Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in review

A lot happened this year; a mix of positive and negative things. It was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. Few things worse which I hope wont repeat. Anyway, I am going to leave out the unpleasant ones; instead remember only the nice ones. This year has been a blessing. Started few new things, came across few amazing people and kept myself busy overall. 
  • It was an year of crazy travel; diverse, adventurous and fun - Kerala, Kashmir, the USA, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Laos. Mayan ruins of Tikal, subterranean caving in Laos were the highlights. Many have this wrong notion that travel needs lot of money. Its not true; tickets and daily expenses cant be avoided but no! they are not expensive unless you want to travel luxuriously. 
  • Spent time with close friends after years during my California visit and also got to meet friends from the US here in Bangalore after couple of years; so good to reminisce over a beer or two! 
  • Finally read the Harry Potter series after years of dismissing them; thanks to a friend who kept nagging me to read them
  • Started watching TV series. I didnt understand why people were mad about them; but must admit few ones are awesome; sensible and actually challenge the intelligence of audience as compared to the Indian serials that is a mockery of everything.
  • Got introduced to another form of art - painting. It was surprising to know the various forms, media, techniques; appreciate the talent and creativity. I learnt about more artists and their works; now regular visitor to art galleries in Bangalore and places I travel. 
  • Started sketching; for someone who couldn't even scribble a line; to start sketching and zentangling is a great start!
  • Started writing Haikus. Combining it with pictures to convey my thoughts better worked; because not many understand Haiku. 
  • Wrote more poems this year; as compared to articles. 
  • Started a FB page for my Haiku, Photography and Sketches. Not many followers but the act of starting something new is so refreshing!
  • Started a Youtube channel Bindu's Wanderlust to log my travel stories; because apparently visuals attract better than words  
  • Got myself a new job; learning and settling down apart; made new friends. 
Here wishing you all a great year 2017. Cheers!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Idealist?

I've been often told by my partner that I am idealistic. No, not in the way of "I know the best" or "Holier than thou" creepy kind but in a way that masks the reality and practicality of life.

Being idealistic is not "real world" is the argument. And I always disagree. Of course; one needs to be aware of the situation, of the limitations of real world and act accordingly. But I would also argue that dismissing idealistic thoughts is looking for an excuse to not try the best. Of course; trying to do one's best is not an easy task. Not to be mistaken; its not that people are intentionally giving in. Its only natural that the path we tend to follow is of least resistance; of accepting limits easily and thus deciding to be "realistic" could result in mediocre results.

Coming to my thought process; I often envisage a world as it should be than the world it is now. BUT; I think I am doing just fine as long as I am not in a dreamy world having lost all reality. I would like to use my emotive state to make things better, to make people around me feel better. My state I believe would turn into actions that would encourage people. However; if any of my beliefs are an hindrance; than I have a problem that should be fixed.

I don't think there is a single one of us that looks at our own life, our situations and society at large and not think "I wish this was not what it is" or "I wish this was better". Idealism can co-exist with realism and cynicism. As an attitude; idealism could instigate to pursue the best path rather than the most accessible easier path. But if its substituted with realism; basing policy on what is "appropriate" or "accurate" or what people "should" do instead of what it is or what people do; it can have bad consequences - the "holier than thou" phenomenon I mentioned earlier.

On the flip side; there are these rich emotional and passionate convictions that I share with very few people. My core values and my principles are things that I wouldn't stop believing in how much ever I am tested, beaten and battered. I would just be grateful for all the good things.

Amidst mounds of negativity and horror around you; when life knocks you down as soon as you are up with no respite; hopefulness gets you through your worst and helps moves forward to the best. You can either be bitter about it or try your best to see if there are alternatives. Seeing the world the way it is and still hoping for the best is nothing short of a gift. To see that silver lining in the cloud, to see a helping hand in that chaos, to see a pathway of compassion and understanding is a blessing. Seeing imperfection in perfection and accepting flaws and limitations while striving to be better allows one to find that inner self control, a conviction that defines the strength. Seeing humanity in everyone and seeking the best for others, believing that others' dreams and hopes can be enriched with your presence and to be able to love unconditionally, to be more accepting and forgiving is hope. And to be hopeful is a great strength that can take you a long way. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gypsy's Friend

He was brought to my area by a family who were hired for a building construction as a 2-3 month old pup; about 3 years ago. He is an Indie; used to be tied up outside their shanty temporary home in the construction site; watching me and Gypsy everyday whenever we would go walking. His thin tail would wag vigorously every time he saw Gypsy. Once the building construction was complete; the family abandoned him and he made this area his home.



