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Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Flute Seller

Reference - I was sitting outside my home and suddenly heard a magical and melodious sound. This post is a reminder to ourselves to take out time to listen to the enchanting music of Nature and value artists in our vicinity.

A cup of cappuccino and a book;
Picture Courtesy- Sumiran Caprihan
I sit in the garden at a nook.

Chatter of the people,
twitter of the birds,
dogs bark and cats purr.
Trees shed the leaves on the earth.

Musical instrument afar is heard.
"It's a flute!" I abruptly jump and 
run towards the man;
who holds a bunch of flutes.

I call him out and he gives me a look;
disappointed with me he was
as I didn't wish to buy his flutes.

I asked him, Would you like to earn by playing the flute?"
He answered, "That's not my job. 
It is to sell the flute.
Many like you have asked me to play 
but I don't wish to.

My job is only to sell the flute."

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Instameet


Indore Instameet 
September 9 2017
Picture Courtesy - Madhur


It was a chance to connect with writers, bloggers, RJs and social media influencers.
Words were exchanged and knowledge was gained when a few got together.

Talent is everywhere and such meets help to nurture,
Inquisitive questions and elaborate answers awakened the lazy souls to get up from their stupor. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Kids at SEA

6.9.2017
Shaista's English Academy (SEA) Khandwa
Kids at SEA


Peppa Pig, Sunita Williams
 or Kalam,
These kids have watched them all.

They love the time spent here at SEA,
They reach the class too early
and peep the door to look for me.

The latch opens, they rush inside like the local train passengers
whose train will stop only for a little while.

The queries, giggles, book reading, dictation,  writing activities and permissions for going to the loo.
For an hour the optimism can be felt in the room.

How much shall I write?
There's so much to share about the
these honest eyes and real smiles,
tired bodies with fresh minds.


Monday, 4 September 2017

Period

Picture Courtesy-Anonymous

At midnight she felt the spasm
sleepily dragged the hand
to the drawer and wore the pad.
Sleep disturbed, feet got cold
a hot bottle soothed the pain.


Stomach groaned of hunger
and the uterus of unbearable pain.

The half-eaten chocolate in the shelf
melted in the golden wrap.
The fingers digged deep in the chocolate ball
She slept until morning all curled up.

- Shaista Dhanda
4.9.2017

This post on 'Period' is a part of photo series on Instagram. The picture is anonymous. I have written on the topic as asked by @youthspowerindia on Instagram. I hope many girls and women will relate to the words and the boys may understand.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Omkareshwar

I was sitting in the Narmada resort restaurant today in the evening while watching the constantly changing hues of the sky. This particular moment pulled me towards the balcony and I opened the latch of the glass door as quickly possible as I wished to click this moment and share the natural beauty with you all. 

The sky is wide and blue with boats sailing in the Narmada river and the yellow dim lights make the landscape prettier than before the lights were on. Such moments of silence, beauty and serenity are rare to be observed in today's hustle bustle. The drive was worthwhile to this place. I felt it called me to see its enchanting beauty and I was pulled to this place to never come back. I wished for the sky, the river, the view to stay the way it was forever. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Rishikesh Zostel: Solo traveller

Hello readers
I travel to explore the unknown lands and meet people on the journey called life. One should move out of the comfort zone of one's body, mind and spirit to explore the unexplored. Here I write about what and how I did in Rishikesh.
Day 1 & 2
5.6.2017 & 6.6.2017
I left for Rishikesh via Agra- Dehradun Volvo which left from Agra ISBT at 20:40 PM IST. The bus reached at 4:30 AM with a half an hour halt at 2 AM in Gopal Resorts Muzaffarnagar. On the way, I watched the moon, felt the breeze, watched the Ramadan feasting at Meerut, talked with the co- passenger Archana, Marriott Agra employee travelling to Mussoorie.
At 4 AM, the Ganges ghats at Haridwar were silent, the water flowed smoothly, a few locals were out for a walk. I reached Haridwar bus stop at 4:45 AM and after waiting for five-ten minutes boarded a local bus and reached Rishikesh bus stop at 5:50 AM.

