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Archive for the ‘love’ Category

‘Bawali Rajbari’ – Heritage of Bengal

A Sudden Plan

It had been more than three years since our Cambodia & Vietnam trip and life had transformed a lot, but I guess what hadn’t changed was our love for travel. I was meeting my best friend, Apala, after 2 years, only for 4 days! She was flying from Dubai to my place in Kolkata for the New year’s. We just had 30th Dec to 2nd Jan with us and I had literally not planned anything. I just wanted to sit and talk and keep it quiet & simple. We had a lot to catch up and I wanted to play with her toddler. But she kept nagging me to plan some trip which forced me google “weekend gateways from Kolkata”…

It did not take much time to decide on ‘Bawali Rajbari’, a heritage building, just two and half hours’ drive from Kolkata. Luckily, I got a one-night booking on Jan 1st, 2020. It was the last available room and felt pretty pricy, but I booked it irrespective.

The Journey

Apala, her son Kian and I left after breakfast from my place on the New Year’s Day and reached the Bawali Rajbari around lunch. The road was not very straight forward but GPS guided us well. After crossing the second Hooghly bridge, a.k.a. the ‘Vidyasagar Setu’, we took the Khiderpur road and then the Budge Budge Trunk Road. We crossed the Budge Budge Institute of Technology and it was another 14 mins drive to the Rajbari from there. On the way, we stopped for ‘bharer cha’ (tea in a clay pot) and some roadside snacks. The roads were busy considering it was the New Year’s Day but our driver did well to drive us on time. The Rajbari was inside the village, Bawali. What’s interesting when you are travelling in India is that it’s easier to ask the route to the bystanders than looking into the GPS! So, with the guidance of the locals, we soon were entering the old yet beautiful heritage building of the Rajbari of Bawali.

We were greeted with the blowing of a conch shell, a tradition from the old times, some delicious sweets and a welcome drink. The welcome was grand, yet warm. In the Indian culture, guests are considered equivalent to the Gods and our welcome made us feel no less.

Walking the lanes of History..

“The Mondal Dynasty of Bawali has an extraordinary family history, dating back over four hundred years, one which started with the Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great, His Commander in chief, Maharajah Sawai Man Singh of Jaipur and a promising army officer, Shoba Ram Rai, originally from Uttar Pradesh. In return of having quelled a rebellion of peasants and pirates, he was gifted over 300,000 acres of land in far from present Bengal.” (excerpt from the official website of the Rajbari).

The Rajbari (King’s Palace), was built around 250 years ago. With time withering and the “Zamindars” (landowners) loosing most of their wealth after India’s independence in 1947, conserving this huge palace was more a burden than a pride. Finally, in 2010, the building was restored, yet every corner of the Rajbari still has the essence that went back to the famous Mughal emperor Akbar’s time. After the property was restored to its glory in the small homestead of the district of 24 parganas in West Bengal, it is now a luxury heritage resort.

The Bawali Rajbari, 24 parganas, West Bengal, India

Our Stay

The Rajbari has very distinct sections, like the main rooms where we stayed, the dining area, the pond, the rooms in the ground floor, the corridors, the library and the huge portico. There was also a courtyard where a traditional dance event was organised for the guests during the sunset. The ambience took us back to history and made us feel quite royal.

Traditional Dance performance
Folk songs by local artists called “bauls”

Every piece of furniture, décor, photo frames and even the clay utensils spoke of the royalty and yet closeness to the earth and the villagers. There was an underground prison, which has now been transformed into a museum but might send a few chills to think of how prisoners might have spent some tough days in there.

We spoke to the staff in the property and most of them were locals. The resort had given them a source of employment in their own land. The big bucks I had paid for the stay, felt justified.

There was a separate area where the Rajbari conducts “Durga Puja” (Dussehra) every year and the staff said that it’s worth visiting the place during that time. We could only imagine how amazing that could be considering “Durga Puja” is the biggest festival in Bengal and lasts for five days!

