Falling in love

Bora Bora 030Maybe one day I shall become a poet,
and write a book. Each page will be
enjambed with my tongue.
I shall publish it on recycled paper
and leave plenty of space in the margin
for your notes.

When you chose to relax
with a glass of wine, open my
book & like a dolphin dive in.
Leaving splashes of my words on
your couch.

Do not swim just sink into my poem
and let the music fill the pores of your soul.
For here my reader, my lover you will be
safe forever…

Road to Discovery

I wanted to feel the thrill of the wild zinging through my teeth, so I pulled up fragments of survival into a backpack, enough to keep Sequoia hospitable for a week. And set off backpacking with a group of four, towards the Alpine zone.  The deeper we receded into the woods the harder it got staying on the trail. The storms the week before had done a nasty job of hiding the trails.

 I must have failed to keep pace with the rest of the pack, for I found myself farther and farther away until the distant heads vanished into the thickness of foliage. Before long instead of following a team of four, I found myself breaking trail through un-trampled greens. The map no longer fit the terrain, the trails were completely disguised with the havoc the storm had caused and there were fallen trees everywhere. As the sun dimmed its intensity, my hurried footsteps got more and more confused. One wrong turn led to another, and before I knew it, I was lost.

Night in the woods descends like a mighty eagle with its wings outstretched. Darkness is sudden and complete. There is no comforting light peering through the embroidered curtains, or the mechanical buzz from the kitchen fridge, a sprinkler sputtering off at night, the friendly chatter of the TV, or the familiar clatter of silver ware and plates at dinner time. Instead there is the loud rhythmic thump of your heart beating against your ear drums. There are other disturbing noises intensified by the silence of the night. Like the rustling of leaves nearby, a sudden cry that resembles a baby shrieking except it is not, a howl, a hoot and an unnerving pair of yellow eyes watching from the distance…

 A small shaking flashlight in hand and a poor job of a tent later I find myself strangely secure. It occurs to me that a human’s most fetal need is the need for security no matter how frail the promise of security may be. Thankfully, the fatigue from the day wraps its sleep laden hands around my neck and drowns me into deep slumber. For two days I hike senselessly around the green corridors of tall trees losing my way constantly. Until several miles, an abandoned baby stroller, broken shards of beer bottles, disbanded backpacks, and several cairns later I am convinced that I am well on the road to discovery.

The search team must have been thick on its trail, for it isn’t long before I hear myself scream, hands flailing like turbines in the wind. As two distant flashes of light glimmer like twin candles in the thick of the night swiftly growing in size. Woods

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

- Calvin CoolidgeMeenakshiTemple 229

Relic

Here are some pictures of the famous St Xavier Church of Goa. The relics of St. Xavier are kept at this church in a silver casket and brought down for public viewing once every 10 years. The next exposition is planned for 2014. 084

Ubecute believes and respects the sanctity of all faiths and is not affiliated to any one religion. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/relic/

The wealthiest Man

02A breezy autumn afternoon, and a long drive back home. We were returning from a long trip with our extended family; aunts, uncles, cousins and all. In those days there were miles and miles of farmland even on the outskirts of Delhi which is now a pockmarked cement jungle. We were all exhausted from our long journey, so we decided to stop and stretch a while at one of the sugarcane farms on our way back home.Man selling sugarcane juice

The village had a lazy aura to it. It felt as though the environment was drunk on the sweetness of the cane fields. The yellow-green rows of cane plantation reminded you of long siestas under the balmy sun that promise never to end. A bullock-cart passed by carrying a farmer and his family Tok, Tok, Tok. A vendor on a wooden cart squeezed a tall glass of green sugar cane juice adding a dash of fresh ginger, salt, lemon and ice upon request.

An old thin farmer in a white dhoti and a shawl wrapped around him, squatted on the side walk with a bunch of other villagers. His was not the face of a youthful, carefree man who has yet to experience the toils of life. Instead, his face was the color of dark caramel etched with wrinkles. He had the intelligence of experience and a carefree resignation that comes from knowing, “it will all turn out okay in the end.” After a hard day’s work at the farm, I doubt he ever had to spend his nights tossing and turning trying to sleep. A good night’s sleep is often the understated reward of occupations that require handwork and sweat.Man sleeping in the farm

I was probably nine or ten at the time and most of my cousins were even younger than me. We were all very tired and needed a break. My parents asked the farmer if we could stop for a while at his field. He welcomed us enthusiastically, and showed us the way to a cool spot under a tree and offered us water. Then he took the shawl off his back and spread it on the ground for us to sit. And without a warning ran off into his field to pick us some of his ripest produce. Meanwhile, the kids started to create a hullaballoo playing tag and doing what kids do best; creating a racket! Nobody sat down, children were running everywhere and soon enough the poor farmer’s shawl was stamped with tiny boot marks. Thankfully, my aunt chided the kids, picked up the farmer’s shawl and folded it into a neat bundle. By the time the farmer came back, we were hungrily devouring the lunch we had brought with us. We offered the old man to join us, but he refused. It was probably one of the best meals I ever enjoyed. The inviting breeze on our faces and the incessant gossip of the country birds; what five star hotel could beat this ambience? For dessert we enjoyed a sampling of freshly picked sugarcane the farmer had brought us. I know our parents thanked the farmer heartily for his hospitality and insisted he accept money as a small gift, but he refused outright.

