QUERENCIA

 

I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop… I wish I could ride on the wheels and turn back into the past where there was a happier me, the real me.

I do not see the mirror too often and when I do, the person staring back is someone else. Someone with greys in her frizzy, untidy hair, dry patchy skin.  I tried to smile at her but then it didn’t reach the eyes; the eyes, big but not brimming with confidence that used to be…the thought made her eyes brim with tears and I felt the warm streaks trickle down my cheeks. I closed my eyes.

The bygone era is in front of me like the visuals of a story board. I see myself as a well-educated, confident person working in a corporate set up.  I loved the corporate work culture-stringent yet crisp. Working with people across seven seas, sharing my thoughts across and being appreciated. I loved it as much as I loved dressing up in formals. “You feel the way you dress” I used to tell my peers and subordinates. I was often told that people loved my sense of dressing- whether it was a pant suit for a client visit, a sari for traditional get-togethers or jeans-tees and sneakers on a lax Friday.

Other than my attire, I always wore a pleasant smile that brought some warmth to my otherwise unapproachable mien-yes I was often told that people found me rather intimidating; believe me I never tried to be that way but all the same I was told that some people were so scared talking to me that they almost ‘peed in their pants’ excuse my profanity but that’s the way it was…

When came to work, assignments, tasks to be done as part of our daily jobs, I was what peers called a thorough professional, I liked to draw clear boundaries keeping friendships, acquaintances and girly soft corners at bay. While holding the noose tight, I knew exactly when to let loose. I liked to get work done in a sustainable manner not by hook or crook. I knew that the latter works only by chance…

I was always amongst the people favoured by the management because of my smart and hard-working professional style. I often got perks like books, attending seminars and access to information that limited people had – that were envied upon by many.

And when people could get through the intimidating part, they would get to know the real me. On the other side I often heard that people at my workplace looked up to me for advice -professional and personal. Yes. Well it’s often heard that some people can just penetrate deep into your soul and siphon out your secrets-I probably was one of them! People would often, and by people I mean seniors, peers and subordinates, leave alone my girly pals; they would often confide in me, seek advice on matters of the brain, mind and heart!

Oh and also, this one brings a wry smile to my lips; people would come to me for small ailments, seeking which medicine should they take for a given injury/pain/indisposition! Well,  this was due to my expertise in a certain field of human anatomy and physiology with a silver lining of an international certification. I remember, the first aid and medicine box used to be with the HR department but they too would call me and ask, and I used to say – ‘Next time I’ll add my consultation fee as part of my reimbursements!” They all would laugh.

Laugh … yes I used to laugh a lot, and I literally used to laugh out loud, that was just the way I did, even on trivial matters, frivolous things, especially on days when work was lean. I used to enjoy a cup of tea with my subordinates as much as with my peers. Working was something else to me; it used to transfer me to another world where I had my identity as myself not as someone’s daughter/wife/daughter-in-law etc etc…. I used to feel I am something. I was. I surely was; the medallions, shields and hoards of certificates were witness to what I had been.

And then…life as we know it, is like a river. It doesn’t flow with the same currents all the time. In times of deluge, the flow sweeps across everything- that deluge happened in the monsoons, a couple of years ago. And when the storm calmed, I felt myself standing on the rocky riverbed empty-handed. Where a day before I had status of my own, the next day with the certain turn of events and fate, I was diminished to a ‘nobody’. I tried to carve my way out but in vain. It seemed like there was no puzzle where I could fit in my piece. This turn of events created a hollow and before I could gather myself, I felt myself falling into this vortex called depression.

My mind and body was giving in, every little thing would bother me. I was scared to move out, meet people, and was retreating into my shell. I had become exactly opposite of what I had been. I hated the world outside. I hated light. Darkness had become my friend; I would walk out in the balcony at night. Sit there staring at the sky as if trying to find my guiding star but couldn’t. I was developing insomnia amongst other symptoms. Medical help was pondered over and after a couple of developments (or should I say deteriorations?), I sought counseling after all. Medication and meditation both in mild dosages were started. My family and I had seen the worst of my being. It was painful; it pained the brain, mind and heart more than the cramping of body. I got into the habit of comfort eating – got bloated as a result and I didn’t go for walks because I was scared to face people. The most terrible phase of life had just begun for me and it was taking me into the darker, deeper oceans of the unknown uncertainty.

