Tuesday, April 28, 2020

PEN PALS

Pen pals are people who write to each other via postal mails. 

I have got two pen pals and I love sending emails to them (not letters in traditional way, though I like the feel of paper and pen). Whenever I get a mail from them, I get excited. We talk about anything and everything on this earth - Which books we have read or are reading, which movies to watch, what we felt listening to that song or hearing that poetry. I don't have to think before writing anything to them. We agree or disagree to whatever the other person is saying. 

For those who know me, I cannot talk much on phone. I could talk on and on  if you are in front of me, otherwise I could write. 

I feel that conversations over phone, messenger, whatsapp, Instagram are limited to one liners and many a times too formal. More the mediums we have , lesser we are talking these days. And by talking I meant talking substance. 

Also I cannot talk in groups. And by group I meant more than two people. In groups I am mostly listening. 

Having pen pals is amazing. Get a pen pal, share your feelings, write. You could be your own pen pal also by writing diary entry. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

TEA CEREMONY


In my house, evening tea is a must. And it is not that a person makes tea and drinks on his own. Evening tea in my house is like a gathering, a party. When I start from my office for home, I message everyone that I am on the way. And my brother, his wife, my sisters ,their husbands, my husband, my father- whoever is present, they have to be there for the evening tea. And if someone misses it (sleeping or busy in some unimportant work) or if someone is outside and is about to reach, it is expected that we will wake up that person or wait for that person. If that is not done, then there is a war like situation in home.

This is the sole reason that I always value my evening tea. More about tea, it is the conversations we have while having tea. The jokes thrown, the teasing and the talking. Evening tea is close to our hearts- heart of my entire family.

I recently read that Japan has special Tea Ceremony. This ceremony is way of worshipping the beautiful and the simple. In Japan, tea is more than just a hot drink. The tea ceremony represents purity, tranquillity, respect and harmony. 

I believe, happiness is in simplicity. Such simple thing like tea, gives so much happines. Our house enjoys this tea ceremony everyday. 



Friday, April 10, 2020

CONVERSATIONS!

READING AND WRITING


was chatting with a friend last week and he told me that he has stopped reading books these days. The reason he told was, " All books talk about same thing, it feels that I already know what they are talking about. " At that moment I didn't know what to tell him. I  did not have the proper answer. 

Today I was reading this book, Like A Flowing River by Paulo Coelho, and bingo I found an answer. There was a story which talked about a solitary piece of coal which was pushed away from the flames of fire. Since there was not enough heat for the coal to continue burning, it began to cool. The story ended with these lines, ' However brightly a piece of coal may be burning, it will soon burn out if you remove it from the flames. However intelligent a man may be, he will soon lose his warmth.' 

My usual conversations these days involve talking about books, movies, writings and art. Well, it was same before also, it is just that such conversations have increased these days. My friend is a writer too and from reading our conversation shifted to writing. 

He: These days I am writing a lot. Let me share some with you.

He shared some really good lines, philosophical and deep. I told him to keep sharing whatever he writes.

He: I am writing since childhood, but never saved all that. Probably I was in my own world. Well, I still am. 

Me: That's what writers do initially. They themselves do not know what their art could do to people. 

He laughed. 

Me: Whenever  I read my old writings, I wonder in what state of mind I was at that time. Sometimes I wonder was that me who  has written all these lines. Have you ever experienced this?

He: O! Always. But no wonder, our old writings give special insight into ourselves.  





Saturday, March 28, 2020

A DAY AT HOME

I live in two kinds of moments- 'extrovert moments' and 'introvert moments'.

Extrovert moments when I am in and around my office colleagues, my friends and my family and introvert moments when I am alone, when I prefer to be alone, when I want my 'me' time.

I am nocturnal by nature.  So after a whole day of extrovert moments my introvert moments starts by 10 pm in night.

As these days I am spending 24 hours at home, owing to my nature my actual day starts at night. Also internet speed is better at night.

What I want to do now is to talk about my 'introvert moments'. I open my laptop at 11.00 pm after having my dinner. After doing some office work (work from home), I watch an episode of a series on Netflix or Amazon Prime or a movie. These days I am watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel whose Season 1 was really good. Season 2 is little slow though. I read for an hour or two. I am reading Manto and Paulo Coelho as of now. I sometimes write, like I am writing today. I make myself splendidly solitary late night tea with a toast. Do some exercise, meditation and yoga, read again for a while and sleep. All this while I feel as if I am knowing myself better, I am growing a little with each passing day.

Then comes the time for getting up, the time for all those extrovert moments. Whatsapp messages, attending to work groups, office calls, calls from friends, daily house chores and the day goes by in a jiffy.

I sometimes wonder how I am able to live these two kind of lives in one day. I do not have any particular answer but  I know my these two lives balance each other. And I know that I am happy about it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

RISHIKESH- MY ENERGY BOOSTER!