He would never come near us; now that he was free. He would stand at a distance and continue to wag his tail and run away. He didn't become part of any pack; though he is amicable with every other dogs in the area - be it stray or breed. He is fed by many people; his territory stretches long and wide on all four sides.

One can see a guy feeding biscuits every morning or a lady feeding him rice or a shopkeeper spreading out gunny sack for him to sleep on. He has many names, now has a collar around his neck. Very well behaved; this pup has earned trust, love and respect of everyone. As days passed by; he got a bit more confident to come near Gypsy. Gypsy considers him as best friend too; he gets restless if he does not meet this guy at least once in a day. He would sit on the road and wait until his fellow turns up. The same with him; wherever he is; he would for sure come running as soon as he recognises gypsy's scent; like the way you see in movies how two long lost friends run to hug each other. They play for a while. He does not let any other dog intimidate Gypsy and if any stray barks at Gypsy; he is always there to protect.

On one of our walk evenings; Gypsy waiting for his friend to turn up.

If it's just me walking on the road; he would come up to me and push his snout into my hand or rub his head against my leg. A pat and a rub and he would walk with me for a while and let me go. Today he came till the gate and was waiting; wouldn't go in spite of me nudging him. Strays are fed at times or they scavenge but finding water to drink is hard for them. Fed him and gave him water to drink; looks like it was thirst. He drank until his thirst quenched and off he went. I've thought many times to bring him home. But he may not like it; he is a free spirit; loves his freedom. May not like being cooped up.

I haven't named him; just address him "DA" - a self made alpha 😊

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Life

A hot, strong cuppa.
Now going lukewarm
A third cup for the day
What is so brewing?
To guzzle up on coffee?
Nothing my friend
Just the boredom
Zapping energy that’s little left
Resigned and accepting
of the monotony.
Oh! There are highs and lows
Phases are like sine wave
Riding high on unexpected joy
Drowning in unexplained sorrow.
What would be life
With only joy or sorrow?
A masterpiece called LIFE
At times abstract, transcends  
understanding. Purpose of life;
I brood over it. Time and again,
this recurring question
is a stepping stone to
discover myself further.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mighty Mekong

Down the river; on a slow boat.
Slicing the water as the motors propel it forward
The muddy red waters; splashes and crashes.
Eddies dancing around; spraying at times
Water drops hit my face; and I shut my eyes
Like hide n seek; we play again.
Watching the countryside views as the boat cruises.
Orange robes clad monks on the river bank.
Run to the river; and take off the clothes.
The river does not care if you are skin and bones
Or if you are plump and chubby.
And few throwing pebbles and chasing others.
Serene, disciplined monks showing their inner self
The child within them.
See those white little birds occasionally;
Soaring high, always in pairs. One follows the other;
Wherever they go, they are together.
Not a sunny day; its cloudy and breezy
Yet a lovely day.
Weeds float by, thriving and encroaching
Of what use? To the fishes and men?
The boat man steers away carefully
Avoiding them. Of what use, are they?
A woman in dirty clothes and straw hat
Grubbing in her tiny patch of land.
Chillies or beans? Potatoes or cabbages?
My thoughts wander.
Sweeping hair off her face; the lady beside me
Tries to click a snap or two
Of broken yet colourful wooden boats,
Marooned on the banks.
A calming presence away from the crowds.
The water current smooth; silently passing
One view to be enchanting than the previous.
Upon the steep banks; logs of wood
Strewn around; slapdash.
Once giant age old trees; lifeless now.
Waiting to be thrown away on the river
For the current to carry them.
Couches and beds and shelves will they become.
For my and your insatiable lifestyle.
Men’s lecherous greed, raping nature shameless
When will it end?
A man at a distance; squatting with a fishing rod
Trying to catch a fish or two for family’s supper.
Kids watching from the deck of their house.
Few clamouring on the wooden rickety ladder.
Waving at the slow boats passing by
Muddy mighty Mekong
Lifeline to thousands.


