Some Random Thoughts, Seven Poems, A Memoir and A Photograph


I have neglected my blog since a long time. I mean apart from the news and photographs and recipes I haven’t really posted any stories, poems, memoirs etc. The reason is I am working on the MS of the novella I am writing and collecting the short stories, poems etc for publishing. Also, I am desperately trying to clean myself of patriarchal bullshit. This whole year has been amazingly annoying and hurtful at the same time at many levels. It has also been a mixed year for writing. This  winter is going to be long and harsh..

Now, coming back to the BS I mentioned above.

Patriarchal bull shit comes in more forms than you can ever imagine and it can be very subtle. AND where should I put the increasing number of labels the men are honouring me with? you can trust some people to screw your life when you least expect. It makes my blood boil but just the slogan shouting and walking out as a rebel defying the system seldom helps. Don’t ever think you can count on support of natal home. Nah.. it turns toxic sooner than you can think. Unless you have a job security and/or a heart of steel you get fucked both ways. If you don’t have good health then it is the cherry on top. I know.

Many women are not living their dreams because they are living their fears. Isolation, restriction, guilt, humiliation, denial, continuous controlling and criticism and lack of empathy, love, companionship, shattering of a dream of ” a life long relationship based on mutual respect” breaks them. Emotional, mental tortured is hard to explain due to lack of ” solid evidence.”

Emotional Abuse comes silently most of the times camouflaged as “love, betterment, moral duty, guilt, emotional blackmail, and marital rape. Silence helps it breed and dig its claws deeper.
In our country ‘Thinking for oneself’ is not encouraged. It’s always conformity & herd mentality. The moment a woman begins to voice her thoughts she is condemned, ridiculed & told to shut up. If she rebels, her condition is even worse.

This is the ground reality of majority of women. The woman who works for us said a thought-provoking thing. She said,” Middle class non working women are in a worse situation than others. The rich have other resources to fall back upon, like money and all that it brings, and we, the poor, can just leave an abusive home, make a jhuggi somewhere else and work in homes to sustain ourselves. You can’t do that. So, its worse for the likes of you.” I couldn’t have agreed more. I have shared this earlier too but now and again the reality of it smacks me hard on the cheek, reminding me to shake the muck that I am allowing to grow on me and move away. Where? How? When? I don’t know.

I also know the hawk-eyed snoopers are reading this right now and itching to set the grapevine ablaze. Go ahead all you pinch-brained nitwits. I don’t give a hoot. Some others may be steaming within and wanting to say something nastier than what they said earlier but don’t know how. If you burn the bridges you lose more than you can imagine. By the way I always wanted to ask, “who it was that taught you to speak bullets without considering the exit wounds, tell me who?” Oh I love this line from Flatsound|you said ok 

Rant over. Now some good things.

Seven of my new poems got published in Cafe Dissensus blog. The news made me super happy.

Sharing one of them here but to read the rest do click on the link below.  Do explore the magazine, it has some excellent stuff.

Void

loneliness curls in the spaces
between the notes of the rainsong,
the night bleeds neon, collects
in puddles near the wet sidewalks,
cigarettes, float like decomposed corpses
bloated with memories, voices, tense with
longing, rustle through the trees, possessed
and restless the midnight lingers.

I wrote a memoir long ago for Soul Curry that used to come in TOI but by the time I sent it they stopped that feature. It remained tucked away  in some folder until I chanced upon it sometime back, polished it and sent it to Readomania. for publishing on their website.

They accepted and here is the link.  The Old Black Trunk .

Do read and leave your views about these two in the comment section on the respective sites as well as here.

I will be sharing a few more poems soon and will try to keep the blog going.

Till then stay blessed.

darkness and pain?
well, that’s now a thing of past
now let’s look after
passions and
surrenderings
meanderings and
wanderings

Receiving And Giving – The Healer Friend And The Magic Of A Dream


This is a very special post for me. A token of love and gratitude to the friends who have made difference in my life. Once in a while you come across someone who touches your life in an unexplained way. Someone who is a giver more than a receiver. I feel that is very inspiring. Not many give so unconditionally and freely.