The journey in the traquil town began at dawn sitting in an auto dropping me to my home for a few days, Zostel Rishikesh at 6:10 AM. I was informed at the Zostel reception that the bed in the dorm I booked will be vacated by 10:00 AM and I can chill till then at the rooftop cafe or take a cat's nap in the colourful and cozy hangout zone. I went upstairs and had two cups of coffee while enjoying the serene view and feeling the soft breeze. After sitting there for almost one and a half hours, I headed to the hangout zone for a few minutes.
The Yoga class at the garden area instructed by Savanna began at 8:30 till 10 AM where a bunch of people stretched and listened to their bodies. After the yoga session, I headed upto the hangout zone where I met Divya and Swapnil from Mumbai later joined by Loveneesh from Chandigarh. All of us spent hours chit chatting, knowing each others' lives over food and shakes we had ordered.
In the afternoon, I spent sometime with three girls in my dorm, two of them were friends from South Africa and the third one was a lawyer from Jabalpur.
Most of the hours at the Zostel were spent in the hangout zone chatting with travellers and trekkers. There I met Pooja from Indore who was intrigued to see a lot of female solo travellers and decided to blog about all of them.
In the evening, the Zostel arranged a visit for everyone to the Triveni Ghat to experience the Ganga Aarti. We left at 5:30 PM with Shashi, the man who was handling the Zostel with a fantastic team. While returning we all got drenched as it rained heavily. We were sixteen people divided in two autos reached the Zostel at 7:30 PM.
For dinner, I landed upto Cafe Moktan, a beautiful Tibetan style decorated place with Gurshisan and Loveneesh where we had a big serving of Mushaka and shakes along with a dish of spaghetti. After dinner, we sat at the rooftop cafe at the Zostel listening to some music and meeting more people there.
I headed up to my upper bunk bed and closed my eyes with so many beautiful memories.

Day 3
7.6.2017
I dressed up for the Yoga class in the garden area but the class got cancelled as it rained. I left the Zostel at 8ish in the morning to Cafe Moktan where I was the previous night for a hot cup of coffee. Wet with drops of heavenly rain I jumped up my seat, crossed my legs and listened to the Buddhist chant played there. The day started with the perfect blend of cofffee, music and rain. After an hour, I ran on the road under the falling drops of rain to quickly get dressed up for the river rafting as the meeting time at the reception was 10 AM. Fortunately, the Ringo dorm was empty so I quickly had a shower and met the fellow enthusiastic bunch of people at the reception. Due to the rains, the water level of Ganges had risen, so instead of twenty-six kilometres we were allowed to raft for eleven kilometres. Seven of us left the Zostel excitedly, filled up the forms and sat in the jeep which took us to Kalabaos, an area from where we started. Vinod, the instructor from the Unique Himalayan Adventure instructed us the ways to wage through the roaring waves of the river, quickly thereafter we sailed for about eleven kilometres. I was scared to go for rafting alone but found strength in the group. Laura and Anna two strong sisters, as they had just done the Everest base camp from New Zealand, Sarah from Luxerburg, Rajath from Bengaluru, Ellie from Liverpool, the UK, Lavneesh and Gurshisan from Chandigarh.
Rafting is not only an adventurous but spiritual experience where you connect with the mountains afar and the river under whose lap you find comfort. Everyone jumped out of the raft in the middle of the river at the instruction of Vinod but I was scared and was the last one to jump and tightly held the rope connected with the raft. In reality, the lifejackets were our saviours but the river felt like comfort to me. I enjoyed the moment of bliss.
Internet has been buzzing a lot about the 60s cafe in Rishikesh so we all famished (food & travel) fellows treaded our path this Beatles / 60s cafe after having a quick shower at the Zostel. The food was scrumptious, well presented and the place had a view of the flowing Ganges. From there, few of us left for a stroll, sat for almost half an hour at the German Bakery overlooking the jampacked and narrow Laxman Jhula. I really wished to observe the graffiti on the walls of Beatles' Ashram where the famous 60s Beatles band stayed back then. It was scorching hot but none of us had further plans so Abhijeet, Loveneesh, Rajath and I started walking on the bridge which made me go dizzy and I had to literally close my eyes and hold one guy's hand to cross that constantly shaky bridge. We walked and walked and I suddenly saw a man playing didgeridoo. I had read about this man named Mukesh and his little hut called Jungle Vibes on one of the blogs on the internet. All of us were amazed at the breath control of the musician. I had a little chat with this man and he told me you're talking about my father who was at the Dayanand Ashram then meeting Mooji baba. He even gave me his contact number as I looked eager to have a chat with Mukesh Ji. Then our ears turned to a man probably blind sitting on a cemented bench next to Jungle Vibes. He was chanting "Radhe Radhe Govind Radhe" musically and his voice soothed my ears, had a little conversation with him.
All of us were thirsty by then and landed upto Little Buddha rooftop Cafe which had a wonderful view of the river and the scary Laxman Jhula. There we decided not to go ahead to the Beatles Ashram as it was further a half an hour walk. We chilled at the cafe and talked till the sun had beautifully set. It wasn't dark yet so we decided to take a speed boat ride but didn't go as it was expensive and not even lasted for five minutes. We crossed the river and walked the Cafe De Goa lane and reached the Ghat opposite Trayambakeshwar Temple which was a hidden gem known by Abhijeet. All of us sat at distances to enjoy solitude and dipped our happily tired feet in the cold and comforting waters of the Ganges. After a silent and happy time at the Ghats we left for the Zostel. On the way, Rajath made us meet some of his fellow trekkers from the Roopkund Trek at one of the hostels near Laxman Jhula. Three of us left for the Zostel had our dinner there and then spent some time listening to Ankit play the beautiful strings of guitar at the lobby area. The night was beautifully spent in the hangout zone chatting and sharing experiences of lives and then finally hitting the beds.

