Sunday, December 31, 2017

Humanity

I think it is fitting that my last post of 2017, be about humanity and how sometimes, I come across it, in the most unexpected of times. The best gifts life gives us, are not necessarily expensive or expected. I received a beautiful gift today - the opportunity to witness compassion of a stranger to another stranger.

I didnt want to write about this here, but the post would be incomplete without it, so here goes. We decided to celebrate the  new year by buying groceries for an ashram near my place. My friend and I went to a super store nearby and we spoke to a very nice customer service manager who told us that they can get things delivered to the ashram the next day. They usually dont deliver, but given the bulk purchase, they were making an exception. They asked us to pay for the groceries at the counter and to pay the delivery person, the delivery charges when the product got delivered.

Since the place was a little far away, we pegged that this would be the last order of the day and my friend and I were getting ready to leave when the delivery person called me.

He was already quite close to the place. I requested him to deliver the groceries and told him to take the payment due for the delivery (just the delivery charges) from the ashram. We could pay them when we reached we rationalized.

He agreed and he later called me to tell me the delivery was complete. We reached the place and spent a peaceful hour there and asked them how much we owed for the delivery. They mentioned there was no delivery charge! I was stunned. The driver had told them there was nothing to pay and had helped them transport everything inside too.

I called up the driver after reaching hime and thanked him. He told me, "Madam, if you are going there next month, please let me know and i would love to deliver it myself."

Unexpected kindness from a complete stranger. I have no words for a change and I am so grateful that I had a chance to glimpse at acts of kindness like this, which restores my dying faith in humanity.

Thank you bhaiyya - may your kind live long and prosper. Thank you!

2017 ends on a high everyone! Here is to 2018. 

An ode - to the powers that shape me!

I wish I could have a quick word,
Just to say thank you,
To the three powers 
That gave me much more than they took away.

Love, will be the first target.
The one that gave me life,
Made me feel alive..
It wasn't those that I loved, 
They were her instruments after all..
The ones that made me laugh,
The ones that made me weep,
The ones that I still long for - 
On the days I'm low 
And the ones I jump to talk to, 
On the days, life gives me a high..
They are all her manifestations. 
Love, 
The best friend I'll ever have..
One that I see in an embrace, 
In warm food 
In silences
In everyday conversations
And in the eyes of the wordless.

Time will be next..
The memories of love, 
Made more profound,
Or deeply irrelevant by him. 
The one who gives as much meaning,
As he effortlessly takes away. 
The one who shapes me,
The one who heals wounds,
And the one who makes those scars bearable. 
Time, 
Perhaps a fond mentor, 
Watching over me, 
Knowing that he is but an illusion 
And I'm as timeless as I'm mortal. 

Death, will be the last. 
I'm mortal after all!
She is but the inevitable 
The one I have to face some day, 
I also see her quite often, 
For, she is the one,
The one that takes away pain,
The one who is but form, 
The form our deepest fears take - 
The moment they disappear.
She's the merciful one, 
Taking away the lifeless. 
I've buried a few things, 
I killed them for her to take away...
And I've many thanks to give
For the life - death gave.

I've thanks to give 
And I pick today,
Maybe, the end of a year, symbolic enough, 
For now. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Strung along

I watch her play by herself,
chasing a ball of string
the look of utter concentration on her face
as she jumps forward to catch it.

She shakes her tiny head
and wiggles her body.
Three legs, not deterring her
from her pursuit of bliss
and utter joy.

A string was all it took.

I notice him walk by,
accidentally dropping
a tiny bit of biscuit,
she runs to pick from under his foot.

The string sticks to his shoe
and he moves on,
unaware.

Her attempts to follow are thwarted,
by giant vehicles,
unconcerned -
about a three legged puppy..

She looks at him with yearning,
for another biscuit,
for her piece of joy he carried away,
I know not.

My soul sister for a second,
the tiny pup,
longing for what can never be,
based on the illusion,
of a jigsaw of accidents.

The next minute, she disappears,
chasing behind a plastic cover.
I still wait, wondering
how long this minute of mine,
is going to last. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Beginnings

I love new beginnings. The chance to start afresh, to learn from the past, let go of things and look forward to the future. A lot of fan fare and drama have to accompany the beginnings. But often, beginnings are silent. 

You dont even realise you have begun something until you proceed some way in. I think I am staring at the start of something like that now. I wonder, is it a beginning or is it just a tiny blip in the long life i am going to have? An anomaly? I do not really know.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Home

How do I feel a home,
from so far away?

A home I have never seen,
A home I have never known,
A place I know, I can call home
For you are there. 
For you, are home. 

How do I feel at home
while ill at ease?
As my head tries to calm me down
and my heart beats faster
and I remember that smile,
the one I so hate right now. 

