What all I can think of.. when I walk, jog or run.

I’ve become a big fan of ‘movement’, in it’s very literal sense. I enjoy going to the park for a walk, jog or run. There are three ways I enjoy such moments. One, I quiet down to hear my heart beat giving the rhythm, breeze tuning in like a flute, birds joining in with their chorus to transform the distant voice to a high volume music. Second, it’s time to have a conversation with myself, the deep dialogue necessary to get my shit together or a peppy talk to up my spirits. Third, I’m walking beside marido and we are having some funny conversation or narrating stories. Essentially my best hour of the day.

Last week my thoughts were something like this:

‘Ever since I was born, the earth has revolved around the sun for just thirty one times. I’ve seen thirty one summers and thirty one winters. In these years so much has changed – the way this planet looks, the way we look, the way we travel, the way we communicate, and the way we think. Thirty one, might make you think I’ve centred myself in this story. That isn’t true, but, what’s true is I could be my only reference. When I was born I didn’t know I’d walk so many miles and leave my footprint in so many places across this globe. Every travel, every place and every person I’ve interacted with have gone into a special space in my memory map.’

‘It’s also crazy when you realise there is absolutely no-one who has walked exact, same-to-same life as that of yours. You must know you are so unique that even with time travel no one would be able to repeat all the things you’ve done at that point in time. You and only you’ve got the magic trick to time travel on the moments you froze in your brain disk.’

Mind jumps like a monkey and leaves no trail. At the end of an hour of walk, jog or run I wonder where did the conversation begin and how did it flip through so many topics.

 

Advertisements

Camping in our little tent

I started reading Amy’s ‘Yes Please‘. She starts off by narrating her early days on stage playing less interesting roles. She explains her urge to blurt random new dialogue on stage and how it turned out funny. Reading her memoir I was taken back to my school days where I was dragged into a handful number of plays. I was far too focused on delivering right and I never thought much about the role I was given. While I was five, I was transformed into a vegetable girl with necklace of carrots, chilli belt and brinjal bangles for a fancy dress. Seriously, a vegetable girl! starts here and doesn’t get any better. We did a play for environment day. It was called ‘mara mathanadithu’ (a tree spoke). Moral of the play was to stop cutting trees. We who played various roles were a gang of girls who grew up in the same neighborhood. We’d practice this play for about 15 plus days in a park at our layout. Everyday after school we would get together and practice for hours. Everyone struggled practicing their dialogues and emotions. A friend and I had a very crucial role to play, yet, didn’t need any practice. We were the trees. Seriously, trees! They could have kept cardboard, but, no. We were made to attend every practice session. I wish I blabbered some ghostly dialogues while we were on stage. Cheap thrills! Ha ha.

Well Well.. On a serious note, I think my love for nature grew all the more after we performed this play. Last weekend we went camping amidst the Exmoor National Park. It was our first camping and trust me the preparation felt more like shifting home than vacation. Marido and I went crazy with shopping, packing and traveling. As we drove into the national park, mesmerizing country side view started to tell us that it was worth the efforts. The farm we camped was almost at the heart of this national park. We had our lunch and got on to making our tent. It was a struggle and finally after a good 45 minutes we’d built our home. We wanted to slide in and sleep for hours, but hey, getting our barbecue ready was on our mind. Delicious food v/s Good sleep, the great battle of mankind.

The facilities in the camping farm were amazing. The showers, cleaning and washing areas were very convenient and made our stay comfortable. The nights got biting cold. Even with our additional quilt and pull-over we shivered all the way. We got so occupied with small walks, cooking with the charcoal, washing vessels and arranging everything in our car. In the spare time we either lazed around on the grass under the beautiful sky and read some stories or watched others build their tent or saw the ducks and hens walking around the farm. Amidst all of this two days flew by. This camping was in no which way ‘rough’. Even then, it checked our endurance and definitely made me thank for the home and comfort I have in this life. If someone asked how my camping experience has been, I wouldn’t say ‘I loved camping’, ‘I’m excited to do another this weekend’ or ‘this was a relaxing vacation’. I think I’d say ‘I’d camp again probably next year and we’d prepare even better’.

That’s my raspberry lemonade cocktail in a plastic glass. ‘To nature. To camping’, Cheers.

Fjords, Norway – the sail (part 1)

Luck was on marido’s side when we chose our wedding date, it’s just five days away from my birthday. I know that makes it fairly easy for him to get me ‘all in one’ gift, take one vacation, one weekend fine dine etc etc.. Ahh ahh, you think I’ll let him get away with that! Ha ha. Now, we celebrate the whole week instead of just two days 😉 Many months ago marido came up with a brilliant idea of cruising this year. We’ve never cruised before, so we stored this special experience for our first wedding anniversary cum my birthday. I’m convinced even before I start, that, my write-up wouldn’t really justify our experience, but, let me give it a try.

