All-time favorites

It has been a while since I was active on wordpress, just as it has been a while since I wrote a poem, or spared a moment doing the soulful things that make me happy. It is amazing to think I have now been on wordpress for over four years! And look how time has flown by…much as it always does. It makes you realize the importance of preserving special moments with photographs and reliving those moments again…even if slightly altered in your memory.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite pictures over the past four years. Don’t tell me you cannot find a couple nice treasures here, even if I am no photographer! Enjoy!

I love pictures of everyday simple things. Beauty lies in things we tend to overlook so easily…and we are the losers for it. I love the spindly canopy of this coconut tree and the sky peering from its foliage.


I love the icy perfection of winter captured in this photo taken by a friend Viraj Thakur.


Isn’t this picture of Walden ponds in Massachusetts, simply beautiful? I mean just look at the vibrant colors. I can’t help but feel a kinship to Henry David Thoreau by being able to enjoy what he grew to love and enjoy so much. I am not comparing myself to Thoreau that would be tall order…just saying that I feel blessed enjoying the same sights he probably once did!


My husband and I had stopped by a random coffee shop one morning on our long walks. We were young, happy and carefree and the picture reminds me of those days.


And how can you live in Los Angeles and not have a few favorite pictures of the beach?


I know people find graffiti ugly and disfiguring, but I actually dig it. I see it as just another form of art. Take these beautiful photos for instance. What’s not to like?


Aah beautiful Sedona. Nothing screams peace, perfection and grandeur like Sedona! I wish I could live here.

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So that’s it folks. Feel free to pingback with your favorite photos or articles. I am dying to see what you got!


Life is full of beautiful people and things that come and fade out of life. Some of them are barely perceptible because we are not used to admiring that which is in plain sight and easily available. I love going for long walks with my dog and taking pictures of evanescent objects. Some are harder to capture in a camera like the chirping of birds, the crispness of a sunny day, smell of barbecue, the laughter of children. But other things are easier to capture and preserve with camera.

Here is an attempt to capture that which is evanescent yet not lost.

An old abandoned house
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An old house turned into an office
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Sunlight playing peek-a-boo through the thick trees
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Old boats stacked up
Look closer there are turtles soaking in sun
Specious blossoms

Street Life: Sunset Boulevard

I was saddened to learn that Mario Maglieri died today at the golden age of 94. He co-owned Rock n Roll hot spots such as The Whisky a go go, Roxy and Rainbow bar and Grill. Famous Rock bands such as The Doors, Guns N Roses, Led Zeppelin and several others started their career at The Whisky. He will be fondly remembered by thousands of Rock fans and super stars. See picture of famous Roxy Theater below.


Here are some pictures of West Hollywood including pictures of Chateau Marmont a hotel on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Built in 1927, this hotel is famous for A-listing sightings and a curious history including the untimely death of comedian John Belushi due to drug overdose. A celebrity hideout for famous Hollywood stars such as Robert De Niro, Errol Flynn, Bob Dylan, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, Boris Karloff, Carole Lombard, Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr, Jean Harlow, Sidney Poitier, Dustin Hoffman, William Holden, Jessica Lange, Led Zepplin and many, many more. The place has a forbidding air to it that makes it ever more mysterious and interesting.

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The Viper Room also located in West Hollywood California, in close proximity to the Chateau Marmont, is infamous as the place where actor River Phoenix died due to drug overdose in 1993. Like the…

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No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.



All is procession; the universe is a procession with measured and beautiful motion.

-Walt Whitman


Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.

-Thich Nhat Hanh


Inspired by Cheri’s Photo Challenge: Path

San Diego – New Year at Gas Lamp District

The Gaslamp District provides a vibrant, youthful and rich experience to visitors. Only a short two hours drive from Los Angeles, this place offers a round-the-clock party atmosphere with plenty of bars, restaurants and dive bars to chose from. It extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue, covering 16½ blocks. It includes 94 historic buildings, some that were constructed as far back as the Victorian era and are in excellent condition and still in use even today. We visited the Gas Lamp district for New Year’s eve and I was able to catch some of the decorations and festivities on my camera. I have added some personal observations on the places we visited as well as historical references where applicable. Enjoy the e-visit!

The district was so named after the Gas lamps that were used in the late 19th century.