I came to know Penelope and Slim Chandra-Shekar via Facebook. I felt an instant energy exchange. Strange, isn’t it, how a social network can become a channel for healing, for receiving and giving, for sharing and expanding in all possible ways? That itself is indicative that life opens up many ways to heal and to blossom. Love changes forms, negative turns to positive.

Healing works through spirit guides. If you are open and receptive distances don’t count.   Even though I have known Slim for sometime, I met him, for the first time, in June. He was visiting India to celebrate his father’s 99th birthday in B’lore and after that for three days he visited Delhi to meet friends and relatives. His physical presence was such a joy. They say when the student is ready the master appears. It is the same with spirit guides. They will be there when it is time. In that short time we spent together, I learned some meaningful life lessons, had long conversations over good food, listened to his amazing story of life transformation and how he and his wonderful wife Penelope are touching one life a day to bring joy and love through their work.

The Magic Of Gayatri

You know, sound is a very powerful medium of healing. The vibrations can actually dissolve the negative in you within no time. You just need to be in right energy frequency.  I still carry the essence of the positive energy I received through our interactions. Slim is shaman, healer, nutritionist, hypnotherapist and a wonderful human being. You can know a little about him HERE. Meeting people who are selflessly doing healing work is a gift that life brings. Apart from the love, care and understanding Slim gave me a token of spiritual love that I will cherish all my life. The Magic of Gayatri.  Gayatri mantra has been part of my life since childhood and I am aware of the immense peace and light it brings when chanted the right way. You will find many versions of it on the internet but the reason I found this particular CD worth listening is the profound energy vortex it creates within you. The calming voice of Slim, the introduction to the mantra the soothing music and the sublime rendering of the mantra makes it a wonderful vehicle to meditate, relax or just be inspired. The mantra works at whichever level you need help – physical, spiritual or emotional. For me, it opens my mind and heart when ever I chant it.

This isn’t a promotional post and I am not being paid to do this. This post is in gratitude, in love, in honor of what I received from my friend. It is important to spread the magic of Gayatri so that more and more people can benefit from it. You can let it play in the background as you work or sit quietly and let  the words wash over you. Since ancient times people have always used and still use the sound-vibration of chants for healing purposes. Many of us just chant the mantra mechanically and are deprived of the true value of Gayatri Mantra. Listening to Slim explain it with such simplicity made me chant it with intent and with an open heart. I am not a religious person but this mahamantra is a universal prayer that spiritually connects us. Frequently listening to it creates a permanent template of peace in our consciousness and even if you are not chanting the mantra it stays in you creating the inner calm. This, of course is my personal experience. I believe that we are all energy beings and we are all fluid. it is in our inherent nature to flow. If we don’t we rot. We need to keep expanding our vibrations. I don’t know if this makes sense but do think about it. I also feel that one needs to be watchful about what’s being said or repeated and this is not just for mantras, chants etc but in daily conversations, the sounds we hear and produce for they impact us in a very permanent way. Gayatri Mantra is next to chanting ‘Om’. It unblocks a lot of energies as it permeates through consciousness. The knowledge of the science and philosophy of Shabd brahm is an integral part of Indian spirituality. The Gayatri Mantra has a specific sonic pattern coded in syllables and vowels to carry the cosmic energies of sound and act as a spiritual tool. I feel that the chanting of mantras scientifically helps in healing as well as strengthening our mind-body-spirit triad. Filling us  with eternal calm and love.

