All simply settles…

 Everything in nature is meant to settle

Be it the seasons or the moon and the sun

All that begins finds its own end

Be it insects, birds, animals or mortal beings like us

Every issue in mind or with others in our life

Dies down as days turn into months and years

Though a lot seems to be going on in and around

A definite closure awaits all, lying somewhere at some point

Yes there is no time frame till we are there and that’s
the beauty

After all that is the way The Universe works

Every element even as insignificant as dust HAS TO SETTLE…….

Lock down revelation-The social frame

Lockdown has urged us all to step inside not only our homes but also our minds, our souls. I wonder that after things go back to normal do we want to go back to ALL that we have left behind. With me, multiple activities have been revisited and rendered futile during this period. I may not want to go back to that mythical busyness, where everyone simply tries to fit in a frame – ‘A Social Frame’

The social frame is strange. We look up to others and decide our course of action. We fear not going to a weekend party, no sending our child for extra- curricular, not having a perfect figure, not vacationing abroad…. Why? I think largely to fit in that frame. We squeeze ourselves, we struggle straining ourselves and without realizing. In our quest to multitask we burn out and burn the resources around.

Covid has directly hit and shattered that very social frame into pieces. You pick any of the pieces – you will see your own reflection…

Lock down hopes

The cities and countries will soon revive

All of us, our hustle – will bring them alive

Nothing is etched, continuous and forever

Change is the only constant, don’t fear

Kids will play hide and seek like before

Business will resume, markets will soar

Days will get busier and full once again

But what we faced mentally, will always remain

When it’s flowing, the same water can’t be touched twice

The ups and downs however do make us wise

Peace and contentment is the call of the Universe

If we work inclusive, it may never get this worse

With this let us wait to begin in full flare

But this time with simplicity, affection and care

As of now please curtail and completely abide

Nature will soon be on our side

Nature will soon be on our side

Lock down revelation – We are just a number

Last year we went for a trip to Auli. Auli is for the people who love mountains and simplicity. The hotel where we stayed had put up a photograph of a mountaineer with a quote – “If you want to know how small you are, try climbing a mountain.”

I would take the liberty to rephrase it – “You come to know how small you are when you are in the face of a pandemic.” The news each day, throws numbers from all over the world. When the numbers are being stated they are not categorized as per caste, status and power, in fact no one may be interested in that data. All we want to know is the percentage of people who are safe. This makes me ponder – Am I just a number?

As the people world over are trying their best to combat this crisis, we are coming to terms with the reality that the so called weaker strata of society makes us what we are – white collared and stylishly sophisticated. When I made a courtesy call to my domestic help who has been working for me since the last 10 years, we both checked on each other, our family members and our surroundings – the pandemic sensitized us both in the same way. Neither of us had anything more to say as we both were uncertain about our fates.

Nature in its best or worst form touches each one , without any discrimination , so you see in the larger scheme of things you are playing your tiny role – better be humble and play it well because at the end you are nothing but a number!!!

Hashtag Lockdown

My world has shrunk, it’s gone so small

How less i need confined in the four walls

Nothing is compromised be it taste or lifestyle

The house chores look seemingly worthwhile

The creative spirit keeps calling all day long

There is time to play, sit and hear a song

Fitness goals stay the same with altered means

I  love the golden sunshine, the sparkling sheen

I think, live and feel as simple as i can

Surprisingly i have caught up with the new plan

All the time spent is with family and self

How far i have come this way, sometimes I dwell

It also comes to me, is this how we were meant to be?

It also comes to me, that soon I may meet a new me

We all want it to end, even I feel like all of you

But the lock down has definitely changed my world view

Nature’s Agenda

Nature’s original idea was to keep us in a flow
Routine, simple, pleasant but slow

Gradually we all started a race
We chased, we ran, we increased the pace

Objects were invented to facilitate the flow
We adapted, we changed, always on the go

No pause to wander, no moment to exclaim
No time to interpret, why keep each day same?

