Right from the day we moved into our new place, our lives seem to have taken on a whimsical, languorous quality. You know that feeling of a lazy Sunday afternoon spent curled up on a warm couch in the balcony with a cool, tall glass of iced tea and a book, as the pedestal fan that’s blowing a gust of fresh breeze on you, threatens to send you into a state of dreamy siesta? That pretty much sums up the personality of our new home. Not to say, that’s what we do all the time. But there is something about a new home that’s like a new relationship in bloom. And especially since we work from home and spend all our time here, there’s so much to discover, so much to love and so much to be worried about. Not the love of two passionate lovers, hungry to explore each other. But a more quiet kind of love which grows on you. For us, it was the new things we learned everyday. Like finding a beautiful golden patch of the evening sun on our kitchen table at the same everyday. Or the smell of tea brewing in the kettle as we stare out of our kitchen window, at the sun setting into the wilderness, filling us with a quiet sense of pride for choosing to live this life. Or even the horror of finding deadly wasps trying to make their new home in our window sill. We are learning to accept everything. The good, the bad and the crumbling plasters. For it’s ‘ours’.
Everything is so crowded, yet seems so quiet. The dull roar of everyone’s thoughts is so loud that it cancels itself out. The Ganga is a bubble of calm in the chaotic city of Calcutta. The ferry approaches the Howrah Bridge and somehow, everyone stares in awe. They see it everyday. This colossal, utilitarian creature that has become such an inseparable part of the cityscape. Yet, this steel structure manages to evoke a sense of wonder in them. The too-bright orange hue emanating from the lamps that light up the bridge, reflect on their faces, revealing traces of a wide-eyed innocence, a remainder of a yesterday where everything was the same, yet so different.
During the 10-day Durga Pujo, the chaos and colours of Calcutta animate to life to become this colossal pulsating being that is buzzing powerfully and constantly to the rhythm of the festivities. The Durga pandals across neighbourhoods are larger than life, dazzlingly brilliant, delightfully bizarre and flamboyant. It’s all great fun, of course. But we were fortunate enough to experience the actual essence of the festival by being part of a Durga Pujo in a home in Calcutta.
After the frenzy, delirium and the intensity of the six day-long Durga Pujo celebrations at the Chatterjee home in Gariahat, Durga Maa, who was revered, pampered and indulged as the daughter of the home for the entire affair, makes her way out to go back to where she belongs amidst mixed emotions. Until she comes back again next year.
This 450-year-old Banyan is more than just a tree. It’s history, ancient knowledge and life fused together in an intricate network of gnarled splendour. While the grounds of the Theosophical Society in Chennai is a revelation in itself, this incredibly-spread out tree, one of the oldest trees in India, is a delight to behold. There are unverified claims that the branches and roots of this tree roughly covers over 40,000 sq feet!
What started out as an ordinary evening of grocery shopping in Mapusa got completely hijacked by a beautiful display of fireworks, loud music and an assault of bright lights in the distance. We decided to investigate and landed up in the colourful and chaotic Mapusa market, where the Ganesh idol, erected by the merchants of Mapusa, was being taken on a procession before its immersion.
In a bid to escape the chaos of the busy Munnar town, with its horde of honeymooners and those same-cap wearing tour bus participants, we rode far and long to get to Top Station, steering clear from all the designated ‘photo points’ and ‘tourist attractions’.
We went right past a huge bunch of tourists at an ‘echo point’ along the Mattupetty Dam reservoir and rode ahead to find our own quiet spot by the lake. We parked our bike and walked right to the end of a jetty-like stretch of land going into the water. A little retreat we made our own for the next couple of minutes. We admired the sweeping panorama and heard our ‘hellos’ and whistles echo away in the distance before we rode away to find a new adventure.
Even the most ordinary sights turn magical in an instant in the Golden Hour. Every blade of grass and every leaf gets outlined with a glint of gold, beautiful birds turn into silhouettes and people get bathed in a soft, diffused lighting that just can’t be recreated artificially.