The Durga Dalan – area where the Durga Puja is held every year

Let’s talk food

What’s travel without food! When in the Bawali Rajbari, don’t miss the “Zamindari Thali”, an exceptional unlimited buffet lunch, which might fill your tummy but surely not your soul! Served with delicacies which are now almost forgotten by the present generation and were only prepared by our grandmothers and mothers. There was both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and each and every dish was made in the utmost traditional way! From “luchi” (fried puffed bread made of white flour, popular in Bengal), to the “kosha mangsho” (slow cooked mutton with potatoes, another traditional dish in Bengal), the taste was exceptional and the clay utensils which were used to serve the food, simply added to the taste and the ambience. In Bengal, the dishes are served in courses and the waiters kept serving us non-stop until it was time for the incredible desserts, “notun gurer sandesh” (sweet made of milk and jaggery which is found only during the Winter months in Bengal), payesh (sweet rice pudding), to name a few!

Clay utensils used to serve food

Many tourists had come on a day trip, only to visit this remarkable architecture and taste the “Zamindari Thali”. There was live music being played by two local artists, one who played an antique piano and the other sang songs of the famous Indian poet and scholar Rabindranath Tagore. Overall, felt magical and heartfelt! The real taste of rural Bengal!

The Starlit Evening

They say it darkens quicker in the villages and it was true. The evening gave a completely new experience, which we had not expected. After the dusk, there was a prayer held inside the main building with the traditional “arati” (illuminating candles for the Gods) and chanting of the mantras. It felt so serene and peaceful. Multiple oil lamps were lit and suddenly the Rajbari looked like a beautiful bride! The quietness, the sound of the night, the starlit sky and long pending conversations with my best friend, I couldn’t have asked more on the New Year’s Day.

We had a few drinks and then a delicious dinner. We walked around the estate, the night felt beautiful and we could visualise the glory of the royals from the past! Every piece of brick told a story untold. We didn’t want the night to end, but I guess every good thing comes to an end.

The next day, we had breakfast and then were bid a fond goodbye, with the same warmth as we had our welcome!

The Experience

We live in a world where technology rules and tradition and culture have taken a backseat with modernisation being the sole definition of progress! However, our roots make us who we are, and our traditions and culture are the backbone of our future. This sudden plan, the amazing stay, the warmth of the staff members, the rare & delicious dishes, the ambience, the royalty, the company of a beloved one and the history, made our experience an everlasting one! A place so near to Kolkata and yet relates so long back to History. A place worth spending your bucks because it gives employment to the villagers and an unforgettable experience. The smiles and hospitality of the villagers are priceless after all!

Bawali Rajbari, you will always be in our heart, until next time!

You are all you have….

Today while cleaning my bookshelf I came across my old diary. I randomly opened a page where I read the below excerpt dated May, 2014…almost six years back…

Melbourne, the city of music, food and culture. The city which has embraced the culture of the world in itself. The city knows how to enjoy life, how to sing fearlessly, dance frictionless and live endlessly! It’s been more than a year here and I have never even looked at it honestly. But today, when I smell Autumn, I feel I am still alive, somewhere inside.

What do I love most about the city? Oh, the maple leaves, just love them! Red, green, brown, yellow, so many coloured maple leaves, I just love them! They teach me life, they make the city colourful, they are just so Victorian!

Now it’s Autumn here, the city is all Red! The smell is fresh and wild. The weather is calling. When I walk alone and the strangers smile back, I feel less scared, I feel more like home now.

Do I love Melbourne? Why not! The city has changed my life in just a year. It has taken away everything but returned back my own self to me. I am knowing myself now and honestly am much better a person than many! I now love myself, take care of myself and don’t have to rely on anyone! I love this unconditional me. Everything is gonna be okay.

When I see people, street artists dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, so carefree, on the road, with all their passion, I feel strong. I feel I can make it…make it to live, to love and be loved.

Melbourne,

May 24th, 2014

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I couldn’t stop smiling and also had tears after I read this. The innocence in the writeup and gust of emotions hit me, but what amused me the most was my positivity!

