Silences, Sounds and Scents

The silence of late night is not really a silence. If one listens carefully, so many different strands of sound slowly start to reveal their identities. Standing under the inverted bowl of a black night sky, I listen.

First comes the incessant music of the crickets. Various voices, pitches and tones. Some loud and insistent. Some subdued. I remember with surprise that I have never really heard the crickets since I was a child. Crickets and fireflies need wilderness and darkness, which our cities have taken away both from them and from us.

The earth lies in folds here. There is always one Tilla (rise) to complement a Loonga (depression). (Both are however are in imminent danger of extinction and would soon become level ground to cope with the pressure of housing; I’d give them another ten years, at the most.) The Loongas are veritable tangled forests, where no braveheart dares to go.

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When I walk at night with my son, my eyes are totally trained on the earth, not because I am particularly demure or am living in a Taliban ruled country, where a woman is not permitted to look a man in the eye, but for the simple reason that I do not wish to have a disastrous rendezvous with night travellers from the Loongas, who unlike me, are equipped with poisonous fangs. But the night music from these dangerous zones is mesmerizing, incessant and undulating. I wonder what is it that they have to say to each other, each night. I long to understand the language of the crickets.

The Cicadas were less in evidence this year; they come into their element immediately after the winter cold recedes. For such small creatures their decibel level is quite deafening- still I missed them and for a long time kept hoping for cicada encounters, only to be disappointed.

The tall trees towering inside and over the Loongas are home to a thriving bat colony. The bats have a daily routine of wheeling-dealing-free-for-all on early mornings and evenings. They have wingspans comparable to that of the Indian Jungle Crow, which is not a small bird. The bats also are great at communication; the sky is filled both these times with literally hundreds of hunting bats, who seem to become afflicted with talkativeness as well as restlessness.

Then there are the winged ones of the night- Owls are sacred birds; sacred to goddesses of the East and ancient Egypt. They have a peculiar unnerving and unblinking stare that seems to see right into the soul, which probably contributed to the sacredness. They sit silently in utter stillness and then suddenly swoop down and up in one single fluid, graceful moment.

There seems to be multiple species of owls here, to judge from their hoots and the feathers I find lying on the ground. Most of the nights in July and August I am forced to fall asleep to the sound of what can only be described as communication via wild screeches.

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The darkness settles comfortably like a warm and scented wrap- the summer air is wet on most evenings, thanks to the Indian monsoon, and is perfumed by the night flowering jasmine and frangipani. The land sleeps and slowly, the inhabitants too.

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Renewal…

Where I live, Spring  starts out like Autumn in temperate zones. Once the stillness and chill of Winter begin to recede, most trees go into a flurry of shedding their leaves- a flurry, a frenzy, a hurry….. It is as if they cannot wait to shed their old leaves and give birth to the new life waiting inside them, rising up towards the sun.

The tall Ashoka trees are the most proliferate in this new burst of activity- my yard is never leaf free. A freshly swept yard soon looks as if the owner has never taken a broom to it!

The huge Peepul trees, holy and venerated in India, which are not planted  in homes, only near temples and public places, turn totally  bare in March. So also most trees, whether large leaved, small leaved, long leaved or tiny leaved. There is no flaming orange Autumn in my country- the transition is from dark green to pale green, with the exception of some trees whose young leaves are a delicate pink. And then- one fine morning, one notices that the bare tree of yesterday is not quite the same. It is young again- living, vibrant, ready for another year, ready for blooming. And then the flowers and fruit follow!

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(Hibiscus- but not the well known variety- these  flowers do not open fully. )

As a part of the process of renewal, we get thunderstorms in April. This year there were three nights of hailstones too. I have seen hailstones perhaps once, while growing up, and never subsequently till last year, and again now in April. In my language we do have a word  for hailstones- Aali-pazham- but it has always been a sort of abstract word- one with no real form to go with it, except as described by others.

The hailstorm was not brief and insubstantial this time. The ice pebbles rained down in a cacophony of sound on the tin roof, bounced down to the earth, glistened in the fading light and melted away silently.

Last night was another one of thunderstorms, but not of hail.

Yesterday I saw the wind and the power of the elements.

All elements can be violent- the Wind is no exception – at least one huge tree is uprooted and flung down by the winds each year.

