Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday in Paris: Vincennes Woods

Spring is almost here. You can feel it all around you, the birds are here, the children are feeding the ducks, the waters are less icy and the paper boats are a plenty, the grass is growing again and the trees about to send us their gifts. Sundays in Paris are becoming lovelier by the week. Today we went to Bois de Vincennes. (bois = woods). The ambience was lovely. I met some of my favourite friends. The seagulls and the ducks :) It's a strange sight to hear the cry of seagulls in the middle of Paris. It makes me nostalgic of the Normandy coast where I lived last year and the cry of the seagulls was a constant.
Conifer cones :) I remember the first time I saw them and decided I would use them in my pot pourri vase. I need to get around to that!
 Pretty leaves on vines.
 You look at the trees and can't wait for more yellow to brighten the park.
 You're happy to see the ducks after a long while. 
You look at the Saint Mandé lake and wonder if that's a weeping willow in the distance. And indeed it is! :)
 Je suis un canard :)
 Cloudy day reflections mingle with the ripples, ducks paddle around hoping for crumbs.
 In the woods, poetry is everywhere. 
 Every move can be transformed into verse..
 I thought of these words when I saw this cute guy gazing away. When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing - just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sara from Sicily

I was twenty-two and decided to take up the adventure of backpacking alone across Europe. I had never been on my own anywhere, I was scared at times in certain places and the only thing that kept me from turning back was an unknown proverb "Who lives sees much. Who travels sees more." The experience was finally nothing but marvellous and I can't wait to do it again!

The bluest of blue skies can only be found in Tuscany. It was my second day in Florence. The free walking tour organized by my hotel was brilliant and the city impressed me, purely for it's capacity to make the best mascarpone ice cream :) I decided to rest my feet and enjoy my two scoops of divinity in the courtyard of the Medici palace. There was a slight drizzle but that didn't stop the hordes of tourists and artists from going about their business. I took out my beloved travel companion, my tattered journal and decided to note down all the exciting stories our guide had just told us about beautiful Firenze. I was busy writing in my journal when I noticed someone peering into my work. A woman was sitting right next to me, I didn't know for how long, she seemed to be crying and I didn't know for how long either. I thought she was in her late 70s and she could look pretty if she didn't frown so much. I smiled and she immediately began speaking to me in Italian. I was unable to reply and thankfully she knew French and voilà the start of an interesting conversation. She was Sara from Sicily and she asked me in a bold casual manner what I was writing about. I told her I was chronicling my entire trip across Europe and this surprised her. She asked me if I was afraid travelling alone. I told her life was too short to be afraid. We block our dreams when we allow fear to grow stronger than our convictions. For the first time in my life I actually believed what I was saying. Travelling had dispersed so many of my fears.

Sara told me she was fifty years old and she had never left Italy in her life. In fact this was the first time she stepped out of Sicily to discover Firenze and that too because her friends had forced her. I couldn't understand why she looked so haggard and old for her age. I asked her why she was sobbing and this provoked an even bigger melt-down and I realized I need to shut up sometimes and just listen. She explained her heart has been broken over four years ago by her fiancée who left her for the cleaning lady! She met her ex-fiancée when she was twenty and they remained engaged for nearly 30 years! Yet it was so easy for him to betray her and throw it all away. In her words "une roumaine a séduit mon chéri"... I could relate to her story perfectly especially after the tumultuous (now considered as rubbish) relationship my ex had just ended with me. To comfort our two aching hearts, I took again to my journal and this time to read aloud some of the proverbs I had jotted down at various junctures in my life. Sara seemed to like the one which read "better to travel alone than with a bad companion". She asked me if travelling really liberates the self and makes one happy. I told she will have to find the answer herself. Here Sara smiled. We sat there for a long time talking about her life in Sicily, joking about her being a mafiosi, her broken heart, her impressions about India, maybe visiting someday..

She asked me what advice I had for her before we parted ways. This was amusing since there was a quarter-century age difference between the two of us! All I told her is that life is too short to dwell on the past, all we have is NOW! We need to be present in every moment. I spoke to her as if she were my child. I remember saying go, live, rejoice and just be happy! Sara smiled, put on her lovely read coat, kissed me on my forehead and she was gone.

I wonder if she took my advice seriously. I like to think she did :)

Travelling, according to me is a reward and the meetings with different people along the way, are more than just plain encounters. These are cultural and personal achievements. So go ahead and reward yourself today with the help of Expedia! Wander away...

My Pablo Picasso- Françoise Gilot

I'm not the biggest fan of Pablo Picasso but there is one sketch of his that I absolutely adore and this is the second time I've tried it and feel satisfied with the results. Of all his mistresses muses, I think Françoise Gilot was the most gorgeous. She was 21 and he was 61 when they first met. 
There is something so féérique and bohemian about her, I can imagine why Picasso would want to make her a piece of art. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Unending love

    Unending Love

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers,
Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
the distressful tears of farewell,
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man's days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours -
And the songs of every poet past and forever.

~Rabindranath Tagore