When I talk of calm and love my thoughts turn to Penelope. I have not interacted much with Slim’s wife but followed her insightful writing and lovely art work on FB. I think the meeting with Slim expanded my inner horizons to receive more. I had always felt connected to Penelope at a different level. Many times I would just browse her pictures with grand children, friends, her husband or look at her paintings and other artwork and it would instantly fill me with calm and strength. Beautiful and talented as she is, one can feel her paintings through the screen. Slim and Pen are perfect examples of people for whom age is just a number. It is an inspiration that one can pursue one’s passions at any age. You are never too old for anything.

Here is another example of how the fragrance of healing comes to you. When we are open and even when we are not or think we are not, we are in relationship with everything around us. It is for us to consciously recognise and choose the positive and be in it.

Abstract Painting is one of the gifts Penelope has. She works with acrylic and mixed media. Her art has this strange calling. There is much more that what is clear. Art as a medium to heal is a concept I love. I reviewed a book sometime back where a doctor has introduced and infused poetry, music, art with medical care. It is exciting to know people are opening up to complementing and alternate healing therapies along with the modern medical care. The mind, body and spirit need to be in harmony for a wholesome wellbeing. Art in all forms – dance, music, painting, creates that harmony. Neuropsychologists believe that art and music heal by changing the person’s physiology and attitude. It changes from fear and stress to deep relaxation and inspiration, helping the person to change his/her perceptions of their world. Art, prayer, music and healing come from the same inner source of our body and are associated with similar brain wave patterns, mind-body changes. They all are deeply connected in feeling and meaning and take us to our inner resources of healing as we know that all healing comes from within.

I am struggling with a lot lately. I have a nervous temperament and am very vulnerable to everything around me. Life is challenging when you are a woman, rebel and have a mind of your own especially when living in Indian society. The fact that I trust so easily and open too soon is cherry on top and yet that is all I know. I am still learning to consciously be attentive to my emotions. To choose which emotion to act on, which to drown in and which to let go. To love, and bring myself up again.

On one such day, caught between the emotional and health issues, I had a very beautiful and life affirming dream. It was about Penelope. She came to me as a mother, a confidante, a friend. Women, I think are born healers. Some of us may not know it and hence not use the energies in positive ways but those who know, do amazing work. I have never spoken to Penelope, nor interacted with her much but still she found me as I sought the spirit who could guide me and she responded, a healing inspiration across time and space. I am a lucid dreamer and have earlier also connected to spirit guides in various forms and each time is special. It doesn’t have to be a human. It can be a spirit animal.

Let me introduce you to Gyp at this point. She was a Dingo, an animal companion of my very dear friend and mentor, author and artist Kris Saknussemm. Kris introduced her to us on FB through photographs and little stories about her and I always felt a calling. It was as if she was there, in the shadows, watching over me. I told Kris and he was very pleased. She was an animal spirit guide for many who met her or came in contact with her in some way. I often go and read this Article Kris wrote in her memory. The moment I read it for the first time I knew why we felt connected. Another female spirit , brave and wild, who was inspiring lives through her energies. Do click on the link and read.

Coming back to the dream, I shared it with Slim over the phone and he suggested writing to Penelope. I was hesitant but at the same time excited. The love I felt needed to be shared so I wrote to her. Here is what I said,

“I have been through difficult times and am still dealing with challenges, trying to bring on the positive in my life and this dream is a new beginning, new insight for me. Positive warm thoughts coming from you.”

“In the dream, You were making a painting with bright blue, fluorescent colour butterflies, fireflies etc. A beautiful scene from around where you stood. Not sure of the place but it was some lovely hilltop. I am sitting on a rock watching you paint.
The creatures you painted weren’t around us. You said “Tiku, if you believe in goodness of life it comes to you. Even inanimate comes to life.” I said , I believe you Pen, but how can inanimate come to life. It can have a different life, an aliveness about it but it can’t live like us.

You said, “like this” and as you gave the final touch to a wing of a bumblebees everything you had painted began to fly out, crawl out of the painting. Birds, butterflies, fireflies, bumblebees, the air got filled with a fragrance I can’t explain but I felt it. The canvas became white again as I watched awestruck. The voice I heard was soft, motherly voice. Something I crave for. It filled my heart. Not a shrill sound but light as a feather.”

