A Fantasy Land

The Rock Gardens in Chandigarh- a fantasy land was created out of urban and industrial waste, rocks and other discarded substances. This is a huge park that is the result of the quest for creativity by an individual called Nek Chand. What started as his secret hobby is now almost a heritage site.

I visited the Rock Garden yesterday after almost 15 years and found it as mesmerising as before. The weather was pleasant for a slow stroll, cloudy after some showers,  but sadly not very conducive for photography. I did not wish to use flash and as a result, the pictures came out looking very natural but in muted lighting.

The entire garden borders on surrealistic arrangement of rocks, building waste, electrical wastes like holders and discarded fluorescent tubes, broken glass bangles, pottery and ceramic ware. Nek Chand used all these materials to create a world of waterfalls, jungles, bridges, buildings, people, animals etc. The garden is unparalleled in beauty and imagination.

When I visited the garden the first time, there were no fences stopping us from going near the statues. I have pictures of my daughter hugging some of them. There is now an iron fence stopping the visitors from going near the figures because of vandalism by a few colourful characters.

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Natural Boulder
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Wall made from discarded fluorescent light fixtures
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Earthen pots lining the walkway
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The narrow gorge enclosed by rocky walls from waste materials
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Model Huts
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Building made from waste materials
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Fort like structure
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Waterfall feature
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Figures on top of a waterfall
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Ladies in skirts carrying pots of water on their heads from the waterfall
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The waterfall
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The mosaic work amphitheater 
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Horses (work in progress)
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Monkeys galore
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Drink??? Anyone???
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Camels
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Ladies figures made from broken glass bangles
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One of many Peacocks made using glass bangles
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Whatever are they doing?
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Greek? Romans? Don’t know…
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Astronauts in space???

 

Quest

#Chandigarh #RockGarden #NekChand

I am grateful …….

 

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I recall reading a quote by Eckhart Tolle that acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. More often than not, we tend to take things for granted and just let them pass. Gratitude is the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. When you are grateful for small things in life, you realise that your attitude and outlook change and opportunities open up in great numbers.

All through childhood the importance of polite behaviour and the magic words please, thank you and you are welcome has been reinforced so much that uttering these words is now automatic. As a result, they are used in society as part of polite behaviour and often uttered without much thought.

Gratitude, on the other hand is more carefully used and well thought out. When I say that I am grateful for something, it means that I am affected by that and hence it carries more meaning. That does not mean that being thankful is not an honest emotion.

How would you cultivate gratitude?

  • Notice the little things around you that you took for granted all these days from a point of gratitude. They will not seem little anymore.
  • Pay a compliment to someone every day.
  • Share your appreciation for something that you see. Make it a habit.
  • Convert a negative view that perceive into something positive. Every coin has two sides.
  • When faced with some problem or adversity, take it as a learning experience.
  • Stop complaining for every little thing. Try it for a week and see how good it feels.
  • Maintain a journal to note down things you are grateful for. Write down 5 things every day.
  • Pick up your phone and call someone important to you out of the blue. You will be surprised to hear the happiness in their voice.

 

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On this World Gratitude Day, let me list a few things I am grateful for.

  • The little things that my husband does for me, keeping in mind my comfort and happiness.
  • The messages from my daughter checking up on how we are doing or just to say I love you.
  • How my friends go out of their way to help one another through actions, prayers or thoughts.
  • How my 79-year-old mother surprises us with some shopping just because she thinks the saree that she saw in the store on display would look good on me or my daughter.
  • Being able to sleep peacefully and wake up healthy every day.
  • The ability to eat well.
  • The strong circle of friends and family.
  • The beautiful flowers and greenery around me and the eyesight to admire them.
  • The smiles I get from people around me, friends and strangers.
  • The strength to beat breast cancer and recover my health.
  • Every breath I take.

I started on a gratitude journal some time back. Some of the entries are repeated even on a daily basis. If I am grateful for my coffee in the morning everyday, there is nothing wrong in it. It is after all a new day!

So what are you grateful for?

 

 

#WorldGratitudeDay #everydaygratitude

 

Finding calm in the midst of chaos

“At any given moment, you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end.”  – Christine Mason Miller

A few months ago I realised that I was getting too attached to my smartphone, waiting for the notification sounds of incoming WhatsApp messages, email, Facebook posts, Tweets in addition to the phone calls. I would waste no time picking up the phone the moment it beeped. That was when I decided that I could not let the phone dictate my life.

I decided to regulate my phone usage. I started off with a self-imposed restriction of not picking up my phone to answer any messages after 10 pm. I communicated to my contacts that I would not mind answering a phone call if it was really essential, but messages could wait till morning. My morning usage was restricted to half an hour while I enjoyed my mug of coffee. Over a period of time, I became the mistress of my phone. I now take a two-day detox every month from WhatsApp messages during which I read only personal messages and respond if required but completely ignore/ don’t read group messages.

Life can be a hectic mess. There is always an ongoing to-do list, in addition to all the goals and dreams that each of us also have. Most of the times we are so highly strung and at the point of breakdown.

There is no quick fix for this situation. It is possible to remain calm in the midst of all this buzzing. Silence is not just the lack of sound. It is also the inner quiet and stillness that we develop in us. What can be done to bring in the calm and the quiet?

