Legacies of life

Man has an innate need to leave some part of him behind; a legacy of his life. He wants to remind the future generations that he existed. That he still exists—be it in memory or through art. And this can be seen in the beautiful structures, monuments, art and literature. Go back to the oldest cave paintings in the world and you’ll see a person desperately reaching out to the future with his/her hand paintings.

However, a friend of mine has an interesting theory. In India, we don’t appreciate creation as much. That’s why in the heritage places, we rarely get to see the name of the architect. No, we only know who commissioned these monuments. Contrast this to the West when you know the names of the architect. Heck, in Spain, we even knew the names of the people who melded the gorgeous wrought-iron pieces!

Don’t believe me? Ask around, who designed the Taj Mahal? Who designed the Vitthal Temple in Hampi with it’s intelligent architecture? And intelligent it is. The complex had a main building which was for performances to the God. You didn’t to carry instruments. Each pillar was designed to produce music of a particular instrument. Literally!

And then there were the side buildings like these with their intricate carvings, each telling a story and a story within a story! Take this building for example, there was a miniature carved on each side. It’s like the architect wanted to set in stone is very blue print! But the beauty is in the whole.

After all, each part—even the platforms at the bottom—have a thought behind them. One layer to hold lamps, one layer to convey how people of different regions and countries come to trade in Hampi, etc. There’s also the creative creature with parts of different animals.

This is why I love Guides and archeologists. So much gets lost in translation between the past, present and the future. Whatever little we know of, is because of the archeologists who painstakingly find meaning in dirt. And the guides who convey it to us mere humans.

They offer the spectacles you need to look around with clear sight.

Three weeks of home

Einstein was right. Time is very elastic. Twenty days can seem really long. But some other twenty days can pass by in a jiffy.

It’s been three weeks home, and I’ve long left behind the person I was while traveling. Not only have I shed the baggages I carried while traveling, I’ve only shed that person. And in return, I seem to be carrying around the roles and responsibilities that I find myself with back home.

Day to day tasks; work responsibilities; ups and downs with friends and family, and what not. Love, friendship, camaraderie. Festivities, routine, death. Good times and bad.

I wish I could complain though. I can’t.

What I have at home is beautiful too. Work that I love. People who love me back. And a vibrant social life—the way I’d want it to be. Variety of friends who I can talk to about all possible things in the world. A family that does let me be. Work mates who teach me and help me when needed.

What else does one need?

And yet… The greedy human heart and mind always wants more.

I wish to be in a Quantum state—where I can be in two or more states at once. Where I can be multiple people experiencing different things at once—home and travel. At once stationary and yet traveling.

How I wish.

Unfortunately or fortunately, though, the only thing Quantum is my mind, frantically switching across different modes. Sometimes day dreaming about Spain, sometimes being part of reality here at home.

And across all this, I ask myself: Is this real? Was it all real?

Thank the butterflies

Many years back, I watched this movie called The Butterfly Effect. It was quite captivating. The premise of the movie is that, the smallest of the changes in time can cause cascading effects. Many movies and books have dealt with this aspect of time travel.

And every day, I wonder what my actions have led to or what actions of others has led to the reality as I lived it. It’s quite fascinating. I wonder if some alien is looking at the myriad permutations and combinations of events like the scene in Men In Black 3.

Of course, even if there is one, it could very well be a figment of my imagination. But what I have noticed are things that may not have happened if the event preceding hadn’t shaped up the way it was.

And boy were there many such combinations of coincidences that happened during my trip.

For example: Had my flight to Brussels not been delayed by 4 hours, I wouldn’t have been so tired in the first few days of my trip.

This tiredness got carried forward to my second stop in San Sebastian. Then, I wouldn’t have been laid back on the first evening.

As a result, I may not have bumped into two lovely ladies from UK or spent the night chatting away to glory. Nor would they have told me about the lovely free city walking tour. And had I not gone on it, my day may not have turned out the way it did—long, tiring but fulfilling.