Children are so impressionable. It’s been decades since that day and yet it is still fresh in my memory. As far as I am concerned this farmer who took off his shawl and placed it on the ground for us to sit, was the richest man I have ever had the fortune of meeting. Wealth is not measured by a bank balance or the number of houses and cars one owns, it is simply a state of being. To be truly wealthy means to be so sufficient that you are happy to share your riches without the worry of losing them. And who could be wealthier than this old farmer who would share the shawl off his back with absolute strangers? As you will agree, even though the world is full of rich people there are few who are truly wealthy. Such people live on a different plane from the rest of us. Each experience etching an indelible wrinkle of serenity in their hearts, deepening their belief that, “it will all work out ok in the end”. So that when it’s time to go to bed, it’s simply ‘lights out’.

On Chosing a Profession

Getty & More 080

I suppose I could be
A lawyer, Car salesman, Politician,
Then again I could just be a poet,
Lying glibly like a water through a spout.

Opening the morning newspaper,
Predetorially eyeing for bushels of words,
greedily borrowing from obituaries,
scandals and star sightings.

Rolling alphabets into a poignant poem
like a ball of barbed wire.
Watch Out!
It cuts.

I would take a pregnant walk,
around graffiti stained neighborhoods
and conjure up the Garden of Eden,
Resurrect the Empire State building
our of random rubble,
Dream up kingly processions
out of burial coaches,
Fathom the Battle of Waterloo out of
a mere domestic brawl,
Or manifest the riches of Tutenkhamen
into your upscale New York Apartment.

For it would all be permissible,
with a little poetic license.
Funny what a pen can do?
Who needs truth when lies
give you wings!

But then again don’t politicians
make more money lying?

The great Arizona Outback

There are counted few moments in everyone’s life when you feel like you are in the midst of something so grandiose and majestic that it’s almost surreal. If you have visited the Red Rock Mountains or the world-famous Grand Canyon in Arizona then you probably know what I am talking about?

Recently we drove to Arizona, on an arduously long drive (8 hour-long drive to be exact). By the time we reached Sedona we were thoroughly beat, and the rear end of our anatomy was crying out loud in pain. However the moment we entered Sedona we started seeing the picturesque Red Rock hills that assured us that our long odyssey was indeed worth all the pain.Arizona 2014 034

The Schnebly Hill formation which is a major component of the Red Rocks of Sedona are sedimentary rock formations that were created 300 million years ago, in part by the erosion caused by sea and in part shaped by the sand blown in from coastal area beaches. The color of the rocks ranges a varied hue of white, tan, orange and bold red. Furthermore, erosion from flowing waters have created famous hills that have been named after their unique shapes such as Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Kissing Rock, Big Bear, Coffee Pot Rock and so on. It sounds like almost everyone who looked at these Rocks had their own interpretation of the shape and coined a name for them.

Arizona 2014 058Here are some pictures to quench your appetite for this insanely beautiful Red Rock country. Feel free to play “I spy” and identify the rocks by their names if you can. But beware pictures just don’t do justice to this natural marvel.

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The pink Jeep tours in Sedona are an absolute must and the experienced drivers will show you some spots that are extremely hard and dangerous to reach by hiking. The Jeep tour is a little adventure in itself, because it tours through some really rough and hilly terrain. There were a few moments when the jeep was angled perpendicular to the earth nose-diving straight down or straight up so that I must admit my heart missed a few beats. But rest assured it is perfectly safe and guaranteed fun. One of my favorite hills was what they called the “chicken point” so named because the faint of heart would offer to get off the jeep before reaching it. The view from the Rock is insanely beautiful and it feels cool and refreshingly breezy in comparison to the other spots. As far as I am concerned any vortex could not be more peaceful and serene than this place is.

Arizona 2014 105

So what is a vortex? Vortexes are places that create positive, negative or neutral releases of the Earth’s energy and evoke balance. I believe, places like people have an aural energy and invoke emotions that are unique and personal to everyone; especially historic places such as Sedona.

Arizona 2014 071Although this hasn’t really been proven, Sedona is considered to be pregnant with “hot spots” or vortexes that are supposed to have a great healing, relaxation and rejuvenation properties.

Looking at how dry and arid this place is, it is almost impossible to believe that this land used to be under water. The best time to visit Sedona is in spring or fall and is way too hot in June (as we can testify first hand). Most of the hiking is best done in the wee hours of the morning. I thought even as early as 10 AM the heat was already too oppressive to warrant any real hiking. The best thing to do by noon is to find a pool and relax with a glass of wine or visit the open market.

Arizona 2014 031Sedona has rows of art galleries, exquisite art shops, restaurants, resorts and of course the historic Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts village. Unfortunately the village was already closed when we reached and there was private party going on at the time, so we could not really enjoy it, but from the looks of it, it is a delightful hang out.

On our way back to Los Angeles, we visited the Grand Canyon. The Canyon is the very definition of grandiose. This 277 miles long and 1 mile deep canyon reminds you of a gigantic monster sleeping with its mouth gaping open. The canyon is so wide that you can’t even take a picture that would cover the entire width of the canyon (unless you have the advantage of shooting from a helicopter). A look at this “wonder of the world” makes you see yourself in a different perspective; a mere speck in the grand scheme of life. It makes you mindful not only of the fragility of human life but the shallowness and insignificance of humanly worries and troubles.

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Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year. It is a Mecca for the brave of heart who backpack their way to the Phantom Ranch inside the womb of the Canyon. This hike is certainly not for the faint of heart and numerous books have been written accounting the accidents that have taken place in the Canyon. However those who dare, will certainly be rewarded with an unforgettable experience and superb photography opportunities. Sadly, I am not one of them. I enjoyed the overwhelming beauty of the Canyon from the comforting safety of the South rim which is what 90% of travelers do.

Arizona has left such an indelible mark on me, that I am sure this won’t be my last visit. Who knows next time I will be one of the back packers trekking my way down the winding, path into the belly of this giant monster called the Grand Canyon or hiking my way to the top of the Devil’s Bridge. Here’s to Arizona! Ditat Deus!

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