A home, away from the one I inhabit,
calling out to me
as I hide under the sheets,
hoping that you know
and that you never know
how much I miss, the idea of us. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

An early eulogy

This is a eulogy, 
One I never expected to pen..
One, even now, I don't want to 
But the words flow, 
For they want not, to be hidden any more..
Ends, they say, ought to be mourned.
Ends, celebrated for what they represented..
The memories and the moments 
That made life, what is.

I remember those rides best.
Tearing down the highway, 
Wind beneath my wings 
You, were the wind 
And believe me, I was flying. 

Then, those meals we shared 
Always an extra spoon of salt 
For the one who was way too discerning 
And seemingly simple..

How can I forget those conversations, 
Debating music, and of course 
Those super powers I would love to possess. 
Super powers I saw in you,
My vision of perfection. 

The million plans in my head, 
Movies to watch, 
Places to visit, 
Meals to cook, 
Dogs to walk, 
Books to read, 
A life together, 
A palace of dreams, 
Built brick by brick..

It was but a palace of illusions, 
My image of who you were, 
You were there, 
Never really aware 
Of what you meant, 
Of the delusions I harboured.

I try to bid you farewell, 
The apple of my eye today, 
My flavour of the year rather 
As I get back to falling in love
With the face in the mirror, again..
I find it difficult to let go, 
But the price for this dream, 
Is not for me to pay, alone.

A eulogy for the love that never was, 
The one that would perhaps never be, 
With you.
--
Harini Padmanabhan

Monday, December 25, 2017

A just world?

I recently submitted a paper for this online course I'm doing on introduction to psychology in coursera. (amazing professor) 
I decided to post the paper in my blog after some thinking..  
The title was Just world effect on the rape culture in India. 

In September 2017, an Indian court suspended the jail term of three men guilty of gang rape and blackmail because the woman in question was to blame as she was promiscuous. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-41383459) The victim had had consensual relationship with one of the abusers before the relationship soured and he started using nude pictures of her as leverage to blackmail her and force her to have sex with him and his friends for over 18 months. 


The incident sparked a lot of debate in the social media, especially because, the judge had commented on the woman in question - being of loose morals as she drank beer and kept condoms in her room. She had also never told her parents about the abuse she was undergoing.


The Just-World Hypothesis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis ) provides a possible explanation as to why the judge could have chosen to rule this way. The just-world hypothesis in simplest terms is "you reap what you sow". It is the tendency to expect consequences as the result of actions done by a person because a universal force will restore moral balance. 


Melvin Lerner, a social psychologist, noticed educated mental health practitioners blaming their patients for their condition. In another experiment, women watching helplessly as others were given electrical shocks, started blaming the victims after a point of time, as they felt they were somehow responsible for what they were facing, even though they were told the acts were random. In a just world, a person's behaviour has predictable, appropriate consequences. Every action has a consequence and the consequences those actions have, are determined by a society's norms and ideologies.   


India has been a very patriarchal society for the last few centuries. The turn of events in the last few decades where more women are having identities of their own and standing up for what they believe in, has been seen as evil by those that are not ready to evolve with the changing times. A woman's choice of clothing, her fundamental right to have a sexual or even a life partner without the socially acceptable norm of marriage threaten the foundations of patriarchy. Behaviours that are tolerated and even encouraged in men because "men will be men" or "boys will be boys" like smoking, alcohol and pre-marital relationships, are frowned at when done by women. This particular ruling further substantiates that the woman in question invited trouble by going against the established social norms of "good" behaviour by having a boy friend and not going to her family for help when the said boy started abusing her trust. 


This is a real world application of the "Just World" hypothesis which seems very simple when you read it as a concept, but has far reaching consequences. Understanding the importance of how things are portrayed by the media and those in power is the first step to changing this victim blaming attitude. Stricter punishments should be enforced for those that participate in victim blaming especially for victims of rape (a crime difficult to report in the first place - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/11/08/5-years-after-the-gang-rape-that-shocked-a-nation-reporting-assault-in-india-is-still-a-nightmare/?utm_term=.5692524d165a ). 


A more difficult but a long lasting effect would be achieved when people start seeing behavioural shifts (women having a sexual partner in India) as the new norm and accepting it rather than painting it as something bad. This is definitely possible through the media and through the conscious voices of a few people who are aware of the far reaching consequences of this behaviour. A world where the social norms can dictate who has the right to use your body because of clothes you wear or the relationships you have, is a very scary one indeed.  

--
Harini Padmanabhan

Fare well my love

I see your eyes 
As you peep out of those cages 
I didn't have to see your capture..
I know you were mercilessly thrust in, 
Like you're a box of used tissues.
Not the flesh and blood creature you are, 
Full of life. 

Do they know what they miss? 
Those that would never see you wag your tail, 
Never see the love you had to give, 
The companionship, that's just so you..