Then, I may have woken up earlier the next morning and not faced a series of delays and missed buses/trains as I toured across the Basque County.

And if I had not missed the buses, I may not have seen as much of the county as I really did. I certainly would not have taken the bus that took the coastal route and went through many small towns and villages. The beautiful video I did capture wouldn’t have happened. Thank God!

(YouTube link here: https://youtu.be/8_lsphOCub0)

Neither would I have gone to the end of this cliff:

Oh, this series continues forward.I may have then reached the Picos earlier in the night or been less tired.

Thus, I may have woken up earlier the next morning in Picos de Europa. I may have then taken the longer trail over the Carres George as I had intended too, instead of the smaller one I took.

And I would have never met the lovely Australian gentleman, who’s now turned into a beloved pen pal (through email, though).

Barcelona would have been a different experience too, without the debilitating knee injury caused by the hike. But then, I would’ve exerted and roamed around more—making the trip more hectic.

Instead, the series of misadventures helped me slow down and take easier breaths. Quality, thus, trumped quantity.

Similarly, when I got to know Sierra Nevada would be deserted, I had to make a choice of staying back or moving on to another location. I chose to stay back.

That one decision opened the door to meeting and learning from this lovely Barista, who was originally from Morocco.

I spent the next two days with the lady. She opened up to me about her story, teaching me so many lessons about life and living. Not to mention, the wonderful hospitality that she offered.

On the second day, she directed me to another branch for better food. There, I met this beautiful Swedish couple and a German cyclist.

One thing led to another, and the next day, I found myself with the Swedish couple heading to Costa del Sol, which was my next destination. Thanks to them, I saw one extra city, got to see more of the sunny coast AND reached much earlier than I otherwise would have.

Lovely, isn’t it?!

Many such coincidences happened over the course of my travels. Not all of them were palatable. Many were most definitely not great. I’m sure quite a few people would’ve let these ruin their mood or given up.

But that’s the thing. What seems negative may just be so on the face of it. For all you know, it could be a blessing in disguise. It could be the reason you ended up with the happy opportunities. Who knows.

What I do know is this: I don’t jump the moment something seems to go off. Think, there could be another way. And this could just be an opportunity in the making.

Like the little butterfly that has to suffer and break through the shell of her cocoon to strength her muscles.

My friend calls this the Chaos theory. I call it my secret ingredient for happines. It’s easier to live and love the moment when it’s not a means to an end.

When it’s just a single moment, and you can bind many such moments to form a beautiful necklace of the jewels of memory.

Dear Time

Source: http://consciouslifenews.com/3-ways-make-most-intuition/
Source: http://consciouslifenews.com/3-ways-make-most-intuition/

Dear Time, can you stop for a while?
So I can say goodbye,
to the moments that touched my heart;
Even the ones that made me cry;
End them with a full stop,
Instead of the three dots you’re known for.
Dear Time, can you slow down for a while?
I’d like to hug my friend,
Who’s no more in my life.
Or stare into those eyes,
that often filled my heart with warmth,
Before they turn all cold and dry.
Dear Time, can you pause and rewind?
I hate to leave my loved ones back.

Of Time, birthdays, and the lost ones

Also published on Thought Catalog:

