Tag Archives: Simi K Rao

Destination Moab: Canyonlands National Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

Getting There

We chose to take a guided tour to Canyonlands National Park- a sunset tour, promising the best views. Let me state at the offset that even though most places can be seen on your own, I personally prefer guided tours because I feel you can get the most in the least amount of time plus you are saved all the legwork. 

We had to drive to the pick up point at the junction of HWY 128 and US 191 about 14 miles from the lodge. The scenic route is through a canyon along the Colorado and well worth the extra drive. 

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Destination Moab: A Travel Diary #1: Getting There

Where to: Moab, Utah- Gateway to Arches and Canyonlands National Park

Travelling from: Denver, Colorado.

Tip: Avoid summer months.

It is a long road trip, one of the longest I have taken- over 6 hours, more with stops. It is the only way given the lack of accessible airports. Fortunately, the drive promised to be worthwhile and scenic- through various landscapes, initially through the Rockies then desert . It started to rain when we started in the morning. The forecast promised it’d be light followed by clear skies later in the day. Rain turned to sleet as we wound through the mountains on 1 70. It was nerve wracking and fun at the same time as the drivers wouldn’t slow down hitting 80 mph, and higher on the steep grades and sharp bends surrounded by snow capped peaks passing through the Eisenhower tunnel- the longest at 1.7m and highest point in the interstate system.

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Point of View (P.O.V) #shortstory

I couldn’t believe it, I was living a nightmare. 

Was it fair? All this talk about mental health but what about us? Our mental health? We, who are constantly surrounded by sickness and death, who work our asses off trying to save others, who don’t have a life. 

“Then why do you do it?” pops the inevitable rejoinder. 

“Why did I do it?” I’ve actually asked myself this question several times. And each time the answer is the same. Because I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.  Sounds cheesy but it is true. 

I cried when I saw that miserable creature. It is not easy for me to break down because of the wall I’d built around myself but I couldn’t help it that night. Her body was tattooed with horrendous scars. She was a heroin addict who had been in recovery but the pandemic had made her relapse. She had lost her job and her house. She flinched at the slightest touch. Her body was dotted with pockets of pus where she had injected herself. She asked me not to judge her. I didn’t. I wept instead before steeling myself and moving on to my next patient. 

Work, work, work. No chance to get a snack, even to pee. Phone going off constantly. What I wouldn’t have given for a five minute break. But no. Keep going, I told myself. Just keep a couple more hours then I can have a break- a break of three whole days. 

I’m done finally. I get to go home and then the fatigue hits. Music helps. I drive on autopilot, the route is imprinted in my subconsciousness and the sun is directly in my eyes. I feel discombobulated. I turn up the volume. Oh no, I drove through a red light. The streets are empty though, it is the weekend and everyone is sleeping in, while I… 

I hear that voice, that magical voice. His voice. My serotonin. What keeps me going. I’m okay, I tell myself.

I make it in one piece. Three dizzy flights of stairs then I stumble into my apartment.  I’m greeted by the drooping fronds of my fern, my faithful companion of five years, ever since I’d moved in. I dump a whole jug of water in it. No way was I going to let anyone die on my shift, human or plant. 

I open the refrigerator. Nothing looked remotely appealing, anyhow I didn’t have the energy to heat anything up. I just needed sleep. Just a few hours then I’d be fine. I took a shower (it’s a must, I could skip food but not a shower) then passed out on the cold bed. 

I was choking, fighting for air, struggling against this heavy weight pressing on my chest. Help!!

I sit up with a start. 

“You okay? You were screaming,” mutters a low husky and very familiar voice. 

“Whaaa ..” my chest was pounding. No.. no it wasn’t.. isn’t.  I blinked and kept blinking. He laughed– his trademark soft rumble that made me love him so much more. 

It’s him. The man in my dreams. I raise a trembling hand to his beautiful face. I can feel his skin. It is soft, silky; his honey eyes droopy with sleep and he is smiling. 

“I.. are you… ?” 

“Yes, I am,” he nods. “Remember we met at that party last week? The one that you hadn’t planned to go to but your friend forced you to come along? I need to thank her, I haven’t done that yet.”

I still didn’t believe it. “Pinch me,” I said.

“Enough, now just Stfu!” Then he pulled me down and kissed me.