I don't know if I'm angry with myself 
Or just plain unhappy at my inability 
To save a life that deserves a chance..

But this is not about me, 
It's about you and the life you never had 
I'm sorry to see you go my love 
To cages that will end your life 
Some prices we pay, 
Everyday, unaware 
Are way too high..
The price of progress seems to be humanity. 

I pray for your peace
And your joy 
And my deliverance 
For the sins I commit 
Knowingly and unknowingly. 


I saw a vehicle that catches stray dogs in Hyderabad. There were these two really beautiful dogs inside. I just saw their eyes and I was so unhappy. The cost of living seemed way too high for me that minute. Dedicated to all the voiceless ones I kill by my negligence and my inaction everyday. 
--
Harini Padmanabhan

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Caged but alive?

I have never been able to come to a conclusion when it comes to zoos. I know a few friends who hate going to them as they think the animals ought to be free. I also know a few who argue that given how the world is changing, these are going to be the only places we see some of the animals in a few years. I would not like to be in a cage, but I am in one whether I recognize it most times or not. :)

Anyway, that preamble was the summary of what was going on in my head as I walked around the Hyderabad zoo. It was huge and quite decently kept. The crowds were overwhelming though, but that was expected given I was there on a Saturday, the first day of a long weekend.

White flowers - purity the word that came to my mind when I saw them.


I have a very strong love for deers - after all I could have been named after them.. This one was posing for me beautifully. (there was also a resting area called Harini here.. :) )

There was something strangely beautiful about watching these two bisons graze peacefully next to each other. Animals powerful enough to mow me down..

Saturday, December 23, 2017

In the land of the nizams

I have been to Hyderabad 3 times in the last two years for various conferences, weddings and the like. But I have never spent time going around the city. This Christmas, I decided to do just that (I also have very pleasant childhood memories of this place). So here I am in the land of the Nizams.

This morning, we crossed a lot of shops selling kites. It made me really curious and also made me add "Fly a kite" to my long wishlist.




A little reading up online and I realised that I had crossed multiple shops still plying one of the dying trades that this city used to be famous for. With Sankranthi around the corner, I am wondering if I should stop and buy a few kites to take with me to Bangalore.

The kites are truly beautiful to see. I can so see myself flying it and having fun. Should find a place in the concrete jungle I live in though - to fly a bio degradable kite. (In case it flies away from me and I do not find it) 

Value

I'm learning to value, 
Those beautiful seconds,
Seconds, I steal away from you 
And put into my life..
Seconds I save in compartments, 

How can I sink into an endless pit
And hope for a salvation, 
That will never be? 

How can I seek light, 
When there is just darkness :
in the depths I descend?
This irrational emotion, 
Deserves not much..
Definitely not my soul, 
The one you seem to have irrevocably 
Wound into..

I steal them then, 
These seconds, 
That you don't deserve 
And move them around..
I search for knowledge, 
Search for joy,
Search for love 
Within and around, 
The biggest battle I fight, 
In utter silence, 
Without a spectator 
A battle against my heart, 
Willing my head to win. 
Valuing one second at a time. 

--
Harini Padmanabhan

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

An eternal romance

There are days when everything around,
looks relatively colourless,
washed out even,
for I haven't glanced at the dark depths
of your magnetic eyes. 

These are the very same days,
When a music maniac would stray away 
from the sweetest of sounds,
searching, recollecting a voice,
a whisper, the one that can infuse life.

In a world of instant gratification,
this wait, seems so strange.
In a world of instant gratification,
this wait, the one I so identify with,
envelops me with a shield,
The hope for better days to come..
The hope that I would be ok, 
No matter what lies-
at the end of this tunnel.

You light up my life,
You lead me, despite your absence
You make me incoherent, 
as I miss you..
Perhaps the idea of you,
maybe even the real you,
I know not..

I hope to string a garland
of the thoughts that crowd my head,
A garland of moments,
that would never wilt.
A garland of love,
that in itself is complete.
A garland of hope,
that will always spring.
A garland, I would adorn you with,
Hoping, you can take the weight.



Monday, December 18, 2017

When it rains

When it rains, it is supposed to pour. I have to research where this term originated, because today evening, I really thought it was perfect to describe my situation.

My Zoya refused to eat breakfast today morning. If it was the other one, I usually don't bother as she is a fussy eater. I hand fed the dog, got late to work, kept looking for the id card that I had hung behind the door and gobbled up breakfast I would have otherwise enjoyed and landed up at my office.

I was preoccupied at work and hit my leg (the one i already bruised when I fell on the road ten days back).

Then while laughing I hurt my hand on the handle of the chair (Again, already hurt in the road incident I don't want to talk about).