Last year this time it was the turn of a giant Gulmohur tree. The Gulmohur is also called the Flame of the Forest, because its flowers are flame coloured- orange-red and prolific.

One day the tree was standing- covered with its flame flowers and the other day, there was a huge gaping hole in the ground where it had stood and the tree lay on the ground- mangled, on a carpet of its own flowers.

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(Another Gulmohur in the background- Can you see the flowers?)

This year it was another tree, whose name I do not know, which shaded the school compound. It was not a young tree, judging by its girth and  canopy. Perhaps it was planted in the late 1970s, when the school was constructed. The violence of its uprooting was palpable and raw. While I do recognize that the old has to give way for new life, new growth and that death is as much a certainty as life itself and that both engage in a dance which sustains creation, I touch the fallen trunk, feel the roughness of the bark and say goodbye to the spirit of the tree. I wish it well and a safe journey to wherever it may be going.

To return to last evening- Bolts of faraway lightning were already flashing across the sky by the time I reached home. The light was brown and strange. Before long the wind rose from the West- stripping branches, dried and not, whirling down the last stubborn old leaves from their hold on to the mother tree.

And the rain followed- icy cold and torrential. The wind drove rain in sheets across the landscape. The tall high mast light tower swayed dangerously to and fro on its feet. I silently hoped and prayed that the Civil Engineers who designed its foundation knew what they were doing!

The wind also flew down hidden cobwebs from their corners, raised dust and banged doors.

A child and a child-at-heart ran out to the verandah to feel the chill of the rain and the sharp points of water tipped needles on the skin. And marvelled to see the trees dancing and swaying; the earth rejoicing; Lightning flashing across the sky. Life renewing itself. And experienced a moment of unity with the Elements in all their glory.

Earth. Air. Fire. Water.

A Spring in the step again!

the-pilgrim-s-thanksgiving112513Can safely say now that Lady Winter has said her goodbyes. And her cousin, Spring, has stepped across the threshold!

It has been a procession of  sunshine-less days; with the exception of a few hours of watered down, chilly (yes, chilly- believe me) sunshine for an hour or two in the afternoons. On most days…

Afternoons which are lost all too soon to the darkness which descends by five in the evening.

Days when I would pull on two pairs of socks on feet which still feel like blocks of ice and regretfully remember the evening while the aircraft was taxi-ing for take-off from the Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala, in mid January, marking the end of our sun-and-sands winter holiday.  My watch had shown 6.25 pm; the visibility excellent, dusk slowly starting to fall and the weather warm……..

From the air, the Arabian sea appears to gently lap the coastline, but the sea is anything but gentle in her unexpected, wilder moments. The memory of the rogue wave, which knocked my son off his feet while the rest of us held each other (and him) tightly for dear life makes me smile now, though not then.

The enchantment of the sea has to be experienced- the waves (turquoise? green? blue?) following each other to the shore. Sometimes the receding wave cancels the force of the progressing one. Sometimes it adds to it. Either way, it is difficult to break away from the timeless magic of the sea, till darkness fully cloaks the beach.

Anyway, I remembered the warmth, continued  wistful musings and pulled on another layer of clothing to ward off the chill. The lifesaver rosebush is still doing fine and abounding with pink roses; I feel grateful for small mercies and count days to the end of winter. Determined to outwait the chill and confident that the Great Wheel has to turn again!

At such junctures, I miss my various old lives and start the game of remembering.

Memories of childhood December nights leading up to Christmas is one special treasure trove. The paper star would have been tied midway on the tall coconut palm tree standing in front of the house and would be lighted up throughout the night, starting from before Christmas and well into the New Year. The crib would be prepared with fresh straw and the gaily coloured figurines of baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph accompanied by an assortment of angels, farm animals and the three wise men would be brought out from the attic chest and installed lovingly in the crib. Carol singers would go around the neighbourhood  each night and would be rewarded with a few coins for their pains. The high point for children would be the night of Christmas Eve, when crackers and fireworks would be lit. Since Deepavali was practically unknown to the children of Kerala in those pre-TV days, Christmas and the harvest festival of Vishu (falling on the 14th of April) were the only two festivals which involved large scale fireworks. The other major festival of Onam in Kerala did not call for fireworks- the emphasis was more on the elaborate food, new clothes and the Pookkalam (circular flower pattern) which had to be created afresh each day leading up to the Thiruvonam day.