My faith on everything had ceased, divinity flickered off and on. The only person at times I would talk to was my husband who refused to let go of me. He was the one who could tackle or handle me in that ‘Mr. Hyde’ state if I may put it that way. ‘Have left the world behind for you, for you take my breath away, You cannot ever fathom, how much love I have for you’ ; beautiful lines of a chartbuster that he had made his anthem, bring tears to my eyes now… two years down the line, things have started to look better, much better than before.

His telescopic vision showed me that my hands weren’t empty; there was something that I had been holding for a long time but not using and it was time that I dust it. The pen. I used to pen down stuff a lot. That was before marriage- I refuted, but he shook my conscience. A couple of randomly written stuff by me gathered attention and I started to get some assignments for writing professionally. I was unsure but my husband and family stood firm as a rock. He knew I could. I started with a jittery hand but managed to complete my assignments. It wasn’t easy at all, as it involved meeting people, visiting their offices, traveling alone and my visits to my counselor were on too. Courage and confidence started to build and then fall down like a pack of cards. It wasn’t smooth sailing there were rejections too, a lot of them. There still are, there always will be; life, as they say isn’t a bed of roses. But the thorns hurt me still.

Another warm trickle down my cheek as I open my eyes- thorns still hurt me and the wounds of the past burn up again when tears fall on them. But now I want to gather myself. I know the journey is long but I have to move ahead step by step. I am not afraid of light anymore; yes it does irk me at times. Darkness is still a friend, nights though aren’t spent walking in the balcony, I am not afraid because I don’t see the moon, because I don’t need to hunt for a guiding star in the sky- it’s right beside me. I would let the wheels of time go ahead now – I will try and smile and I will try and congregate courage to have the smile reach the eyes. My eyes will dream again, to vision, to carve out and create a niche again in the world – my world.

A deluge is desirable at times to wash away what doesn’t belong to oneself. Sometimes a storm is imperative to blow away the dust settled in time, to have the lightening in the skies light up one’s inner fire. Sometimes one needs to go through fire to come out shining like never before, I am going through the fire but I am not burning anymore. I am resplendent because of my querencia, where I draw my strength from, where I feel safe, where I feel the most authentic version of myself- the real me…

 

***

Advertisements

A UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED TRUTH…

It is a universally acknowledged truth that a gift from a sister who knows you in and out, is always close to the heart!

SIS

Well, it’s summertime and the weather isn’t what it you can call fine at all; it’s hot and humid. And one such ‘wonderful’ day I was in the metro-all smiles- in spite of the weather. Not that the ACs aren’t functional in the metro, but it does take time for the perspiration grimed up along the way to the metro station from my place; to dry up. So finally I settled down, with the cooling, in sync with my body temperature and temperament. We’ll talk about the latter some other time. My phone buzzed to notify that those two had taken off from their place too.

Gentle was in town, she had come over for some important stuff, so in spite of the zero (or should I say negative?) balance of her leaves and the sweltering heat in India, she had planned a trip back home. We weren’t even sure of the day she’d arrive on, because there wasn’t a clear intimation on the status of her leave on the day she had to fly down. And her travel agent, in her own words had probably given up and must have been seeking sanctuary in some monastery in Bhutan…

So one fine Sunday I get this call from Masi’s # (Gentle’s mom)- I was like why on earth is she calling me at this ungodly hour on a Sunday morning (it was 7:30 am – obviously ungodly for a regular Sunday morning); it took me a minute to register that it was Gentle in an overenthusiastic tone and not her Mom. I was like” how can you possibly be here?” “You hadn’t put enough of security to detain me at the airport so they let me into the city” was her reply… and we both burst out laughing.  After three and a half minutes we started a conversation which sounded a little like normal talk. She told me about the frantic packing interspersed with a couple of ‘how did you know that’ and ‘oh you guess right’… we always seemed to know and guess things about each other…. A day was fixed for the all important meeting in a couple of days, giving her time for ‘ I am finally here-jet lag-etc ‘ and to catch a few winks between her pending project which she had to be working upon while she was here— corporate corporate world!!!

As expected she and her sonny disowned each other the moment they landed in India and while she worked, sonny was busy with Mamu and Masi ( Akul bhaiya and Kuchu didi for him), she complained in one of the messages that the games and madness went on till 3 AM… I was like “It’s in his genes my dear!!”