“Wrapped in the fragrance and the sight I slept but I remembered the whole scene after waking up. I felt relaxed and the message came to me so clear , to move on, to cleanse myself of all the negative about myself, people , places. All the while we talked and I watched you paint Slim was in my thoughts too, as if validating the good vibes we shared. I loved the healing bond we formed.”

She responded with such love. A new bond was formed. She was even inspired to paint the dream and trust me, it is exquisite.

Tiku's Dream

Posted with the permission of the artist. (Penelope’s painting)

What can be more fulfilling that this? A blessing from the universe. You ask and you

receive.

Life unfolds in so many magical ways. One can only be grateful for such events and imbibe from them. That is the true gratitude. To learn from what you seek and flow with it. Heart connections are always way above the geographical distances. I always believed in this and now it’s proven in yet another amazing way.

Thank you Slim for connecting me and Penelope. For bringing to me the Magic of Gayatri, for your friendship and for the tremendous love and light you bring in so many way to so many people.

Thank you Penelope for making me aware of the immense possibilities that lie within me, for the dream visitation, for the awesome support work you are doing to touch so many lives and for being a strength, a solace and a source of light.

Thank you universe for your benevolence and for the challenges that make me strong.

For the gift of vulnerability in me.

The more we journey inwards, the more we shine outwards.

Let us create more space for healing. Do please listen to Magic of Gayatri and if anyone who is reading this wants to help Slim in making the CD available in India, please leave a note in his ‘contact me’ on the site link above.

“The things you take for granted are the things others are praying for.” Be generous with  gratitude. Be in harmony with yourself and with all.

Digital art by me. All rights reserved.

Digital art by me. All rights reserved.

Monday Memories 5 – A Walk Through Enchanting Beauty And Silence


I had just turned fourteen when dad took me to YHAI office in Chanakyapuri, Delhi. Each year YHAI holds National Himalayan Trekking Program and I was about to enroll for the ’82 batch for a trek to Khauli Pass(12,800 feet/3750 mts,) situated in the Dhauladhar range (the white range or the silver range) of Himalayas. This small pass situated in Kanwar wild life sanctuary is snow bound for almost seven months in an year. This particular trek was later discontinued due to massive landslides.

Some feeling are so overwhelming that they can not be described. It was my first trek and first journey alone. Dad always wanted me to be fiercely independent and despite of protests from mom, he stood firm on his decision to let me explore the world on my own. A lot of preparation went through in preparing for the trek and one thing that such programs teaches you is, discipline and planning.

I was part of the Mumbai group and one beautiful summer night in May I boarded the bus with my haversack to Manali. After a night long journey I got down at Bhuntar, delirious with joy and nervous too. I was fit, strong and rearing to go. Buntar is a base camp for registration and initial training. I had  the advantage of being youngest in my group and the team leaders and instructors made sure I was not uncomfortable. They took extra care to get me adapted to long treks and camp life.

The precipitous valley road from Bhuntar to Kasol was under repair. It is one of the most thrilling road trip with all its blind turns and narrow stretches. One could see the lush Pin Parvati valley and the  thundering Parvati river meandering like a thread deep in the gorge.

I have very fond memories of our base camp in Kasol (1640m). Nestled in the midst of conifer woods at the banks of Parvati river this beautiful mystical place is a heaven on earth. It is also known as Little Israel of India and one can spot  large number of Israeli tourists among others but our camp was situated a little away from the main Kasol village.   Kasol and the neighboring villages of Tosh(3000 m), Malana and Jari are the home to supposedly the best Hashish in the world –“The Malana Cream” and some of these gorgeous villages are tucked away so deep in the mountains that they didn’t really figure on tourist map for long. They were frequented mainly by travelers looking for serenity and calm and of course the Malana cream. I have already written about the gorgeous beauty of Malana , the solitary village in Malana Nala to the side of Parvati Valley.  It is the lat of the hippy settlement in that region.