The custom of setting up the crib disappeared from my life even while I was still at school; the figurines too must have been thrown away when the house got pulled down to make way for the newer modern house, and have passed on into the realm of memories. The problem is that one realises the value of things only once they are well and truly lost. I really don’t think I mourned or even registered the loss of this quaint ritual  at that time.

Another poignant memory is that of baking.

I am an average sort of self taught cook and can claim no great culinary legacy from grandmother’s kitchens; my father’s mother had passed away long before I was born. I had known my mother’s mother briefly- she passed away when I was twelve or so. She was a tough woman who had no great love for her daughters or granddaughters; all her affections flowed down the male line! Strange but true- there indeed were (are?) women who seriously  favoured sons over daughters!

Kerala’s tradition of sweet dishes are in the line of various payasams (liquid sweet dishes) made with milk or coconut milk with jaggery, rice, vermicilli, almonds, sometimes  jackfruit, and so I grew up alien to the sweet traditions of the rest of the country.

Leaving home at seventeen, and before that always having a book in hand, (my college library was vast and venerable), I never learnt any culinary skill worth mentioning from my mother. My entire cooking repertoire has been gleaned from an assortment of cook books and websites including the ISKCON website, specialising in sattvic (evoking higher spiritual vibes) vegetarian cooking.

So shortly after the birth of my daughter, to combat my feeling of inferiority in the conventional cookery department (and secretly to blunt the sugar coated but sharp jibes  on the subject), I decided to learn the skill of baking. It was the start of a passion!

Much has been written about the process of baking- I can only add that of all the hours I have spent in the kitchen, those hours could only be described as meditative. The churning of fresh butter, the preparation of the pan, lightly buttered and dusted with flour, the assembling of ingredients well ahead of time- so that the butter and eggs are of room temperature, the oven to be kept heated and ready so that once the dry and wet ingredients are mixed, the cake mixture  can go immediately into the oven, instead of  waiting for it to heat up- all require mindfulness.

And the reward- apart from the soft and light cake, the most wonderful aroma permeating the house, which cannot be replicated in any other way. It could be the aroma   of chocolate, bananas, apples or carrot-and-dates, depending on which cake I’d be baking that day.

Of course I have my own idiosyncrasies- even if a cake recipe calls for a pinch of salt, I will not add it; and equally stubbornly,  will use only fresh and unsalted butter. The latter compulsion has contributed to my baking recipe book gather dust now; the only type of milk available here is the long life, ultra high temperature treated milk, which does not lend itself to extraction of butter.

My recipe book also has a page on which a childish scrawl has jotted down a special recipe for God-knows-what: Dal pani, Gajar ka pani, Bas thoda. (Lentil water , carrot water, just a little). The scrawler was my daughter- seven years old in 2002 !

As a pay-it-forward in gratitude to my various teachers of cooking, all of whom are ignorant of the existence of this student, and in compensation to having shelved this passion temporarily, I share a simple and wonderful recipe here, with the guarantee that it will turn out fine, if anyone is of a mind to try it; (hoping someone would!). The other guarantee is that it will really disappear, especially if kids are around.

Disappearing Cake

White Unsalted Butter : 1/2 cup

Sugar (powdered) : 2 cups – can be tweaked to 1 and 3/4 cups

Vanilla Extract: 1 tsp

Eggs: 02

Flour: 1 and 3/4 cups

Cocoa: 3/4 cup

Baking powder : 3/4 tsp

Baking soda: 3/4 tsp

Milk: 1 and 3/4 cup

Salt : 1/8 tsp (can be omitted, as I consistently do)

Method:

  1. Oven to be preheated to 350 Deg F.  Cake tin to be buttered, lightly dusted with flour and kept aside.

2.   Sieve all the dry ingredients together at least thrice. This is to incorporate air and ensure good mixing. Keep aside.

3.  Beat together butter and sugar. Once mixed well, add eggs. Beat again and then add vanilla   extract.

4. Add the sieved dry ingredients at (2) to the butter-sugar-egg mixture, little by little, alternating with milk, mixing well (so that maximum air can be incorporated) after each addition. The end result should be smooth.

5. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Another recipe another day….

Roots….

Cinnamon-and-CoffeeBlossom-country days are here!

Leaving for Kerala, to my village which is no longer a village, today- so goodbye to all virtual friends till we meet again in mid- Jan.