Today we live in a strange time. COVID-19 has taught us many life lessons, shown us the reality of many friends and family and also made us value both things and people more. Life is never easy and you don’t need a virus to remind you that! But we have to sail through, we have to at least try…after all these years, whenever I see someone on the road, walking sadly, I smile at them because I know that once I was that sad person and how powerful a simple smile can be. The tiniest gesture of kindness can heal a soul, mend a broken heart and bring happiness to someone. We all are flawed, none are perfect, we make mistakes and learn and then make the same mistakes again. We all are fighting our own battles and hence kindness matters, more than before now. Treasure your loved ones but most importantly, treasure yourself, you are all you have! 🙂

Christchurch – The Brave Heart!

A Sudden Plan

In the busy Melbourne life, suddenly I got two weeks break while changing jobs. Being a traveler at heart, immediately decided that am off to somewhere for a week! Considering its winter in July in Australia, the cheapest and best option was New Zealand. Within couple of days I booked my week-long trip to South Islands, New Zealand.

I wanted to have a relaxing trip and hence decided to visit only two cities – Christchurch & Queenstown. This was a solo trip, so I kept the itinerary simple. In no time I found myself in the JetStar flight from Melbourne to Christchurch! I had dozed off during the flight and woke up with the Captain announcing that the flight is landing. I opened my eyes and looked out of the window, the view was breathtaking. Something inside me said that my trip was going to be amazing!

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Landing at Christchurch, NZ

The TranzAlpine train trip

Checked-in to Ibis, Christchurch. The hotel is located at the heart of the CBD (main city). My day 1 was just walking around the city and getting myself used to the cold. I called it a night pretty early as I had an 8am Tranzalpine train to catch the next morning to visit Arthur’s Pass National Park.

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Kiwi Rail – TranzAlpine journey

The Kiwi rail personnel picked me up at around 7.30 from my hotel and dropped me to the Christchurch station. The Tranzalpine train was already standing there and looked very striking and impressive. This train is operated by ‘The Great Journeys of New Zealand’ in the South Island over the ‘Midland Line’; it’s often regarded to be one of the world’s greatest train journeys, for the scenery through which it passes. The journey is 223 kilometres one-way, taking almost five hours. I had decided to go half way till Arthur’s Pass and then return back the same day.

The train left the mainland and soon was running amidst the mesmerising Southern Alps. We crossed snow clad mountains, rivers and waterfalls. There was a pantry inside the train, from where I got a nice coffee while I enjoyed the views. It felt both peaceful and exciting at the same time! The co-passengers were from different countries and they seemed to love New Zealand as much. With every turn the train took, there were more mountains and sometimes tunnels, overall this was my best ever train journey!

Arthur’s Pass National Park

The train reached Arthur’s Pass at around 11am. Few of the passengers got down here. The scenery was breathtaking! I couldn’t believe nature can be so beautiful.

fullsizeoutput_8aa2It was freezing though, but I was all wrapped up in my jacket and beanie. I found my way to the Visitor Centre, collected some maps of the area and chose to do a hike to the Devils Punchbowl Waterfall. My return train from Arthur’s Pass was around 4.30pm in the afternoon, so I had around five and a bit hours to myself, to explore this beauty.

 

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Arthur’s Pass

Started my hike, there was ice on the way but no one else around! I was very excited as I have not seen much snow in Melbourne or in the other countries I have visited, so it was a very different experience. Kept walking on the trail, was getting exhausted as it was uphill, but then I met some tourists coming from the opposite direction, who said it’s worth finishing the trail! The track crossed through a sparse forest and I could see snow-clad mountains from some points, the cold was getting intense but when I heard the birds chirping yet felt the silence of the place, I was feeling happy and ignored the cold. It was an experience I never had before! Finally, I reached the Devil’s Punchbowl waterfalls.

