The Homecoming– #FridayFictioneers

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Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a #100wordstory in response to a photo prompt. Photo prompt © Danny Bowman Continue reading

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Of Dead Trees #ThursdayTreeLove 17

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Even dead trees have a story of their own, representing many years of living with the elements of Nature around them, through sunny mornings and misty dawns, through downpours, drizzles, and storms and what have you….in fact, anything and everything that Nature would throw at them. And even after they’re dead, they stand to wait for someone to cut them up and use them in some way, probably make a house with, or as piece of furniture, perhaps!

Today, I’m  sharing the picture of a dead tree I see every morning, in my apartment complex, quietly sharing space with the rest of the living ones.

Joining Parul Thakur with her post based on the theme, #Thursday Tree Love –where she brings you her tree picture and links to other beautiful ‘tree’ posts from the week before. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree and link it back to her post. Let’s appreciate Nature around us!

Setting off or Arrived?#WordlessWednesday 38

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Setting off or arrived? Who knows!

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Linking up for #WordlessWednesday.

Joining in is super simple—All you got to do is post a picture on your blog and add it to the linky below, where you will find other #WordlessWednesday pics.

Do visit and comment on as many posts as you can and have fun. If you happen to stop by here, do leave a comment so I can follow you back. Wish you a wonderful Wednesday!



Gratitude on Teachers Day!

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Today is September 5th – a day to reflect on some of the most wonderful memories of my favourite teachers, as I look back on the years that have gone by!

What could be a better day than today to owe my gratitude to some of the most inspiring figures who came into my life and shaped my mind, intellect and sensibilities, beyond what one can ever fathom— individuals who taught me to be a good human first, from whom I imbibed a core set of values; whose teachings I still carry around with me no matter where I go.

My gratitude to each one of you today,  because without you I would not be where I am!

To my very first teachers, my parents—Thank you for teaching me how to read and write, for guiding me to distinguish between right and wrong and for inspiring me to dream and soar as a kite, thank you for being my friend, mentor, and light. Ma— who had the patience to teach the alphabets to an eager 4-year-old who loved to day dream more than study! Over the years, she has been and continues to teach me not just life lessons but also the fine art of living with grace, uprightness, and positivity – things that have always held me in good stead through the roller-coaster rides of life!

To Miss Dora…Sister Ivy…Sister Dorothy…Miss Emorin…Raghavan aunty…Kalpana aunty…Zibbu aunty—Thank you for planting the seed of curiosity and igniting my imagination for me to be able to flourish and succeed through very different cultural environments over the course of years!

To Bandana Ma’am and Mandar Ma’am and especially Anuradha Ma’am — most notably, with whom I shared an invaluable and most inspiring rapport—“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge,” said the great Albert Einstein. Thank you for being that teacher to me, for your unflinching support and for believing in me and having faith in my abilities!

To Prof Derek Eldridge, Prof Patricia Voaden, and Dr. Peter Whiteley—Thank you for teaching me to go against my grain, to beat the odds and excel at whatever I strived to do, in life and beyond—To you, I remain ever so grateful!

Last but not the least, my bubbly teenager, whose enthusiasm and infectious smile never fails to brighten my day every morning, to things he teaches me every day and his endless questions on life. on the universe, on the most mundane things of life that keep me on my toes— something that becomes more and more relevant for me to keep a curious and agile mind!

To all you wonderful people – a very very special and wonderful Teachers’ Day!

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How Sept 5th came to be declared as Teacher’s Day in India.

September 5th is the birth anniversary of the Second President of India, Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan — a celebrated academic who taught at Chennai’s Presidency College and Calcutta University and also served as Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. Apparently, when Dr. Radhakrishnan’s students were keen to celebrate his birthday, he had suggested instead that it would be his “proud privilege” if the day was observed as Teacher’s Day. So, in 1962, when Dr. Radhakrishnan became the President of India, his birthday came to be observed as Teachers’ Day. 

Ephemeral: The Impermanence of Things #FridayReflections

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There was a time several years ago, when I used to read out to my little one, perched up on my lap, all cozy and warm. During the long story reading sessions, we would break for impromptu discussions, once in a while when we would discuss the most random things under the Sun, before resuming again.

One day, while we were reading the Jataka Tales, my little one was a little quieter than usual. He kept listening to the stories, but did not ask me any questions. I noticed something was bothering him. After a while, I sat him down next to me and finally asked him the reason for his quietness.

After some initial hesitation, he replied,

“I was thinking —why do people die?”

“Hmm. So this is what is bothering you,” I said. I knew I had to put him at ease with his thoughts but it was hard to explain the concept of death to a child. I thought for a moment and then, said,

“You know, there is something common about everything we see in this world, and that is— everything changes. The law of nature says that all living beings that are born must die. Me, you, our families, our friends, our plants and trees and the animals around. Everything must come to that state we call death.”

His next question was,

“Does it hurt a lot when we die?”

I hugged him tight and kissed his forehead. I had no answer to be honest, but I made the bravest face that I could and told him,

“No, it doesn’t.”

And, then, for some reason, I veered him away from that topic to something else and the topic was forgotten. Over the years we never spoke about it again.

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Last week, we came upon this topic again by chance. The news of yet another teenager killing himself over the notorious Blue Whale challenge has been sending shockwaves around the country. As a mother of a teen, I know my apprehensions are not unfounded. I’ve always kept the lines of communication open with Arjyo knowing how trying things can be when you’re caught in a limbo between childhood and adulthood. After his evening snack, we got down to talking about how his day went. We spoke on all and sundry until we came upon the topic of death and how everything we are connected to, is only short-lived. The mood and tone of our chat suddenly turned solemn. I decided to tell him a story again, reminiscent of the early years. Maybe, I was missing those story-telling days more than he did.

