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Photographic words. The everyday with the not-so-routinely stuff that makes life – LIFE

Month

August 2015

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it!

Rise and Shine Readers! I woke up this morning to find this in my whatsapp bucket.

© Shivani K | forewordMarch

Imagine my reaction first at reading this kind message from a dear friend AND then the powerful piece of work by Kipling named ‘IF‘.

I want to share this with all of you and, hopefully, for one of you, it will mean what I meant to me. It speaks of power to me. It speaks of love. It speaks of strength. It speaks of courage. It speaks to me of acceptance and forgiveness. It speaks of magnanimity of spirit and soul.
It speaks of the raw strength that a human is born with, but somehow loses along the way. Find your strength back! Read On..


If—

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!


My favorite lines from the poem are these:

© Shivani K | forewordMarch

I loved what Kipling said about Triumph and Disaster. They are but two imposters, always beckoning. It is for you to decide whether or not to fall in their trap, whether to maintain your sanity when the seductresses are seducing you to go thither. Remember, Life is just what you make of it. It is a mirror, it reflects what you show it; it is what you make your eyes see. Make it beautiful. Make it strong!

The second half talks about recovering from your loses and starting all over again.The worst of losses are not the ones that you personally encountered out of blue but the slow erosion or fast demolition of the thing that you carefully built. It can be a relationship you gave your life to or your career or job or any project that failed before your eyes. If you can move on from there, and begin building your life afresh, you are strong! Remember that!

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it!

Thank You Dear Readers!

Another month gone by; another month of blogs that were lovingly written for everyone and anyone who loves the written word.
There are always those precarious times when I am surrounded by self doubt and question myself whether I should even be writing; whether anyone reads these stories and blogs at all? Whether it brings difference to any one at all, even if it’s just one person, whether someone waits for them? These are the times when I am not at my best and I stay away from penning down anything at all. But these are the times that force me to look at the root of it all. The root of writing is always reading. The love affair begins as soon as one ends reading their first loved book.
I did exactly that! I picked up my favourite book, an old friend, to revisit the reason of it all. You don’t just write to present to the world a small painting of your imagination, but also to satisfy your creative needs.

I picked up a book by one of my favorite author- Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Namesake’. As Gogol rediscovered his roots, his connection with himself, the lost love with his relations and evolved into his own being, I too rediscovered the lost zing. I realized that when I seem to have lost the reason, and perhaps the will, to write, I just need to keep alive the love for the written word. But, ‘The Namesake‘ infected me, more than I had anticipated.

It started a book fever; after completing Namesake I went on to read the dark, sad, twisted ‘Anna Karenina‘ and felt the loss, her despair and the social disparity; followed by mad, fantastical, whimsical, delusional, decadent, to the point of being sacrilegious book, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude‘; then to one of the best allegorical books on human dichotomy, ‘Lord of the Flies‘; after which came the superb ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time‘.

I need to pause and share something with you all from this wonderful book. I have long held the view that children’s books are actually meant for adults. They can help us “adults” in more ways than any self-help books can possibly do. One of the very many things that the author says, I want to share those that are riveting: Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

Another gem from the book. There are so many such brilliant observations, written so simply, that it deserves a blog all to itself.

Curious incident lines
I thought I would start and end the marathon by reading my most favourite books; and this indulgence was supposed to end with ‘Pride and Prejudice‘, the book that was the reason and cause of the love affair, but that didn’t happen. The month of July, the month dedicated to reading, had ended with reading of these six beauties, all of which I highly recommend to readers.
August began and I picked up another one of my lovelies, ‘Daddy-Long-Legs‘, a book of hope, effervescence and optimism for me. Just look at what this book has in store and you can see why it is so amazing, so loved!!
© Shivani K | forewordMarch
That finished, I picked up ‘Count of Monte Cristo‘, which I am still reading. I would have gone on, without an iota of urge to write, because list of books is infinite and so is my thirst for reading. I dreaded the fact that I may never write because I will never put down a book, not to mention, every writer’s fear- being unsure if my stories were being read or not, liked or not.