We hustled, we stressed in our quest to grow
Always rushing to the next task in the row

But all this time we spent in a foolish propaganda
Because this was not Nature’s original agenda

The Soul String

There is this thing in the Universe which calls upon you

It tells you to not tear apart, rather mend and sew

It pushes you to not give up, keep going you will find

At the end of it you will get it, it would be a worthy grind

It asks you to let loose, take each moment one by one

It shouts out saying that serving others can also be fun

It reminds you of the goodness that surrounds you all the time

Staying in gratitude, appreciating – will not cost you a dime

It requests to seek the higher purpose for which we all exist

It pleads to open the palms, why keep a closed fist

What is this ‘It’ that calls upon us every single time?

It’s the soul string that connects you to another soul sublime..

Trip to Auli

Trip to Auli

Majestic mountains and untouched scenic beauty defines Auli. At a height of around 2500 meters from sea level Auli spells magic especially for people like us who hail from an illusionary busy city like Mumbai.  It brings you face to face with what survival is, because everything there just lies as it is, no tampering and slow development. You are surrounded by mountain ranges and golden sunshine spreading over the high peaks. Mt Nanda Devi is the magnificent of all, at a height of 7800 meters; the peak reminds you of how small you are in the scheme of things. People there are petite and hardworking used to the rough terrains. Joshimath is the closest town where you can get essentials from.

The silence draws you inwards, evening sets in as early as 6 pm, making you retreat to your rooms. You inevitably end up spending time with family or friends or self as the itinery is low key – not too much to do but lots to converse with.

We did a one day trip to Badrinath – the divine shrine which is a part of the Char Dham Yatra – considered auspicious by every Hindu. There were natural hot water (temperature is 40 degrees) Kunds where visitors take a bath before going inside the temple. The air was light, the skies were clear and a religious thread bonded all the devotees together.

We did a small trek too – the Gorson Bugyal trek, which is located at an altitude of 3000 meters. The kids were on mules while I and my better half tread along. The best thing about such treks is you walk at your own pace. The forests were quiet reminding me of the eternal truth that God created this Universe keeping poise in his heart.

There is a natural tuning with which He made birds, leaves, slopes, flowers, breeze – they appear to be different elements but in reality they are all one and we belong there too. Yes, we are just one of the elements. It is only in places like Auli that we get a chance to reconnect to our co elements.

We stayed at a friend’s hotel cum homestay – Mountain Rover. It had warm rooms all facing the mountains. The stay ins there are spread over the mountains – all have steps to move upwards and downwards where the rooms, dining and reception are located. The chair car and cable car are tourist attractions and a delightful experience for kids.

As I enjoyed the view from the cable car glass, I suddenly spotted a tree with pastel pink leaves – it stood out amidst the otherwise green foliage that covered the mountains. It was worthy of meditation. What was the best part about the place was its rawness.

No words are enough to sum up what I felt – it’s abstract and will stay with me forever.

Visited the mountains, taking a part of it with me
A changed soul and mind, a new lens to see
Mountains are majestic, so small I feel
The hustle is rested, took to nature to heal
Spent some time with God’s spectacular creation
The mountains of Auli, indeed a memorable vacation

Trip to Rishikesh

As a child whenever my drawing teacher asked me to draw scenery, I drew a standard one – Mountain range with half Sun showing from between, a river that begins from the mountains, flowing downwards with villages on the banks of the river. I did not know then, that I was actually creating and re -creating Rishikesh. Rishikesh is set by the banks of the river Ganga, the holy river that keeps Rishikesh thriving. It is a land of sadhus and foreigners seeking spiritual solace. It boasts of beautifully carved temples and over 100 centers that preach meditation of every possible form. Rishikesh has an air of peace and tranquility. I had visited with my husband and two kids and what we enjoyed the most were

Ganga Aarti

Though I am not a person who believes in rituals – Ganga Aarti was a serene experience. Over 10-15 Pandits perform the Aarti at the Triveni Ghat in complete sync almost like some ensemble. The light breeze and the Jyot (flame) of the Diyas involve you in the running moment.

Visit to Ashrams

We stayed at hotel Divine with all the rooms facing Ganga. The property does justice to its name. We were interested in visiting some popular ashrams though, on the other side of the city – where we had heard of people staying for month’s altogether. We went to Parmarth and Geeta Bhavan – huge areas with affordable rooms and all the essentials that one needs. In fact, Parmarth also has a tint of luxury. The walls all around are full of verses from Hindu scriptures, which coincidentally apply to your life situations. There are statues depicting the important events of Hindu Ramayana and Mahabharata. Clean temples where some chants or some prayer goes on almost the entire day. It looked so basic that it awakened my inner calling of going back to the simplicity of my childhood – where a paper boat in the rain puddle was all I needed to stay happy the entire evening.