I narrated the story of the Buddha and how one day a woman with a dead baby came to him asking him to bring the child back to life. The Enlightened One, of course, would not give sermons. So, he sent her to go looking for a mustard seed instead, which alone could save the child’s life, but on one condition—it should come only from a house where death had not touched anyone. Over time, and after a couple of visits, the woman realised that there was not a single household where death had not visited even once. She came to the realisation that her only way forward was to accept that death was inevitable in everyone’s life. The Buddha, full of compassion for the welfare of mankind, must have already seen it! She said to her son,

“Dear little son, I thought that you alone had been overtaken by this thing which men call death.  But you are not the only one death has overtaken. This is a law common to all mankind.”  So saying, she cast her son away in the burning-ground, uttering the following words.

“No village law, no law of market town, No law of a single house is this—

Of all the world and all the worlds of gods

This only is the Law, that all things are impermanent.”

Arjyo listened to the story with a maturity that was well beyond his years and a vulnerability that was a sign of his young mind trying to come to terms with the concept of loss and impermanence. Never an easy topic to discuss with your teen, mind you. Knowing that he was on the verge of that uneasy stage in life when emotional turmoils run high, I said,

“Everything in this world is temporary— me and you and everyone we know. But should that stop us from living life? NO. Even our favourite things are here today, gone tomorrow….and so are all our lovely moments of happiness and so are the hard times and the painful things that we find difficult to endure. So, if you are happy, enjoy the moment because it is short-lived and if you are sad, know that this too shall pass soon.”

He has always been a child with a certain philosophical bent of mind and he has always been a quick observer of things around. While he confessed the other day how that chat of ours made him sad, he also acknowledged the fact that it made him wise enough to understand that this was a “fact of life.”

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I recalled how I had stumbled upon this profound truth in my Philosophy class in college—one of the foremost teachings in Buddhism that says everything in life is impermanent. Buddhism’s main concern has always been freedom from pain and the path to that ultimate freedom consists in ethical action and in direct insight into the nature of “things as they truly are”.

According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is like a river. It is a successive series of moments, joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow. But in reality, it moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another.

So, what makes this knowledge relevant to us?

Perhaps the fact that our inclination to cling to things we are attached to is one of the major reasons for our suffering. When we are aware of the ever-changing nature of reality and appreciate the present moment we are able to accept that nothing will stay with us forever, that all things including our moments of happiness and pain are ephemeral.

The river of yesterday is not the same as the river of today. It changes continuously from moment to moment. Everything we see around us is there only for a moment. In the very next, something will change and so will our life. The only way to align our lives with this reality is to accept the impermanence of life and make the most of living in the moment.

 

 

On a Boundless Sky #SkywatchFriday 54

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The glow on the boundless depth of the open sky. Once upon a time in Bangalore. 2017

Linking this post with #Skywatch Friday, where people post beautiful sky shots from different parts of the world. You may catch my earlier #SkywatchFriday posts here.

Here’s wishing everyone an easy, chilled out weekend!

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Ruined – #FridayFictioneers

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Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a #100wordstory in response to a photo prompt. Photo prompt (c) Roger Bulltot.

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They were here, on their way back from the beach. Rob, followed by the kids—the twins, who’ve just turned thirteen, and Amelie, the youngest one.

They followed Rob as he led them along the moss-laden brick wall, up the broken steps, to the opening, from where they could have an unhindered view of the plains.

I followed them.

It was so long since I held them close, the boys and the little one, Amelie—What if I could…just once?

“I saw mom…behind that wall!” sobbed Amelie.

Rob rushed to comfort her. I watched, achingly, from the corner.

 

(100 words)

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Linking this with #FridayFictioneers hosted by the amazing Rochelle Wiseoff.

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers every week. Bloggers post their stories here and everyone ends up reading one another, including Rochelle who visits every post written— a fantastic encouragement for all the writers. If you’re interested, click here to read the amazing variety of narratives and storylines, inspired by the photo prompt.

Co-existence – #ThursdayTreeLove 16

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…and some stand strong and fixed to give shelter and an anchor to those around while others, supple and dainty, wrap themselves around the strong ones, to rise high and grow into themselves.

In a way, trees are not very different to us humans, don’t you think?

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Joining Parul Thakur, after a couple of week’s break, with her post based on the theme, #Thursday Tree Love –where she brings you her tree picture and links to other beautiful ‘tree’ posts from the week before. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree and link it back to her post. Let’s appreciate Nature around us!

Standing Tall #WordlessWednesday 37

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A solitary blooming Lotus, shot during a trip to Bekal in North Kerala, sometime last year.

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Happy to join Anni Schenk as a co-host for #WordlessWednesday. Joining in is super simple—All you got to do is post a picture on your blog and add it to the linky below, where you will find other #WW pics.

Do visit and comment on as many posts as you can and have fun. If you happen to stop by here, do leave a comment so I can follow you back. Have a WONDERFUL Wednesday! 😀

The Gift – #SaturdayShortStories

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(This post was written in response to the Saturday Short Story prompt on the Write Tribe WhatsApp group.)

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When she got back from school that afternoon, Anjali was very surprised to see a little boy sitting alone, hunched up in one a corner of the kitchen floor.  Continue reading