And then I got this-

This out-of-blue, sudden and such a kind gesture left me emotional. This is from a dear friend who reached out and gave me the magic elixir I was unknowingly in need of.

I want to thank you Anchita!! You do not know how much it meant to me and how it helped me!

And I want to thank each one of you- those who read my posts, like my posts, take out time to comment and those who wish well! Thank you so much!

Please keep reading, for it’s for YOU that I write!!!

Till next time..

(back to reading ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’

Go find these brilliant books and read it if possible!
YOu will not be disappointed.

Curious Incident

© Shivani K | forewordMarch

© Shivani K | forewordMarch

Cheers!

Ring of King

Who are you? Do you believe in your own capability or do you think that your life has been a product of good and bad luck? What governs your actions? Do you, believe in yourself?

There he was, the king
Pacing a corridor up and down, for he had lost his precious ring.
You may ask, what is a mere ring to a king,
But that ring was the reason for his lost zing.
The ring caused him to be think and act.
It was the reason for his tact.
Without his ring, he was nothing.
He felt his reign depended on one thing- the ring.
The king didn’t sleep for nights.
He had lost sleep and also his might.
His fear got the better of him,
He felt he could never regain his unfulfilled dream.
The queen witnessed it all.
She did not want to witness his fall.
But the way he behaved it wouldn’t be too far;
When they lose the kingdom and see it from afar.
She regained composure and decided,
Action is a must and his behavior needs to be thwarted.
The queen met the royal jeweler.
She took him in confidence and acted like a ruler.
She drew for him the design,
Of the lost ring that was benign.
She asked him to make the ring,
And not to tell a soul, else he would need a sling.
The jeweler got scared and agreed.
He had heard the rumours and wanted to help without greed.
Queen relieved and asked him to begin immediately.
Delay would only be too deadly.
The jeweler made a new ring,
But it was not the same and was not shining.
The queen was not happy and asked him to remake,
The jeweler went back, melted it and worked without a break.
After a week, the ring was presented.
The king was surprised and there was nothing that he suspected.
He wore the ring as it was his size.
He got back his lost zing and gave the queen a prize.
Everything was restored back to normal.
The King got back his mind and manner.
After a month passed, the queen spoke to the king.
She told him everything about the ring.
She said “It was not the lost ring but you who had the power.
Believe in yourself, for you need no magic. You still stand tall, like a tower.”
The king got angry at hearing that and glowered.
He went away, as he had turned sour.
King threw away his ring,
He felt cheated and did not want to see a thing.
The queen grew sad and upset,
But she could only wait; she did not have any regret.
She wanted the king to realize and trust his own capability,
And not give credit to a ring and see its futility.
Months passed and the king continued to look sore,
But his reign wasn’t affected and he still worked like before.
He still didn’t see, what others saw;
He still didn’t trust himself and thought the kingdom worked well because of good laws.
The king of the neighbouring kingdom heard the news.
He thought it was a good time and he must use this ruse.
He declared war on the good king, with a hope to get his kingship.
The good king, forgot all about the ring and discussed with his ministers to outstrip.
The war was fought and got over in a matter of days.
The good king’s strategy fared well and even the other army was amazed.
Everywhere he went, he was praised.
His reign shined bright, like a good blaze.
It dawned upon him, that his reign was because of him,
No ring could do all that, and he must get over this whim.
He went to the Queen and apologized,
He thanked her much and she mollified.
The king’s rule lasted long.
He did not care for any ring and he knew the right from wrong.
His tale became a folk-song,
For generations to hear and for some, a work-song.

Have You ever had to choose between Independence and Being Alone? #EverydaySexism

Black or White

We have all faced or seen some sort of racism and examples of inferiority complex emanating from being different. You might have yourself felt that you are less or lower than others because you aren’t as fair or because you look different? Why do we humans give so much importance to looks instead of integrity and credibility of a fellow human? We all know better than that and yet instances of racism prop up every now and then. The possible solution to eradicate this sickness would be to start early, that is, to educate our young.

