Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite (the lure)

What is it that you want?

What are you looking for as you race towards your infinite goals, sweating and bleeding inside, oblivious to the sun that sympathises and cracks its heart open for you.

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Sunset @ Kerala, India

You trudge along beaten trails as you carry the infinite burden of the daily struggle, the expectations, the duties.

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A girl carrying tree branches for firewood to her house uphill @ Uttarakhand, India

You move feverishly, but somehow always in circles, burning yourself out in the process; bouncing off your infinite angst against hard unresponsive surfaces.

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A firecracker, during Diwali (Festival of Lights) celebrations

Somedays you strain your ears amidst the infinite babble of the world, to hear the sound of that one voice which calls out to you, that whispers your name.

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Keeda Bazar, a tribal food market @ Nagaland, India

Somedays you stand in front of the mirror and count the infinite lines on your face, and the much deeper ones in your heart.

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A village sarpanch (head-man) @ Uttarakhand, India

You wish for serenity, for the infinite quiet to wash over and soothe you.

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Sunset @ Kerala, India

But the path that bends into the infinite unknown haunts you and calls out to you in your dreams, and in your waking hours.

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The beautiful backwaters @ Kerala, India

And you take it.

You step onto the clouds, into infinity and beyond, towards the many worlds of your mind and elsewhere.

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A cactus @ Uttarakhand, India

What is it that you want?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

A set of pictures taken on a misty morning as the sun comes up from behind the hills.

This was at Kausani, a small town in the state of Uttarakhand, India.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kausani

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated (in sunlight)

A female Giant Wood spider (Nephila sps.) and its web caught against the backdrop of a grey wall , just as the sun begins to rise in the sky.

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The threads glint in rainbow colors as they catch the early rays of the sun.

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As the sun moves up, the web is saturated with golden yellow.

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In the Background (Thru The Looking Glass)

What we see is determined by our vision,

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motivated by our biases,

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colored by our memories.

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molded by our thoughts,

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Everything else is, as far as we are concerned, in the background.

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We never really take in the entire scene.

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Wish You Were Here

( This post is on aging related memory loss, hallucinations and dementia. It is about a parent, about us all. This post is about  a wish, a song)

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You call out to me from the garden. “There is a face peeping through the leaves of that mango tree. Can you see it? It moves with the breeze. The nose twitches, the eyes crinkle. Can you see it? Can you tell?”

How i wish, how i wish you were here.

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There are places you  go to.

I can’t keep up with your pace and so i am content to listen to the stories that you bring from your travels. I see the adventure in your eyes, hear it in your laugh. Your voice carries me away to bamboo forests, to sand dunes, to angry monsoon rivers, to cold depressing blankets of snow. i feel the deodar leaves rustle as you touch them, i feel the sand in my hair, i breath in all the different colors of the tulips, i taste the strawberries that you managed to grow much to the surprise of everybody, and i marvel at the makeshift bamboo ‘canals’ carrying water from little mountain streams to that patch of green peas. i feel your joy, your fears, your loss. i walk through your tales and live them, never losing the thread, always wanting to hear more so that i can piece that time together.

Sometimes you leave for places i can’t reach. I squint my eyes and try to hold on to you, but you leave anyway. And it is always so sudden, without any warning goodbyes. One moment we will be pruning the plants in the garden, and in an instance the weather changes. i feel the sunlight clamp down on my heart, and i know without looking around that you have left. But you come back, you always do, and that thought itself keeps me warm. i do worry about you and to be honest, also about myself. I worry that someday you may walk on so far that you may forget the way, or that you may just be too tired to walk back.

Meanwhile, there are places you go to, in your mind. And i try to keep pace, i really do. i grasp at the stories of your youth, of my growing up years, of times long gone by and i try to keep them in the neural pathways of my memories, all nicely wrapped in soft scented tissue. You see things that i can’t, well i can’t immediately, but then i try to look at it your way and sometimes it all fits together. There IS a face that peeps through the leaves, it moves with the breeze. I see it now.

i realize how it must be for you, walking alone, wondering if you are on track. i see the confusion in your eyes at times as you hold on to me, to familiar things. i feel your desperation as you fill sheets of paper with irregular blotches of blue, trying again and again to get your signature correct, wondering who changed the boundaries. i sense your fear as you try to make sense of little things, as you falter to put a name to a face, as you struggle with the connections that conspire to confuse you. It must be so frustrating to move between worlds.

 i know now that you get lonely and afraid, that you hold on to the network of your memories as you wish desperately for a familiar name, a face, someone who could make sense of the mess, wishing someone was there with you. i want you to know that we shall walk through this together, you and i, making sense of things, building bridges over our fears., picking up the pieces of the jigsaw, trying to figure out what goes where. 

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Why does everybody look on so patiently when you tell them about where you had been, where you are? There is a fine veil between what is real for me and what is real for someone else. It has always been like that, hasn’t it? All of us flitting in our spaces, so surefooted at times, and then instantly confused. Is the glass half-empty or half-full?  

Do you think you can tell? 

There is a voice within us trying to make sense of it all. There is always a wish tugging at our voids.  

How i wish, how i wish you were here.

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(P.S. For the title of the post and the italicized lines, i refer you to Pink Floyd.