It’s time to sing my cruise song, our journey to the Fjords of Norway.

You think first timers ain’t judgemental. It’s true that we don’t have a prior experience reference to compare with, however, we keep a score of ‘loved it’ and ‘hated it’ by comparing them with similar and sometimes even vaguely similar situations. For example, sitting in airport lounges waiting for the flight to board you is as painful as sitting in the airplane for hours taking you across countries. On the contrary, we went to the port 3 hours before sailing and it took a minute to give away our luggage, 15 minutes to process our documents and get our cruise cards, 5 minutes in security and in a blink we were on board. We reached our cabin in another 5 minutes that includes a walk on the gangway, a cheek to cheek smiling welcome photograph and taking the lift to seventh floor. We weren’t even thinking of our suitcases and guess what, they were already standing outside our cabin, you know, like those statues to welcome you. Food!, our stomachs grumbled. We went straight up-to the restaurant. The captain’d said, there is one man on this ship who gets maximum applauds in the beginning, but, by the end of cruise everyone hates him for giving them those extra waistlines, he’s ‘the chef’. How true! We ate such delicious meal all along.

In a few hours we settled in comfortably. The ship became our beloved home. This home held around 2000 passengers and 900 crew. Probably we were among the younger travellers of this cruise by age. Energy of the much older crowd, if not as much as ours, was delightfully higher. Trust me!. They’d dress up for the bow tie nights, dance on the floors, gamble in casinos, join the tough walk tours, win bottles of wine in quiz, sing along with karaoke. It was an inspirational sight for us. It taught us an essential lesson. Life isn’t complete until you’ve walked all your miles. It isn’t finished until the flat line beeps on your monitor. So, till then, kick in your suitcases and kick out any apprehensions. Explore and Experience.

Art and Entertainment. In the last few years, I’ve made conscious efforts in attending events and trying art. Marido has happily joined along, okay I admit, forcefully for a few. Anyway, together we’ve attended musical shows, watched painting in the galleries and museums, laughed until our stomach hurt in stand-up comedies. What happened in the ship was, a pamphlet which would have a list of events that’d run the following day, would be dropped in our cabin every evening. We’d eagerly wait for it and plan our shows. We watched two stand up comedies, two dance drama and a piano concert during the cruise. A dance drama that portrayed the musical band ‘Queen’ remained our favourite. We had to walk past an art gallery when we went to watch these shows. The artists had coloured their canvas with the modern day randomness. We liked a few. The eyes were so well defined in the hairy highland cows painting. Busy day rush, modern politics and war were simply put in the hundreds of images created in the form of stencil men – it was a very interesting piece of art. The double deck red bus on a well lit street just after a rain was reflecting stories of a common man.

I can keep singing this cruise song in loop, writing its lyrics and humming its tunes. Let me grab a coffee for now.

Voice of a routine!

It’s 6am. My alarm rings, Mom has called twice and it’s time to get ready for the day’s noise.

I freshen up and gulp my milk to gear up for my day. Dad chases my cab in our honda activa like a superman and we manage to stop the cab that would have missed me otherwise. I get in to nap again while my cab crawls like a snake in the Bangalore traffic.

I reach office in a sleepy face. First things first. I splash some water with a pace and give my eyes a liner and tie up my hair.

I keep my bag and walk to the big window to watch the endless sky and the buildings in construction.

Hi! Hello! Morning! some wishes exchange with near and dear cubicle ones

I already hear some mouse clicks while I walk to the elevator which takes me down to the canteen where I stand in long queue to grab my pongal upma poha dose vade chutney and sambar. Sometimes a sandwich wins.

I look up for emails and get to my work with focus. Someone interrupts or a phone rings and grabs my attention. Sometimes I cut the conversation and many times the conversation wins.

A few hours pass by and I decide to take a break. I make some coffee and sit by the sofa in the common area. Before my mind drifts to the thoughts of my morning, the printer prints and vomits bundles of paper.

I get back to the meetings and we argue over our points of view before we can conclude or roll it over for another day. My stomach has already begun to churn the liquids and is demanding for food.

The food coupons make their way in exchange for our mid day meal. I stuff the food in and talk to my colleagues about robots, drones, movies, sport and anything under the stars.

Morning repeats post noon. However the heavy lunch leaves me with a sleep to battle. After a few hours, its time to grab my bag and run to my cab that takes me back home. Yes, you hear more vehicle sounds and a lot more snores. The balloon sellers are now selling car mats, wipes and shades.

I come home with almost no energy left for the sport I love. As I rest on the sofa with a small snack and a coffee, my mother is watching TV that’s showing all the woman villains in their drama. This runs for four hours every evening and she wouldn’t let me switch to news, sport or documentaries.

I take a brisk walk and hear the dogs bark from a road further down. Neighbour aunty stops me for a quick chat. I come home and pull out my dumb phone to browse, browse and browse more.