Read the short children’s story, written with an aim to educate children (and adults) and prevent them from categorizing others on the basis of their “color”; to encourage them to be happy for who they are and to not feel inferior for being different.

The zebra looked at itself and then at others;
Then at itself and it shuddered.
It saw the bold solid colors of others,
And he saw himself as just a drunk stripes of black and white.
Even the tiger, which was striped like him, was a brilliant yellow and black.
The giraffe had a unique pattern; he too looked good in yellow and black.
He looked at himself and saw the same old boring pattern,
No graceful neck or mane either.
It walked for days that turned into weeks,
Looking low and feeling weak.
He met nobody and saw nobody.
His friends soon stopped asking for him,
For he did not return their howls in time.

He went one day to the local watering hole,
To drink a little and howl with his soul.
He met the old rabbit, which served the drinks,
And asked him how it feels to be so white, without kinks.
The old rabbit, which was very astute
Looked at him for long, with a glance that wasn’t rude.
He asked Zebra “What is troubling you? This isn’t your habit.”
The zebra looked at himself and told the rabbit,
That he is ashamed of his skin, which is just black and white!
The rabbit smiled and said,
“O Zebra, look up.
Why are you looking down? Buck up!
Why can’t you see, what we see in you?
The unique pattern of stripes, that becomes of you!
No one in your species looks alike;
They all have unique pattern, unlike us who are just white.
Be proud and own this.
Why do you feel sorry for yourself? You are distinct. Can’t you see?”

The zebra then realized,
What he had until now he had not recognized,
That he was unique, and it was true;
He wasn’t like others even if they had colors of different hues.
The zebra then rose to his full height,
And never did he look down upon himself and walked tall, with giant strides.


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The mouse that saved a Village

The village with its four hills and a lake
The village with its four hills and a lake

There was a village surrounded by hills.
With houses like polka dots and small mills.
The mills had rich grains,
That were famous everywhere!
So fragrant and tasty were they,
That it attracted mice, that came sniffing all the way.

Mice became such a menace,
That villagers grew weary and wanted to drive them away.
They tried every trick in the book,
The mice scrammed away without a second look.

Meesa and his mill
Meesa and his mill

But one mouse ‘Meesa’ kept himself safe.
He loved the village and didn’t want to leave it in this rat-race.
He loved the food the villagers made,
And the mills offered an all day buffet.
He hid all day in a small hole in a mill,
And went out in the night to have his fill.
Meesa loved the village and helped people whichever way he could.
People thought it was some secret angel,
Who came in the night and corrected everything mangled.

One day Meesa noticed the water level had risen in the village stream.
The village hadn’t noticed and life went on, like a dream.
How would he inform the villagers, he thought?
They would drive him away, without a second thought.
Before he could do anything, it happened.
An outburst of rain and the village half-submerged.
Few people climbed the higher areas, but it was not easy.
The children and elderly were left behind, as they were rather measly.
The water level kept rising and there was nothing to do;
Everything seemed dark, everything seemed blue.
The hills that were the village’s protective walls,
Now proved to be the cause of its fall.
The hills kept the water in,
Like a cup it held the water up to its brim.

Water level rose in the lake and Meesa turned up for help.
Water level rose in the lake and Meesa turned up for help.

Meesa took courage and faced them all.
He offered to help, but it was their call.
He told them that years of special diet had sharpened his teeth.
His teeth were very strong and can gnaw through the hill.
Some said ‘shoo him away’,
And some just looked dismayed.
But they were helpless, so they agreed to try his way.
Meesa hurried to the south hill,
As it was the lowest hill.
He started nibbling his way through, like an electric drill.
Seeing him, few people came to watch and sat very still.
Soon Meesa gnawed his way through the small southern hill.
The water that had collected, now drained downhill.

The villagers were surprised and few clapped.
They all approved of Meesa and sat as if rapt.
They realized that not all mice were menace,
and Meesa in particular, was an ace!