I come home, walk these guys and take the car to the vet. I reach just as the clinic opens. The doctor is stuck somewhere in traffic, he comes in and then, he disappears into a surgery ( I love this vet, so I am not ready to talk to anyone else). 

I wait for over an hour, alone with my phone and Fahrenheit 451. Moments of such hospital visits from a not so distant past come flooding back and I am seriously frustrated. I calm myself down and read about a dystopian world which seems more real than a lot of things.(While Zoya sits and continues to threaten other pups that dare walk into the vet's clinic)

The excruciating visit over, (there is still waiting to find out what is actually wrong with her), I get into the car and follow google maps, which lands me in some really spooky part of town, alone.

I persist and follow the maps home, doubting my recent resolve to buy myself a car. I saved the car from crazy cabs, macho husbands showing off and even speed monsters, only to be hit by this two wheeler inside the complex I live in.

Thankfully nothing happened to the car and I laughed my way to the basement.

I come home and try to make myself dinner, thankful the dog is safe, when she starts vomiting. I really hope it was the journey and not anything else, but I cannot do much until her blood tests arrive. Somebody give me strength to live through this week. Please..

It must definitely sound like gibberish and it probably is as I have no energy to even reread this post - but the day is over. Here is thanks to the Lord! 

It poured, I got drenched and I am going to sleep. One day at a time. A toast, a reminder - I got through it mostly unscathed and with some wonderful virtual support. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Learning to fly

It begins and ends, 
Just with you..
The flip of your hands, 
The sparkle in your eyes, 
And that bright grin..
Not to mention your chuckle 
And low baritone..

You make me fly, 
Just being you. 
You give me wings where I had none, 
You take away, 
My words, my breath 
And I lose myself, 
Every single day. 

But find myself I will, 
For I'm in for the long haul 
And this chapter, 
Is mesmerising, for now. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thank you life

I am doing a course on psychology and my prof read the following quote in class today.

Do you have any idea what it's like to
not want to get out of bed every morning, not wanting to go and deal with all the
bullshit outside of your bed? Do you even know what it feels like to
feel completely alone while you know there are millions of miserable people
just like you? How about what it's like to be completely
repulsed by things that you used to love? To feel completely lost in the dark, and
not really knowing if there's a way out? To not have the strength to feel like you
can make it through the whole day, let alone the next one without breaking down?
To not be able to explain how you feel at all, to have everyone constantly asking
if you're okay until it gets to a point where no one asks, making you wonder if
they don't notice or just don't care. To have no energy or drive to do
anything, to feel completely worthless, to hate who you are and how you look, to
feel like you have control over nothing, to know you don't belong, to feel trapped
inside a world of ugly things but being scared of what's on the other side, to be
hurting yourself constantly. To know there's no one to save you from
the way you feel. To know the only one who's really hurting
you is yourself.

My eyes teared up a little, as I remembered what it was like at a certain point of time in my life, when I could experience all this - probably at a very mild level. For sometime, all I could see were shades of black and trust me there were so many.

Life was very kind to me and I am jumping around with a lot of energy now, but as I remember those days today, I wanted to thank life and him up above for seeing me through it. The experience has made me stronger and much kinder(or so I think), and maybe also made me a better writer.

I lost a few things along the way and hopefully, they are better off lost. I gained a few things and I think those lessons are here to stay.

This post is also a dedication to those that are feeling alone and miserable right now - you are not really alone. It might not seem true, but just take life one day at a time and someday, you will see light at the end of the tunnel. Put that step forward - you are a fighter and a survivor, even if the battle is with your own mind - especially because that is a tough battle to win.

Get help, ask for it and dont be ashamed. It might look like nobody is going to get you, but trust me, some body will. Life will become better. Thats all I can offer you - words.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Silence

Silence - probably the best answer at times.
The only answer really at times.
I sit down, tired

A mountain of words right in front of me,
shaking as though, about to burst
And I wonder, what would happen,
if the words come back
to hit me again?
The very ones, I spoke
not too long ago..
I want not to swallow them - it does defeat the purpose.

Its funny how things that give you solace,
things that gave you a heart full of joy
are the very things
that can tear your heart apart..

I watch the blood flow,
this really dramatic side of me
and I wonder
and I actually accept,
the pleasure was worth the pain.
The pain, a valuable teacher
and the pleasure a wonderful reward
Just the order - reversed.  

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Let the players play

The players play,
Some were born that way,
some learnt along the way..

I watch them, wondering if they know,
their game I get - almost
Maybe not today, but later, 
But i get it..
Some day

How can shadows replace a form?
But if the shadow is but itself a form,
then the form becomes formless..

I grapple, looking for the sharp edges,
looking for the real,
the solid simplicity,
the beautiful shapelessness,
I hunt for the truth.