Have a blessed New Year!

The Liebster Award

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The nomination of the Liebster Award from Mary Kendall (A Poet in Time- A weekly poetry practice: http://apoetintime.com) was a pleasant and unexpected surprise! Thank you Mary- I apologise for the delay, but better late than never!

Being a curious sort of person,  I looked it up and discovered that the Liebster is an internet award which works like a chain and which is given by bloggers to other bloggers. The concept is very positive and aims to encourage new bloggers. (Incidentally it is a German word  and the meanings include dearest, sweetest, kindest etc.)

Blogging changes one for the better- I have been fortunate and honoured to have interacted with many kind and generous people in cyberspace. As a result, today, as the year slowly draws to a close, I feel enriched in life and happier and creatively fulfilled, knowing I have touched a stranger’s life and perhaps enriched it in turn.

The set of rules involved in accepting this award are brief:

1.  Thank the blogger who nominated/ awarded you.

2. Link back to their blog.

3. Copy and paste the Liebster logo onto your blog.

4. Answer the eleven questions put to you by the person who nominated you.

5. List eleven random facts about yourself.

6. Nominate and link to at least three other blogs which you enjoy. (the nomination upper limit is eleven)

7. List eleven questions for your nominees.

8. Inform them by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, these are the eleven questions that I was asked by Mary and my answers to them:

1. At what age did you realise you liked to write?

Quite late. When I was about seventeen. One day I saw a purple coloured wildflower and was moved enough to write a poem. It never saw the light of the day, but that was my defining moment.

2. How important is family to you? 

My children mean the world to me, because they are the closest relationship that I have ever had. Seriously, there is nothing in the world that I wouldn’t let go for them.

3. Which languages do you speak and which do you wish you could speak fluently?

I speak three languages reasonably well- My mother tongue: Malayalam- the first language I learned to understand, read and write. English- my great love and gateway  to the world. Hindi- the lingua franca of my working life. I can understand Tamil and Gujarati a bit  when someone else speaks them, but cannot speak these languages myself. I wish I understood Russian- so that I could have read Tolstoy, Pasternak and Dostoyevsky in original. Of the Indian languages, I would choose Bengali- it sounds sonorous and I love the way it flows.

4. What would be your favourite vacation place?

Scotland. No idea why, but I love Scotland. Even the cold- but only from a distance!

5. If you could time travel, where and when in time would you go?

Assuming time travel in both directions is available, I would choose to go into the past; specifically to a period before the Industrial Revolution. Reason – humans lived closer to nature, more in sync with the seasons. Activities were need based and not want based.

6. What makes you very happy?

Predictably, getting lost in a book.

7. Describe the earliest memory you can recall.

Being held up high in the air as a small child by one of my older brothers. He died tragically young at the age of twenty two or so of jaundice;  I was two or three at that time. I also remember his hospital room and trying to climb  up on the white painted metal bed.

8. What is something that really bothers you?

Hypocrisy and all forms of dishonesty.

9. Tell us a fact about you that most people do not know.

I was a painfully shy child and had great difficulty interacting with people. In fact visits from relatives were such agonising events that I used to hide in dark corners, in the hope that they would go away. (No one would believe this of me today!)

10.What is your favourite treat or indulgence?

Books. Chocolate comes a close second!

11. What book character would you like to have as a good friend?

Tess in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Her innocence breaks my heart.

12. Who is an important influence on you? (This seems to be a bonus question, being the twelfth! )

Mother Theresa. I read “City of Joy” at the impressionable age of twenty and fervently wished to devote my life in the service of the poor and homeless, as a volunteer. Unfortunately, things worked out differently because the city of Calcutta was a world away from my small village in Kerala and my parents flatly refused their consent. I am also a great admirer of the Hindu saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Unfortunately, no one who is currently alive.