It is never enough
I can never say I am bored with it
or I know it completely
I always endeavor to experience it more deeply
Rishikesh is that one place
where I can go again and again
in search of my own space. 

Like all other trips, this was also a sudden trip where we decided one day before and the next morning we were on the roads. Now I have stopped counting as to how many times I have been to Rishikesh. Every time I go there, I come back as a relaxed and more positive person. Rishikesh possesses such vibes. 

Like all other trips which offer me stories, which make me experience more, to know more, this trip also did the same and now there are so many stories to write about.  


THAT GIRL, SUMAN

I really wanted to see Triveni Ghat aarti. Last I saw it was with my mom in 2015. It was her last wish. After that, I went quite a lot many times to Rishikesh, but somehow never went to see the aarti. It was 4.00 pm, we were at Tapovan and Triveni Ghat aarti starts around 6.00 pm at sunset time. It is difficult to take your car there because of parking issues. We thought of hiring an auto. Luckily we got a sharing auto. It was full. Ashish (my husband) sat in front with the auto driver and one girl at the back seat offered me space. 

Girl: Are you from Delhi?
Me: Yes.
Girl: Yes, many people from Delhi come here on weekends.
It was a simple guess. I smiled.
Girl: Are you a banker?
Me: Ya (I was totally in shock. How could someone guess this?)
Girl: You must be thinking about how I know this. Well, I was just guessing.
Me: Still, it is not an easy guess. 
Girl: I do Yoga. Our awareness increases with that.

I was still in shock.

She was M.A. in Yoga. Basically from Jaipur, she shifted to Rishikesh with her husband six months back and was a Yoga teacher. 

In that 15 minutes ride, we talked about yoga, meditation, loneliness, and awareness. She told me that it is not easy to take out time from the daily schedule for meditation. However, if we become aware of things around us, it is equal to meditation. For example, if we are watching TV while eating, sometimes we do not realize the taste of our food. I added, that many times we don't know as to what we had eaten. Many times while walking on the road and talking on the phone we go somewhere else and then realize that we have come the wrong way. All this is related to awareness. If we are aware as to what we are doing, experiencing each and every minute, it is equal to meditation. She also told to help whenever we can. For example, she offered me a seat by just crossing her legs and adjusting a little bit. She said that it did no harm to her. This brings positivity to our life. How could someone leave that chance? 

While getting down from the auto I asked her name. She was Suman. 






MY BOOK AND RIVER VIEW CAFE

We were hungry as wolves and were looking for an ideal place to sit and spend time. River View Cafe became our home for that time. We hogged on food. It was scrumptious. While Ashish slept off after having breakfast, I started reading my book- The Skeleton Cupboard by Tanya Byron. I am halfway through this book and it is amazing. Tanya Byron is a psychologist and this book is about her anecdotes, her point of view, her experiences. 

Reading and seeing the river water flowing, it felt that all my worries were flowing and vanishing with that river water.  Meanwhile, Ashish got up and said, " I wonder where all this water comes from." Leaving apart the scientific reasons, it is still so marvelous and amazing to see such gallons of water running. Wondering about the same, we got lost in our thoughts. 





STREETS OF RISHIKESH

While walking on the streets of Rishikesh towards Beatles Cafe, I saw a foreigner, very handsome wearing only a red dupatta on his shoulder and a red pajama. While I was wearing a warmer, sweater and jacket I wondered how he could survive in such cold weather. And he seemed to be totally comfortable while walking. I do not have much knowledge about it, but I am sure that Yoga does such amazing things to you. 

Whenever we go to Rishikesh, we never miss visiting Beatles Cafe. And this time their menu was totally different. I read their menu for almost an hour. It had so much information, so many quotes, and real events. We all know about the soccer players who got trapped in a cave in Thailand. What kept them alive was meditation. Their coach who had previously been a Buddhist monk guided meditation for the players during the ordeal. I wondered if meditation could do such an astonishing thing to people trapped in a flooded cave, what it can do to us for dealing with our normal day to day issues. 

One more thought stuck me while walking on these streets. At one wall it was written, "Ganga ke darshan mein he Ganga ka sparsh hai." Meaning, it is not necessary to take a bath in holy water. If we are looking at it, it means we are touching it. Probably this was written, and I read it only in one place, to avoid Ganga pollution. We were given flowers after the aarti to offer them to river Ganga. I told Ashish to keep those in the pocket. And later we kept those flowers in the flowerpots outside our hotel. A small gesture, a small step in avoiding Ganga pollution.  

And yes, Rishikesh trip is never over without a massage. On my brother's and sister-in-law's recommendation, I went to Prana Spa & Ayurveda, and it was amazing. For that one hour, I was in a different world.    


My earlier trips to Rishikesh:



Tuesday, October 1, 2019

THE PONG ECO VILLAGE- A DESTINATION IN ITSELF!




