Skies and the scale of our thoughts

The period when we are in our own bubbles, in ‘control’, not doing all we can, is one which is thought provoking.

We had spent the whole day outdoors – talking to a friend, looking at the sky and the colors of the dried grass and the exceptionally clear skies through which we could see mountains on the horizon. We observed cows grazing from a distance – they looked like tiny 1-centimeter sculptures fixed to the ground. We saw huge anthills. We saw the fleeting shadows of floating clouds as if they were the footprints of the wind. We slowed time down that day.

Sometimes, just the basics, the open sky, the vast field, a beach, the ocean, the simplest of colors, makes us think of how tiny our thought process is and how much more we are capable of. There is so much to be done, so much to be seen, so much to be learnt, and, unlearnt.

Zoom in, and sometimes, zoom out.

We are like the proverbial frogs in a well who can see just a patch of the sky from within the well and how it considers that its world. Does it think the sky is a circle? To quote from the absolutely brilliant book ‘Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ – “We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world”.

Here’s looking forward to new experiences and thoughts to reflect and  introspect on.

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Outdoor itch!

It isn’t snowing. It isn’t warm either. Neither is it dry. It is a bit of everything and almost all of nothing. We were hoping for some snow to put a pretty white border on everything. Or for a coat of the wintry sun’s soft light at a slanting angle. Or for a bit of thin, dry, crisp winter air. 

As I seek a way through the mountains of workload and umpteen tasks, I am very tempted to pitch a tent at the earliest – in the middle of a different kind of infinity. 

Blue of the dark skies.

I miss this campsite – although cold and windy, it offered visions of the bluest skies. The date and time stamps on the photograph say 31 August, 8.42 p.m, although the imprint is as fresh as ever. 

Games Lions play?

In the wintry month of December a few years ago, we had been to the Gir Forest National Park – home to the last surviving members of the magnificent Asiatic Lion.

The park is a beautiful place and we were lucky to spot lions multiple times in the few days we were there. The flora and fauna of the park are rich and diverse and home to several species of birds. In fact, the official guide we had hired was a very good bird-spotter, was simultaneously referring to a book on bird species by Salim Ali, told us that even if the park had no lions, it would probably be a national park just because it had so many species of birds among other species of animals.

During our stay there, we had heard several stories of not only how majestic the lions were, but also how they would not harm anyone unless provoked. At the farmhouse where we were staying, we were shown a video by one of the persons working there. The video showed him on his motorbike crossing paths with a lion. The lion took a deviation into the forest, crossed the bike and rejoined farther down the road! We were a bit in disbelief before we saw the video, but then were simply amazed at the nature of this wonderful animal.

The very next day, we saw the following sequence of events.

A lion was basking in the sun, maybe in a state of light sleep, when an Egret-like bird came into the scene and hopped merrily towards the lion. Apologies for the shaky photograph – We were using this particular camera for the first time and the event had unfolded very quickly.

I'm afraid of no one!

The Lion ignored it for a few seconds and the bird didn’t stop. Sensing this, the lion woke up and with superb swiftness, put a paw on the bird and trapped it.

How about this for starters?

In that position, it held him – not hurting him too much and sniffing it. The bird struggled around, now obviously scared and looked up pleadingly and apologetically at the lion.

Talking through eyes

On hearing some of these noises, a second lion walked out from under the shadows of a tree nearby and came around and sniffed the bird too. At this point, we thought it was curtains for the bird.

Sharing is caring

But suddenly, the bird was free and flying off.

What happened here?

Our guide said, the lions had eaten in the night, were not hungry so soon and were just playing with the bird.

What do you think?

Rendezvous

Till we meet again, let the dance of rotations and revolutions continue

Gently, almost shyly,

the sun extinguished slowly,

a layer of clouds holding the colors

alive, like in memory.

Wind kissed the lake’s surface –

a caressing adieu,

tugging the heart’s strings.

A ripple spreading across,

reflecting a smile.

Barren trees bid goodbye,

a short farewell to an evening’s embrace.

Some more scenes from Kolkata

While we wait for the snow to arrive, we mentally revisited Kolkata where we had spent some time around 2 years back.

We had gone walking around the Dakshineshwar temple complex and saw a colorful pantheon of (a few) Indian Gods at a tree-side shrine. The bricks and the stones were all covered in gray – from the smoke and the dust – but the statues somehow stood out.

Farther down the road, a colorful scene in a small food stall caught our eyes. We saw a lady cooking something, while her young kid was playing around in the tiny kitchen. He looked back at us with his dark, innocent eyes, pausing enough just to wonder who the real tourist was, and then scampered off again. 

What's cooking?

Who's the tourist?

After a brief stop at the temple, we headed towards the Hooghly riverbank, and saw among other things, a lady fishing with a very different approach than anything we had seen before. She had a long piece of string, which she had secured to a heavy looking ring. She would toss this ring into the water, and then later reel it in.

 

By now the winter sun was setting, and this led to strong reflections off the river. We saw some kids wading into the river, some fishing as well, and a few of them pondering about something. One of them looked as if he was actually walking on water.

Eventually, we headed homewards, or rather, hotel-wards, and as we crossed a narrow side-lane, we thought of a scene we had seen there the same morning. A man sitting on a stool, while a barber shaved his face extremely leisurely, even though the road was narrow and beginning to bustle with daily life.

A close shave ?

It had been yet another day which had provided several memorable events.