And today was the D-day, we were all excited to meet up after such a long time; well precisely 8 months which might not sound like such a long time but considering our history we have been closer than real sisters; the same goes true for all four of us, we refer to each other as siblings instead of cousins. We have literally grown up together and are truly connected by the heart. Gentle, Kuchu, Akul- and me, though I have 10000 other names for them but we shall stick to these for the sake of the readers’ sanity.

My emotional thoughts came to a halt as I heard the automated voice state” Rajiv Chowk, the doors would open on the left” I gathered myself and struggled out of the metro coach, yes, that’s the only way to leave the train on this station.

I checked the network and messaged the two on the whatsapp group (thank god for it; everyone can be precisely on the same page) and they responded with see you in 20. So I decided to wait over a cup of tea. I parked myself at CCD in CP A block, ordered tea. As said there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip, in my case there was a couple of sis between the tea and my lips! They barged in and what happened next would be remembered by the staff at CCD for at least a month if not more, for Gentle was actually shouting when she came running towards me…we were in the ‘Bharat milaap’ position for about ten minutes when Kuchu was like, “I am here too! Remember?!!” “Ah, yeah! Of course!” was followed by a group hug…

We calmed down only to realize that the café was otherwise quite quiet…”How can you possibly do this?” “I wanted to have it since my head was spinning”, well we normally do understand each others’ sentences without any subject/object or nouns and here they were talking about my tea…Before Gentle could open her mouth to ask what did Kuchu wanted to have, she blurted in a markedly loud voice “Cold coffee with ice cream”. So it was. And then began the chit-chat. Gentle was narrating her shoe-story which was interrupted in a digressing sense at least 3 times when she lost her patience and almost held us ransom to listen to her story, else she would add the remaining milk and sachets of sugar to my tea.  We both sat attentively in the fingers on our lips pose towards her as she started (restarted her narration). Oh as for the milk and sugar? That she added anyways…and I emptied a couple of sugar sachets on her jeans. Kuchu was a little scandalized by our antics and took some time to close her gaping mouth after Gentle said “This is just about normal behaviour, shut your mouth”…

After almost 25 minutes Gentle was like, “would they home deliver our coffees?” I said, “Let me check..” and before I could complete my sentence, Kui was like” NOoooo not you please you keep sitting”, I promised that I would just ask them in a completely nonviolent way, she permitted me to go up to the counter” and the coffee came close at heels. The waitress said, “Ma’am your 3 cold coffees with ice-cream”, while there were just 2 and we had ordered only 2 (I was already having tea, remember?)…but we weren’t surprised, such things keep happening, people keep getting disconcerted in our presence especially when we guys are together…

Once we were done with our drinks, we headed towards Fabindia, the major stop for today’s plan. Gentle had to buy some traditional stuff for the pooja at her home in Moradabad. It was a few minutes away in the same block. Inside we noticed that the women’s’ clothing section was upstairs and started to ascend the stairs. Kui looked back to see if we were following, only to find us staggering on the 3rd and the 4th step, in fits of laughter as loud as is permissible at a posh, state of the art showroom in CP, at a busy hour- Gentle and I had just seen the fan; ok, let me tell you here that we both have the talent of laughing unstoppably at any mundane, usual non-funny kind of a person/place or thing; mostly the latter two. So this was one such occasion and the fan looked funny with just two blades moving about in frenzy. But we tried to shut up and move up after Kui gave us her ‘if looks could kill’ glare.

The next half hour were spent in choosing, reminding (about the colors we already have), smirking and making faces at each other in response to the kurtas chosen by each of us. Then we got into the try room (yes all of us in the same one; there was ample space, so…). We must have been creating a ruckus, though we never ever believe we could do that, but we heard this knock on the try room door. We opened up. “Ma’am sorry but we allow only one person per try room”, it was one of the sales staff, to which Gentle responded, “we have to buy stuff and our elder sis has to approve of them”. She looked confused and we left her without further explanation & went ahead to complete our shopping. Finally we moved out of the showroom and god knows why but the guard said “thank you ma’am” with a sigh (of relief?) huh!

Next we barged into another store that showcased ethnic wear but only to find jattak stuff. This is slang for nearly-neon colors with stone-sized, rocky-tacky embellishments- completely contradictory to our taste. We rushed out rubbing our eyes in naughtiness, and I m sure the shopkeeper would have mouthed” what on Earth?” after us!