Eleven Random Facts about myself:

  1. I have difficulty assigning a name and form to God and always felt vaguely guilty about it. Now I know better and understand that it is okay.
  2. My blog post of February 2014 was the first creative writing I did after 1989. A shocking 25 year gap.
  3. I have become interested in Wicca- as a nature religion and not at all in a structured and organised way. As a result I observe nature and the cycles of the moon with much more attention than I used to. In fact, it was really like coming home. There were no outdoor lights when I was growing up to interfere with moonlight and I remember how I used to love walking in the moonlight, or just sit on the edge of the verandah, gazing at the full moon. the flaming orange sky of our tropical sunsets also fascinated me. Both were strange and odd pastimes- I remember my family being curious and asking me what I was doing. Of course, there was no satisfactory answer!
  4. I wish I sat down to meditate regularly- unfortunately I am not at all regular in it.
  5. I do not fear death at all- because I believe it is just a gateway to another realm.
  6. Keeping one’s word is important to me.
  7. Cotton is the only fabric I like to wear. I used to wear clothes stitched from Khadi (the rough homespun cloth made famous by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Independence movement) for some years. Availability became an issue and so went back to wearing cotton.
  8. I am a vegetarian by choice since the age of seven. Killing a living being is impossible for me. (Exception: Mosquitoes, which we have in plenty here in India).
  9. I have accepted the fact that it is impossible for me to totally believe and become a follower of any religion/doctrine/teacher/guru.
  10. I am a Third Degree Reiki practitioner; I first learned Reiki in 1997.
  11. I love to make new friends- it really does not matter where they are or if I may never be able to meet them physically.

My nominees for the Liebster Award-

1. Sacred Space: For the meticulous research and excellent writing.

2. Live on Impulse: For the genuineness of emotions and writing.

3. Gratitude: Covers a range of varied topics, architecture being the author’s favourite.

4. Thinking Man– Brief and brilliant!

5. Swathi Manoj– A young and promising talent.

Here are your eleven questions:

  1. If you could meet one person from the past, either an ordinary person or an important historical figure, in whose company you could spend one day, whom would you choose? And why?
  2. Do you have a favourite quote? If yes, which is it?
  3. In which part of the day do you feel a natural delight?
  4. Given a choice between the seaside and the mountains, where would you choose to live? Why?
  5. Do you remember your first day (okay, early days will also do) in school? What are the memories which are in the forefront?
  6. Do you remember when and where you first watched “Sound of Music”? (If you have not, then you can substitute any movie which you loved).
  7. Can you pick five words which would describe you best?
  8. Which is the most important quality that you seek in a friend?
  9. Do you love old houses? Why?
  10. Which is your favourite genre of music?
  11. If you are inside a fairytale and the good fairy grants you the wish of having a lifelong, endless supply of ONE thing, what would you choose?

I know the writing may seem a little daunting- but it is fun and you end up knowing more about yourself too, when forced to think aloud.

The Great Wheel turns….

Here in Agartala,  the weather starts to change from mid- October. Darkness starts to fall noticeably earlier. It rains occasionally- light but stubbornly continuous; and when it does, the sun refuses to show its face for many days in succession. Foreshadowing the shape of things to come, a white mist sweeps in from the West on some mornings and most evenings. The evenings also have the edge of chill in them- faint initially, growing more insistent as the days shorten.

Even though the flaming Autumns are absent, leaves start to fall, leaving some trees totally bare by January. Since the sweepers have better things to do with their time than compost the fallen leaves, they just wait for them to get reasonably dry and light fires. The birds do not set up their usual chorus in the mornings. There is a definite lull in the atmosphere- of silence and waiting.

One notable exception is the Parijata trees, which grow abundantly here. Each day I wake up to a fresh and fragrant carpet of last night’s blossoms. But these too peter out by December.

My home state, the one which I claim to be from, even though now I have spent more years living outside it rather than within its boundaries, lies to the South-West, nearer to the Equator, and is edged by the sea. The happy consequence of this geography was that I grew up an utter stranger to Winter, which (for me) existed romantically only on Christmas cards, depicting snow covered landscapes.

Later, tossed to a town in the foothills of the Himalayas one October, I became the owner of my first  woollen sweater at the age of twenty-three. Thick blankets and a room heater quickly followed. That first winter of North India, caught me off-guard; but then, I had the resilience of youth with me and emerged quite unscathed.

But today, another twenty three years later, I am in no position of resilience. The cold, damp mist and the absence of sunshine takes a toll on both physical and mental health. I am a sitting duck for stray viruses cruising around; my last birthday was spent in bed, unable to sit up or keep the eyes open, hallucinating wildly, BP dipping down and with a wild thirst ravaging the body. I remember nothing of the journey to or from the doctor; and had to force myself to tell him what was wrong with me. Mercifully, he asked very few questions; being a Homeopath, neither did he prescribe tedious blood tests and antibiotics to subdue the virus;  just a tiny vial of medicine- two drops to be taken every two hours. I was fine the day after!