This post seems to fit todays Daily Prompt: Is the glass half-full or half-empty? http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/daily-prompt-the-glass/ ?  )

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The Beast Within

“You are more beautiful than you think”

I wish it was George Clooney whispering these lines to me in his trademark drawl and lopsided smile that reaches his eyes. But no (and wake up woman !!), it is actually a conclusion drawn by an ‘social experiment ‘ by Dove (the brand that sells beauty products)  which is making women all over the globe smile and cry. I am sure most of you would have seen the video. It is flooding inboxes and newsfeeds. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XpaOjMXyJGk

I have my reservations about the simplistic methodology used by the social scientists. It would have been better if all participants (including the subjects and the observers, and here by default they all would have to be women) gave the descriptions in third person, thus reducing the artists bias towards harsher (self description) and softer (third person) pencil strokes. Also, it would be better if they had a heterogeneous mix of women of varied age groups and body types.  But beyond this nitpicking, i admit that towards the end of the video, i smile. It makes me feel good.

It lifts my spirits that the roundish face framed in mousey grey hair, combed in a practical no- fuss manner that looks back at me when i stand in front of the mirror; the open pores and upraised, almost- wartish moles; the crows feet; the slightly squinty eyes that cannot function without glasses; all this and more , will not be seen by a stranger. That, someone i meet at the coffee shop, the airport or even for that matter coworkers, may describe me as an elegant woman with short salt and pepper hair, and a soft smile. It makes me feel good and brings a smile to my gracefully- ageing face. It erases my wrinkles as no botox- shot ever can. It works as an astringent and instantly closes my wide open pores. It essentially works as a soft focus camera lens and makes me want to use the strangers perception of my looks as my facebook profile picture.

So, we all are more beautiful than we think.

Or, are we? What would the results be if we were asked to describe ourselves as a person, an individual. Just that. No age profiling, no job descriptions, no educational qualifications, no marital or parenting status, no nationality, no geo-economic positioning of ourselves in the global fabric. Just five lines on how we see ourselves as a person, and in our interaction with fellow humans.

Here are my five lines on myself: i am a mild-mannered person. i believe in live and let live, as long as somebody is not living off my bank balance. i have no qualms about borrowing and forgetting to return books,  from friends and strangers. i am always ready to help family, friends and anyone i can. (WHERE is my halo?).

Five lines on me, by someone who knows me as an individual (not a close friend) at a superficial level: She is a reserved person, almost snobbish.  She dresses sloppily. She definitely has a squint. 

Beyond this, the stranger will not have much to say about me as an individual, without mentioning my looks, dress, job, family etc. Our appearance, and by that i mean our physical and social appearance, define how we are perceived by strangers. Is this why we try to fit into the social fabric?

Why are we driven towards becoming model parents and citizens? Why do we want to do the ‘right thing’ (whatever that is)? We crave acceptance. It is good for our egos and feeds our vanity. We are willing to let go of our individuality, the quirks that define us, the dreams that haunt us. Why? It is to feed the beast within us.

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The Mutants Offspring

This is a humorous take on our affection for dogs and how they may have hypnotized the humans. Asimov fans of the Foundation series will recognize the ‘Mule’ :)

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The Mule was sterile.

Is that what you thought? That, when he died the random threat was over? You read the Encyclopedia Galactica and assumed that was how things went? Ah, but emotions control the chemicals in the brain you know, and they in turn control the changes in the body. That is how it had always worked for the Mule. Emotional control was his tool and he used it to solve the problem with his body.

He knew he had two flaws, his inability to produce offspring and his jarring ugly physical appearance. The initial mutations must have induced parthenogenesis and subsequently, sexual differentiation. It was changing his appearance that proved tricky. There is no guarantee of conserving good looks,  and he wanted his offsprings to rule forever, over generations. Ultimately he made a choice.  He would alter the physical features entirely such that it would not resemble the humanoid form at all. He changed the limbs and added an extended coccyx, but he did not mess with the eyes. The eyes were important.

The control over the galaxy remained, though the inhabitants were not aware of it.  That was how he wanted it.  That was how he had managed to become the greatest conquerors the galaxy had ever seen. He was a random mutation himself, and he was born with the ability to reach into the minds of others and adjust their emotions. It was because of this that though he was ruthless, he did not have to kill or torture. The people he ruled over had once hated and feared him, but he had changed their emotional waves to adoration and respect for himself.  He had probed and felt emotional patterns of individuals and of masses, and he knew it to be true.

The Mule died a natural death but his progeny remained and bred and still rule over us. The mind control is oh-so-subtle. It is the soulful eyes that do it. They seem to look straight into your heart, but they  are actually probing your mind patterns and changing them till you feel the warmth of affection flood your senses.  The emotional adjustment inflicted is almost artistic . The behavioral pattern  and memories remain intact, the ‘adjustment’ works only to create affection and a willingness to please and obey orders.

They look at you and you are mesmerized, you take them home and look after them thinking you are the master, but then that is how they wanted it in the first place. Mind control so subtle that when you make them do ‘tricks’ you have not the faintest idea that it is they who have trained you to get them food. You are only a tool.

It is the eyes that do it, and also the extended coccyx, the tail. It wags and we move accordingly, in affection.

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P.S. i am under the control of a 3 month old labrador retriever. He has adjusted our mind patterns and is now part of our family.

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