PS : The scenes as I saw when I went on a boat and back for 4 hours on Mekong while visiting a cave 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Smoke

Shrouds of smoke;
Spreads as if there is no boundary.
Raises up; engulfing the entire space.
Lacking discipline; without a thought for anything else.
I sigh! I fume! What do I do?
Let it rise up and choke?
Or run away to an eternal freedom?
The smoke; its enticing.
What is it that attracts me?
Like a moth attracted to a flame.
There is nothing but destruction.
Is it glamorous to play with danger?
Or the rush in head for thrill?
Choking on the words that I so wanted to say.
Drowning in the thoughts that was never shared.
But it seems that I love everything
That will kill me gradually.
An unseen scar, an unheard whine.
Knowing all the while; it will kill.
Its alluring; to be burnt away
Like an incense; holy it seems.
Serving a purpose; however I know
It’s a suicide.
I will still enjoy till my last breath.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Self Driving Truck Delivers Beer

Read this news two days ago - Otto driver less truck delivers beer in Colorado. 

An autonomous truck piloted itself 120 miles on Colorado freeway to haul around 51,000+ cans of Bud beer. This is the first time in the history of experimenting with self driving vehicles to let a huge rig drive itself. This truck was fitted with cameras, sensors, lights, radars and the needed technology to self drive itself on a freeway for a good 120 miles. Now anyone who can get their hands on one of the can of beer can brag about how it reached them.

So, are we ready for the driver-less vehicles yet? This has been debated around a lot already. But with technologies developing at a rapid rate; it's not the technology that we ought to be worried about; but about the ethical dilemma associated with such. It is of course very tempting to have someone else do the job for us; be it a person or a program while we sit back and relax or do something productive like answering emails or writing code.

But how about making decisions that involve morality and ethics? These are debatable and very perspective. These depend on lot of factors like the environment we are brought up in, culture, beliefs and social and moral responsibility and thus judgement might differ from one person to another. I was interested in this bit more and started digging up few topics to read.

Learnt a couple of new things. Trolley problem - its an experiment in ethics. In summary; there is a trolley running down a track. Ahead of the track; five men are tied to the track and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight. You are standing few distance ahead next to a lever; if you pull the lever, the trolley will move on another track where one person is on the track. What do you do? Do nothing and let five people die or pull the lever and switch the trolley to another track and let the one person die? Which is the most ethical choice? It poses a life or death situation where depending on the action you take ensures death of certain people and an alternate action means death of several others.

There are so many arguments and discussions around it. And this puzzle determines human psychology. The Trolley problem so far remained a philosophical conundrum but now has become the basis of breaking their head for these autonomous vehicle software designers. Driving is a social responsibility; onus being completely on the driver. The driver is solely responsible for what happens; what the vehicle does. You hit a pedestrian because you were texting while driving; you are responsible.

But with software algorithms taking over the job of "driving" for you; you are also cleared of such social responsibilities. These algorithms respond based on pre-written rules; there is no cognitive process involved here. This is where it gets tricky. This is where your ethical and moral reasoning comes into picture. Let's say you are driving a vehicle and a kid jumps on the road; would you go straight ahead killing the kid or swerve and hit a barricade which ensures you'd end up getting killed?

Every other automaker is experimenting with autonomous vehicles. Seems few vendors have taken a different approach. In this case; the vehicle will plow right into the kid. The reason being as a brand; the product has meant safety, security and other privileges for more than a century. So its automated software will choose to protect its passengers above all others. Of course; who wants to buy a vehicle which might choose to kill you in any given situation, right? And its not difficult to see every other vendor opting for this approach. So we might end up with a fleet of self driven killers who would choose to save their passengers/customers over good of the society.