This place made me take my another solo trip
This place made me read that book script
This place urged me to write again
Beauty of this place made me insane.


Pong Dam- View from The Pong Eco Village


It was one random Sunday evening when I decided to take a trip to Pong Dam.  Pong Dam, a dam on Beas River is also known as Maharana Pratap Sagar. It is a perfect place for bird watchers.  This destination was on my list since long. I started searching for places to stay and I came across this place, The Pong Eco Village Resort http://thepongecovillage.com/. Beautiful, serene, calm and peaceful, words are less to describe this place. I booked it immediately and called Mr Mukesh, the owner to confirm my booking. What started with Mr Mukesh turned to 'Mukesh Bhai' in the end. I planned to stay here for two days. When I was about to book my bus tickets, Mukesh Bhai called and told that he was also leaving by his car from Delhi till Pong Dam. I joined him and  the solo trip no longer remained solo. I got the company, Mukesh Bhai.   

How to reach Pong Dam/ The Pong Eco Village

By Bus- There are direct buses from Delhi till Pong Dam. 

By Road- There are two ways and one may choose any looking at the traffic conditions

1) Delhi- Panipat- Karnal- Kurukshetra- Rupnagar- Nurpur- Talwara- Pong Dam- The Pong Eco Village Resort

2) Delhi- Panipat- Kaithal- Cheeka- Patiala- Ludhiana- Hoshiarpur - Talwara- Pong Dam- The Pong Eco Village Resort

We reached The Pong Eco Village Resort and tiredness of nine hours drive vanished in few seconds. The Pong Eco Village is a destination in itself. After having scrumptious dinner cooked by Mukesh Bhai I went off to sleep, dreaming about star studded sky, clouds, thunder and the rains (which were actually there). 


Mukesh Ji cooking dinner 
The mornings were as peaceful as the sound of thunder at nights.  I woke up and was welcomed by spicy tea flavoured with elaichi, adrak (ginger) and kali mirch. I wonder what kind of spices do they use in their food. It all together had a different taste. While I am writing this my mouth has started watering thinking about that food. 

I had ample time with me. I wrote poems, my thoughts and I finished reading two books. Whenever I am travelling I carry minimum two books, lest I finish the first. This habit proved to be useful here.  I finished reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Ruthi Rani by Premchand. This was a prefect place to read and write.



The Pong Eco Village Resort is made in a small village consisting of 14 families and houses. I started walking around the vicinity and curious eyes of villagers kept watching me. To break their curiosity I started wishing them 'Namaste' and they started replying back with wide smiles. 

I took a small walk crossing the village and the jungle and in between various thoughts kept poking my mind. Butterflies were touching my feet and from a distance I could hear chirping of birds.  Vibes, I thought. We say that a person has got negative or positive vibes. What are vibes? Are they in our control? In that moment I felt that the answer is yes, they are in our control. They are dependent on what we think, what we feel. It is all in the mind. Positive mind yields to positive vibes. 

Village and jungle walk

I extended my stay by one more day. Everything about this place was fascinating. One morning I noticed that Mukesh Bhai has put agarbatti (incense stick) in the temple. However, there was no idol, no murti in the temple. Curious, I was, I asked him the reason, and he told me God is everywhere. Such simple sentence which we hear so many times but for the first time I found somebody practicing it. 

Temple with no idol

For a person like me who love peace, nature, birds, water, luxury with simplicity, food and books, there is no better place than this.

Here are few glimpses of my dwelling place for these 3 days:



Jungle way to The Pong Eco Village where we spotted a fox

My room which became like home

The Pong Eco Village





Can you spot the insect?
My host and dost Mukesh Bhai

Videos and more pictures on Facebook page and Instagram handle



Thursday, June 27, 2019

IS IT ALWAYS NECESSARY TO BE HAPPY? (CXXVI)

I have a good job, loving family, I dance, I read,  I write, I travel. But still I am not always happy. Why is this so that we have everything and still we are not happy. If someone ask me what I need to be happy, I do not have any answer.

When I finish reading a book I feel elated. When I take dip in a new river I feel happy. When I write a new article or a poem I feel exhilarated. Happiness is in small moments. It is not necessary that we should always be happy. In this era of social media to be happy always has become an obligation these days. It has become a job. We pressure ourselves to be happy, to be productive all the time.

Have you heard about Vipassana?
It is a ten days programme where you do nothing. You cannot read, you cannot talk to anyone, you are all by yourself for full ten days. Many people give up in two to three days only. I have heard about this programme from my friends who have stayed like this for ten days and the experience they have felt cannot be expressed in words. I realised that doing nothing is a form of meditation. Having no feeling is also a feeling.

It is ok to be sad, it is fine to have mood swings. That's what we humans are made of - emotions. Otherwise we are all robots. Don't pressure yourself to be happy all the time, don't pressure yourself to be productive all the time. It is fine to relax sometimes, to let flow your emotions whatever they may be.



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