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The waterfall was massive and really worth the hike! On one side was the waterfall and on the opposite side was this huge snow-clad mountain. I felt an immense happiness inside me. Nature had waved its magic wand again and made me ecstatic! I spent some time by the waterfall, just hearing the sound of water gushing down and then forming a stream. The return trail felt shorter as I was already so gratified and had all my energy back from the picturesque magnificence around. I reached back to the base and grabbed some food in the Wobbly Kea Café and Bar. Then I explored around little more and soon headed off to the station for my return to Christchurch. Chatted with the co-passengers on the journey back and shared my solo journey experiences with them with a glass of wine! Nothing feels better than telling your stories to strangers, who are your friends in a strange way! Arthur’s Pass had made my day and so did the transalpine train journey. After a quick dinner at Christchurch, I crashed off to bed.

The city which recreated itself

As many of us know, the intense earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 & 2011, created widespread damage to buildings, infrastructure and human life. My third and final day in Christchurch was exploring the city and enjoy a laidback day before I head off to Queenstown. I walked down to the Canterbury Museum after a sumptuous breakfast and coffee.

The museum had a beautiful adjoining garden and some really amazing piece of architecture. After spending some time there, I walked up the street to do a punting tour on the Avon river. It was a perfect day for punting! A leisurely trip along the picturesque Avon River, being punted by a friendly, informative guide felt very relaxing. There was lovely scenery in the Botanical Gardens. We were given blankets and hot-water bags to make us feel warm. The short half an hour tour felt even shorter when the surrounding was so breathtaking!

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The picturesque Christchurch

After the punting tour, I walked across the ‘Bridge of Remembrance’, dedicated to the soldiers of the World Wars and then reached the Christchurch Cathedral. As I got to see more of the city, I noticed how much damage was caused by the earthquakes and how the people here had accepted that and bravely rebuilt the entire city! Met many locals, who spoke of their loss during the earthquakes, but they loved this city and embraced all that they had to face because they felt Christchurch is where they belong! Many of them were immigrants from Afghanistan, Israel, Bangladesh and India. You learn so much, when you travel!

I was pretty tired by late afternoon, had some food but kept thinking of how brave the locals were and how much they loved this city. I reached the hotel by evening, went to my room and packed by bags as I had an early flight the next day. I went out to have some dinner in the Indian restaurant just opposite Ibis, called Mumbaiwala and had a happy tummy!

When reality strikes!

It was around 9 pm and I was watching the television in my room, almost half asleep, considering I walked a lot around the city that day. My mind was full of thoughts and my body was tired. Suddenly, my bed, the television, the tables, chairs and everything in the room started trembling horribly! My first thought was that I was dreaming, since my mind was full of those broken buildings which I had witnessed throughout the day. But it took me couple of more seconds to realise, that it was an actual earthquake!!!

I held the bed frame strongly and was scared to death, started thinking of my family back in India and every fraction of second felt like ages! After around 30-40 secs, the shake stopped. I was still immobile on my bed and was having a brain-freeze too. As I regained my senses, I jumped off the bed and dialled reception. The lady from the reception seemed pretty calm and said there is nothing to fear, this was just a minor tremor! I was freaking out on the other side and immediately hung up and rushed to the ground floor! Saw many frightening faces like mine in the lobby, all with the fear of what that city was infamous for! The receptionist calmed us down and after spending an hour in the lobby, anticipating another tremor, I was too drained out and returned to my room and felt asleep!

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The Experience

From the first day itself, Christchurch won my heart! The way this city has faced the most dangerous natural calamity and has accepted that fact and rebuilt itself, is sheer bravery and courage. Rebuilt not just buildings and infrastructure but also their minds, their hearts, their history and their future.

Life’s never easy but happy are those who face their fears and move on! No wonder the receptionist that night was so calm! She has experienced much more intense earthquakes than that minor tremor. Christchurch taught me that history and culture of a place is not only to treasure what was created by our ancestors, but it is also what we create as we progress. The history of Christchurch is not the infamous earthquakes, but it is the people who love that city more than their lives and properties. They say, ‘a thing of beauty, is a joy forever’, and Christchurch, you will be the most dangerously beautiful city I have ever been to! Stay safe Christchurch, until next time!

