I am tired of building sand castles, tired of so tastefully infusing each grain with love and passion only to be swept away by tide or the strong breeze blowing across the oceans that lie between us. Nothing remains, not even ruins. Nothing but handfuls of sand slipping through my fingers into the void left by crashing waves. I love the stories written in stones and bricks, ancient, crumbling structures that once were home to lovers and kings, temples made in honor of goddesses, tombs, castles and once vibrant, thriving city states now nothing but crumbling ruins shrouded in folklore, mystery, and intrigue, blurring that thin line between myth and reality. Each brick, each stone whispering a story. Touch them, run your hand on these broken walls and they will come alive and speak to you of passion, betrayal, envy, compassion, deceit, and death, everything that love is capable of. Sometimes I feel they were built as ruins and all the grandeur was added to them only to fall off with time to reveal once gain the alluring perennial beauty like that of a woman whose true essence lies underneath the layers and layers that cover her. Her true self emerges only when all the veils drop.
Ruins have that strong naked feminine energy running through them, holding them together in all their beauty despite the ravages of time. Tinged with melancholy there is an unsaid acceptance that these ruins are more real than the perfection we aspire to.
We ventured into this haze, arms locked together, hand in hand strange warmth radiating between us, a light squeeze of hand in the grip of another, a message, assurance of being there in that moment. We traced invisible lines on the crumbling walls, our fingers laced together as one. It was in this moment of togetherness I realized even if this meeting had an end at least it had a beginning. Time stood still as we talked along the trodden path. The fringes of the day lingered on the arches and columns that stood like trees of life. Supporting whatever still remained of the glorious past. The stones spoke to me and I seemed to know their mute language, and they too seemed to understand what I felt.
Patches of light played hide and seek on the building facades as the sun played mysteriously sought its path among the silhouettes frozen in time. He was a tourist I a traveler seeking something more than what lay before my eyes but somehow it was enough to just be with him even in our differences. The unintentional occasional brush against each other sent sparks shooting up my spine like a comet. I wondered what feelings these ruins evoked in him. Between the sunset of past glory and an uncertain dawn he and I stood separated by a dark frightening night.
Today I stand solitary amid the silent ruins. We never really forget someone after we have felt their hands, their fingerprints on ancient walls, after we have engrained their body heat into our very body chemistry and the fragility of it all. Today these ruins are filled with silent murmurs of our hearts. I ran my fingers along the weather-beaten Gothic columns like prayer wheels of monastery and suddenly I felt his presence, as if he had come back to me travelling all the seven thousand five hundred miles, filling all the gaps and cracks in me, filling the emptiness, the void, for I am a ruin myself, wandering among the ruins.
I leaned against the pillars draped in twilight and felt my inner darkness merge with the lengthening shadows of these pillars. I began to walk along the familiar path, now empty and more ruinous that it was meant to be. I reached the arch from where we had looked down upon the eerily silent, dramatic, desolate vast expanses of structures with dark lonesome interiors. My own loneliness and the pain of separation began to rise from some deep dark crevice within. The walls of my heart resembled those that lay beyond the frame the door made. Piles and piles of abandoned stones once part of some structure built brick by brick with some ol’ loving hands now in ruins flung up in jealous rage by winds of change. No wonder these ruins remind me of love, of distances, of deep sorrow that clings to the senescent walls like jungle vines eclipsing everything that comes in its way.
Strange, how darkness paints everything in its own color. I climbed the staircase into the open, out of the darkest recesses of my being. These stairs had seen many ups and downs in the lives of those who lived and dreamed. I chased scents of those as the landscape began to dissolve into inky night. Sometimes a sorrow greater than ours acts like a sedative and tranquilizes the emotional pain, the ruins did just that today and now It was time to leave , the company of inner storm and wind that rushed through the decaying, neglected, lonesome structures of the past.
I know why I love to linger among them. It is because they aren’t neat and safe like buildings of today too superficial and undisturbing. It is only in the broken, obscure, jumble one can find oneself. only here one can shed all that is not part of the real self and look at the naked truth. I picked a handful of sand and watched it slip slowly from between my fingers. Just like time.
The moment that brought us together as one had ended. Each of us carried with them a part of other. He was gone for I don’t know how long and left me wrapped in a myriad of emotions. I took the bridge which he had crossed with me that day filling my world with laughter, love and an immense feeling of togetherness leaving the shadows of the past behind.
I will wait for you as these ruins wait for travelers who seek the voice of their soul. I will wait for you to run your fingers along the contours of my body just as we ran them along the walls and columns, plinths and arches. I will wait, even though it is hard to be left behind. I want to get used to this feeling that you are with me even though you are not by my side or may never be. Waiting isn’t about patience or even hope, it is about keeping the dream alive for sometimes it is the only thing one has. The only thing to live for. A mirage that keeps a lost and lonesome traveler alive with hope in the harsh reality of life. I know that no oasis awaits me with its bountiful gifts .. love is sometimes just a distant dream, togetherness an illusion. Sometimes one knows one’s place – outside the periphery, just as these ruins in the desert and that is the beauty of it.