The rumble in our tummies reminded us that it was well past lunch time, and Kui wanted to have pizza…so we headed towards Pizza Hut, only to find a waiting there. But on Gentle’s insistence we stayed. Luckily we got a table in less than the stated time. We sat and ordered generously. After a bit it was selfie time, we clicked loads of pix, and literally dived into the food when it came to the table. Were we hungry! Gobble and gabble in full swing!

Then began the tug of war with the bill between me and Gentle while Kui was busy updating her FB status, she knew she would be dead if she dared to speak about paying. There are very few occasions when I give that “ don’t mess with your elder sis” look to Gentle and today was one such occasion. So she quietly handed me the bill and allowed me to pay…

It had started to rain as expected, after such a humid morning. We started towards the Famous book store which was an OBVIOUS stop when the two of us are together; Kui isn’t much of a book worm and the two of us – book dragons…

After some more shopping, a glance at the watch told me that I better start off for home otherwise it would be late….though we weren’t ready to take leave but had to… Nevertheless we after yet another bout of hugs, kisses and loving words, took leave. I headed towards the metro station and as I was descending down the steps towards the underground platform, I heard a shrill “ Bye Chitu” !! It was the two of them in their signature voices! So with the final adieu, we parted, only till we meet again.

On the journey back home, I was seated holding the cyan polyethylene packet with the silhouette of Jane Austen on it, containing my gift – a “Jane Austen” pen that Gentle had got for me from Bath where she had gone for her anniversary early this year…she said that the moment she saw these she bought two, for the two of us because she knows, what I would like, what I would find precious. Yes it definitely is a universally acknowledged truth, hearts of soul sisters are surely connected, so well that even a few hours of togetherness gives such immense pleasure and today had been one such day!

A Senescent Smile

Summer was at its peak and the vacant skies promised no respite from the sweltering heat. With thoughts and second thoughts, I descended the stairs to meet my neighbor who was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to accompany her to one of her club activities. We exchanged pleasantries and were soon driving off to another member’s place from where others would collect to go ahead together. And we did. I soon realized that I was the youngest of the lot and my mind was bustling with a lot of questions and anxieties…as I saw the board of our destination– The Red Cross Society-OLD AGE HOME…

old-age-360714_960_720.jpg

Why? Why at all do we have these places? My thoughts were interrupted by my friend’s nudge, ” Chitra come on get down”..I helped carrying the food stuff and some bags of clothes for the residents that we got with us. A nun who was the incharge there, came across as a very benign, soft-spoken and committed person, told us a little about the place. It was home to senescent women who either had no where/ no one to go to or their children/family had abandoned them. They were delighted to see us, it was truly heart-warming to see their desolate eyes shining with a faint smile…

It was nice to see that the place was well-kept. The residents were sitting in the back yard overlooking the huge green lawn. They were looking forward to spending time with us. We sat, talked, shared the stuff that we got with us, and clicked pictures with them. Then we planted some saplings that one of the members had got, hoping that when the saplings flower, they would add color to the otherwise listless lives of theirs…they were happy to see us planting hopes for them.

Soon it was time to take leave. We bid them adieu and got into our cars to get back to our world. On the way back I was happy yet sad. We, the so-called new, young generation-when did we become so selfish and small-hearted that we were left with no place for those who gave their everything for us? We need to halt our supersonic speed of life and give it a thought ….

 

Luxuriant Wilderness…

It was that time of the year when Spring steps in on tinkle toes and the harsh winter winds surrender to the cheery breeze. Our anniversary; though the cheeriness was limited to the two of us only. Oh, not that our folks weren’t happy for us, but whoever heard was like “Again?!!!” Well..Yes again…our anniversary trip to our favourite places- Corbett.

Corbett; now obviously everyone has heard about the Jim Corbett National Park; the bountiful natural surrounds with abundance of varied flora and fauna – mainly the majestic monarch, the tiger. The relative arrangement of the physical features make it one of the biggest national parks in our country. Geographically speaking, it’s located in the foothills of the Himalayas. The variety of verdancy ranges from conifers to deciduous vegetation.