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Christchurch – The brave heart

This blog post is dedicated to all the brave hearts who were sacrificed in the Christchurch mosque shootings, March 2019. I have visited this city and seen how brave are the people of Christchurch. My heart goes out to all the families who have lost their near ones in the shooting. May they rest in peace wherever they are! Hope the world becomes a better place one day.

The Human Touch!

Last few weeks I have been feeling fervently quite low due to several reasons. Mood swings, unsolicited tears, drifting apart in solitude etc. Guess we all go through this phase once in a while in the journey of life. Not everyone is perfect or let’s say none of us are perfect!

When I have my lows, I feel that, the moment a dear one comforts me or even speaks to me in a kind way, I feel like I’ll break down and can’t control my tears. Even if someone just touches my shoulders in a comforting way, I feel like a kid and start crying. It’s probably an accumulation of my emotions which just comes out with the human touch. After the tears leave me, I feel so much better!

I have observed that the human touch work wonders to me. Holding the hand of a close friend while walking the known pathways, giving a good-bye hug, greeting someone with a peck and a hug and similar small gestures of being human is sometimes healing. Many of us stay by themselves and don’t have family nearby. There is understandably a feeling of loneliness and solitude. But when another human, who loves you, makes their presence felt, you feel happy, you feel there is someone who cares!

The world these days is delimited by definitions, it was not so when I was a kid. If two guys walk with their hands on each other’s shoulders, we blotch them as ‘gay’, similarly if two girls kiss, we say they might be ‘lesbians’, or if a guy and a girl hug each other, we say they might be dating! Things were not like this when we were kids, we used to happily walk hand in hand with our friends, be it a guy or a girl. We would kiss and hug each other without thinking even once! It’s so easy to show hatred, have fights, arguments, even kill each other, then why is it so hard to love each other just as humans without the discrimination of race, cast, creed or sex! When our parents love us, when our grand-parents hug or kiss us, when our friends cuddle up next to us, it’s all a very human touch! It makes us feel alive, feel a part of the world, feel human!

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Make friends, not war!

The human touch is therapeutic to me when am feeling low. I used to cling on to my bestie all the time whenever we would travel, and she would always shrug me off from her and ask why I am ‘glued’ to her all the time =)! I would reply saying that we live in opposite hemispheres, when you are with me, I want to feel your presence! Well, each of us is different in our own ways and how we feel or how we heal. But I guess the small gestures of love which I call as the ‘human touch’ is necessary to signify the presence of love in this world without the precincts of demarcations!

If it’s easy to show your hatred, trust me it’s easier to show your love! Just hold your friend’s hand while you walk, give your mom a hug when she is angry on you, tell your sister how much you love her and care for her and that you are always there, call your father more often, smile at the passer-by on the road. We all have our pains, all have our own battles to fight, the small gestures of love keep us going. Life is all about the small things, cherish them and smile! xoxo

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My Pianist friend – An Anecdote!

It was the last day of my New Zealand holiday. I was in Queenstown and already quite mesmerised by the beauty of the place and the country. Since my flight was in the afternoon, I had booked myself in the TSS Earnslaw Vintage Cruise in the morning, so I can spend some relaxed time and also enjoy sailing on the lake Wakatipu. I checked out of my hotel after breakfast and reached the Steamer Wharf by 9.30am. The boarding had already commenced, so I queued to board.

The vintage steamship is 105 years old and one of the oldest one in the Southern hemisphere. The ship was quite big, and the crowd was mostly kids and families. It was freezing that morning in Queenstown, more so because I was near the lake. After I boarded and found myself a nice window seat in the upper deck, I realised that the kids had started opening the windows and were enjoying the icy wind. I was feeling cold and got some coffee from the onboard café. The cruise started with a classic hoot, the surroundings were breathtaking, snow-clad mountains, the beautiful lake and small houses across the lake. While I was enjoying the view, I was also a bit pricky by the cold and feeling a bit lonely in the crowd =(

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TSS Earnslaw Vintage Cruise, Queenstown, NZ

To my surprise, after the ship sailed, I could hear a beautiful music of somebody playing the piano! Never thought there could be a piano onboard, so I started walking towards the music. There was not only a vintage piano onboard but also an old lady playing the instrument with ease and beauty! She was lost in her own world and had a beautiful smile while she entertained the crowd. I was charmed at once and went and sat near her. She looked at me and smiled and immediately I felt a bond as well as found the companion I was probably seeking! I was lost in her music and forgot about the cold or the icy wind. She played old songs one after the other and after a while took a break when the ship docked at Walter Peak. Most of the people got down in this port making the ship almost empty.