I would like to thank James Goddard for allowing me to use these excellent photographs from his travels to Syria and Spain. The photo credit goes to him.
This is the last post of the series You and Me .. at least for now ..
It was a brief encounter. So brief that before they could get over the clumsiness of it all, it got over leaving them yearning , longing , desperately wanting to stop the hands of clock so they could spend one more night together, one more day, one more hour of togetherness.
The reason I write in third person is because I want to look at it from a distance. The ‘ I ‘ dissolved in those moments what have left scent of love in my hair, in memories that nestle in the hollow of my neck, in the delicate web of my fingers and in places that blossomed and came to life only after he touched. First the mind, then the heart, and then the body.
In waves of breathless, mindless ecstasy
he breathes in, sharp
she purrs, catlike
her body a Smörgåsbord
he savours her
tongue and teeth
knutschfleck the color of orgasms
in blushed hues of red
like crushed violets
on white satin sheet
the morning after
a phantasmal explosion of a rainbow awry
The meteoric more beautiful
than the everlasting
scent of each other
the warmth of their passion
only to float
into each others dream
a dream that flew
across a thousand miles
and two oceans in between
A dream that stupefied her. She went through it in a trance like state. All the romanticized notions that she had built up in her mind evaporate through thin air. All that remained were the bodies – arms entangling and untangling. His voice touching places inside her as if someone moving through a house flicking light switches. Her mouth a molotov. The smell of sex charged the room, circling over them like a ghost.
Love when turned to passion is brave, furious and loud. There is no time for fantasies and honeyed mush. When passion takes over you don’t want a just a heart, you want everything – flesh, blood, and bones. You want to occupy every thought, every breath, every pulse. You want fingerprints tattooed all over you. It is strange, this fire that ignites two human bodies. It’s a fire that consumes without burning. A fire that transcendent and purifies everything.
She felt like a lovely bonfire burning day and night on a tropical coast filled with scent of salt that gently tickles down the spine and the heat that melts the body like wax embraced by the flame. A teasing burn of silky excitement, noting like anything she had felt before. Nothing could calm this sensation but sin and for once she was ready for it.
Quickies don’t include showers nor luxurious soaks in tubs with rose petals floating in them. They include blind and furious salt laced bodies, tongues and mouths driven by thirst.
They lay there in the realm of sleep, without sleeping, half with fear , half with wonder at what they had awakened in each other. Trembling in bitter-sweet longing, enchanted, bewitched. Suspended in time and place. And then they kissed – his lips on hers telling all that which his stumbling words could never do.
She let him sleep. All disheveled and unwound. His head buried between her breasts. Dressed in nothing but his undress like a careless animal. She watched his body slowly become a silhouette and longed to mold it into hers but stopped. She loved to watch him as he lay in deep slumber. Her heart beat outside her body flushed with this new-found deep sexual pleasure. She felt anesthetized by sensations one can’t speak of without sounding absurd. One can only sentimentalized it after it is over.
Here was the man she loved, like a child with his appetites. She had yielded to him what he wanted, willingly. She let him ruin her with his intense love. In those intimate hours with herself she felt the fervent rush inside her which had known no outlet till now.
The wooden floor creaked under her bare feet as she carefully tip-toed to the bathroom. Turning on the light she gazed at her nude body that quivered with magic and mayhem of the moments gone by. She smiled at the silliness of all that she had imagined and fantasized about both of them. Reality was far more fascinating than fiction. Every pore of her body sent out a message that said , “I am here. I am alive.” The cold water from the tap sizzled on her smooth skin and electrified her entire body. She let it trickle down the hollow of her neck and flow like a rivulet between her aching breasts. Her cheeks were on fire by realization of the fact that for once in her entire life she gave in completely to her desires. Unrestrained, Unchained and she felt gloriously happy.
Tomorrow she would wander with him amid the beautiful ruins.
As she synced her breathing with his she realized something. From now on she would live two lives – one that she was living and one that she would always wonder about. A dream within a dream. A life that lay beyond the invisible line that separated their worlds. A line she will never be able to cross. A line that told her place. She brushed the thought aside. This was their time and she did not want to lose even a moment. The morning sun will bring the hour of separation closer but for now the shadow of her arm circled his waist and neither the sleep or the night could separate them.
PHOTOSHOP IMAGE copyright- tikulicious©
You can read the rest of the posts in the series here YOU AND ME
Winters are here and the market is flooded with red sweet carrots. One can do so much with them- toss in salads, pickle them, make kanji, carrot preserve or mouth watering gajar halwa, mix with potato, fresh green peas or any seasonal vegetable to make a healthy veggie, blend in soups or just wash, peel and munch on them. Full of healthy nutrients carrots are everyone’s favorites. They are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamins C & B6, copper, folic acid, thiamine and magnesium.
