My visit to the Mughal Gardens

My visit to the Mughal Gardens

Mughals got distinct architecture, art and craft to India and they also fostered idea of rearing beautiful gardens. Mughals believed that gardens are truly a reflection of a paradise. The British were inspired too with the Mughal’s way for nurturing the green and they built Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Estate). Sir Edwin Lutyens, was the chief architect to mill beautiful designs to give an aesthetic look to Dilli and also to the Mughal Gardens.

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I decided to pay a visit to the Mughals Garden. This is a segment reared with beautiful ornamental, herbal and plants of spiritual significance. The gardens are beautiful with the yearlong effort of gardeners so evident.

I was essentially observing the children while taking a stroll in the gardens. There were herds of people flowing in to see the spring in full bloom. I must have walked half a mile and visitors were in some frenzy to take selfies and record their grand red carpet visit to the Mughal Gardens on their cell phones. There was hula boo about something that I couldn’t figure out. I didn’t spot a single parent talking to their child or showing them a plant or a flower that truly intrigued them. The little ones were either posing to be photographed or were capturing their parents in a photograph. The ultimate purpose of these beautiful gardens just seemed to be providing for a beautiful landscape. The only emotion that these gardens seem to germinate was extreme euphoria.

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I landed up taking few pictures too!
A lot goes into preparing a garden. A gardener has to have knowledge of seeds, plants, growth process, seasons and so on. Over and above, there is a feeling that connects the gardener to the mother earth. A feeling that makes them nurture plants and see them grow.

I hope that we bring up children encouraging the same feeling with which a gardener works in a garden. A different pedagogy needs to be thought about (for schools and home) if green initiatives for mother earth are to be strengthened.

 

 

 

 

Parenting and Pets

Parenting and Pets

My uncle was getting transferred abroad and his pet was now going to live with us. This was a female pomeranian adult, Terry. Beautiful, healthy with apparently no behavioral issues. Terry ate well, slept well and loved her walks. She formed a bond with dad and she had no hassle while adapting to a new home. Terry was a family for good seven years and she was truly a darling!

Seven years are no less to have an experience of a pet. However, bringing up a pup from its early days could be contrasting experience. I and my family are bringing up a German Shepherd, Loki. Parenting a human baby or a pup has its own share of happiness and hassles. Pet parents would agree with me… Right?

Loki was barely 40 days old playful pup who just loved to eat, sleep, pee, crap and chew furniture sides. He is on a search mission with mobile nostrils ever since he came to live with us.  Loki created a record of passing stools and urinating in every corner of the house. His favourites being his own mattress, carpets and doormats. Since he was a tiny-miny-cute-little pup we pardoned him. He just appeared to show this juvenile behavior for good two months. Loki just seemed to be an incarnation of a devil with some sort of sadistic intent.

Gradually, Loki stopped peeing in the bed room where he always slept. Thereafter, he stopped peeing in the living room where he met all the family members. There seems to be some pattern to this.

Loki is five months old now and he has spotted a corner in the balcony for his bio-breaks. And he has learned that it is ‘his home too’. It’s truly a good feel for a pet parent.

Well, there has been a blind spot. Loki urinated on one spot in the drawing room. This behavior occurred when he found the doors to the balcony closed. Also, this was an untouched area of the house. I mean, less used by his human friends.

This is my first ever book on animal behavior that I started reading after Loki came home. Patricia B. McConnell, an animal behaviorist in her book ‘The Other End of the Leash’ has given a beautiful chapter on olfactory sense of dogs. And I seemed to have been on the right chapter!

According to Patricia B. McConnell, “We define ‘house’ as bordered by walls, but most dogs seem to define ‘house’ where you spend your time and therefore where the pack’s scent is the strongest. Many of my client’s dogs only went in the back guest room, a place with none of the familiar odors of the family. In most of the cases, simply eliminating the odor of urine and then marking the area with a different scent can get the dog going in the right rest room again. Once the area if odor-free and clean, sit down with your dog and a paperback and spend a little time each day there. In just a few days, that place will smell like a living room instead of a toilet to your pup”.

I tried the trick mentioned by the author and it seems to have work wonders. Six days have gone past and there has been just two episodes when he crapped  in the drawing room. This is a good success rate!

Enjoying the book and so much so growing up with the pup.

I would share more of my experience that relate or unrelate with this beautiful work of Patricia B. McConnell.

 

 

Why travel with Bhartiya Rail?

Why travel with Bhartiya Rail?

There are hidden pleasures of leaving the hustle bustle of a metropolitan life and travel to a slow-paced town or a hill station. Such travel pangs are often short-lived for city dwellers. For the mundane and the cocooned life in metropolitan has also given us seamless comfort. And we seem to be well-adjusted to the background noise.

Indian Railways have been a subject for many authors, poets and photographers. They have extensively shared their experiential accounts or have given a symbolic representation of life around the railways. Cinema has also made beautiful depictions around railways and human life.

This article is just about the repertory of thoughts that germinate, spring and bloom when you begin a journey in and through the Indian rail.

Indian trains are essentially temperamental and  they lead a paradoxical life. Sometimes, they give excessive comfort. Arrival and departure on time, edible food and some candid conversations with the passengers on the opposite berth.
Quite often than not are they give us journeys which are arduous. The passenger meanders from poor facility/infrastructure, excessive delays or restless fellow passengers with cranky infants.

No matter how comfortable or exhausting the journeys turn out to be, one does extract a moment of being mindful about one’s existence. The expansive scenes of our planet outside the train’s window are indeed windows to reflect that ‘I’ am just a drop in the vast universe.  There I begin to feel greater acceptance for my being, my ongoing struggles and achievements. This also slowly settles my obsessive thoughts around my work, family and daily hassles. Once the train exists the self asserted ‘karma bhumi’- rhythmic and normal breathing settles in.
I can’t describe in more words. Share your experiences of travelling in an Indian train.