Past. Present. Future.
Time.
Time changes things. Or rather, things — be it abstract or tangible — change with time.
One day ends to give way to another. And another.
The earth slowly rotates and revolves.
The clock’s hands never stop.
And with it, the wheels of change are set into motion. It creeps in slowly, inch by inch.
Every day is just another day. And yet, it is not.
To make some days stand out, we give them a meaning, a name, or a reason.
Even your birthday.
Yet, there are many who see no reason to celebrate the day they were born.
I do.
They say it is just another day, so why go the extra mile?
It is. Nonetheless, why should that stop us from celebrating the joy of life? Why should it stop us from taking a few minutes, hours or an entire day to take stock of your life, your people, and most importantly, count your blessings.
In a world where there are countless reasons to feel insipid, inconsequential and worthless, it is often tiny actions that matter; that make you who you are. These actions almost always win us our friends and loved ones. Yes, they may not stay forever. Yes, there are countless who get lost in the various chapters of the book called life simply because ‘life’ happened. Yes, it is not a very happy feeling to look back and remember those who were once special, but are no more an active part of your life. We are taught to hold those more dear who have been with us forever.
But, why should that stop you from being grateful to have those who do remain, or those who have entered your life anew? Because past experience suggests they may not be there tomorrow? Because nothing lasts forever?
If you ask me, it is precisely this reason why you should celebrate birthdays — yours and others, especially others — for if you did not take time out today to build memories, to feel grateful and feel special, you may have nothing to reminisce about tomorrow.
Today, you have these people. Tomorrow, you may not. But during the time when they are a part of your life, they are or have been important. Why not make them feel that today, irrespective of what happens tomorrow?
Idioms and phrases advise us to take advantage of ‘and make good use of every day; that every single day should be special — not just a few. But, we all know that’s not humanely realistic. We all have our off days, when things don’t work out, when we fight and are unhappy.
So, why let go of the few days that can be turned special, simply because we refuse to go along with convention that dictates the same?
This year, my friends planned a big surprise for me. I never saw it coming. I also received many gifts — even from people who had moved to a different city. It made me feel very special. These were the people whose lives I had touched at some point in life. And in doing so, they deeply touched mine.
However, there were also moments when I was painfully aware of those I had left behind on my journey forward. Their absence was felt. These were the people who once held a special place in my daily life. They had once celebrated the very same day with much aplomb.
However, life happened. It is sad, yes.
But today, I look back on those moments with happy nostalgia. I am thankful that at the excuse of my birthday, I expressed the importance of their presence in my life, and vice versa. I now know, at that moment in time, I had mattered to them. I also know that just because they aren’t here does not mean they have been erased forever.
Similarly, today, I’d rather feel grateful for having been loved and cherished, for being given the life I now lead, for the friends who are part of my life now and who went to such great lengths to make me feel special. I’d rather do that than give in to solemnity and nostalgia for the lost ones although they and the moments I’d shared with them were special too.
Today, I find reasons to celebrate the day, than pass it off as just another day.
On my birthday, I count my blessings for what I have today before I lose it, and what I had yesterday.
Today, I pay homage to the thing called Time.

Near Time’s still waters

On a bright blue day,

I see time fly.

Reflected on the river’s shiny waters,

Onto my eye.

Scoop into my hands,

I hold my past,

A memorabilia, a proof,

Of times when I had a life.

Still as time, the water flows,

In it, I see me change, I see me grow.

Overhead, the flowers bloom and dry,

First pale, and then green, the leaves turn.

The roots inch towards me,

As if to cajole and caress,

To break me out of my reverie,

To shake the calmness, put away the misery.

Spring turns autumn, and then winter springs,

Unmoving I lay, with time, in sync.

I move, I change; I flow with the waters

Yet on the banks, I consummate my marriage with Hindsight.

The roots finally pull me out

And tuck me under their wings,

Blindfolded, in its shadowy night

A green crow amidst the greens, my sole witness.

Opened, I did, my mouth

I croaked, but the crow spoke

Lifted its wing, and pointed at the red sun

And the black moon, it was hiding behind.

Cried, the white clouds and thundered,

Cried, they, for their black peers, and the fair maid.

The thunder, poignantly sweet to my ears,

A tear rolled and rippled the clean waters.

I woke up, Nostalgia lay beside me,

Unmoving in death, lifeless and unseeing.

With a beating heart, that Hindsight broke.

Time was the catalyst, the perpetual villain of yore.

I blinked, another drop rippled the water

The moon turned red, the sun welcomed the dark

I blinked, the crow flew into the clouds, white,

The roots cleared, and shone blinding yellow light.