Monday, March 26, 2012


It was a perfectly warm spring weekend and the itch to get out was irresistible. After a hurried brunch of sandwiches at a nearby Italian cafe, we headed towards the mountains. I don't know if it is just me or the lingering restlessness, but there is something very inspiring and equally heartbreaking to see the snow melt and leave the mountain tops bald and barren. Sure, it is a sign of change and a symbol of continuity - the two paradoxes on which the world spins - but while continuity is assuring, change is most often intimidating. Well, at the first sight at least. Today, we wanted to embrace this contradicting mood of mother nature. And what better place to do this than the charming Bavarian village of Leavenworth, tucked among the alpine woods of eastern Washington.

Where the snow clad mountains rest. Where it is Christmas year long in an itsy-bitsy corner. Where giant pretzels grow on trees. Where old Dickensian curiosity shops line the main street. Where the towering, timber-framed beauty of Bavarian architecture takes your breath away. Where quaint mural walls pave the way to a little pharmacy on the top. Where an old willow showers its spring smiles while waiting for yet another garb of greens.


But in my heart I wished it was late spring or summer and there were hanging baskets of petunias and bushels of geraniums everywhere. When it looked something like this...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

A maple grove ablaze in the nearby park. Furry, red blossoms in strings and clusters. The bride-like adorned tree. The never-ending treasure of daylight. Blue skies with whimsical, cottony clouds. The unmistakable spring in my steps. The unstoppable song in my heart. Dots of colour here, there and everywhere. Spring has sprung, at last.

Here's to new beginnings then. Happy spring to one and all.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chocolate croissants

Chocolate croissants
freshly baked
with the side of a good read
flashes of sun and rain
blue and blur
words and chocolate
a mosaic of thoughts
much food for a tired brain

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Indian summer

Come Friday and most of our cherished stuff shall be carted away by the movers for the big shipping. What's left behind will be put up on craigslist. The apartment resembles a hurricane ravaged place at the moment and despite my compulsion to fix and arrange, there's not much I can do. The time to leave draws closer and closer with each passing day and with every move bound decision we make, the knot of unease in the stomach becomes more tight. At least once a day our talks have to have some piece of the 'when in India' puzzle, however minuscule that is. A vase here, a book there. But it's there, even if in the unspoken form.

I know I have sung my relocating litany here time and again but I'm sure you all will understand.
There is a certain comfort in repetition, not that the foolhardy roundabouts make life any easier. But it certainly makes change look simpler and somewhat less threatening, which is when my mind starts to focus on the things that I should be thankful for. The unrestrained happiness of my parents of course tops the list. They have been waiting forever and now that the time has almost come, plans and proposals of visiting and getting us settled have started dominating our phone and Skype talks.
Also, it will be the start of summer then - the legendary Indian summer. And this time I am not talking about the idyllic, late autumn scenes that the Western world tags the season with. Back home in the tropics we take it literally, word by word, where the Sun god and the electricity have a mind of their own. But as much as we curse the merciless sun and the haphazard power cuts, there are many seasonal beauties that our summer brings with it. So whenever I think of the big move, along with the assuring smile of my parents, there will be many more joys that we'll be looking forward to.

The ubiquitous presence of the golden shower (photo) that literally showers the streets with its lush yellow. The mango madness that soon hogs the limelight at every meal. The salted fruit pieces dried on the terrace before the elaborate process of pickling starts. The sweet, refreshing scent of the moist vetiver curtains filling the dark bedrooms in the sultry afternoons. The colourful sherbets to beat the pinching, hot wind. The nocturnal jasmine, aka 'queen of the night', stirring one and all with its intoxicating scent. The much awaited swing festival in June, the high note that marks the end of summer and paves the way for the monsoons.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring signs

"Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself."

~ Bashō

It's almost there. I can smell it. Bouts of lightheadedness and meaningless giggles. The ticklish ache of life stirring to burst out of the tightly closed buds. The awakening of tiny blades of grass with gentle, dewy paws. The restless robins join the impatient, hoarse calls of the crows. One less layer stripped from the confused, stuffy mask of clothing. The more than usual spell of blue sky, even here, in the perennial rain abode. 

Spring sure is in the air. It sure is about to spring somewhere. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Hawaiian dream II

Turquoise, green, blue... The colours dreams must be made of, perhaps. To the lighthouse, the one with a shiny, red roof. Mouthwatering shrimp scampi from the world famous Giovanni's shrimp truck. "Eat like a local" they say, and we sure stuck to it. Beautiful coconut-bamboo wind chimes, their music so very different from the tinkle of the metallic chimes. 'Enchanted Banyan', the shade under which many a story is told and many a future foretold. Beads again. The omnipresent hula, be it the dance or the dolls. The Ko'olau mountains, fascinating and forever fog-masked. Guarding the windward side of the island, they stand like green giants rising from the blue ocean. The Byodo-In temple framed by the misty mountains. The ever striking red pagodas matched perfectly by an echoing calm. Feisty heliconias at the temple gate. The remains of the day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Hawaiian dream I

There have been so many magical moments during our recent trip to Hawaii. Moments that still throb in our thoughts and some others a little faded from the demanding monotony of life, but very much alive. That this will be our last vacation in this country before we bundle up our memories and head homeward, perhaps added that extra something to it. Always playing at the back of my mind like an old, haunting melody, the bittersweet realization made me cling to the eight precious days with a strange greed. And then, nothing like the overwhelming vastness of the ocean to get a little contemplative, eh?!

My most favourite frame from the clutter of some twelve hundred odd pictures. One could perhaps sit on these rocky shores forever, watch the waves unfurl and soak in nature's compelling quietude. An eternal moment. Stumpy trees, stray volcanic formations jutting out of the breathtaking blue ocean like ruffled, brown birds; there just couldn't be more drama to a landscape. One of the many drives to Oahu's enchanting North Shore. Haleiwa, the little paradise for surfers and shaved ice lovers. Its tiny markets chocked with native-made handicrafts and trinkets. The dainty plumeria embracing all in its delicate perfume. The omnipresent hibiscus; yellow, orange, pink and red. Petaled messengers of tropical nostalgia. The floral hair clips, a must have for every girl in the island. A scenic drive along the eastern coast of the island. A preoccupied white pigeon greets us on the balcony after a long, exciting day. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Daffodil greetings

Half asleep, half awake and very much groggy by still being on the painfully long seven-hour night flight, I saw the sun's early rays embrace the Cascades. I dismissed it as a dream and went back to yet another bout of interrupted sleep. Moments later, forcing my reluctant eyes wide open, I paid more attention. The flight was tearing through a thick cloud blanket while a green coniferous stretch looked up at me. There, I knew that was it.
It was really difficult to let go of the magic that Hawaii is. Strangely, it felt a little like leaving one's homeland; may be it was the overwhelmingly familiar tropical essence, or may be because I know I belong to some place else, or may be it was just the sheer carefreeness of a vacation.

And what could be more welcoming than stray clumps of daffodils that seemed to have sprouted from nowhere on the roadside. No other shade could have cheered my sleep deprived state more than their vivid, speaking yellow.
The creature of habit is back to her pad.

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