Awestruck by the verdant valleys and the crystal clear water of Parvati river I walked around the woods and village, crossed the gushing mountain streams and even paid a visit to nearby pilgrim town of Manikaran famous for its hot water springs.

Even after so many years the memory of that first night in the base camp is so fresh that I can ear the sound of wooden flute echo in the silent mountains. The time stood still as under a star-studded sky one of the trekkers from another group played the flute. Kasol was a training camp so usually there were four to five groups based there, either returning or going to higher camps. It was an adventure and I was already feeling like Alice in wonderland. I had never seen such pristine beauty of the Himalayas from so close and it sure was breathtaking.  We did some nature trails during our stay.

The sweet smell of pine forest, apple orchards,  wild horses and herds of sheep and mountain goats, the gargling white waters of the river, the treacherous mountain nallahs which eventually merge into the river, the swaying wooden and natural rock  bridges, the tranquility and the silence is enough to enchant any traveler. As I write this I am actually transported back to this gorgeous place.

This is where I learned rock climbing, rappelling, river crossing on a rope and other skills essential for a trekker. The entire route of the trek was dotted with places which could cast a spell on anyone by their virgin beauty. It is hard to explain it in so few words the feeling of walking in such enchanting beauty and silence (This was the name of the trek report I wrote after completion).

I vaguely remember some of the names of the camps like Grahan (7700ft), Padri (9300ft) and many more. Each camp welcomed us with fresh food cooked on wood fire by the locals. Each camp night was made memorable by the bonds we created over songs and adventure stories, laughter and night walks around the camp.

We went through blooming meadows, forests, along the river banks, up the jungle trails, crossed the snow-covered landscape, walked through the glacier and the most amazing part of the trek was that we did this all at our own pace.The area is covered with thick canopies of deodar and fir trees that prevent views of the sky.This is what makes the trek in this area enjoyable and challenging.

Although I carried my haversack and sleeping bag on my back most of the time there was no sign of tiredness. There were times when a fellow trekker would carry my pack during steep climbs. It was all about brotherhood. The friends I made are somewhere out there and if any of them reads this I want to send my love to them. Prashant, Haresh, Johnny, Kalpana and many more who were always there in times of difficulty. I guess my training as a basketball player and athlete paid off during those strenuous long stretches.

The instructors and team leaders of the group and in the camps were extremely helpful and I remember at one camp they even sent a search party to look for me and Prashant as we had decided to rest along a river bank surrounded by wild flowers and pine trees. The search team met us half way to the camp and I dreaded that I would be told to return to base camp for breaking the rules but I guess the wild excitement in which I narrated the scenic beauty and my adventure melted the camp leader’s heart and I was left with a warning never to venture on such escapades alone. Prashant was a seasoned trekker and that helped too. Later, when he and some other friends came to drop me home I found he was my second cousin from mom’s side. :D. No wonder we clicked despite age difference. (He must have been in his thirties).

In those ten days of walking through the splendorous Himalayas I learned to appreciate  silence of the woods and streams. I learned to recognize the sounds of the forest and the saw some of the most amazing birds, flora and fauna. I did not carry a camera but the images are still fresh in my mind. For the first time I saw the bear in its wild habitation. ( Two bears came in the middle of the night at the last camp before we hit the glacier. They explored the camp site as we watched their silhouettes from inside our tents.)

I had my first experience of crossing a glacier holding on to a rope  tied to pegs pushed through the snow.  The adrenalin rush, the beating of heart, the careful maneuvering of each foot step and the final ascend to a spot which left me spellbound. You have to go there to see what nature can offer when left in its virgin state.