My glimpse of the original,
My version of divinity,
One I would never stray from..
Let the players play
They can perhaps skim the surface,
They can maybe cause a dent,
but reality, well, it touches the soul
and lingers forever,
even if hidden away..
It comes out to visit..
Always.

Everyday magic

It's not in the big things. Like you don't have to make a building disappear or make my grandad come back alive to talk to me. Magic is in the smallest of things, everyday. Like a green signal filled stretch, or a spoon full of almonds or a smile or an effortless conversation. Sometimes even in a look. Magic courses through and you realise that everything till that instant happened for that second to happen. Youre blown away by life, yet again. I love this everyday magic. Effortless and happy and transient, definitely transient. 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Dice and Dine

There are some places that make you feel like you are home. Where you can go when you are down, or happy. You get what you want and you are left in peace in a cheerful environment when you dont have much to say or ask for. Service with a smile, when needed.

This cafe in Koramangala is perfect that way. I love the fact that I can pick a board game and just play for hours with their amazing hot chocolate and starters I have fallen for. It has kind of become a ritual for me and my friend.

I have not played board games in sometime now and going to this place, brings back a lot of pleasant memories that games and competition usually elicits in me. The staff is super friendly and helpful. Their collection of board games is also quite exhaustive. I have seen games for all ages and all interest levels.

Life gives us small and sweet surprises at times, to remind us how lucky we are and how the smallest of things can give us the greatest of joys. 

A cocoon of words

I fell in love with this song after hearing it a couple of times. My friend told me that I would love it and she was spot on. The last week, these two other songs have been on repeat too. A tiny note to remember them and these days.



Thursday, December 07, 2017

I love you

If today, was the last day
I can hold on to the memories in my head,
If tomorrow on,
It is an endless stream of moments,
Each one new,
every thing else forgotten, 
All i have in hand every second - just the second,
the one thing I have to do,
is tell you - I still love you.

I love the way, 
you sit next to me when I am down,
I love the way,
we laugh at meaningless jokes,
I love the companionship in our walks, 
often obviously directionless - 
but actually choreographed and in sync.
I love the food we shared,
the smell wafting from the kitchen,
or from the plate.
I love those secret smiles and silent conversations.

I want to tell you, 
I love you
for who you are,
for what we are,
and for all that we are not.
Whoever you are,
that has touched my life
and morphed it,
I love you..
and I thank you - for everything.

I was listening to a lecture about this person Clive Wearing, who wakes up everyday like it was his first, every moment is a new memory - he cannot remember the past, nor can he create new memories - he literally lives in the moment and I wrote this poem after that. If tomorrow, I never get to remember, I wanted to thank and express my love and gratitude for everyone in my life. Life is beautiful and I am glad I have memories to remember everything. 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

It was you

That mysterious smile, 
in my usually transparent face, 
Well, it was you.

The sparkle in my eyes, 
After an annoying day, 
That, was also you. 

The skip in my step, 
Despite a wound, 
Come on darling, you know it was you.

The beauty in words, 
That surround me, 
Again, it was you. 

The joy in proximity, 
The joy in just loving, 
It was always you...

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Most Daring Thing

We played Jenga today. It is funny that in my board game obsessed phase of life, I had never played Jenga.

Anyway, there was a truth question in that today - "What is the most daring thing you have ever done?"

The answer to it is actually something which is an everyday reality for me and my friend.. We funnily had the same answer. :) 

This post is a dedication to fearlessness or courage, which ever word appeals to the reader. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that something is more important than fear" I don't know who said this, there are too many internet claimants to this one.

In our illuminated discussion, we realized that a lot of daring things, things which seem scary - when we conceive them or even figure out a way to deal with them, over a time, are really things that become every day realities. Take them as a matter of fact and move on.

I remember the things I feared today - which I dared to do despite being scared. Standing up on stage, running for school elections, going a few thousand kms away from home to study, falling in love, breaking up, falling in love again,  trekking, sky diving, petting a dog, getting a dog, accepting I am wrong, facing life - if i start listing it, it really looks like I spent more time being scared of things and then doing them anyway. So I can console myself saying - Yes Harini, you are scared of the most ridiculous things, but you are supposedly courageous you go ahead and do it anyway. :)

I think today, your fear also evolves with you. The most daring thing you have done, changes with time and reflects who you are. Nothing can take away your fears, nobody can fight your battles but yourself. Sooner we make peace with it, the happier life is going to be. Easier rather.

What is this life,
if full of care,
we have no time to stop and fear? :)

Perhaps the most daring thing I have ever done, is accept that the most daring thing till date is going to change - maybe as soon as tomorrow. :D

True love

So, I remember this Tamil movie scene from my childhood. (I've a strong love for Tamil movies)

The heroine who is a vegetarian cooks non veg for the hero. So she can find a place in his heart. I never could imagine loving anyone so much to want to stay in the same room as chicken let alone touch it. Nobody could make me do it. (even after I started eating egg a year ago) 

I realised it is possible. I realised life is too long and you come to realisations in the strangest of places, at the oddest of times. I also realised that love comes in many shapes and forms, but it always comes from within. You can't force it to happen, it just does. It makes you accept things never thought possible.