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My Pianist friend

The piano player asked about me and where I had come from, we started talking and I got to know that she had started playing the piano as a teen and as she grew up, she had to give up her love for sustenance. She has been a farmer and her life were all hard work for family. When she retired from farming, she decided to get back to her lost love for playing the piano and here she was, playing the piano onboard, in the oldest cruise of the Southern Hemisphere! She said she will quickly grab a bite before her next session starts.

I kept observing her, she must be in her 90s, old, yet so elegant and graceful in her manners. She walked very slowly holding a stick, the fingers of her hand had bandages, may be due to playing the piano every day, her hands were shaky when she walked or when she made her tea but not when she played the piano, like magic! She sat and looked at the lake and the mountains while having a bite. Wonder what she was thinking, maybe she was thinking that she had a gratified life or maybe she was thinking what she will cook for her grandchildren whom she was meeting that evening for dinner!

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My friend lost in thoughts

She could say if it will snow or not looking at the sky, her favourite season was Summer since as a farmer it was tough for her to work in the fields in the winter months. She told me how March, April and May are the most beautiful months in Queenstown and also how much she enjoys meeting new people every day in the cruise  and playing the piano for them! I could have listened to her all day but soon we reached the marina and it was time for me to say goodbye. She gave me a song book and said I can keep this as a souvenir. I took my pen out and requested her to autograph the song book for me =) She was quite surprised by this request and seemed quite pleased too and smiled at me and then scribbled some words with her quivering, soft and elderly hands. I took the autographed song book and gave her a hug before I said goodbye, she said “The world is very small, we will meet again very soon!”

I disembarked from the cruise, took the song book out and read what she had written, “Best wishes from Elenor, Queenstown, NZ”. My heart melted by her kind words and the beautiful memory Elenor gifted me which will be with me forever. Suddenly there was a gust of icy wind that hit my face but this time I smiled and felt wonderful, life was good. Will miss you Elenor but like you said, we will meet very soon! =)

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The autographed song book

 

 

The Colours of Life!

Few days ago, India celebrated the ‘festival of colours’ called ‘Holi’. When I was a kid, all year through I would wait for this day when we would play with colours. All the kids were just exhilarated with the impression of throwing colours at each other and getting a colourful face themselves. We would blend the colours in water and splash each other with the coloured water. Life felt good after playing with colours while the parents didn’t discipline us!

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I grew up, the colours of Holi turned into colours of life. Bright colours for bright days and grey for the shaded ones. The sky has always been my companion and I felt that the sky also transformed colours and guided our moods. A blue sky for a beautiful sunny day and grey sky for cloudy and gloomy days. The kid who only knew colours are fun, now had a significance of the colours associating to time.

I grew up more, now I could relate the colours to my life, to the people and to my surroundings. I kept thinking, how as a kid, I never realised that colours of life meant so much. People can add colours to your life and in the same way people can make your life colourless and ‘grey’. Some people make every day colourful and they keep you happy, we should treasure them. The ones who add the grey shades, teach us how beautiful the other colours are, like the night makes us appreciate the day or the hard time makes us appreciate the good times. Everyone comes to our life for a reason, either they make life beautiful or teach us a lesson!

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As I grew, my mind found resemblance of colours to our surrounding. A beautiful red rose or a bright blue sky or a lovely green field! Colours, they are everywhere! Red symbolise love and it also symbolises danger, Blue symbolise the colour of sky and sea and is associated with depth and stability, similarly Green is the colour of nature and White is for peace.