Ramjhula and Laxmanjhula

Unlike Mumbai, that has the best of flyovers – these are humble bridges that let you cross over the river Ganga to the other side of the place. I found them to be the busiest parts of the city and they are also regarded as landmarks. At night the view is mesmerizing with dimly lit houses, hotels on both the sides of the Jhula and their reflection in the Ganga. The local markets selling cheap goodies along the road to the Jhula keeps the area lively.

River rafting

After all the soft experiences comes the one that was adventurous and thrilling. Rishikesh is famous for river rafting all over India. I did the 26km rafting with Red Chilli adventure – and the feeling will forever be etched in my memories. I am a non- swimmer, yet the idea of getting closer to the flow was very attractive. The rafts were of good quality and apart from your guide on the raft you have another one on a Kayak who stays with your raft – spelling high standards of safety.  The raft rifted through the river giving us an illusion that we were the ones carrying the raft with our oars but in reality the river was carrying us. They let you keep your legs out in the water as if you are relaxing poolside – it felt like the water has healing powers sending peace waves throughout your body. They also made me plunge in the river – yes, it was cold initially but after sometime you feel absorbed. When instructing us about how to raft, our guide Dev unknowingly taught us a life lesson – when in water do not resist the current, go with the flow. I realized yes, it is so easy to just go with the flow.

Food at Nirvana

An isolated offbeat Café that we reached (courtesy Zomato and TripAdvisor) nestled in one quiet corner of the city with wooden interiors and a pebbled outdoor area. It served the finest of Pasta, Mexican rolls and pizza – we were delighted to indulge in the same as we were on proper Indian food otherwise. What was special about the space was that no person out there was judging the other – all were in a state of individualistic Nirvana (not all were high on weed)

A walk through the city is engaging as you see a stark contrast when you see a conservative Gujarati lady in her 80’s is accompanied by a French lady in her 30’s at a stall selling sugarcane juice. River Ganga, which I cannot stop mentioning about, urges you to keep going day and night. To me the true essence of Rishikesh is where people from different countries, religions, castes come together – with a common purpose – ‘To learn how to live simple and stay humble!!’

Bhaidooj – Time for sibling love

Bhaidooj is made up of two words namely- “Bhai” meaning brother and “Dooj” meaning the second day after the new moon which is a day of its celebration.

Bhaidooj is an auspicious occasion for the Hindus where brothers pay visit to their sisters and sisters in turn make special arrangements – treating them with delicious food and gifts too. An important part of the ritual is the tilak which the sister puts on the brother’s forehead wishing him prosperity in life.

There are few Hindu mythological based stories related to the origin of this auspicious day. According to one legend, Lord Krishna visited his sister, Subhadra after killing demon Narkasur. Her sister gave a warm welcome to him and made the occasion really special through flowers and sweets. Subhadra also applied the ceremonial “tilak” on the forehead of her brother, Krishna and hence the festival of “Bhai Dooj” was born from there. Another legend revolves around the story of Yama, the God of Death and his sister Yamuna. It is believed that he met his beloved sister on Dwitheya, the second day after the new moon.

I am blessed with two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. They are young and tender minded, sharing a special bond with each other. Once I was upset over my son for misbehaving and playing mischief all day. I and my husband reprimanded him, by not speaking to him for a while. I encouraged my daughter too to not converse. Her reply was, “No, I will not stop talking to him, we have explained him and he will not repeat.” Though she was not on our side, inside my heart I felt very peaceful that she did not give up on her brother. That is all that mattered…

Another incident was when we were at Jaisalmer at a desert camp. My daughter suddenly went out of sight. It was a spread out property and she wandered away. I and my husband were both worried and angry. The moment we found her I just bashed her for how she just slipped away on her own. Even my husband carried a firm face and intoned, that she should have been responsible. But my little son, simply said, “We were searching for you. I was sure though that you will not have any fun without me and you will soon be back. Now you stay together…” and just held her hand. My heart melted because he did not give up on her…

Siblings are special and worthy of the connect, so do revisit your innocent childhood memories and choose to bond better this Bhaidooj…