Its dinner time. I relish the delicious food and have a word with my dad who’s had a busy day too. The book in my hand is narrating stories and the sleep has begun to conquer me. My mother reminds about the next day’s wake up call before I retire to bed.

Another routine day is waiting to arrive. Until it does, let the silence pour in. Lights off.

 

Fundamental issues – Food!

When we pull out annual statistics of the amount of food / agriculture produce we are wasting and the number of people dying out of hunger / malnutrition, it leaves me wondering why we aren’t able to plug one another. Despite our success in production, transportation and storage technologies, how is it that they haven’t turned affordable and deployable. Government policies, innovative business models and even corporate social responsibility have not been able to fix our fundamental issue, food. To live in an ideal world situation is an unrealistic ambition, but, to shrink the existing gap is an approachable goal, isn’t it? Where does it start?

Let us begin to understand, why do we produce more? Some produce like cereals and pulses can be stored for years when the supply can minimize due to natural conditions ex drought, extreme rain, etc. Why should we produce more fruits, vegetables and meat? They perish faster and managing their waste is another problem altogether. At the same time we have depleted our resources like the rich soil and water with excess farming and poultry. How could we bring a balance in demand and supply?

Now, why doesn’t the produce reach everyone? Aren’t they affordable or do they get wasted due to transport and storage issues? Or in the name of quality and assurance ex. length of a banana, color of a fruit etc, does a lot of produce get wasted at an industrial sector? Why can’t technology help in computing existing data of excess nutritious produce and help it reach children, women and adults who are suffering from malnutrition?

While some people who could afford a nutritious meal are turning to dieting, a nutritious meal is still far from reach for the below poverty line. Why?           

Bookcase!

Our home in Bengaluru has a small burrow. This cellar has been my bedroom that I shared with my sister. Our room has hosted many things which have remained as memories tattooed in our mind. Before we were moved into this room it was used as a store room and you could imagine all the unwanted yet wanted. It’s a different story that the situation didn’t change much even after we moved.

There is an old iron trunk which I think was sent as a gift to my aunt for her wedding. The rusted piece holds bolts, nuts, screws, spanners of all sizes, a hammer, wires. I think our engineering drafters have gone in there too. My dad, he role plays a plumber, an electrician, an architect and what not. He uses his toolbox to fix any problems that comes around at home.

The summer heat in Bengaluru could crack open coconuts I believe. My mother found a place for coconuts and pumpkins in our beloved bedroom / store room. I’m sure she had hidden intentions in doing this. It placed an opportunity every morning for her to come down to pick up a coconut for cooking and she could use this reason to wake me up in her screechy voice. I remained like the pumpkin under my study table. I didn’t move an inch despite her extra efforts

At the end of our staircase was a bookcase. Just in case you’d trip down, you’d be swallowed by books. My uncle had a huge collection of books that he left behind and they were stacked up in this bookcase. He had a flair for reading up anything, so we had books from all genres. Some were what he bought and some were gifted to him by the author themselves. The shelves were keeping these books for many years.

There definitely is a beautiful feel when you hold a book, but, I’ve also adapted myself to reading from my kindle reader. It turns out that we don’t need a book case anymore. I miss our bookcase, but for books they’ve always remained. Some books I’ve read from last december to this june

We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown

Life with no breaks – Nick Spalding

Every Day is a Holiday – George Mahood

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Black Vodka – Deborah Levy

Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy – Sadhguru

Brick Lane – Monica Ali

Reading Ashwin Sanghi’s The Sialkot Saga now.

A very special mother’s day

Hmm, mother’s day was around the corner. Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp were loaded with messages as emotional as it could get. Every mom is a super mom and very special in every way. This mother’s day was special too.

Our weekend’s include a walk to the close-by super market. Rain in the past weeks have made the plants lush with green. So the walk way trees, shrubs and creepers have grown dense. We stepped out for our regular walk and turned around the pavement. I continued my chatter with marido. After a few steps he pulled my hand to gesture a stop and waved me to look to my right. A few cubs of fox were playing. They look at us as we stare. We watch them for a while and move along thinking how amazingly a mother has chosen to bring her cubs under a dense shelter, probably to save them from rains. Despite their difficulties the cubs went on to play and make their mother happy in their world of joy.

London canals are habitat for many ducks and seagulls. Few months ago we saw a duck safeguarding her eggs on a raft. She battled the cold nights in all her strength and a few weeks later the yellow ducklings hatched out and began quacking for food. The father would dive into the water to fetch food and he’d promptly go back to feed the babies. We were wondering how long would it take for the ducklings to get into water and fetch food for themselves.  It took a few more weeks indeed. Recently we found them swimming in the waters to grab their piece of bread and it’s so amazing to have seen them being nurtured and grow.

Mothers sow their seeds of thoughts in their children and then beautifully encourage their children to discover this world.