  • Keep a fixed work routine. Leave your workplace for home on time. When you don’t carry your housework to office, why would you carry office work home?
  • Disconnect from technology. Keep the usage to a minimum. Impose the restrictions on yourself. Nobody else can do it. Technology can at no point become your master.
  • Spend time with your family and friends. Make memories. When you think your life has become predictable, remember anything could change in a heartbeat. The only constant in life is change; however much you try to control the future, sometimes all you can do is adapt and make the best of it.
  • Rediscover and learn to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. Stop and smell the roses on the way. Learn to dance in the rain.
  • Go on small outings with your family and friends. Visit new places. Embark on adventures.
  • Cultivate a hobby. Sing, dance, pick up the knitting needles and knit a scarf, work on some embroidery, learn something new.
  • Read books. It is not necessary to read motivational or inspirational books. Pick up anything that you want to.
  • Exercise, meditate and stay healthy. A healthy mind can only exist in a healthy body. Stay fit.
  • Find some ‘me time’. Sit and do some introspection. Enjoy your solitude. Love yourself.
  • Spread some cheer and positivity.
  • Express your love and gratitude to your family and friends.
  • Be happy. The power to be happy is in you. Choose it.
  • Most importantly, learn to say NO when it so warrants.

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I have now learnt to enjoy the silence in the midst of the chaos around me. I am happier.

 

Silence

Dancing in the rain

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“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

A simple , but very powerful statement. Caught up in thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow, we forget to live in today. We focus so much on being good at or excelling at everything we do that we forget to appreciate the small things in life that bring pleasure. We tend to put our blinkers on and stop seeing things right under our nose.

We develop a rigid view of life based on our likes and expectations. When things don’t go as per our views, we become frustrated and life becomes difficult.  We become restless. In the process, we miss out on the best parts of our lives. We are all busy making money or trying to come first in the rat race, but what is it that we will remember when we sit down and try to recollect. We do not live, we only exist.

Life is going to throw up some storms and even hurricanes along the way. Does that mean we just sit cowering on the sides waiting for it to pass? That is never going to work. One storm passes, another is waiting to come along at some other point in life. Sitting it out is only a waste of time. So go on out dance in the rains. Face up to the challenges.

What do you do? You could

  • Make a list of things that you want to do.
  • Learn to relax.
  • Pick up a few good books to read.
  • Listen to some music.
  • Spend time with your friends.
  • Talk to your family.
  • Visit places.
  • Take lots of pictures so that you can revisit those places from the comfort of your armchair.
  • Most importantly, SMILE.

In short, live today as though there is no tomorrow.

If I look back, I realise that  my life has never been a smooth ride. At times it felt like being on top of the mountain peaks while at times it went barreling down into the valleys. (I am not claiming I am singular in that.) I am thankful that these valleys remained valleys and never turned into bottomless canyons.

The point here is not remaining in the lows, but getting out and reaching for the top once again. And when you are in the valleys and see the mountains high up in front of you, as Edmund Hillary said, ‘it is not the mountains that we conquer but ourselves’.

So, put on your hiking shoes and take that relaxed hike through the mountains and valleys, stopping to admire the beauty as you chug on.

Make as many memories as you can. Choose to be happy. It is in your hands. Enjoy the journey. LIVE!!

 

Hike

#tangytuesday

The fight to be Fighting Fit

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Yayyyy for me!!! I completed a year of serious gymming. In fact I am a late bloomer when it comes to fitness. I confess I have been procrastinating on my work outs/ walks or physical exercise of any sort. I have my excuses ready for that, like it or not. I was working full-time, had to manage my home and do a lot of other things. I was even blaming the steroids that were administered during my chemotherapy days. My fault is that I never thought of finding ‘me time’ for myself.

I put on weight after my chemo sessions in 2009 and the fat decided that my body was the best rent free accommodation that it could find. I am sure it didn’t like the nourishment it got from my diet, in spite of which it refused to leave me alone.

In August 2015, I went for my annual pricking, prodding and probing by the sadists who call themselves doctors and nurses (they forget that it’s my body that is being tortured) aka known as Annual Health Checkup. I was overweight, though not obese.When the reports came in, I found to my horror that my cholesterol level (though within acceptable levels) was tending towards the higher reaches. The physician advised no medicines, just exercises and walks. I then woke up to the fact that I had to seriously lose some weight and bring down my cholesterol levels. The mirror had been showing that all these days, but I was choosing to ignore it.

I walked into the gym near my house and enrolled. I started with walking on the treadmill and stationary cycling followed by simple exercises. I was getting cramps in muscles I never knew existed till then. Then started the slow hog towards developing my stamina and strength and toning of my muscles.

I had been suffering from a lot of pains and aches in most joints and muscles of my body over the last 7 years. As I started working out, I slowly realised that my pains were disappearing and I was becoming stronger and healthier.

I lost weight. I moved down to clothes which were a size smaller. All my old clothes started hanging loose on my body. Most importantly, I was  feeling happier and energetic. I was receiving compliments on my weight loss.

This year’s medical checkup gave better reports. The cholesterol did not come down drastically, but the doctor blamed it on my genetics… gifts from my maternal side of the family.

The extra weight that most of us tend to laugh away is not good. What we fail to recognise and accept is that it can lead to severe health issues and that too at an early age itself. Regular exercises or walks coupled with the right diet will go a long way in keeping us healthy.

When I say eat well, I am talking about the right balance of quality and quantity. Nobody is asking us to stay totally off anything. It is alright to binge once in a while on any kind of food, but remember anything in excess is bad.

I go early in the morning to the gym for my workout which lasts around an hour and a half. I have now added a 30 minute evening walk in the park everyday which gives me a chance to click pictures of the sunset, the lush green plants and trees, and the kids playing. When I started last year, people asked me why I had suddenly started working out. I just had one answer ‘better late than never’.

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Today I feel fighting fit (at least as much as a 51-year-old can feel). I am in good spirits. I feel good I get that ‘me time’.

I am never going to give up exercising now. It has become an addiction. I now know my health and happiness are in my hands.

#health #fitness

Procrastination