The colours of my life have always changed with time and age. While childhood days were the most colourful, as we grew up there were frequent shades of grey. Pain, sadness, misery and again a splash of joy, that’s life. I have some amazing people in my life who adds colour to my sky, they make life worth living. Occasionally I also bump onto some darker shades but it’s the darker shades who makes me realise how beautiful the brighter shades are! Add colour to your life and add colours to other’s life. If as a kid, we could easily splash others with colours then why not as adults. No one minds when you make their day brighter! If as a kid, we played with colours with other kids, then why be self-centred as adults. Go out, and you will see an arena waiting for you, where you can play with everyone with the colours of life. While be cautious to select the right colours, the wrong colours can also be blended to make them right! As a famous poet says, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there!” Stay colourful, stay blessed.

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Hey its another new year!

I am late and no excuses but I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year 2017. This New Year started on a very good note, bit of family time and of course travel. When I try to recall how my last year went and what I want to do this year, everything sort of comes down to one word, ‘people’.

Everyday there are so many people we interact with; some we know and some are strangers. Our life is all about the people we pick. It’s a choice, a known decision of who we want to be with. Then I think deeper and find that ‘choice’, ‘decision’ these words are plural and not singular, it’s a mutual thing else its unrequited. Sometimes I have realised that it’s much easier for me to communicate with a stranger than a person I have known for years. The good thing is, the stranger does not know you and hence won’t judge you. You can speak your heart out and feel lighter. Hence this year, I would like to focus more on strangers I come across and make new friends, however the ones I already have in life remain precious.

My last year was a big one from every perspective, be it relationship, love, family or friends. I learned a lot last year from every sphere of life. The main thing I learnt is to depend on myself than relying on others. I am all I have. Every person is a package in themselves, they just need to self-explore. But then, it’s much easier to preach than to follow but worth a try. So, this year, the person to focus is Me 🙂  ! You must have heard in flights, that ‘when there is an emergency, please place oxygen masks on your face and place masks on yourself first before helping others.’ When I was flying to India early this year and heard this announcement in the flight, I was smiling. Well, being said that I also mean that the respect for individuals remain a priority, everyone has their own fights, so be kind and respect others.

Last New Year I had wanted everyone to be crazy, this year I think I am a bit calm. This year I might try being softer and a good listener than try to voice my thoughts. My thoughts are always a bit unruly and rebellious, so this year am going to home them. I have also realised over time that when you are quiet, you can hear your inner voice. That voice sometimes guides you and sometimes confuses you but at least it talks to you without you speaking a word. This inner voice or conscience will also be my focus this year. It feels that with every passing year, you grow wiser or at least realise that you are not wise enough 🙂 ! This year let’s do a bit of soul rifling.

I have always felt that it’s the people in your life that defines who you are and not the place or country. The people in your life are also the ones to make your life the way it is, so select the people wisely and don’t be scared to take chances. Trust is also another important one to focus, trust others and in turn earn their trust. Live a good life but don’t be scared to make mistakes. I make many mistakes every day, I have also hurt people but at the end I try to make up to them. The realisation that you are wrong, is always right :)! So, this year I will make more mistakes and learn from them. Be human, be calm and listen to self. Stay happy, stay blessed. Happy New Year to All 🙂 .

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My friend at the Cafe!

I have a friend at the coffee shop. I don’t know her name but she knows mine. She also knows what coffee I usually order. Every morning, one of the motivations I have, to come to office, is my coffee and a small chat with my friend. We talk about everything, about the weather, the food, my evenings, her evenings, about flowers and life in general.

She is a beautiful young lady with a warm smile. She talks to everyone very nicely; everyone likes her I believe. She has very beautiful eyes. Just the other day, my hands were very cold and I was freezing in the Melbourne winter. When she met me for taking my order, she was feeling bad for me and said I should buy gloves. Later, when I was going out for lunch, she offered me to wear her gloves, in case I am too cold. I felt really gratified with her gesture.

We don’t know each other well, neither we spend so much time together, but the small gestures of love make my day warm. Such are the effects of ‘being human’.