Day 4
8.6.2017
I had no plans for the day like I never have everyday. I wish to go with the flow and do what I feel at each and every moment.  Rajath had planned and booked for bungee jumping at Jumpin' Heights at Mohanchhatti and as invited by the group I joined them to the site. The ride was spectacular as I could feel the breeze and hear the Nature's blissful sounds. I was a pillion so could easily enjoy seating at the backseat. It was twice we could look at Iguanas crossing the road like obedient citizens of the city.  Loveneesh, Abhijeet and I spent hours at the view point while gutsy Rajath and his friends jumped nonchalantly from the height of 83 feet.  
The day got over clicking videos of the brave people and having Maggi for lunch. We reached the Zostel in the evening and quickly then Abhijeet left to catch his train to Delhi.  After a while, Loveneesh left too for Chandigarh. The realization hit me that it's time to go for me too.  I wished to linger but in the journey of life we all have to move on.  So I booked my bus ticket for the 9th of June for Agra. In the evening we spent sometime in the dorm meeting new travelers from different parts of the world.  For dinner, Rajath and I went to a Pizza place next to the Zostel. I played Ludo with fellow travelers from Gurugram in the hangout zone and then slept in the comfortable bed in the dorm.

Day 5
9.6.2017 
Rajath had to leave for Benaguluru in the morning. In an another dorm I met Jason who was traveling all around the world for the past ten months after quitting his job in Bermuda. Rajath, Jason left the Zostel fort heir journeys ahead and three of us decided to have brunch together at Cafe Moktan.  There we talked about our lives and enjoyed each others' company. We clicked a few pictures and bid adieu. I went back to the Zostel and talked with Shashi at the reception. In the evening, met Rebecca with whom I went to have kulcha chhola in the market.  While returning it rained heavily we ran towards the Zostel and reached there all drenched. Shashi had organized a Bollywood dance class for the inmates. Few of us,  all girls learned dancing on the song Tamma Tamma by a local dance teacher named Gokul.  I quickly rushed,  took a shower,  changed and left the Zostel bidding good bye to the people I met there and left with a backpack full of beautiful memories. 
This journey will always be fresh in my mind as I connected to a lot of people,  shared life experiences and returned home with inner happiness to return again to an unknown destination.













Saturday, 24 June 2017

Hope

I write to share the emotions I feel
I shall tell you it's okay to weep

Don't close the shell
come out, open as a pearl

Only in the hard times
one finds courage 

As hopelessness leads to the search of hope.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

एक सवाल

लहरें सी दौड़ रहीं हैं मन में
छूना चाहती हैं किनारा।
तुम पूछोगे, "कौन रोक रहा?"
जवाब नहीं है मेरे मन में।

समाज की बेड़ियाँ मैं जानूँ ना
पर कोई तो है जो रोक रहा
सवाल पूछने से ही मिलेंगे जवाब
पूछो अपने मन से।

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Creation

The pen glides as the sail boat does
 on the smooth waters of the ocean;
words dance, punctuation marks prance
at the right places marked by the artist.