Imagine; these are not far fetched. But on the flip side; can it get worse than humans? Distraction have always been an issue with us humans. And these autonomous vehicles might end up with a better driving record. And there may be counter technologies to save from a disastrous situation; like limiting speed, an air bag kind of equipment around the vehicle or a scoop up kind of utility on the front hood which will pick the pedestrians instead of hitting them. We don't know yet. While technology is picking up; it is really amazing to see them being used to drive efficiency and assist human beings.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Walk

A dark skinned non-oriental feature lone woman walking down the street. Shabbily dressed; a pajama and a T shirt, trainers and a worn-out hat to get some respite from the evening sun rays; looking around, taking in everything the eyes can register. From the distinct aroma of noodles and grilled meat, old men slouching on chairs and some crouching doing nothing, the muddy waters of the river, kids playing with sticks and lump of mud; unkempt and not a care for the world. I wonder when was the last time I saw kids entertaining themselves with nothing but their creativity. Not seeing them glued to a TV or a smartphone or a tablet was kind of shocking.

The twilight was contemplating; whether to arrive or just let this moment linger on for a little bit long. Centuries old Wats(Buddhist temples) stand alongside modern patisseries offering free WiFi to be connected with the world. The courtyards of the Wats are unassuming providing the perfect contrast to the gilded roofs and walls of red and gold of the main temple. Monks clad in bright orange robes trying to go about their ascetic ways; now seemingly tough what with too many things to indulge in. A young monk walked with a broom and started sweeping the street. Another one started taking snaps of the monk in action. It was amusing to watch and I so wanted to know if those monks who live an austere life by seeking alms every morning and evening have a social media account as well? Chuckled at the thought of Buddha's no desire principle clashing with Mark Zuckerburg's stay connected venture.


The heaven tries to open up; yet its hesitant. It decides a drizzle is good enough and the dampness in the air still does not budge. As I walk; crossing scenes after scenes - it occurs to me its all similar. There is sanity; if you observe amidst the cacophony and frenzy. Yet; in that sanity lies the confusion and madness. Thoughts in my head, two personalities debating over which one is true. Out of reverie; I see a tuk-tuk driver expectantly waiting to be asked to be hired. He asks - Tuk tuk? I smile and say no, thank you. On my right; is a public school compound. Empty; school for the day is done. And then; a knock on my head. I look up; a tamarind tree just decided to drop a tamarind on me. I bend down and pick the tamarind and contemplate what to do with it? I carry it with me; did not realize when and where I lost it.


As the twilight set in; the roads came alive with more activities. Street markets, street food stalls and more. Locals and visitors walking around alike. I walk to a nearby stall and inquire the price of a stack of handmade paper. The haggling starts; a couple of minutes later; price agreed and my item is packed. The lady then asks "You from?" I say - "India". "Oh!..with you?" to which I respond "just me". She asks "one?" I say "yes, just one. Me, alone." What did I see? A sense of pity on her face. She feels sad for me. "Oh! why? alone?" I smile and say "I like". I think she got my point. She then asked "You happy?" I smile and nod.

I continue my walk..

PS : This is one of my evenings at Luang Prabang, Laos.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Airport Diaries

The aircraft just touches the ground; "click" click" goes the many seat belt buckles being unbuckled simultaneously; in spite of the "Seat belt on" sign. Few get up from their seat and open the overhead baggage compartment and  hurriedly get their luggage down. A beeline is made already....the aircraft is taxing. The pilot announces that we are ahead of time and the gate is yet to be vacated. People are restless; bags shuffling, pushing and jostling as if they don't get out of the aircraft in the next 20 seconds it lands, the air plane will again take off without dropping them. You will actually start to feel awkward if you don't join the crowd and instead remain seated......

I love to travel; you guys know that by now. I try to make at least 2-3 decent trips every year and so airport is if not integral; a decent part of my life. The above one is one of the many amusing and irritating incidents I've come across while flying. These anecdotes warrants a dedicated diary. Its more amusing than irritating when most of them participate and when you are not privy to such an action; you get conscious of being the awkward among the group. Err..yeah! try it once. Try being calm, continue sitting even for a minute after the aircraft lands; the person beside you will definitely stare at you even if he/she does not utter a word. 