Gas lamp district Gateway


Notice the Gas Lamps
The infamous Coyote Ugly Salon


The Coyote Ugly Saloon was first started in New York and gained National attention after Hollywood decided to bring this bar to the world map with “Coyote Ugly” movie starring  Piper Perabo and Maria Bello. Apparently the bar is not famous for its excellent service and whatever you do don’t ask for a glass of water here!


Dick’s last resort eatery is infamous for its rude servers who dish out fattening fries, sandwiches, Burgers with Beer and serve it with plenty of saucy remarks. I am not kidding! This place is actually famous for its “Service with Sarcasm” slogan. The place is actually fun and there is plenty of memorabilia to check out while you enjoy your food. Just go in with good humor. The servers were not rude at all but fun and helpful.

Dick’s last resort restaurant
Garage Kitchen + Bar

The name of this place is inspired by its history. Garage Kitchen and Bar used to be an actual Garage called “Carriage works” built in 1890 and housed buggies and wagons. Today it houses a vibrant atmosphere, good food and excellent service. Definitely recommend their Kale salad and Roasted Garlic Hummus with cured olives. They also have tons of beer on tap.

The Garage Lounge
I took a picture of this toy as it reminded me of my childhood. Monchhichi was a toy I always wanted as a kid. Sure enough I bought it as an adult!


Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop for a quick Chocolate fix


Wish you all a very Happy New Year. Have an excellent 2016!


There is so much beauty in the ordinary and so much ordinary in the Beautiful. Beauty lies in the perception of the beholder. But finding the “extra” in ordinary is what makes life beautiful!

Dirt path showing the hilly neighborhood in Palos Verdes, CA
Dirt path showing the hilly neighborhood in Palos Verdes, CA
Walking path on hills of Palos Verdes, CA
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Another sunny day in California, Santa Monica Beach, CA
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Egret enjoying her lazy afternoon whilst eyeing fish?
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Aah the beautiful Canals in Venice, CA
One Lonely Palm tree against the silhouette of the ocean and the skies. I always feel so sorry for these lonely trees stranded so far from their family…
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Slightly lost local or a curious tourist? Who knows? But where better to be be lost than here!

Photo Challenge: Natural Boundaries








Man has set so many boundaries; be it the barbed wire protecting one’s private property or the well patrolled country borders. Even the houses we build are meant to set boundaries from our neighbors. No matter how strong these human boundaries maybe, the boundaries that nature sets are insurmountable.

NOLA – The Big Easy…

New Orleans had been on the top of my bucket list for so long that I almost did not believe my ears when my husband suggested visiting New Orleans for his Birthday in May 2015. We stayed at a hotel which was walking distance to the French quarters.

The first thing we wanted to do after the long flight was to stop at French Quarter and grab a drink. But the moment we stepped out of our hotel room it started to rain. Although I was hesitant to step out in the rain at first, I must admit it was the most amazing rain I have experienced in a long time. It made the muggy weather a tad cooler, but the rain felt warm and inviting to the touch. And when it stopped raining we dried up almost instantly.

Colorful walls, elaborately decorated ironwork balconies

I fell in love with the old style architecture; the cobbled roads and the old-fashioned houses with ironwork balconies painstakingly decorated. For a while, I felt like I was on the set of Midnight in Paris, where a nostalgic Owen Wilson (a screenwriter) finds himself going back to the 1920’s every night. Most of the French quarter’s architecture was built in the 18th century.  There is so much going on here in terms of restaurants, shops, dive bars, concerts and more. DSC_0115

You really do not need to rent a car here. You can walk the entire area by foot. A lot of people chose to ride Rickshaws or horse pulled carriages.  There are several musicians and artists performing as well as painters and artists selling their artistic works on the street side.

Are we still in America?
Horse Driven carts are everywhere
A bustling Jackson Square
Told ya!
God I love this place!

Jackson square is a famous landmark situated in the front of the French Quarter and throbbing with visitors, artists and musicians. On the opposite side of the square from the River are three 18th‑century historic buildings; St Louis Cathedral, The Cabildo (museum), The Presbytere (museum). DSC_0143 DSC_0144 DSC_0186 DSC_0192

The Katrina exhibit at the Presbytere is an absolute must see. They have done an excellent job of making an honest and a heart-breaking exhibit of what happened during Katrina. They had snippets of personal stories both inspiring and shattering throughout the museum. I absolutely loved their video and the interactive map with a minute by minute demonstrations of which levees broke when and where.