The ocean is endless like the blank pages
 on which the artist continues
with her embellished words and phrases;
she sways her pen and opens up her eyes
 to many emotions she had hidden
in her hijaab for seasons.

The emotions flow, the face uncovers
and here she stands to row the boat
as she is the artist of her own creation.

Picture Credit- Shaista Dhanda

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Who am I

Who am I ?

Am I the one talking to you with a smile?
Am I the one who is thinking about the sweet and sour moments of the past?
Am I the one who is flying high in her own thoughts?
Am I the one who dreams all day long?
Am I the one who makes mistakes?
Am I the one who hesitates to pick up the pen?
Am I the one who cries alone?
Am I the one who falls and rises?
Am I the Phoenix or Ozymandias?
Am I a poem or a prose?
Am I the musical beats you hear all night?
Am I the rain drops that soothe the sweaty beings waiting for long?

Who am I?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

समय और दोस्ती

समय बीत जाएगा, गम भूल जाएगा,
क्रोध नहीं, दोस्ती का हाथ बढ़ा।

मीठी यादों को ताज़ा किये ,
गलतियों को माफ़ कर,

यह ज़िन्दगी छोटी सी है और दुनिया भी
कब सामना हो जाये, दोस्ती का हाथ बढ़ा।



Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Woman- Translation by Ayodhya Prasad Gaur

Art inspires art. Mr Baijnath's painting inspired me to write something about it and the chain continues as Mr Ayodhya Prasad Gaur from Vedanta Limited, novelist, theatre artist, motivational speaker wished to translate my work of art. 
I am honoured, blessed and humbled to get recognition from an author himself. Here is the original piece and the translation. 

 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Sounds of Nature

The wind chime's sweet sound plays in my soul 
The noise of the traffic, the cawing of the crow
are soothed by the melody of the trinkets which show
The tall trees and their boughs, the cricket sounds and the bumblebees brown
Buzz all their way along with the butterflies
 which brush away my cheeks and make me glow
The spray of water on the plants, the smell of the drenched earth after a shower
make me forget all the worries 
and I join them in the reverie.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Woman

Woman

Like the magnetic force
her eyes pulled me closer 
She is an artist's creation
and a living woman.

 The frown and disheveled hair
distressing worries in her eyes.
Then I  looked at her lips
there was no trace of a smile.

The bindi is not her own
all bought by the husband 
she's not even hers anymore.
she wants to talk but who is her own?

Her eyes speak volumes
A tornado of upsetting thoughts 
She stays with me tonight 
in my dreams, memories 
and the artist's world now.

P.S - These lines are inspired by Mr Baijnath's creation of a painting of a distressed Indian married woman. Mr Baijnath is an experienced and exceptional artist based in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh. I visited his 'Rangakriti Art Gallery today (16/2/2017) and these are my afterthoughts.









Monday, 11 April 2016

The Kingfisher

Yesterday I saw a grey cat jumping with joy in my green garden relishing a piece of meal which seemed it has received after eons. It seemed that the feline was enjoying its best meal. As soon as the cat finished its food, it took a comfortable position and quite eponymous to its name, it took a cat's nap.  The cool blades of grass which were lately showered with water by the gardener, Govind became her bed. The breathtaking smell of the wet mud, the continuous cackle of the tiny birds and a playful cat were a sight to be enjoyed by an avid Nature admirer like myself. 
I chuckled with overwhelming joy,my gardener and I had a quick chat about the relaxed life of this feline. In the evening, when I stepped out into my garden, I happened to glimpse at something turquoise and bluish in colour resting on the plains of the lawn. 
Quite ironical to my morning's joy, my broad ear to ear smile turned into sadness. I was flabbergasted as I realised that the  creature lying motionless on the ground is the cat's full meal. It was a kingfisher. Still, beautiful, cut from the centre; I kept on gazing. 
Oh! I exclaimed as the rare bird to this surrounding had now gone forever. I was dejected but soon said to myself that this is the food cycle. When I shared this experience with my Dad, he told me "Dear, this is happening today. The big and the powerful are trying all their ways to eat the small."