I get intimidated when I fly; when I wait at the gate; when I walk around the airport. Why you may ask? Not because of the unfamiliarity of the airport and the practices (I must admit I was scared..very scared during my initial travel days, not anymore); but because of the swanky gadgets and travel "necessities" that people around me carry and I feel so barren. Very recently; I saw 2 kids not older than 5 years having iphone 6s and playing games on it. I felt so ashamed to be "flaunting" my dented iphone 5s; I actually hid it deep in my bag. And those huge Beats headphones that kids have to listen to all those crappy music that's being made these days makes me go "whoa!!" . So yeah, I am made to feel how poor I am during these moments. 

Freebies! yeah yeah! who does not want one? That man beside me who flew from Hong Kong to Bangalore demanded extra wine; drank it and passed out! He was falling on my shoulder and I had to keep nudging. He passed out after just 2 glasses of wine! These are typical Indian behaviours; sorry folks, I am an Indian too but yeah we can drink even phenol for free. And how we demand those freebies as if its our birthright! and complain if its not satisfactory. Heights no? 

Another Indian trait is to push and cut the queue. While I was flying back from Srinagar; there was this "uncle" who kept pushing his trolley to be the first during baggage check. He had already knocked off an elderly woman and was now pushing my suitcase that could fall on the person in front of me. When I confronted; he had a shameless smug look of being "the man". I have no words for such morons. 

I do sound like a whiner! Well, we often remember things that are bad isn't it? I have had good things happen as well. Like the lady at the counter who let my baggage checked in without extra cost in spite of being overweight. She was very kind; yeah. Or the airlines that obliged and let me board their flight in Guatemala though I just rushed in just 3 mins before the take off. What bowled me over was they offered a pack of chips, a pack of cream biscuits and juice in that flight! Wow! I did feel like a queen. 

Fellow passengers have been kind too; especially if you are travelling alone and have to lift 25+ kgs of baggage. A Japanese man not only offered me a candy; he helped me with my baggage at the airport and left me with a pat on my neck long ago while flying from San Francisco. A person beside me picked up a conversation while I was flying to Casablanca, Morocco and actually gave me enough directions for me to get to the hotel from airport in the most efficient and cheapest way possible.

It doesn't end here....but these are few that I can recall. I am sure I'll have more interesting encounters in the future. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Pleasure Trip

The sun throws his final rays,
Glorious specks of gold,
Glistening on the lake.
Occasional boats pass by
Disturbing the calm waters.
The others tied to the quay; rocking to and fro;
They would all night; until set free in the morning. 
Beyond; the trees and the mountains
Form a silhouette; dark outlines, blurring details.
Are they sad? Seeing the sun go down?
A pup plays fetch; tail wiggling,
Jumping into the lake with glee,
His bum twitching and twerking,
As his owner throws the big orange ball.
His world so simple yet magical.
Night life starts along the waterfront. 
Food and drinks; in abundance.
Friends sitting by the edge, chatting. 
Lovers cuddling and stealing kisses.
Every few minutes; I see the drama of the sun
Displaying an aura of a master
Who has orchestrated the evening
And now ready to sleep.
I am here; in my own world
Watch the scene; sitting by myself.
Munching on tortillas; 3 of them with "no carne". 
Why am I here; alone? 
Should I've been with my partner?
Holding hands while watching the sunset together?
Should I've been with friends? 
Cheering up over beer? 
Why am I taking a pleasure trip alone?  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Idiot!

An idiot! I am.
Ask me why?
Well I am; but don’t know why?

Want to go to la-la land
And sing the song of nonsense
To the rhythm of la-moron

An idiot bird on my shoulder
An idiot dog by my side
I’d walk like a total dunce.

We will roll and laugh
Throw dirt on each other.
Like a thorough nincompoop

I’d build a simple hut
And plant an idiot’s garden
Till and water idiotic plants

Bunkum! You say
But you are a blockhead too.
Why? You ask?

I know; because I am one too!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Introspection

Another birthday went by....

I am often asked "What are your plans?"

Over a cup of coffee with my cousins when they come over to visit me or over a mug of chilled beer with a close friend; somewhere between the talks of bitching about a relative we share our dislikes for or discussing about a latest movie. How I struggle and meticulously talk along the borderline to just avoid "this" talk.