This instant pickle can be had within a day of making it. One can add a few slit fresh green chilies to it if desired. It would give the pickle a beautiful red and green texture.
Usually this pickle can stay up to a week in the fridge. I make small quantity of fresh pickle as the carrots are cheap and easily available all through winter months.
So, let us embark on this tangy spicy carroty journey 😀
1/2 kg Medium Size Carrots
1 1/2 teaspoon salt ( to taste)
2 teaspoon full coarsely ground mustard seeds
1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon asafitida
2 table-spoon lemon juice
2 table-spoon Mustard
Wash and peel the carrots under fresh running water. Pat dry them and cut into 2 inch long thin julienne. Place a kitchen napkin or kitchen towel on a tray and arrange the carrot julienne on it to dry. Make sure that not a single drop of water remains or the pickle will go bad. I sometimes pat them with damp cloth to clean instead of washing.
You can leave it over night or for instant pickle just keep in sun for two hours or so. Cover it with thin muslin cloth to prevent any dust particles settling on the carrots.
Once the carrots are absolutely dry put them in a glass bowl. Add all the ingredients one by one except the oil. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and mix well.
Mix properly. (At each stage make sure your hands and the utensils you use are clean and dry.)
Heat mustard oil in a heavy bottom pan till it begins to smoke. Turn off the flame and let it come to a warm temperature.
(if you are using Olive Oil then there is no need to heat it. Just add it along with other ingredients in the bowl and mix well).
Add all the ingredients to it and stir well.
Let the pickle cool properly.
Take a glass or stone jar. Wipe it clean and spoon the pickle in it.
Keep the pickle in the sun for a day and it is ready to eat.
This mustard spiked carrot pickle goes well with anything from curd rice to parathas and even sandwiches or almost anything. You can make it fresh and toss it in the salad too but use only olive oil dressing for it then.
Preserve the colors of winter in the jar and open the lid to brighten any dull morning.
No Indian festival is complete without sweets. There is a tradition to make special sweets for each festival but on Diwali one can indulge in a whole variety of them. Winter is time for healthy ladoos made from either whole wheat or gram flour. There are many varieties to make Whole wheat flour (atta) ladoos. I prefer to make them as healthy as possible with just enough clarified butter (pure ghee) to hold everything together so people of all ages can enjoy it. One can use shakkar, boora cheeni or khandsari to make these. I prefer boora cheeni because it is less sweet than normal granular sugar and healthier too.
These ladoos can be stored in air tight box for a long time and can be eaten everyday. The dry fruits and the goodness of green gram adds to the flavor of these balls of good nutrition. Green Gram is low fat protein, high fiber, low Gly-Cemic bean which helps in stabilizing sugar in blood stream. It is also a rich source of iron, vitamin B6/ B1, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin C and E and also calcium which makes it a super food. One can give these to children as snacks everyday.
Now, for the recipe
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole green gram beans
1/2 cup mixed dry fruits ( raisins, shredded walnut, blanched and shredded almonds)
Clarified butter 9 pure ghee) – enough to hold everything together ( usually 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup (according to taste) Boora cheeni or powder sugar or castor sugar
1 tea spoon cardamom powder
In a heavy bottom cast iron wok dry roast the moong beans till slightly golden brown. Keep the flame very low.
Grind the roasted beans very fine in a grinder. (I used the grinding stone)
Keep the dry fruit mixture , boora cheeni and ground moong beans ready.
Now put the wok back on low flame and add whole wheat flour to it. Dry roast it slowly. This is a tedious job and one needs to constantly keep stirring the flour especially in the middle or else it will start burning. Always keep the flame very low. Roasting atta is like a sensuous passionate love making. No Indian sweet can be made without complete devotion and love. These are the ingredients which make them so mouth watering. Once the aroma of roasted atta begins to fill your senses and the color is nice and brown add the ground moong bean powder to it. Roast a little more till you get a warm light brown color.
Atta is always dry roasted unlike gram flour.
Once the wheat flour is done, remove from heat and quickly add boora cheeni. It will begin to stick to the wok so keep stirring constantly and make sure there are no lumps. Add clarified butter (pure ghee) at this stage and keep mixing.
After the mixture is nicely done add the dry fruits.
One has to make the ladoos when the mixture is warm otherwise it will start solidifying. Make medium size balls by rolling them in your palm. Make sure there are no cracks and the balls are smooth. put a raisin on top as garnish. Place all ladoos in a thali / plate and let them cool.
Enjoy these wonderful nutritious low fat ladoos and store the rest of them in air tight box.
Have a wonderful healthy happy Deepawali. Stay blessed.