Most of my collection of things which included a big frozen black beetle, almost entire discarded skin of a python, bark of the bhoj patra  tree, pressed flowers,copies of  photographs clicked by my friends, an autograph booklet with some memorable messages got lost after my marriage. I am still searching for the identity card and my article which was submitted to YHAI office after returning.   The only thing which I still have apart from the lovely memories is this certificate which was issued to us.

IMAG0915

We could not reach Khauli Pass as the weather drastically changed and we had to return to the camp. Within minutes clouds can turn a shiny sunny day into a deathly dark nightmare. With great difficulty we fought through bitter cold and rain and managed to return.

Most of the group went back to Bhuntar base camp but our little gang of friends went on a little adventure to Mandi and from there back to Delhi. I would love to connect with anyone who was there during this trek. Feel free to leave a comment and connect.

I could do this post in many parts and still feel inadequate in describing the inner serenity and calm this experience brought in my life. I am thankful to my father who never discriminated between his son and daughter and in fact let me explore the various facets of my life and go for my dreams.

I did the Chandrakhani pass, Pindari glacier and the Triund trek after this one and then stopped. Its been almost two decades since I have done any serious trekking though I took many trips to the mountains in past years.

I wish to start again and fulfill my long lost desire of exploring the much desired places in the mighty Himalayas.  So, here’s to adventures and star lit nights.

Musings Of An Unquiet Mind


Silence of woods on a spring day

The heart is restless today. I am trying to calm my unquiet mind. A longing to escape is growing within. Escape to a world within. I rummage through an old diary tucked away among some forgotten pictures and notes tied with a lavender ribbon. Slowly I shred them and let the pieces of a long gone dream make a tapestry of words on the floor. Razor sharp edges of crisp paper even after so many years? I thank the person who invented email. READ, DELETE, TRASH AND EMPTY. Letters written on paper are difficult to destroy. They somehow manage to leave a mark. Burn, shred do what ever. They stay.

I discover these jottings at the end of the diary . There is no date . I copy it all here. Just as it is and light a funeral pyre for the memories rotting along with the pages.

Smudged words, blotted patches of ink crazily crisscrossed paragraphs.

I don’t need them now.

I need a  silent escape. My blog is the only place I retreat to at such times. I allow myself to flow with the words copied from the diary.

Silence of the woods on a spring day.

When the breeze sings the  symphony of pure silence and the sunlight filtering through the tops of the trees and lovingly touches the ground. The beautiful, magical dance of the flawless shadows on the forest floor surrounded by a mystical aura. Time floats free in the endless woods.

The silence in the rhythmic music of a mountain brook or in the  rustle of the leaves as the  tall elegant trees  sway like the dervishes  in a soulful dance. A green silence.

The fading moments of daylight dissolve into twilight bliss. The forest melts into an ebony haze. A soft misty nothingness is filled with serenity’s song of silence. Nocturnal darkness takes over silently seeping through the very soul of the forest wrapped in the essence
of luminescent splendor.

In nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…we need silence to be able to touch souls .Silence …to listen to the silence between the words, between the lines, in the gaps, to absorb, to become one with what you are doing.

Meditation or dhyan , silence of the heart and soul …It heals ..Creates a stillness and calm within …

It is when we are silent, we open up to life and it does the same for us.

Maun …. Embodiment of joy.
We do not always realize the implications of the quietness we unconsciously seek and enjoy when we take a walk in a solitary meadow or in a forest or on a mountain. By occasional contacts with silence, our nerves are soothed, energy is regained, and the total effect is bracing to our bodies and minds.

I enjoy being silent even if I am part of a noisy group, it’s not a forced silence like when you are alone.

For me keeping quiet and being silent are two different things.

When silent, one’s mind should be trained to become empty …you don’t even talk to yourself even in the subconscious …it’s a wonderful feeling which completely de-stresses you.

Once you start to enjoy silence you learn to listen to the unsaid, sounds you normally don’t pay attention to.

