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Showing posts from March, 2013

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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Storming Sewri Part 2 - The Sewri Fort

I first read about Sewri Fort in an article on the various forts in Mumbai. Every time I visited the Sewri Jetty to see the flamingos and other birds, I wondered where the fort was. A friend later told me that it was just off the road we took to reach the jetty. Unfortunately, ardent birdwatchers aren’t always heritage enthusiasts, and I never found company to go to the fort. Much as I love to explore, going into a deserted and ruined fort alone didn't seem the safest thing to do, and the fort remained on my wish list for all these years. When Travel-Logs announced their Sewri Walk, the one place I was keen to visit was the fort. Thankfully, the dates and timings were convenient for once, and I eagerly jumped on to the bandwagon!

Storming Sewri Part 1 - Flamingos

Last weekend, when I asked Samhith if he wanted to accompany me to Sewri, he replied, “But I have already seen flamingos!” I tried explaining that Sewri wasn’t just about flamingos, but he remained unconvinced. I signed up for the Sewri walk by Travel-Logs nevertheless, and dragged him along, remembering a time when Sewri, to me, meant even less.  

Skywatch Friday - Reflections

Book Review: Barfani Baba; To Amarnath, Happily - By Aabha Vatsa

‘ Amarnath’ one of the names of Lord Shiva, implies not simply that He is immortal, but that he is beyond immortality, above the concept of life and death, the one who controls all, death included. That is the very concept behind the holy shrine where He is known by that name. The Amarnath cave is situated in a terrain which is certainly among the toughest to cover, and the idol isn’t just a stone, but ice, or rather, water, which has no beginning and no end; which takes different forms, yet doesn’t lose its character; but above all, which sustains life itself! A journey to the Amarnath cave is thus not simply a visit to a shrine, but one which makes you think of life itself, to ponder on issues of life, death and everything in between. It is this thought that Aabha Vatsa puts forth in her book ‘Barfani Baba; To Amarnath, Happily’.

Birdwatching at Bhandup Pumping Station, Mumbai

Sunday mornings are meant for relaxation... to catch up on some much needed sleep. But when opportunity beckons, even the little chap who struggles to get out of bed for school, is up and awake with the first ring of the alarm, eager to be on his way. Such a long awaited opportunity came our way this Sunday, with the BNHS organising a bird watching trip to the Bhandup Pumping station.

Skywatch Friday - On the riverside

For Skywatch today , is a scene that could be from anywhere in rural India..... a riverside scene.... A cowherd brings his cows and buffaloes to the river... they drink and they bathe... and so does he. I clicked this somewhere in interior Maharashtra, while on our way to the Lonar Crater, but, as I said before, it could be from any part of the country.

Book Review: The Rose Grower by Michelle De Kretser

The 14 th of July, 1789 - A date which would become famous as Bastille Day, a symbol of the uprising of the common man against the tyranny of the monarchs. The date would soon be etched in the pages of history, but in a small corner of France, the date is memorable too... for another reason. On that eventful day , “labourers working in the fields around Montsignac, a village in Gascony, saw a man fall out of the sky.” So begins the novel, “The Rose Grower” by Michelle De Kretser.

Faces in the Crowd: The Innocence of Childhood

'The Innocence of childhood' is a much used and cliched phrase, which barely seems to apply these days when kids seem to grow up faster than we can think... in every way. And then, to see a child, completely immersed in herself, enjoying herself to the hilt, totally unaware of those around her... is a sight that warms the heart! 

Nageshwar Temple, Aundha Nagnath

The Rudram chanting (hymns dedicated to Rudra, or Lord Shiva) seemed to fill the entire space. The sound reverberated within the small, cavernous shrine, the stone walls echoing the words over and over again till the air itself seemed to pulsate with the same rhythm as the chanting. In such a charged atmosphere, the simple act of placing a bilva leaf on the Shiva lingam and pouring water on it, seemed much more than a mere ritual. It was this divine experience that made our visit to Aundha Nagnath so memorable.

Birds from my window - Oriental Magpie Robin

It has been a while since I posted photos of birds, so here is one I see the most these days - the Oriental Magpie Robin.

Snapshots from Mumbai - Maharashtra Police Headquarters

  The Maharashtra Police Headquarters is a landmark at Colaba, for the road leading towards the Gateway of India. However, it wasn’t always known by this name.

Post Offices of Shimla

The bright red pyramidal roof stands out, marking it clearly against the rest of the buildings. The red and yellow symbol of India Post painted over the entrance is equally visible, indicating that it is the GPO – the General Post Office, at Shimla.

Faces in the Crowd - Young Entrepreneur

Sitting by the window, the full glare of the sun falling on me, my thoughts can't but help return to the wonderful winter vacation we had at Shimla. No wonder then, that my choice for today's Faces in the Crowd is a kid we met at Narkanda. 

Skywatch Friday - Annadale, Shimla

Sometime around the year 1830 , a young British officer exploring the area around the still developing hill town of Shimla, came upon a beautiful sight. Amidst the towering mountains, was a small stretch of plain land, a natural tableland, dwarfed by the mountain and forests, but presenting such a lovely view that he was reminded at once of the girl he had once loved, back in England. The man was Captain Charles Pratt Kennedy, the then Political Agent of Shimla, and he named the place ‘Annadale’ after his lost love.