Meesa worked for days and nights till he gnawed through the southern hill. Water level restored.
Meesa worked for days and nights till he gnawed through the southern hill. Water level restored.

Pitter patter thoughts

It is raining here. It is still raining. Despite it being August, when monsoon ceases to exist in India, it is raining, though sporadically. It caught us off guard too, literally! We live in army cantonment that has lot of green coverage and lots of peacocks, none of which bothered to announce the arrival of rains like they are supposed to. Maybe they are off-duty. Oh well!

The trees, leaves, grass, windows, cars everything is washed clean. The green is greener, and the dirt is murkier. The greens aren’t your average green either; there’s a whole assortment of green to look at : forest green, lime green, avocado green, dark green, light green and so on. But instead of making a list of shades of green, I just stood watching the water fall and slip on the glassy glass of the windows of my house, form little pearls of water droplets on the clothesline and on big waxy heart-shaped leaves of a plant. I saw water collect itself as if scheming and then scamming us, to form small puddles that become mirrors of the reflected world in the unleveled uneven manmade floors or natural depressions on the contours of earth. I think I understood. Maybe it is raining inside my head too. For sometime, I haven’t been able to gather my thoughts. “The rain” keeps washing them away, washing them clean. The spark is there but it fails it ignite. It’s similar to how you try to start a car that gives out that irritating unyielding “grrrrrr”, as if angry, but doesn’t budge.

I don’t know if this needs a fix, like the car; or should I simply wait for the rains to go away. For all I know, the brain-rain, that’s what I call it now, isn’t seasonal. I sure hope it is, though. If it isn’t seasonal then what can be a possible fix for this washed out brain? Bloggers and writers, do you have an answer, perhaps a solution?

Since I couldn’t find any cure, I thought to just give in to the brain-rain. So, I went out and clicked some rain-stamped pics with my reliable iPhone that got wet in the process. All’s well though, with the phone I mean.

Impressions of the pittering-pattering rain
Impressions of the pittering-pattering rain

To check higher resolution pics check my Flickr page: Click Here

Slither and Fishy

Originally called ‘The snake and the fish’, this story is a brainchild of my 6 year old nephew Keshav, who has also done the illustration for it. I took the liberty of writing it down in a poetic form with slight changes to the original story and tacit permission of the artist.

Hope you enjoy this sweet little story on friendship between two who are unlikely to be called friends.
Happy Friendship’s Day!!!

© Shivani K | forewordMarch
Slither slithering to the pond where Fishy resides.

There was once a snake called Slither,
Because he slithered, slithered and slithered.
He sawed (saw) something blue and cool,
He slithered to it but he was fooled.
For it was a cloud,
Reflected in a big water pond.
He was upset and was trying to slither back,
But just then he saw something slippery.
It was in fact a fish shining shimmery.
He called out to the fish,
whose name was Fishy,
He asked her it’s name
And privately wondered if his own body was a bane,
For he could swim merely.
The fish, a little haughty, responded coolly.
She boasted that she could swim in the water, rather boldly.
She was happy in her pond,
And said that a being who couldn’t swim didn’t matter at all.
Slither marveled at this and requested,
“Could I see your house? Could I look after I have rested?”
The fish let out a big ‘hmmmpphhh’
She refused outrightly with a big gruff.
Slither slithered back to his own place,
A little sad as he was disgraced.
A few days passed by and he saw Fishy again,
She was swimming proudly in a little stream that ran past his lane.
Fishy saw Slither and asked him if the big round hole was his home.
He replied with a cool nod as she looked at the dome.
She asked if she could visit what looked like a pantry.
Slither remembered how he was disgraced and refused an entry.
He recounted to Fishy the day he had come to her,
And told her what had incurred.
Fishy felt ashamed; she apologized and said, “Sorry Sir.”
“This wouldn’t happen again, believe me. Let it blur. ”
She told him that he can come anytime now as her behavior had improved.
She was earlier proud and haughty and implored him to forgive her.
They became best friends thereafter.
Each visited the other’s home, had lots of fun and shared laughter.

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