Yours truly at the famous Marie Laveau’s

New Orleans is famous for its Voodoo culture. You can see the French Quarter is full of Voodoo shops, tarot card readers, and palmists. Needless to say, Voodoo is different from palmistry and tarot, but I love everything occult. If you are into the occult as well, you will find plenty opportunities to try your hand here (pun intended)! I did visit the famous Marie Louveau’s place. I had absolutely no expectations but some of the stuff the palmist told me about was surprisingly true and there is no way he could have known it by simply meeting me. So thumbs up!

We took a bus tour around the city and showed us some of the worst hit areas during Katrina as well as some of old and archaic cemeteries.  Here are some pictures from the 9th Ward and the neighboring wards. The 9th ward is closest to the Mississippi River and worst hit during Katrina. You can still see a faint yellow line on the light posts demarcating the levels that the water had reached during the outpour.

My favorite experience in New Orleans would have to be the Jazz performance at the Preservation Hall. The hall is a tiny place that seats no more than 70 people roughly. Be sure to stand in line an hour before show time. This place is always full! But I promise the wait is well worth the time. Preservation Hall is open for nightly concerts from 8 pm to 11 pm, seven nights a week, with the exception of certain holidays and special events.

And he stood there frozen and unflinchingly still for hours

New Orleans is nothing without its Art and music. And music literally pumps life into its arteries. You will find more talented street-side musicians and artists here than anywhere else! And you do not have to be an aficionado to enjoy it. New Orleans will somehow engulf you in its unique style. New Orleans is a dream destination; a muse for the artist in you or anybody who loves History, music, art, wine, food, festival and loads of funDSC_0120 DSC_0146


India is famous for its ancient monuments and their unrivalled architecture. Here are some pictures of old temples some of which are well preserved and others in ruins. Yet even the ruins are a great testimony to how incredible these monuments must have been in their day. It makes me proud to see the mettle of mankind when properly channelled! I hope you enjoy the intricate craftsmanship of these old pillars and ruins.

Walls can talk

I loved this week’s Photo Challenge posted by Cheri Lucas. I must admit I never before gave a thought to how we are intrinsically attuned to decorating our walls with the best life has offered us; be it scenic paintings, pictures of friends and family or decorative items that we have collected over the years. We love to deck our walls with beautiful things!

Walls can divide neighbors but they can also reveal our emotions and feelings. They can be a statement of who we are. Here is an assortment of pictures taken randomly over the years. Agreed they are not necessarily all walls but sometimes things are are loudly present in their absence. Enjoy!

Avante Garde – Abbott Kinney

Abbott Kinney (situated between Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey) is famous for its Avante garde style, and it’s cool, hip vibe. Named after the famous developer who built the Venice Canals in 1905, the main strip boasts of some of the finest restaurants, artsy shops, wine galleries and fun to meet local artists. There is enough here to satisfy a tourist or a local for hours and a definite stop-over if you are visiting Los Angeles. Here are some pictures, Enjoy!

Beautiful Artwork
Meet “Von Paul” a local artist
She creates and collects wood work
Etched in stone
Public Parking

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I love Street Art
A Chopper Motorcycle parked at the curb
Best Coffee at GJelina

Pedestrian Art

Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village – Sedona, Arizona

IMG_2854 IMG_2855 IMG_2857The pictures above are of beautiful Arizona vibrant with its man made and natural art. For more on this beautiful place, read my article: The Great Arizona Outback 

3rd Street Promenade
Vineyard At Malibu

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs and More

What do you live for?

Most of us meander through life without ever really asking this question. We let life lead us where it will. Yet there are a few enlightened individuals amongst us, who not only know what they want but they know that no amount of material wealth and comfort will quench their thirst for knowledge and truth. Such people are in search of truth of the highest order.  Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was one such person; an American author, poet, philosopher and an activist. He is best known for his book Walden a reflection on back to the basics ideology which he promoted throughout his life.

