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I do understand that the term ‘Himalayas,India’, is, at best, undefined and non-specific. The places I often write about and post pictures of are largely unexplored, far from the creature-comfort-seeking-crowds… and breathtakingly beautiful. The tourists rush to the pilgrimage sites or places that disinterested, wealth seeking tour operators guide them to. The reason that the Himalayan heaven is still a haven is because no plane can land on the untouched mountains, no hotels can be constructed on land that can only be accessed on foot…thus no disfiguring hoardings make it there, no unsightly polythene bags or containers are tossed into the wild rose bushes. Most of the places we went to remain a secret, a treasure trove we cherish and keep to ourselves……a shared secret among nature lovers who do not travel simply to broadcast their daily activities to the world…..
The Himalayas are full of mystery and wonder….anything and everything is possible …the mountains stand testimony to many miracles. A gentleman from Bengal lost his whole family in 1955, at the age of 5, in a train accident. He went to study, and became a ‘successful man’ in Delhi. After a while, the material world held no charm for him. He never married, though he had enough money and a great job. He went to the Himalayas, found a secluded spot away from any human dwelling and meditated. He started a Hanuman ji Temple…perchance a road was constructed near his temple and tiny abode. He lives there permanently, through rain and snow and thunderstorms, without any material possessions save the clothes on his person. He is at peace, and content. I had heard several rumors about him and asked him for his real story. Through a brilliant smile, he told me his life story and proceeded to tell us about the 9 states of existence in the world. “What you perceive around you in God’s creation, is a reflection of what you carry within you.” he said, after performing a pooja and giving his blessings and prasad, made of a few rice puffs and bengal gram. People from nearby villages give him food, he does not ask for anything from anyone……
A date tree laden with the fruit is a sight to behold, only if it is not in a desert or sandy area like the Middle East. In the Himalayas, almost anything and everything can flourish…homo sapiens included! The fruit is sweet and delicious, and contains minerals, fiber and trace elements,a part from the high sugar content. Parts of the tree can be used to make ropes, baskets, even fishing boats!
Art knows no boundaries, it can not be reined in, suppressed or deleted from the soul of a true artist. In rural India, cattle dung is used as fuel in the form of dung cakes (made by gathering dung which is patted down in to a flat, cake like shape). Theses dung cakes are stored by stacking them in a conical dung house, or shelters. I have seen more than I can remember, but never one like this…..a neat home had been crafted for the dung cakes, and decorated. I had to stop for a moment and admire it….it doesn’t matter if you’re appreciating a world famous painting in a famous gallery or applauding the work of an unsung artist……the joy of seeing creativity and originality is priceless.
The North-Eastern part of India is often left unexplored and unappreciated………that is a crying shame as it is full of mysteries and wonders. Orchids bloom in plenty in that part of India…the rain Gods are kind and the land is fertile. Rare and unique plants blossom in the wild…….these orchids are a beautiful example of the plants that grow naturally in that area….
Okay, the beautiful blue Kingfisher birds are supposed to pose with fish…the name suggests that!!! Well, the poor birds have tried so hard to demonstrate the use of those long beaks and their fishing skills to me…and have succeeded splendidly. Well, I finally got my act (and little camera) in control and clicked one…and got 3!! while 2 glared and drooled at the one with the fish, the one with the fish had swallowed more that it could chew!!! it had given me a perfect demo of how a bird swoops down to the water surface and catches an unsuspecting fish and rises from the water like a phoenix from the ashes………..I have some hazy pics…..well I have a series of pics from this particular event that shows how the fish was thrown up in the bird’s beak, twisted and finally swallowed…..why am I not posting these pics?? this is social media, where people barely have the patience/ interest / inclination to see even one picture 🙂
While buying our first orchids, we went out of the nursery and were greeted by swamp lilies growing wild. I asked how much they were selling them for. Bewildered glances, giggles and laughter were the answer. I was told they were for free. I requested them to give me a few, which were transplanted in our garden, where they were planted beneath a mango tree, laden with fruit. This tree has a passion fruit vine wrapped around it and a rose bush alongside it. It takes all kinds of plants, exotic and wild to make up our garden. It takes all sorts of people to enrich our lives too….do not dismiss anyone too soon, they may be the missing piece that make your life magical……
When you turn your phone to the ‘aeroplane mode’ or ‘flight mode’, don’t you let you a small sigh of relief?? Maybe because you are ready for your flights of fancy? of travel of the real and surreal kind? Do birds do that? go into flight mode and enjoy exploring parts of the universe?? Shouldn’t we all take time off to get into the ‘switching-off-the-virtual-to-pursue-the-real’? Is is not possible to surf the wavelengths of your mind if you surf on your phone…….Make time everyday to fly…….
On a picnic in the great outdoors, we saw another small group with 2 small children. There was a little girl in pink and a boy who followed her around. I paid attention to them only when the little girl in pink, picked up a beetle and watched it climb over her arm. While her tiny follower gasped in half-horror and half-admiration, I asked for permission to take a picture. There are some that are not born squeamish are in sync with nature, all creatures, not just the bright and beautiful ones. She then lowered her arm, allowing the beetle to crawl back to the ground and safely away…..She is part of a rare group of individuals, the true nature lovers, who do not need pictures clicked and are kind to all living beings.