Today, I found my true love when I mixed chicken and rice with bare hands for a pack of dogs I don't even live with. I didn't think twice when I was asked to do it. I realised the magnitude of what I had done after doing it for a little bit. To be exact when a bone type thing poked me. And I laughed, that in the third decade of my life, I should find love in such an unlikely place. This one is quite difficult to compete with, for anyone as nobody can love you like a dog. 
--
Harini Padmanabhan

Walking on Water

Another item in my wishlist. A fantasy rather - given my lack of balance even on straight ground. I want to surf.
Since I cannot right now, I can take pictures of people surfing and post them. This was all taken at Manly Beach. The boat ride to Manly beach is one of my favorite memories of Sydney. Perhaps, another post on that soon.

 I was fascinated by this guy and the way he conquered the ocean on a tiny piece of board. (I have to admire his guts). Especially after he fell down, quite a few times. :)


Of course I had to find a woman surfing - here she is! Perfect!

Someday, this will be me. 

Musically Yours - Different Views of the Opera House

I spent a morning in Sydney walking around the opera house on a guided tour. It was a fantastic experience and it made me fall in love with the building.

The opera house has six theatres and we managed to get into a couple and look around. (The tiny Playhouse theater was my favorite of the two - was too cozy) 

Our guide told us this interesting story of a courier guy who got lost in the opera house. He ends up stumbling on stage when Romeo and Juliet is going on. The actor on stage actually collects the package and signs for it - for the show must go on. The image of a confused courier guy walking into a period drama really brings a smile to my face every time. 

There was another story of a guitarist who was playing really loud and the symphony in a nearby theatre got disturbed. They declared a break there and tried to get this guitarist to be quiet - but he started playing louder as he thought that he was being encouraged. Mismatched expectations - we do so much more in life thinking we are being given a go ahead while what life wants us is to stop. :) 

Coming back to the building, it has an interesting history. It was designed by Jørn Utzon. 
He was the son of a sailor and was born at the end of World War 1. The opera house was inspired by his experience in a temple in Mexico. He felt that the temple's location elevated people from their daily life to a plateau above to commune with Gods. He wanted the opera house to do the same. He predicted a budget of 7 Mn and a time frame of 3 years to get it built. Funnily, he vastly underestimated the effort and the budget. (The gamblers of Sydney can be thanked for having the Opera house up and running) 

The part i loved the most about the Opera House was the room with the angled glass - I could watch the ships sail by.. It was such a beautiful sight. 

The roof, is actually suspended and acts as a sounding board. The symphonies dont use microphones - the pipes and the structure of the building create the aura with beautiful music.

This place is not just used for music though - there have been video game tournaments, Sumo Wrestling and Boxing matches - even Arnold Schwarzenegger covered in oil and posing on stage. :) 

I listened to the Sydney Symphony Practice and was blown away by their music. 

The architect was inspired by an orange to use wedges of concrete like a sphere as a roof. It is unfortunate that he never got to see the building because he left due to political reasons. The man who was in love with the building, was inspired by his wife's swimsuit to create patterns in the roof and who dedicated a major portion of his life to get something as impossible up, could never see it complete (after 16 years and a 102Mn$ budget). In a way, he lives on in something he never saw complete. His son came back to Sydney to help complete the building. 

A view from the harbor bridge:  


Look at the roof - it looks like a rib cage i think.

The tiles and the sky - every angle, the opera house looked different to me.

I was lucky enough to catch a lights show where the Opera house lit up. Love the red color..

A final view before I left from kirribilli.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Super moon

Today, was the night of the supermoon. A friend and I were walking along Koramangala eating California Burrito and discussing life.. Dissecting it rather..

We paused to click a few photographs. I love the hidden moon. The light inside all of us, waiting to just get out. The last picture, the yellow light is the effect of the street light. I could see the moon and the yellow light differently, but my camera could not. Are my memories also going to be distorted similarly? The lines blurring and everything lit up in an overpowering shade of yellow? I dont know. Cant really say!



Thank you

This is probably a late thanksgiving note. I realized today how lucky I have been to have these two in my life. The last year was made beautiful and memorable thanks to them. They were my constant source of stability in an otherwise unstable world. From evolving to living in an apartment to adjusting to all my whims and fancies and absurd schedules, they have been a constant source of joy. 

I love you Laika & Zoya. Thank you for being there. My source of sanity, stability and joy. 