Romance Of The Railroad

Long winding roads, verdent mountains, dotted blue skies, fresh chill in the air, and yes– The Choo! Choo! train.
“Bye, bye Choo choo train!” says a mother to her toddler as they descended the train. The nostalgia and the romance of the steam engine is unique. It brings an immediate smile all faces and a faraway look in those of us who have experienced traveling long distances in them. The sharp sound of the whistle and the smoke plume billowing over the length of the train has a plaintive ring to it– as if seeking for a lost era.

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The Duomo (An Architectural Marvel).

The Duomo of the Florence Cathedral

The Duomo, as Florence’s cathedral is fondly called, sports the largest masonry dome in the world. It sits across the Baptistry- the oldest religious site in Florence. Florence is a city in central Italy and the capital of Tuscany region.

The construction of the cathedral was begun by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the13th century, while the dome was added in the 15th century. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1146). Unlike designers and builders nowadays, Brunelleschi did not go to architecture school, rather he was trained to become a goldsmith. But thanks to the Renaissance, which encouraged and patronized art of all kinds, he became interested in architecture, and worked to enhance his knowledge and skills. He designed and invented an array of sophisticated hoists and tools in order to bring his ambitious design to fruition. It is even more astonishing to note that the cathedral dome is entirely self-supporting. It is actually made of two domes. An inner dome made of sandstone and marble and outer dome made of brick and mortar. A copper clad, two ton stone ball that sits on top of the dome provided the finishing touch in 1469. It was built by Verucchio and his students, among whom happened to be the incomparable Leonardo Da Vinci.

To see this and many other wonders visit Florence or Firenze, Italy- the cradle of Renaissance.

Human After All Chap 25: Vampires and Encounters with Dr. D

Image by codymonser from Pixabay

Chapter 24

Khanak turned on her heels.

“Surprise. Surprise.She also wears cute glasses. Soon she will change into a bat and make me her latest meal. I’m loving it.”

“You!” Khanak rushed to remove her glasses.  

“No, don’t. You look like a pretty nerdy prof. And ridiculously sexy on top of that.”

As she looked at him in nervous confusion, he came up to her, took her glasses from her hand and put them back on her face, flicking the tip of her nose in the process. She tried to back away as he moved closer and ended up getting hedged into a corner. She leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes, knowing that looking at him would make her thoughts run wild.

“Get away from me;” She croaked.

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Meatless Monday- Mung lentil soup.

The complaint I often hear from omnivores is that they would like to go meatless but don’t have enough options. Sorry, that is a myth. Infact, there are so many delicious options that you will not crave meat anymore. And many of them are very easy to prepare. Here’s one of them- Mung bean lentil soup. Mung beans are a great source of plant based protein, fiber, B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants plus, they are easy to digest.

Pressure cook split mung bean lentils (without husk) 1-2 cups, add grated ginger and sauteed red onion. Add turmeric, chili powder and salt to taste. Top off with tadka of mustard and cumin seeds in ghee. Garnish with cilantro leaves. It’s absolutely delicious on it own, or as a side dish with chapatis, naan bread or rice. Try it!

Keepsakes for Old Age

I’m not old, I think. Not yet. But I’m getting there. Everyone is getting there. Maybe I’m a little ahead in the line because I’m thinking about it. About getting old. 

Am I sad? Not really. Maybe, just a little disappointed. Because I really didn’t have much of a youth. Because I spent most of it preparing for the future– for getting old. 

I don’t think I’m old because I’m still a productive member of society. People still seek my opinion and try to take it seriously (I hope). My opinion still counts for something. I’m not just someone to be tolerated. But then what is ‘old’? It is a state of mind. There are people who are old in their youth and others who are young when they are old. 

I think I’m at the best time of my life. There is still a skip in my step and I’m not preoccupied with the condition of my joints. I still get excited to see new things, experience new places.

I don’t have any regrets. I’ve dealt with them all. In fact, I’ve dealt with them so well I don’t even recall what they were.  My desires are limited to traveling, reading, assimilating new ideas, and perhaps guiding others to live a better, more informed life. I’ve reconciled with my ambitions and disappointments.

But a day will come when I won’t matter any more; my opinions will be just that–opinions. So, I’m collecting keepsakes. Little memories– that’ll keep me company and help me pass the time. It could be anything– like the flavor of something delicious– from a long time ago–that perhaps I’d never get the chance to taste again. It could be a bird call; a chance conversation with a stranger; timeless streets through which I walked and walked but wasn’t afraid of getting lost because I had wonderful company. It could be the brilliant blue of the sky, the soothing silence of the forest, the dust on my shoes as I embarked eagerly on a different trail.

I hope that time will be short. I hope I won’t become bitter. I hope when you think of me it’ll be with a smile.