It increases your power to listen, makes you in tune with self and your surroundings.

Listening is a dying art.

Most of the time we just hear the various sounds without paying any attention to them. Being “maun” is also a method to enhance your will power . We always want to escape to a peaceful place looking for ‘SHANTI’  but that shanti lies within us, we just have to look inwards.

Silence is also very beautiful, I have experienced that by being completely silent I become one with nature and that’s a wonderful feeling. It has a calming effect on soul.

Silence has helped me take many major decisions in life, to do things in the right way guided by my inner. It has improved my concentration power and though still I need to work quiet a lot on it, it has tremendously helped me discover myself. So SILENCE for me is self discovery and a very important part of daily living.

For me

Silence is not

lack of words

lack of music

lack of curses

or  lack of screams

Silence is not  lack of colors

or voices

or bodies

or whistling wind.

Silence is Not  lack of anything

Silence is resting,

nestling in every leaf, every root, every branch of every tree,

it is in the breeze that nibbles at these leaves

or sometimes swooshes around them

Silence is the flower sprouting upon the branch

In the drizzle that tickles them

or the pouring  rain that drenches  them to the core of their being

it is also in the still air that hangs around them on a hot sultry day

Silence is the long winding forest trail  fragrant with the intoxicating aroma of sweet pine

Silence is mother’s song to her  newborn child and  her  cries for her stillborn one.

Silence is the roar of ocean waves and  the sandpipers dancing on the shore.

Silence is the vastness of  green rolling plains and it is a blade of grass.

Silence is the flight of a solitary eagle

A colorful kite soaring in the vast blue sky

A dog curled up under a shady tree on whose trunk furry squirrels run up and down.

Silence is sound And silence is silence.

Silence is love, even the love that hides in hate.

Silence you share with someone you love, so cold, so sharp, you could cut yourself on it. There is nothing so hurtful, nothing so bare and forlorn as the silence that falls like swords on two people who no longer know what to say to one another, and it is the kind of silence that tells you that you are no longer of any importance to that person, who really is no longer even there; it is a silence that renders you invisible.

Silence that hangs heavy in the air. A dark cloud of silence. Where the words strain to touch the  fabric of  someone’s silence. When words become strangers , the thoughts freeze and we are rendered speechless – silence of death of loss.

Silence of pain , physical, emotional pain that’s leaves you numb.

Silence of the suffering heart.

Silence  is  the eyes of poor, hungry children

It is the lover’ s sex exhausted fall into sleep.

It is the call of morning birds.

Silence is the lucid moonbeams kissing a wild flower.

It is a word, a hope, a flickering flame of candle at the window of a  home.

Silence is everything –

in the renewing sleep of Earth,

the purifying dream of Water,

the purifying rage of Fire,

the soaring and spiraling flight of Air.

It is all things dissolved into nothing

Silence is with you always

Sometimes as Shanti sometimes as khamoshi and sometimes as a mook cheekh ( a silent cry) a silent cry of a woman.

.

Banaras Revisited : Snapshots From Memory Lane


In the year 1931 on March 31st  a girl was born to Ramchandra  and Varada Moghe. The eldest of six siblings  she grew up in Theosophical Society and did her schooling and graduation in the Rajghat Education Center of the Krishnamurti Foundation, a beautiful 300 acre campus full of trees, overlooking the confluence of the rivers Varuna and Ganga, on the outskirts of the ancient pilgrimage city of Varanasi.

Fortunate to be born in that time and place, she became a part of the rich cultural heritage of  her birthplace. Her home was a hub for Music, Theater, literature  and she grew up listening to music maestros like  Siddheshwari Devi, Kanthe Maharaj, Gohar Khan , Bismillah Khan.

Many personalities from politics, music, art, theater, literature visited TS and she was fortunate enough to Listen to them.  Famous writers of hindi like Jaishankar Prasad, Munshi Premchand , Sarojini Naidu stayed and worked from there. The family was closely associated with  J. Krishnamurti, and many others.