Saturday, December 02, 2017

A moonlit promise

Under this moonlit sky,
I make a promise to myself.
A reminder rather,
for promise is too heavy a word.
A reminder, my fancy phone,
would perhaps love to telecast to the world..
A reminder with a single word - Laugh!

Someday, maybe, under another moonlit sky,
I will have a good laugh.
A good laugh at the fool I am today,
A good laugh at the deeds 
The very deeds, that this instant -
make me conjure images of burying myself deep.
Hoping the depth will balance out the stupidity..
As though like an ostrich, 
I can make troubles disappear,
by refusing to acknowledge them.

Today, I remember what is yet to be
and I try to fake that very laughter,
the loud, hearty laughter.
What else can I do?
Why wait for another day,
when I have today?

How can I split myself into two?
How else can I be mad at my own self?
I struggle to accept - who I am..
The cognitive dissonance loud and clear -
What I ought to be,
What I want to be,
What I can perhaps become..
Am I the woman with multiple faces?
Or am I just someone, learning to laugh at life,
under a beautiful, moonlit sky?

Deceptively small

I walk my dogs in a lake almost everyday. Now a few months back they cordoned off a path to the lake and I had to climb a slightly steep stretch with two dogs. I'd really lose it every evening. In fact tried cutting through some bushes to avoid that hillock and another stretch on a plank after that. Today, I just walked through it without thinking and much effort. I realised I'd been doing that for sometime now. 
I felt happy at having conquered a deceptively small roadblock and overcome my fear of balancing and actually being aware of it. To small victories!
--
Harini Padmanabhan

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Floating on water

I have had dreams where I was walking on water.. Long ago, when I still believed the impossible was actually possible. 

Now, all I can do is admire these sail boats, speedboats in the Sydney harbor and dream of steering one some day. One more item to the long wish list. Harini, steering a boat. 

I have not decided the size of the boat though. Could be tiny or humungous. I might want to speed across the water like a shooting star, or I might want to cruise along, like the path of mercury on a clear night. Maybe, I will do both. Some day..






Indefinite to Definite

A devil I would rather be,
than The devil.
A devil that turns up in your nightmares
and yours alone, every single day. 
A devil that you cant ignore
and one you cant embrace either.

Perhaps, I am The devil,
Definite, permanent, known.
The devil that loves to dance
on a grave, yet to be dug.
For arent all humans,
blessed with their own devils to conquer?
Arent all those the same? 
A part of the whole..

I seek the definite,
knowing that all I would have,
is just the indefinite.

Should I stop, 
or should I pursue?

Is the indefinite, definite enough?
Is this all that I would always have?
Is this all that I ought to?

I wonder and stare down the empty stairwell,
hearing footsteps,
imagining the walls break,
knowing they are still solid.

Indefinite optimism -
Definitely a curse.

P.S - Dedicated to a lunch conversation with a friend and our common love for articles and correcting each other. :) 

Adventures Galore

So I have this cell phone cover that says, "Everyday is an adventure." Well, looking at something like that first thing in the morning (after Zoya technically), kind of sets the tone for the rest of the day in a way. I have not been actively seeking adventures, but then if i have to listen to my friend, one would think I love landing in trouble.

I had a different adventure today. Quick background - I am a person who is extremely paranoid about venturing out alone late in the day. Today, I drove home alone, much after 10. Not only that, I stepped out on a weekday night to do something as frivolous as play a board game. It was major fun.

On the way back, it was me, this song from Justice League and the almost empty roads. I felt in sync with the world around me and I sped home, feeling all grown up. Did I cross a new barrier today? I have played board games at home in the recent past, but I have not stepped out to play in a very long time. It  felt good and for a few minutes, I could see everything falling in place. Almost.. The picture is still hidden though. :)

P.S - I watched Justice League twice. Loved the movie!! (Wonder woman and Aqua man.. :) )


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Death march

One foot in front of another 
Following paths, accepted, known 
And yeah, definitely conventional..
How can I forget that word?

Shudder, I ought not, 
For isn't this the very thing
That's kept order on for so long? 
The comfort of predictability, 
The comfort of knowing ones place..

Nothing crazy, 
Nothing without a name, 
Everything clearly labeled, 
And in its place..

Why does this image 
Scare me so? 
Why do I seek out the nameless? 
Why do I crave for that, though real 
That, which Is always in the shadows, 
The outliers..
The very ones that give normalcy its identity? 

Why doesn't the conventional ever appeal? 
Like a cat, ignoring milk for the cream,
Will I starve or will I drink that milk?
Always aware of what it is not? 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Table Lands

I made friends with an Uber driver in Port Douglas. Well, my ability to talk to strangers doesnt get me into trouble always. :)

He had this amazing Bollywood/Hindi song collection in his car and also a very deep interest in the country where his wife spent a few months in. We got talking and once he realized I wanted to experience Cairns, he volunteered to drive us from Port Douglas to the Cairns airport through the Tablelands.