A large portion of the area dominated is by Sal trees, the other kinds of trees include Khair, jamoon, bel, kusum, mahua, bakil, chir pine, banj oak that are scattered in the forest park varying with geography and climatic conditions favorable for them. The holy Peepal and Mango trees are found abundantly too.  And adding color to the verdant palette are the flowering trees like Kachnaar bearing pink hues, Semal – a cotton tree bearing big red flowers, Dhak with radiant orange ones, Laburnum with a happy yellow blossom to name a few. Teak, eucalyptus, jacaranda, silver oak and bottlebrush are some of the trees that are cultivated in the park.

 The river Ramganga along with three major tributaries- Sonanadi, Mandal and Palain make sure that the water supply is perennial in the area.

The entire reserve is divided into five major zones Dhikala, Jhirna, Bijrani, Durgadevi and Sonanadi.

There are trains, and then there is the road…and the likes of us find the latter more suitable for our trip. So my husband and I work early on our anniversary after catching a few winks (literally because as a ritual we had finished the packing only by 1 AM) So after taking greetings and blessings we started off with a promise to Mom to keep messaging about every stop/milestone covered. With our choicest music tuned in, with snacky stuff packed; we were going with my hubby’s ruling we tried and crossed the major traffic- stricken areas before the “office time” which brought us to a good coverage by a 3 hours where after the sight of McDonald’s made us realize that we were low on glucose…hence stopped for refueling of our systems, stretched n freshened up    , we got back in our Rapid.

 The weather was just right, like I mentioned earlier, Spring in the air and everything was just right for a drive like this one. The maddening metropolis crowd, the hustle bustle of the so called civilized society seemed to be rushing backwards as we raced ahead into the sparsely populated area of Ramnagar, heralding our scenic sojourn.

Now Corbett for us isn’t just another National Park, it’s a home away from home, read on to know what makes it just that.

A drive through the open meadows, crossing some tilled land, with the hills in the far sight and freshness in the mountain breeze leads you to a place that looks no short of a fairytale mansion, The Homestead. This sprawling countryside property, surrounded by arable land, fenced by Mango and other fruit trees on the horizon is owned by an elderly couple Anil and Ameeta Puri who became Bunny Uncle and Amu Aunty before our first visit ended. It isn’t one of those clichéd home stays with 5 star facilities that you find mushrooming around the tiger reserve – some very big names at that, but this is something else.

The Homestead has deluxe suites, deluxe rooms, and a couple of cottages. The main mansion has a huge landscaped garden with a riot of flowers, through which a path leads to the flowering trees and the waterfall landscaped swimming pool. Further on are the spa and the gym area. Beyond this is the relaxation area complete with the hammock and a little stream with fish and lotus in full bloom leads to the barbeque region.

The moment we got there, we saw Aunty and Uncle both standing to welcome us with open arms. The manager and the entire staff have taken after our loving hosts in affability. After the exchange of pleasantries we were ushered into the open dining area – an area beautifully done up with lovely plants and many objet d’art. Our tiredness seeped away as we quaffed homegrown sugarcane juice with a dash of mint and ginger.

Now we two have this advantage of getting the cottage to ourselves on visit. And when we went in, apart from the impeccably done décor to suit our taste, to our surprise there were gifts and chocolates placed in our room! That was such a sweet gesture really!

The meals are categorically to our liking and after the evening tea, Uncle took us to present his new found hobby of star gazing; there was this huge telescope and he had a lot to tell us about this new venture.

We retired into our cottage to rest for while and joined Uncle and Aunty for our special anniversary dinner with them. Where after we talked over dessert and finally retired for the night…with the excitement of going on a safari the next morning.

Usually getting up in the morning is quite a task back home but there we didn’t seem to need an alarm at all! We got ready in no time and packed up for our amazing time ahead.

Now in most of the places in our country 4 AM isn’t really the time of bustling activity in the market place- but here you’d find just that. All shops are open barring a few showrooms, and the roads brimming with people and vehicles. Their day starts early because of the tourist movement in the wee hours.

The moon was still governing the skies when we got to the gate of the reserve. To top it all there was a stall of steaming hot masala chai where all the who’s who of the tiger reserve fraternity were busy sharing their schedules and designated jeeps. So we got into our jeep with our guide and driver. We usually take the entire jeep to ourselves to enjoy our safari to our taste. We categorically told the guide and driver that our aim isn’t just tiger sighting, it’s to enjoy nature every bit of it. Dhikala zone is covered mainly by a canter unless one stays in the camps/guest house in the core area which wasn’t the case with us, so we were out into the Jhirna zone.