Depression and lack of enthusiasm is the other side of the story. Whatever glimmer of warmth or sunshine the day has to offer,  is over too soon. The days become an endless procession of chilled greyness. Melancholy tightens its grip- trying to squeeze out all joy and there are days when I fear it will win. Like the Last Leaf in the O Henry story, what sustained me last year was the sight of roses! The rose bush in front of my house, a hardy local variety, blooms every single day of the year- rain or shine. I do not pick flowers- cannot bring myself to do so- and am content to admire the blooms from afar. So pale pink roses it was, not only in December, but January and February too.

Autumn and then Winter following on its heels, both seemingly merged into one marching army of depressing days, varying only in the intensity of the biting cold,  are also a space for reflection. A time to face mortality and also a reminder that the Great Wheel is turning. A time to hold up a mirror to ourselves and to see how much, if at all, we have progressed.

I live one day at a time in winter; trying to be friends with my dark shadow self, feeling the absence of warmth and sunshine, yet fighting to stay above it.

The last days of sunshine

The last days of sunshine

From the heart…….

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This is a post about milestones…. and evolution …..and gratitude.

You are forewarned- if you think this is going to be  boring, then please feel free to use the “Back” button! No hard feelings!

But then, a little blog history- My first post was in February 2014. In all the newfound enthusiasm of the neophyte, who thought she had things to say and share, I wrote about the sense of loss and bewilderment a cross-country uprooting brought with it and posted it. And sat back, congratulating myself…..

My son was the first to burst the bubble- Who will read your blog?, he asked.

Valid question!

Since no one appeared to be doing any reading so far, I carefully handpicked some of my friends, people whom I have known for long, people I valued and held with affection; and composed a brief sms; informing them that I have now become a blogger, giving the address, requesting them to visit it when they could spare the time….. I was known to them, a real-life  friend! Every writer loves feedback and comments (and of course, adulation.) I was no exception!

And then, to my utter dismay and shock, I found that more than half of those friends never replied, never visited the blog, never by word or deed acknowledged that they read that humble sms, let alone the actual blog!

But the other half, the less than half, took the pains to read, to assimilate, sometimes to comment, mostly not. Their words gave me  courage to write again- at least somebody had read what I wrote. Never mind if it was a single digit figure!

Sometimes the writings came on their own- and posts wrote themselves, with hardly an effort on my part; I was just a medium for giving them existence. The only commitment required from me was that of time! Sometimes a topic suggested itself and I researched it. I wrote about Buddhism, death and life, and about a brave warship. I wrote a poem, which entered my head one morning  and did not go away till it was given existence. I wrote about finding a feather when there should have been none, and about spiders and ghosts. None of these topics were on my original agenda. The agenda itself  got lost somewhere by the wayside!

I visited other people’s blogs and knowing now how a blogger felt, left comments if the entry spoke to me, instead of just lurking around. There was a modest number of followers to my blog too- people whom I do not know in real life and whom, most probably, I may never see with these earthly eyes, yet who felt real and close to heart. Wonderful people who shared similar interests and who loved words, despite all the time and distance and outward differences  between us. Who inspire me and bring a smile to my face!

One of those days, idly navigating the WordPress admin page, my son discovered the Stats button and called me over. I was again shocked, but for an entirely different reason. The thirty-plus  countries from which my humble blog had viewers included many which were only faraway names to me- Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, State of Palestine, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Sudan, Jamaica….. Somehow, my original intention of touching lives had rippled out. Somewhere, unbeknown to me, somebody had connected, was perhaps inspired, comforted, had picked up what they needed and had gone away rejuvenated- much like what I still do from the wisdom of so many authors.

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I am grateful to my readers- known and unknown- friends or strangers-who are not strangers anymore! I too have learnt many lessons on the way; to be selfless, to drop (to a great extent) the craving for acknowledgement, a widening of horizons, the knowledge that we are all linked in spirit; some of us more so than others. In short, gratitude, the most powerful blessing a human can feel.

Last week my blog statistics touched 1000 views.  For someone, who was resigned to be contented  with a single digit readership, this is a great achievement . Thank you so much, from my heart to yours, dear reader.