Today when I went to grab my afternoon coffee, the café was quite empty. My friend came over and offered me a cookie from her own share. I gladly accepted. Then she said today is her last day in this café! I felt a gush of sadness crept inside me. I didn’t know what to say! I looked at her and she smiled and said, “You’ll make new friends”. She said she is travelling to Northern Australia and after she comes back, she would join some other café, somewhere else. She also shared her gratitude towards me and said how nice its been talking to me all these last five months in this café.

I finished my coffee and walked up to her to say the final good bye. She gave me a hug and said, take care. I started walking back to my work and didn’t turn back.

They say, “Goodbyes are never forever”. I wonder why I felt bad when she said she is leaving, why I never asked her, her name. This is life! We make friends and then bid them farewell and then make new friends again in the journey of life. Sometimes you suddenly don’t see that same face you see everyday and search for it, faces change, everyday. Sometimes you can’t even say good bye to everyone you love. That’s the truth.

Just be nice to everyone you meet, say hi and ask how are they doing. Life is too short to have grudges. I will miss my friend at the coffee shop tomorrow, but who knows, maybe I will see another warm face saying, “What coffee would you like”? 🙂

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What’s your song?

They say, “Everyone has their own song”. A song that connects them to eternity, to love, to life and to themselves. Similarly, every relationship has its own song. A song that is reminiscent of time immemorial or of something exceptional. A song is your own because it relates to some specific personal event, it is own because our life finds its rhythm and music in that song. Whenever we hear that song, we remember the event or the person to which this song is allied and treasure our solace at heart.

Some songs remind us of a journey, some remind us of home, some of our parents or grand parents, some songs remind us of friendship and some of love. Sometimes the tune of an old song takes you back to the memory lane and you even land up making a call to an old friend or a lost love. Some songs make you cry while some make you smile but every song stirs a feeling inside your heart. The tears are the witness of some painful incident with which this song was concomitant. The smile on the other hand is the evidence that this song is part of some happy memory. A song reflects the state of your heart at that instance of time and that in turn makes a song your own. You hum the tune when ever you want to revisit that occurrence of time.

Humans are very possessive. They don’t want to let go of time. They want to cling on to time either in form of a photograph or a song or a video or something tangible that takes them back to the memory lane. A song is a way to capture a moment forever. Sometimes on a gloomy day, I remember the lullaby my mom used to sing for me when I was a child, it’s a vent to revisit my childhood days. When I miss my best friend, I remember the songs we sang together on our journeys and in many of our memorable trips. My favourite songs have changed over time. Some new ones have become my favourite now and some old ones are slowly fading away from my memory with time.

I guess life is also like a song. People come and go, some stay forever and some fade with time. Lucky are those who find their song and for the rest, have you tried finding your song yet? 🙂

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Companionship….

Humans have managed to define every relationship, be it mother, father, husband, partner or friend. Every relationship has their outlined protocols and precincts. We behave the way we are supposed to when we fall in one of those defined categories. But sometimes the heart subjugates the brain and the frontiers are traversed.

A companion is a person who’s just there with you, like a perpetual company. A companion can be your best friend or anyone who is with you in your journey of life without much of an expectation. Companionship is beyond just friendship even if they are sometimes synonymous. The feeling that someone is there for you whatever may happen in life is what companionship is all about.

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There are days when you don’t want to talk to anyone, no one! When you just want to talk to that one person who you know will listen to you without being judgmental and just smile and say, “Everything is fine”! You might not meet your companion everyday or even every year but you know that they are there with you every single moment. This feeling is very serene and comforting. We all are so lonely in this modern world. Social media connects us but is only a reflection of our social existence, which we want to share. No one cares what’s deep inside the heart and the mind, which is personal and never social.

Companionship is a bond, which is build in a certain moment and nurtured over time by being sincere to the relationship. You will only ever be lucky to have a companion if you are true to yourself and your companion. You don’t need any commitment other than that strong feeling inside your heart to trust this one person when the world seems void. Just lend your hand and you will feel the other hand holding on to yours. Life’s good when you have a companion 🙂

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