In the outskirts of the jungle one can see other mortals but as you go deeper you learn to admire the quietude. The spotted deer and sambhar are always the first to welcome us. Followed by Neel Gai and lemurs. As the dawn broke the chirruping of birds grew louder and we spotted some beautiful winged creatures.

Further on there was an apparent distress call by the monkeys…a distress call denotes danger lurking in the shadows …but who? Big question.

We drove ahead tight-lipped though there are certain tourists who don’t believe in the sanctity of silence – I personally feel they shouldn’t be allowed inside the part at all…

Well, to our good luck the noisy group left – they weren’t really patient to see what’s in the bushes. Our guide told us that the sound coming through the trees seemed like a group of elephants – and so it was, not really a group but a couple of them. The bigger one kept far and moved away, but there was this cute one, a little older to be called a calf but not yet an adult who was confused whether to scare us or run to mama! I got a perfect click of my hubby clicking it.

Moving through the stream that usually floods over in the rainy season, we drove over rocks, making way amid edgy creepers and thorny bushes into the wilderness. There was this area of yellowed but long grown grass when suddenly but tactfully our driver said “ Tiger” “Where?” “Just look in front in the grass” So we did…and with a walk that befitted a queen, Sharmilee the tigress came out into the path…crossed our jeep silently as we were busy clicking and relishing august company. It went away to the other side of the shrubbery. Wow … just wow.

It is a general human behaviour in Corbett that one gets a sense of achievement after a tiger sighting; and we were no different. So on our way out of the jungle we were even more actively soaking in the freshness of the pure breeze. Yes the deer bid us a ‘till we meet next’ on our way out too…

Uncle and Aunty were awake and the staff was bustling to set the table for our breakfast by the time we got back. Seeing our excitement they guessed our stint with royalty. We were back in our cottage showered, took some time off lazing around. We walked in the gardens relishing the riot of colours in the bloom all around. We prepped for an early lunch and started off for the evening safari (yeah some of you might ask – again? But you just had one in the morning?) OK yes, and to reiterate Corbett for us isn’t just tigers, it’s a wholesome experience. So we went off again for our confluence with the nature; and needless to say we enjoyed this one thoroughly too. We were back in time for our evening tea spiced up with stories of Bunny Uncle!

Next day we woke up leisurely to the crowing of the cock – a very punctual breed of poultry in our hosts’ farm. They have cultivations on their land all around, including orchards (lychee and mango), a mini poultry farm for eggs, an organic compost pit – so in a way they are self sufficient in all respects. We took it easy that day, drooled over an amazing breakfast especially planned by Aunty.

Finally a little before the sun went overhead we got ready for an adventure ride.

The ATV – All Terrain Vehicle- a comparatively new concept in India is a 4 wheeled vehicle that can run on any terrain – believe me I wished I could take one back home too… Well, my hubby was given a micro-crash course on how to drive it by one of the staff members there, and he was kind enough to pilot us through the ride too. I perched up behind my hubby and whoa what a ride it was! We went through the forest area in the vicinity (a few kilometers away that is) of the mansion, through all possible terrain…no I didn’t fall – but you must hold tight, literally!

Once back we had a quick lunch before we kicked off to our last safari of the visit. Our guide somehow wasn’t available but the driver said he would take us through the safari as we would like. So we went ahead with our driver cum guide into the hinterland yet again. The deciduous grows so thick in the deep core area that there is darkness even during noon. Due to the weather being warmer than usual, it had been forecasted that the tiger in that zone could move into the particular area called Machan Chaur during that time of the day. Now such predictions are made based on years of experience and research on the forest area and the animal behaviour native to that region. So there was no question of not waiting…though there wasn’t really a call, we managed to see the striped big cat through the dense bushes but it was just a ‘blink and you miss’ sight. Our driver told us that this animal would move to the other side now so if you guys want we could go there…we both nodded our heads and exclaimed “But of course!” in unison…safaris are one of the occurrences where our views are almost similar if not exactly the same…!

So we drove over to the other side and found hardly any jeeps close to our heels.. I mean wheels…it was a risk and we hoped to have a royal rendezvous and we did!!! It was Pandit – the grown up male cub- almost an adult, came from over the rocky terrain, and crossed our jeep – yes it was within a meter of our vehicle!!! What a sight really. It was just too good. Animals definitely seemed more well behaved than us mortals, even a tiger wouldn’t do anything if not provoked no matter how close you are to it, it wouldn’t strike unless provoked or it has turned into a man-eater…well well to make matters great the land on the other side was all plain with burnt grass so we could observe our national animal in all its pride and glory. After freezing the moments on our cameras, we started on our ride back to the entry gate. It was a very happy day and were we dying to tell Uncle and Aunty about our encounter!

