to read it... We tend to give a back seat to the fact that dreams are ours and we need to pursue them for the simple reason is to be happy thats all :)! Nice narration... Did make me think of my dream to write a book one day as well :)

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    1. From one dreamer to another: go for it Ira. Write that book.
      You've given the best reason in your comment above: if it makes you happy, do it.

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  16. "How will the seed flourish...", though I loved the whole D for Dewdrops on Daisy, but this paragraph particularly caught my attention. Very lucid explanation, new ideas and thoughts need a fertile land to germinate. By the way the "Plough pose" in yoga is helpful in making our mind fertile. With love. Nisha

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  17. Thank you Nisha.
    A lot of ploughing needs to be done in my case. Halasana has been my nemesis forever. I try to surrender to it but something holds me back.
    See, how easily you've pointed me to the work I need to do? Thank you:)

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  18. Written like a true daughter of the mountains, dear Arti. Need I say more?!

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    1. Thank you Raj. This is a big compliment. It's plenty.

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  19. You are a true nature lover Arti ! The passion for the creator's creation sees through your writing. Our true self can be realized naturally near big oceans , trees , mountains and under open skies.
    Kudos to you !!

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