Walden Pond – Concord, Massachusetts

Walden Pond is a scenic and peaceful lake in Concord, Massachusetts said to have been formed by retreating glaciers thousands of years ago. Every time, I visit this lake, I revel in the secret hope that I am probably walking the same path, breathing the same air, and feasting my eyes on the same beauty that once made Thoreau fall in love. “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads”, said Thoreau of Walden Pond.

Thoreau needed to concentrate on his writing which is why he decided to embark on a two year and two month experiment at “simple living” near Walden Pond in the summer of 1845.  An account which Thoreau records extensively in his book “Walden, Life in the woods”. He believed that truth can be found in literature or in nature. He himself obtained pleasures as much in the ringing of the church bells as in the hooting of the owls or the croaking of the frogs. In his book, Thoreau mentions he took to the woods because he wanted a life away from social obligations and social relationships that “mail (or post office)” represent. I cannot help but wonder what he would say if he were to visit our lives today where a cellphone has almost become a part of human anatomy? Or what would he have to say to us all who happily over dose on social media and the World Wide Web on a daily basis but never find a moment for introspection or self-reflection?

A replica of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond
Thoreau spared himself the very basic amenities which he has disclosed in his book Walden
A statue of Thoreau outside the cabin

Thoreau persisted in simplifying his life and believed inner peace and contentment cannot be found in material goods. The replica of the wooden cabin where he spared himself the most basic of amenities to sustain human life is testimony to his simple life. Although today his book is considered to be a signature book on the preservationist way of life, in its day it only sold about 2000 copies in five years. Today we know Thoreau as one of the foremost American writers famous for his prose, style and views on nature and politics. His views on politics and especially his philosophy of civil disobedience was said to have influenced and inspired notable figures such as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

In his book Walden, Thoreau mentions, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

He then continues to explain exactly what he truly wanted out of life with these super charged words,

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience.”

I can’t help but feel charged by these powerful words of a man who truly wanted nothing less than the absolute truth and was willing to pay a price for it. What is truly impressive about great human beings like Thoreau is not simply the depth and honesty of their beliefs but the courage and conviction to follow their dreams no matter where it may take them.

Thoreau in his own words said,

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Above Quote Courtesy of:

Photo challenge: Endurance

Some of these pictures are from Hampi a village in Northern Karnataka – India, said to have been built around AD 1336-1570. As you can see the craftsmanship on these artifacts is intricate and unique and has stood the wrath of time warranting to be called signature specimens of the timelessness of art.

It’s a wine thing!

Not too long ago I visited Malibu Wines which is a beautiful winery that offers wine tasting options along with a sunny outdoor locale. The best part about this place is the setting which offers an amazing view to the valley (very picturesque). They welcome you to pack yourself a picnic and order wine from here, it makes for an excellent time. Enjoy the pictures!

Malibu Wines
Malibu Wines
This is not an empty wine bottle. Its how they serve water. 🙂


A wine fountain
A wine fountain

Inspired by Weekly Photo Challenge


Here is a glimpse of Goa in Monsoons. Thanks to the rains, nature has OD’d (overdosed) on colors. These pictures were shared to me by my sister who recently visited Goa. I thought these pictures suited perfectly for this week’s Photo Challenge.

Photos courtesy Viraj Thakur

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Random Insect
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A beautiful view of palm trees
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Fisherman’s boat parked on the shore
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Blue insect against the backdrop of green moss
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Banana tree
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Fisherman’s wharf


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.

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.

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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!

Photo Challenge

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A Shadow

Shadow_2014_005Ever since birth this dark billowy figure
follows me. Shape shifting; thick and stout,
or narrow and long, depending upon where the sun
rests on the celestial compass. Reticent yet resolute;
watching my every move. Like the spy that
never gives up even after the war is waged
or like the shepherd who never stops
cooing its sheep with the ‘broken leg’.

This dark side that we all must endure,
like a cross forever on our backs. Watchful,
of its hungry power that like a predator waits to
pounce. A single remiss moment and the darkness
overtakes. Climbing around, entrenching its wily hands
within, like an ivy on a splintering wall. Taking over what
it sees, until what is seen is no longer what was.
This burden I must carry, like Eve’s promise
to never eat the forbidden fruit. Melancholy I endure,
like the shadow that lurks behind my back.