They met us out in the front lawn for tea, and were all ears about our adventure. Afterwards we retired, took some rest and were back to Uncle and Aunty for to spend the evening with them. We chatted over snacks about Uncle’s flight in a chartered plane and more. Post dinner we packed up stuff and bid our adieu to our hosts- they had to leave for a family wedding infact had stayed back to meet us…but they made sure everything was in place for our journey back home.

At times one thinks, it’s impossible to hold time, make it stand still even if you want to you cannot, but these fun adventurous moments at Corbett read Homestead get etched on your heart forever. The experience is like a soul – detox to rejuvenate and that’s exactly how we felt as we drove back home, bidding au-revoir to our home away from home – only till we meet again…

Fate of Ferrum

It’s mined out from the depths of the earth, in its raw, crude form, with Oxygen seems to form a protective layer around it. Iron ore – the nascent existence of iron in nature. It exists in various embodiments which vary according to the quantity of the Ferrum presence. This may sound pretty dull but the polychromasia is vast. In various shades ranging from monochromatic gloomy greys to joyous bright yellows, from secretive deep purples to fiery rusty reds- Ferrum definitely seems multifaceted…

Once recognized by the miners, it becomes Iron which needs to give away its protective oxidized shell to move on. A xenolith is on its way to take on the world…but for that it must go through fire…literally.

It goes on to have a blast- in the blast furnace where the heat’s ballpark figure is 1300 degrees Celsius, it has no option but to smelt… a counter-current realtor where the solids (in the igneous form that is..) descend and the gaseous form ascends with numerous chemical and physical reactions produce the desired hot metal…

After the basics, start the prepping for the wide world. It befriends various elements to hone strength, endurance and power…whereafter there is absolutely no stopping. It goes on to conquer the world, right from the unsubstantial yet all important pin to heavy duty industrial equipment and paraphernalia, to the tiny wheels running chronographs to the magnanimous modes of transportations used for mortals and machinery, to the medicines and the spoon that’s used to quaff it…to our very own blood…Iron seems omnipresent- putting it to a near-Alexander pedestal…all in metallic silver-like iridescence.

It rules the world for eons…when the opalescent sheen sees grey… there is a rusty red alert…the oxygen which once formed a protective covering, seems to tell the days of glory are bygone…it tries hard to yell and tell- No I am fine! I can be just as good as before!! But invain…the illustriousness fades away…it is reduced to nothing but scrap, a smithereen belonging to the junkyard, it must go…must be renounced and so it does disappear into oblivion where no one knows what it was…forever…

The storm went on…

I tread along with my solitude

My sighs accompanied me

Leaving my footprints on the sands of life

Which are soon merged with the breeze of time

 

Everything was breathing low

When the trees bowed their heads down

And the wind blew mild

From who’s unseen presence

 

The leaves – dead, blown away

The storm like the swirling emotions

Churning in my heart

Taking everything in its stride

 

I try to hold every bit I want

But my grip seems to give away

The thunder voices my defeat

I look up with my arms raised in despair

 

My soul bleeds, and eyes overflow

I try to see a rainbow in those drops

But only to behold agony

They fall on the sands of hope

 

The dream I had created

Shattered infront of my very eyes

The lightening becomes my heart

Like sizzling embers aghast

 

I can hear the silence

That gives words to my calls

Echoes as annihilated

And the storm went on…

 

DESTINY…

From time immortal and today still

What ought to happen surely will

With threads of silken gleam

Thee weaveth many a dream

Like a thought on a sculptor’s fleece

To create a masterpiece

Taking the azure of the sky

Golds of the day and silvers of the nigh

Thinking for hours at a stretch

Putting thy imaginations forming a sketch

With feelings on high and hard-worked strings

Thee built ambitious wings

To fly tall above the trees

At the pace of the swift breeze

Thee put every effort to fulfill

Thy dreams, thy future, but still

Thou art invincible yet it’s strong

It sounds like an unheard song

Something that thy ears can’t hear

Something that thou arms can’t bear

It is beyond what eyes can see

The ultimate truth…the Destiny