In a matter of three hours (thanks to multiple stops we made) we saw the scenery change from beaches to tropical forest to a very dry arid outback. I think I want to settle down in Cairns. Even though its been some time since I came back, the place and the drive is still fresh in my mind.

See the beaches, mountains and the beautiful tree..



The road that kept leading to somewhere.. Road taken, maybe still not taken in some ways..

 We stopped at a coffee estate and that place had these really awesome designs made of chocolate. My favorite was this butterfly. One that doesnt fly though.



Two birds flying: 

All over the stretch, we had these huge ant hills. I felt like I was glimpsing at divinity when I saw it. This one looked like a herd of elephants sandwiched together.

I crossed the Barron river while heading back.. Thought of myself in that plane flying away from all the beauty. A happily sad moment.




Wednesday, November 22, 2017

One moment at a time

This is perhaps,
the most silent of my many love stories..
Silence despite the proximity..
debunking myths of those lovers whose hearts talk..
I laugh out as I imagine that..
Converse, definitely our hearts do not,
Speak over each other, definitely yes,
We do so love to talk, you and I.

What I speak, you can never comprehend,
as much as you might understand
and what you say, I cannot accept
as much as I might know.

With the breaths I take in,
Right now, I try to let you go.
I know not, how many minutes, 
this decision will last,
but minutes I have many,
to test it out.

After all, I just have to take life,
One moment at a time.
One moment of joy,
after another, yet another
and before I know it, 
I will have a garland strung,
out of those breathtaking moments.

How I feel about you, perhaps may not change..
Not today, Not tomorrow,
Maybe another day, well into the future.
Who knows?
I dont really care darling!
The heart can long, for the uttainable,
but the mind will continue to seek - the rest.

A million distractions present themselves,
Ones I would not self destruct on. 
I just have to pick one,
One moment at a time.

Avoiding those thoughts,
of cruising down lanes with you,
of walking down beaches
and of waltzing to non existent music.

One moment at a time,
reasserting my love for myself,
over and above everything else. 
x

The Dingo

This is Dingo, the Australian native dog like animal, that does not bark.


And this is these two.. So similar the posture seems to be.

More from the reef and the ocean

I was going through  my pictures to pick a few to print and found pictures I wanted to put up in my blog..

This really old couple going together to their destination by themselves.. I do have a romantic association when I see them. Something I can appreciate.


Here I see a group of what I call the zebra fish. What rich lives we lead to be able to see all this? I feel so complete when I can glimpse life.

A lone ranger.. hiding between the reef:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Over thinker

Today, someone at work told me I was over thinking.It was a different story that I was concerned I had not thought through things at all. The tiny voice in me, the one that mocks my obsession with order in the world, the one becoming louder day by day told me again, how even with every day things, I tend to over think and assume I am under prepared. 

Sometimes, life is all about just focusing on and enjoying the beauty of the breath we are blessed with everyday. Not every moment can be like that, but a lot of moments can be. :) 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mortal and Immortal

This is what I posted in Facebook after I spent a few hours snorkeling..

"A dream came true today as I snorkeled over a part of the great barrier reef. It was such a fantastic experience and I am truly grateful that I managed to get a glimpse of such a beautiful place. It makes me feel more mortal and immortal at the same time as I got to experience a tiny part of something so timeless. Thank you life!"

I still have not found the right words to communicate that experience. So here I go, posting a few pictures and thanking Quicksilver for taking us to the middle of the ocean so I could snorkel. I love the ocean and the waves and I know that is where my home is. Near the beaches.

A few pictures.. That streak of brown in the middle of the ocean..


My glimpse of the reef from a glass bottom boat. Truly fabulous. Watch the interplay of the different shades of blue..

This one, I loved the shape. I felt it was really, truly  unique. 

Couldn't resist putting up a pic with my favorite elements - the mountains, clouds which i can jump on and ride away and the deep ocean with tiny ripples - deep, but waters weren't really still. 






Sunday, November 19, 2017

Port Douglas - Tropical Paradise

We stayed at Port Douglas for a couple of days. I fell in love with the 4 mile beach (My love for waves and water bodies is quite well documented I think)

The sun hiding behind the clouds, playing hide and seek, but not really to hiding from me.. look at how the water sparkles.. 


I found this couple walking all over the beach.. Could not resist capturing them for eternity. I dont know anything about them, but as far as this blog is concerned, I snuck a peek into two people having an idyllic romantic get away..

These flowers caught my fancy. Loved their color especially against the green I so love.

Lastly, coconuts by the beach. Cairns is such a tropical paradise.. I wondered if there will ever be a possibility of coconut lying around like this in India. I love tender coconut and I go hunting for good ones quite often here.. That day,there were so  many lying around, but I could not pick one and have it. :)