What are your plans? - its not a simple question. I dread it, have put up with this question for over a decade and would've to for long time now. What are your plans for life? There is always a pause as I take in that question. I look around and then stare blankly and shrug with the same answer as always -  "I don't know!"  Only that; I am not a teenager to give such an "irresponsible" answer. I am way past teens and 20s.

In my case, the question is basically when are you expanding your family? Kids? Am I thinking about it? Clock's ticking!!! Why am I selfish? What am I going to do in 5 years' time? Who will take care of me as I get older? And this "I don't know" knocks people off their minds; they can't fathom how can someone live their life not having a plan about their life. How? Why? They want to know if there a problem? Medical? Personal? Marital? Any problem? They want to help. And then - Are you not scared? is the next question. I again shrug and ask "Scared about what?" There! they lose it. I am thought to be a  weirdo, an insane, abnormal personality; a concerted conspiracy planted by force unknown amidst normal and conforming people to confuse them!

Volley of questions. For some reason, people think I am behind everyone in growing up or that I am refusing to grow up. I don't want to take up responsibilities. But my "plan" does not go beyond weekends. Do I think I have "lot of time" or do I think I am "20 anymore". No I don't. Of course, am I not a qualified adult? I hold a responsible position at workplace, answerable to critical deliverables, pay my taxes, cast my vote, do charity, face economic hardships having to make tough decisions at times, drink responsibly and above all - president of my apartment association and heck! I am a responsible mother to a puppy dog...(hope so!...have to get it confirmed with Gypsy).

I do save a bit, but I want to spend what I earn on my passion - traveling and exploring the world. I want to travel as far and as much as possible before my body gives up. Catch up with friends and jam and laugh a bit before the invites stop coming.

But when I see around; I see folks getting married, having kid, having a second kid....thinking about future, retirement, savings....A lot has happened in this past year for me. I changed jobs; went back to my old company. I saw familiar people who I last saw 8 years ago before I quit still hanging around. Some of them now with gray hair and stooped shoulders, few who joined as a new college graduate as me are now showing signs of aging - belly, under eye bags and a hunch. I came across a couple of classmates from school - I knew them as young innocent girls stepping into teens but now moms with 2 kids. When I saw them first; I saw myself in them - young, energetic and carefree. But now; they are old, tiring and full with responsibilities and commitments.  I don't see myself in them anymore; or have I also grown up to be tired, old and stressed?

Perhaps; my problems are different. I do discuss at length about these evolution and cycle of life with few of my young friends; and I've started to notice that we are reducing in number. Few years ago; friends got busy with their life as they migrated to different country or got married or committed and got busy in their life. Now I am in that "those friends are having second kid" phase. Everyone are happy with those new phases in life; while I am still clinging on to that "old" one which people believe is not right. Perhaps; I will not know. They don't know that I am comfortable in my skin; I am not fretting over it now and hope I won't wake up one day and regret that I missed the boat. Self doubt is suffocating; but let me live with this thought and this too shall pass.

But I am glad to be not growing up just like everyone else does and seems its the norm; I revel in what and how I am. I also very well acknolwedge that I am growing old and respect it with grace. This becomes very important to distinguish because most folks think growing up and growing old are one and the same. I'll accept the aging factor; don't wish to disguise that trying to and blend in with 20-somethings around me. Should I grow up?

I don't know.....

Friday, August 12, 2016

Through Central America

My absence has been due to business related travel to California. Well, the schedule was hectic with having to deliver right on day one while dealing with jet lag. Day after day; I turned up in office sleepy and groggy; dark circles growing bigger and darker around my eyes. I had to be in two different locations; and then the ask was to spend few more days at work.

After the work was done; I just booked a ticket to Guatemala. I wanted a break and Central America has always been on my list; especially the Mayan ruins. So Guatemala to start it was; no plan and no itinerary. I wanted to keep it flexible and open so that I could just plan each day as it comes and go where I wanted to as I traveled. Left my luggage at a friend's place; packed 2 sets of clothes and bare essentials in a backpack and started on a 9 day travel.