Her father taught at Basant College and her mother ,  a homemaker and a B.Sc graduate from Ferguson College, Pune , among other things, designed first of the kind science workbooks for small children in Hindi .

After post graduation from BHU her Job took her to Rishivalley in 1953. She frequently visited her parents and later  married a lecturer of science  who taught  at the boy’s college run by Krishnamurti Foundation now called Rajghat Besant School. My dad was a close associate of J.Krishnamurti and worked for the Krishnamurti foundation.

Her last visit in 1959 was the end of her romance with the city of  Banaras for the time being.

Now after 45 years My Ma took a sentimental trip down the memory lane with my brother who was born in TS Varanasi.

It was an emotional experience and not a religious one. Although the city had changed considerably since her time, she was able to go to places where she spent her childhood and yearly youth, the molsary, mango, neem trees under whose shade she played with her friends, the house where she stayed and the school and college where she studied.

Ma was married in Sarnath ( it was an inter caste love marriage ) . She was unable to take pix of the beautiful Sarnath due to some problem but fondly narrated to us about the majestic yet serene stupa and the excellent museum which shows the rich display of Buddhist and bramanic culture. The temple of Buddha with lovely wall paintings depicting the life of Buddha  by Japanese painters and the Bodhi tree where Gautam Buddha attained Bodhisattva.

The Ashoka pillar still stands there in Sarnath shinning beautifully even after so many years. Photography was not allowed at many places even near the major temples in Varanasi , the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Sankat mochan Temple.

At the age of 79 my ma has a spirit of a child and she managed the cope with the travel, crowd and narrow lanes full of bulls and cows and people, the heat and dust in spite of her very frail health  to look around and make the trip a memorable one for her.

I am glad  she was able to fulfill her desire and it was a joy to watch her describing all the details with so much happiness.  Now she wants to take us there and  that is one trip I am looking forward to.

I am sharing some of the pix  with all of you , A snapshot journey down the memory lane through my mom’s eyes. Hope you will enjoy.


Sunrise at the Ganges

Mom could not take many pictures in the city due to her health condition and as she puts it , she wanted to absorb it all in her eyes rather than in the camera so most of the pix are from the ghats and TS, Rajghat compound .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Banaras has many ghats but some of them are famous for religious purposes. The boats are called Dongi in local language and the house boats are known as Bajda , the boat man is called mallhar.

A ghat is a very special type of embankments that are actually long flights of wide stone steps leading down to the river where people can take a holy dip.

Dashaswamedh ghat, manikarnika Ghat, Manmandir ghat are some of the famous ones. Manikarnika is where the cremations take place and also the last rites and rituals for the dead are performed by the Hindus.

After the breathtaking beauty of Ganges  Ma took some pix of TS  and Rajghat which are a treasure for all of us.

The buildings of the Theosophical Society were designed by Surendra Nath Kar an architect from Shanti Niketan. and the sculptures and reliefs at the Vasant college were created by Rudra Hanji fondly called Rudrappa , a friend of my grandfather. The old Banyan tree is a memorable part of ma’s childhood. The Montessori school where she is sitting on the steps is now an assembly hall. The steps were designed in a way so that children of the age group 3-4 could easily climb them.

Ma and a friend under the beautiful flower shed

The TS compound

Morning view of Ganges from Rajghat

The bridge on the river is the oldest and was the only bridge during ma’s childhood.

The Old Banyan Tree in TS

The Varuna river has been turned into a small Nalah ( a dirty river stream where all the drainage water goes) The pic shows the confluence of Varuna and Ganga .

Ma will complete 79 years on 31st march this year and I am delighted to travel back to her roots through her.

Thank you ma for the pix , for all the interesting stories, for the delicious mithai 🙂  and the prasad from the temples. It was the most memorable  day spent together.