Category Archives: Words and Images

Weekend Getaway: The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon. Who hasn’t heard of it? Everyone has. But you need to go there for yourself to realize it’s awesomeness! Grand doesn’t come close to describing it. I’ve been there a few times–still I catch my breath each time I lay eyes on it. Over two billion years of earth layers were cut by the mighty Colorado river and it’s tributaries.

My last trip there a few years ago was my most memorable one. It was part of a school trip– with my daughter and some of her classmates. We stayed in the Grand Canyon village at the South rim for two days and even hiked down the South Kaibab trail— only part of the way (it’s extremely steep and strenous). We also saw a mule train, the once almost extinct California Condor which the largest flying bird in North America with a wingspan reaching 10 ft—brought back by a dedicated captive breeding program.

As I have mentioned before I am inspired by my travels and the places I visit. I try to bring them into my writings whenever I can. You will find some of my experiences of the Grand Canyon in my books– Inconvenient Relations and its sequel- Now and Forever. You can check them out here.

 

HealthWise: Food and Immunity

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Current COVID crisis has generated a lot of interest in immunity, especially natural and innate immunity. One way to improve it is by eating right.

Below is a very opportune guest post by Palak Nagpal, who is a nutritionist based out of Delhi, India.

      IMMUNITY 

Immunity isn’t built overnight nor does eating a superfood alone help you to build it.  

I know there is a lot of information out there so I’ll keep this short and crisp. Keep checking off the things you are including in your nutrition plan every day and make space for those which you aren’t. Here’s a list of important foods particularly important for boosting our immunity: 

  1. Load up on Vitamin C 

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Sources: Amla/gooseberry, lemon, orange, kiwi, guava, black pepper, bell pepper

2. Vitamin E is the most well-known antioxidant which fights infection and keeps our immune system strong. Nuts & seeds are rich in Vitamin E. 

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The Fickle Mind

the mind is a strange thing it can be brilliant and irrational Often generating senseless chatter Don't take to heart Ignore it.

 

The mind is at the center of the body. It controls/ influences every organ. Yet, a lot of its workings remain a mystery. How it does or doesn’t control or manipulate our thoughts and emotions. How things long ‘forgotten’ manifest in our subconscious in our dreams and influence our health and behaviour. How we carry our trauma with us like a back breaking burden.

There are many ways to heal- nature, meditation, mindfulness, counseling, etc. But first we have to recognize and be aware that sometimes we are our greatest enemies.

 

Eternal Quest

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And then I want to walk down this path

That goes on and on

From my town to the next

Across cities and states

And countries

Oceans and seas

Continents

I want to see faces different from mine

Speak languages I haven’t heard

I want to feel

I want to know

Words and Images: Ancient Giants

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It wasn’t just a grove. It was a magical, mystical jungle of living, breathing giants that left Shaan awe struck. Neither of them spoke as they ambled slowly on the well-worn dirt paths and listened to the trees, some almost two thousand years old, as they related tales of times gone by. Of emperors, and kings and queens, and of battles fought for love and for greed.

A sudden transformation came over Ruhi when they came upon a fallen tree. She leaned against the dead trunk; her frame dwarfed by its girth, then closed her eyes and whispered in a voice rife with melancholy. “Who am I but a speck of dust this poor soul can’t even see?”

Shaan couldn’t keep his emotions in check. He hauled her into his arms and they wept together as they grieved for their mutual loss.

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A Woman is to be Seen not Heard.

Bust of a woman by Picasso

It may sound cliched yet nothing could be truer. A girl who goes on to become a woman has always learned to lead an inferior life. She has learned to be a perennial serf, who lives in the shadows. Who is seen and not heard. If she speaks– it has to be in soft tones or whispers. She has to align her opinions with those of the society — she has to be uncontroversial, motherly, generous. She has to live for her family and the world at large. She is ‘weak’ thus needs to be protected, yet she is also taken advantage of. Hypocrisy much? 

If she rebels and asserts herself even in the slightest she at once surrounds herself with frowns and draws rebuke and criticism. How dare she? She is labelled a vixen, a mad woman and cast out or burnt at the stake.

Hence since the birth of time (with a few notable exceptions) she has learned to clip her wings, succumb to the pressures, curb her desires, even censor her thoughts. What a tragedy isn’t it?

Do read ‘The Awakening’by Kate Chopin.

Image is of a painting titled Bust of a Woman by Pablo Picasso– Oil with fixed black chalk on canvas. Displayed at Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.

A Silent Cry for Freedom

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A few summers ago, on a tour to the UK, I happened to be in Edinburgh, spending the evening in a hotel next to the well known zoo. So, in order to kill time, I decided to pay a visit and came across the enclosures with the usual occupants in various states of animation. I went inside the primate enclosure and saw this particular individual sitting in this state, and it made a great impression on me. It was as if I was seeing a human being, an old wise one, pondering on the sad state of life and it almost reduced me to tears. I wish I’d known what he was thinking. Was he contemplating on a happier past?I’m not sure if he was ever free or was born in captivity. 

Now that we are in the midst of the most unusual situation of our lives — when people are rebelling, crying for freedom, even when we are living in our homes and have freedom of movement and the internet do we spare a thought for our fellow sentient beings? What have they done to deserve this awful treatment? That we go to gawk at them, even tease and instigate them. What right do we have to shut these beautiful creatures up in cages so small they can barely move. We jail them like criminals and sometimes even abuse them. I also speak of circus animals. And when they turn around on us we call them rogue– take for example the case of Tilikum, the killer whale, who was captured at the age of two and spent the rest of his life performing at SeaWorld. He was responsible for the death of three people allegedly as a result of psychological trauma he suffered. Please watch (if you haven’t already) the wonderful documentary Blackfish, available on Netflix to know more. It’s an eye opener. 

Fortunately, nobody can enslave humans (at least by law), but slavery of animals continues unchecked and we lack the basic quality of humanity that defines us.