Well, whenever I have traveled solo I have ended up meeting other travelers in between and have tagged along; so it was never solo completely. However this time; it was all through solo as I hopped across 3 countries starting at Guatemala through Belize and to Mexico and finally back to USA. The experience unforgettable; the places I visited were nothing short of paradise; the people of course curious of me and I of them. It was totally a new thing to me; challenges due to language barriers were abounds; but thats where the thrill is right? I'll journal about this trip on my travel blog; meanwhile a sneak peak here.

The Half Moon Bay, California. I went straight from the airport as soon as I landed.
No need of an introduction I guess. The so famous Mayan ruins at Tikal, Guatemala
The serene scene at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
The Spanish colonial town of Antigua, Guatemala
Laguna Bacalar off Costa Maya in Quintana Roo, Mexico






Monday, July 18, 2016

String of Jasmine

A rhapsody of scent, unexpected. 
Welcoming; in an otherwise dull reception.
I turn around to spot a lady unassuming.
A string of jasmine flowers
Coifed on her long silky hair.
Ah! a refreshing aroma.

Jubilation; to see a lady
Clad in brightest of saree with
contrast of blouse; unmatched.
Muffled jingles from broken bells;
On her silver anklet. Assorted silver rings
Straining her slender toes.

The face; as innocent as it could be
Is the innocence just outward?
I know not; not that it matters.
Bright big red dot on the forehead;
And a tiny smear of vermilion;
Middle of her neatly parted  hair.

Glittering gold with rubies accentuated
Earrings , bangles and necklaces
The elegant lady was all decked
As if she were to attend a wedding.
Realized I was in hospital only when;
My name was called to consult the doctor.

Friday, July 8, 2016

My current obsession - Haikus

I discovered my interest for Haikus and Senryus few months ago. Been reading them for a while now; but it was only few months ago that I wanted to write Haikus too. What captivated me are the challenges. They seem so simple at glance but to paint a lucid picture in the mind of the reader in those few words and leave a lasting impression needs a great deal of effort. That in turn should encourage the reader to visualize more beauty and there it grows! Ive been practicing and learning for a while now. Haiku's essence and techniques are so refreshing; makes one appreciate how less can mean more.

So been on a haiku writing spree. Here is one of my Haiku



This is a typical haiku following basic rules and techniques. Haikus are about celebrating nature and seasons. Haikus traditionally consist of 17 "on" or syllables. In Japanese; haikus are written in one single vertical line; while in English its written as 3 lines - with phrases of 5-7-5 syllable. These days; however the syllable and having nature as subject is not strictly followed. The other essence of Haiku is "kiru" meaning cutting. This is represented by juxtaposing two ideas and a "kireji" - cutting word between them. The job of "kireji" is to cut the flow of thoughts and take you to a parallel thought; either suggesting a parallelism or provide a heightened sense of closure. Haiku in English is not equivalent to writing it in Japanese; there is no direct equivalent to "kireji". So generally; a punctuation mark or a break is used to let the juxtapose take effect and let the reader reflect on the relationship between two contrast ideas. Here; my idea is the colorful chirpy life versus the location - cemetery.

 The other aspect of Haiku is "kigo" - a word implying season as I mentioned earlier; or time of the day. Kigo are not always part of Haiku. Apart from juxtaposition technique; there are few other basic techniques of Haiku. One is What-When-Where; which I've used here. Few others are techniques called Zooming, Unfolding, Shasei to name a few.

One of my Shasei - sketching from life. Its to describe whats exactly going on in the scene to absorb the experience and the situation; that can touch you.


The other variant of Haiku is Senryu. Its nothing but Haiku about humans. While Haiku tends to be about nature;  Senryu is about human and its generally dark humor and does not need to have kireji or kigo.

Here is one of my Senryu following all the rules and techniques



I am trying to add my haiku verses with my pictures so that the pictures and words make a great combination. Found haikus to be challenging my creativity and vocabulary. So loving it! Its not easy and I've been reading and practicing a lot. One of the greatest Haiku master was Basho. If interested; just google for Basho's haiku and enjoy his haikus.

I've a Facebook page where I upload them regularly; please visit and encourage. - https://www.facebook.com/the.bindutg/