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Bon voyage!

Can I help?

‘Time is an important resource’.’I have no time to think or feel.’ ‘I have no time to eat or exercise.’ ‘I don’t know how did the day end?’ ‘Gosh! I am already 30′.’For how long would I stay in this job?’

Such messages incessantly reverberate in our inner world giving us a reference of time. We so need these messages. They seem to be the foundation of our very existence.

Well, does time cease to stop?

Yes! It does.

It was the recess time in school. School corridors brim with positivity and out-pour of bottled energy (can say so for the Indian subcontinent). Few primary kids chasing each other. Few preferring to have tiffin silently and young boys and girls gasped in a laughter spree.

Piled with the laboratory material with umpteen number of thoughts chasing the mind.  I was meandering and dodging my way to the workstation. A hot cup of tea was all I could imagine.. I just wished to settle on a chair, and drop the load of my hands.  Amidst this hustle-bustle in the corridor, a mischievous 12th grader asked, ‘Can I help?’

Time did stop!

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The real people of ‘Udta Punjab’

Udta Punjab

Disclaimer 1: The blog is not intended to promote the movie.

I have put this disclaimer for two reasons.

First,  I ain’t an ardent fan of movies. Honestly, I can only recollect storylines of handful cinematic works that have really touched my heart.

And the second, the movie, ‘Udta Punjab’ has already benefitted by getting publicity because of the tussle between Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the High Court (Mumbai) and Bollywood fraternity for release. So, this blog is really tiny amidst such paparazzi controversies.

Hence, this blog is not going to take any ownership for ‘Udta Punjab’ for its good or a bad result in the box-office.

My husband is an aspiring street photographer and runs a page on Facebook, ‘Bylanes of your City’. He posts many pictures on his page. And of course, I like most of the pictures clicked by him. However, I liked this one in particular.

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A pilgrim at Anandpur Sahib, ‘The Holy City of Bliss’

Few days back, I wrote composition around this picture to describe the real people of Punjab, without much context of the multi-starrer movie, ‘Udta Punjab’.

The Warrior

In my mind,
for I carry a history,
of preserving the mankind.

A child asked me,
Who am I?
I am a warrior,
in my own land.
I am a warrior,
for my own people.

The innocent asserted,
warriors don’t pray,
they are strong and hearted.
With glitter on his face,
he is up for another question,
What gets you to the temple?

I smiled and whispered,
my guru summoned me,
and he is just here.
My skin is patchy,
and I am turning grey.
I am unsure of the breaths,
I would now take.

The child winked,
and looked perplexed,
for he is soon going to be,
a warrior in the same land.

I grinned and moved on,
to meet my clan,
of my own flesh and blood.

My maternal and paternal grandparents migrated to India from that part of Punjab that is now under Pakistan. I have grown listening to stories of the real ‘punjabis’…So, the title of the movie, really attracted me.

Punjab has always been known for people with personality traits of hardiness. People who are committed and who accept challenges and those who can exercise control over their lives. The movie trailers and the prime time news channels are really ignoring the rich past of these warriors of this fertile land.

May be, these people (in real-time) have themselves forgotten.

Today, packed in plastic bags and camouflaged in mud, the heroine packets are reaching Punjab from across the border.  The movie exposes the same ‘the drug menace’ of Punjab… And this is enough to trouble the Punjabi politicians who are geared for the assembly polls in 2017.

I am not oblivious to the real problems of the state. Punjab is also one such state to top the charts of skewed gender ratio. People from Punjab are sort of fetish to go ‘abroad’ and possibly, the state also tops the chart of illegal immigration to developed countries in the world.

I hope that the upcoming release of ‘Udta Punjab’ brings forth ‘winds of change’ in the minds of men and women.

Udta Punjab

Disclaimer 2: This is for the real people of Punjab to wake up to their rich cultural past and relive a life of a warrior.

 

 

 

The beginning of Inner Voyage

The beginning of Inner Voyage

We are born story tellers. We narrate stories of the days gone past and sometimes we weave stories for the future.  A four-year-old toddler has a story to tell of his kindergarten and so would be true for a ninety-year-old who survived the Holocaust. Watching a movie can trigger a story in us or our story may resonate with a particular character of a book. Our mind is skilled to store multiple stories of past, present, and future. These stories carry all the possible emotions and narrating one’s story may sometimes mean reliving the story again. Some stories may dissolve in themselves and some may be stubborn enough to have deep traces in our preoccupied minds. The storyteller may share a hearty laugh for the days gone past or may feel engulfed in the same feeling of loss that was lived a decade ago.

I am a teacher by profession and I get to listen to extraordinary stories of ordinary students, parents, and teachers. Hence, these are my story tellers.

The stories are of defeat and triumph. These are stories of conflicts and resilience. Each story is different from another. And each time there is a different listener in me. A listener who sometimes is quiet and is sometimes a rebel. A listener who sometimes empathize and sometimes questions the rigid norms of the society.  Secretly, the listener also craves for restitution in stories and sometimes waits for the story to be completed. Sometimes, the listener gets edgy and desperately wants the story teller to break the shackles of helplessness. Secretly, the listener is also aware of the blind spot where ‘real’ listening is impossible and therefore picks up a story in bits and pieces.

I wonder if my listening brings about a difference to these storytellers. My only pay-off as a listener is usually ‘a sigh of relief’. This ‘sigh of relief’ may be temporary and may soon evaporate as the story teller heads back to the reality of life. This payoff keeps me motivated to listen to more.

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All I can say for now is…

All we need is a listener who could meander with our stories.