Fruits

Fruits are such interesting things! They are nice to see, delicious to eat and the best part- they make us healthy and provide us lots of vitamins and minerals, which in turn makes our bones strong, strengthens eyesight and helps our body function better.

It is summer in our country and my mum will always come and put on my table, sometimes watermelons, sometimes oranges, sometimes grapes, while I am working on my computer.

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After a while when she will come again and see I haven’t yet started eating them, she will make me understand “You should eat fruits when they are fresh! The season is hot, they will dry up! And they will give you vitamins and keep you healthy.Don’t neglect them like that!”

Oh! and I will just start eating them! But this time, I wondered- “How creative of Nature to create fruits!” The plants are such wonderful machines that take up all those iron, potassium,Calcium and other minerals from the soil, adds water and store them in these pulpy tasty colourful fruits.

We not only get health benefits when we eat them but also a rare delicacy of varied flavours.Is it any less than a miracle? The rain water,the minerals in the soil, the air, the sunlight and some decaying leaves(acting as manure) is all a plant takes to create those wonderful juicy refreshing dishes! Even the best of the best technology cannot create such a thing with those raw materials.

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I also feel that I get rejuvenated  after eating the fruits, unlike other food items which generally make me sleepy! Fruits are so wonderful!

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(Image Source: Google Images)

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Virtual Vacations

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

– George R.R. Martin (American novelist, Author of ‘Game of Thrones’)

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Yesterday I read a nice post by Kim Richardson, about her visit (in 1996) to Abu Simbel, an architectural Marvel in Egypt. (Kim has written about many of her trips in Africa and Europe, with stunningly attractive pictures, she took there.Do visit her blog for more.)

Reading her describe how being at that ancient site filled her with excitement, I began to get reminiscences of my virtual memory attached with Egypt. I have not been there in real, but I had spent a considerable amount of my virtual life there , by reading a novel based on Egypt. It was a book called “Nefertiti” by Michelle Moran.

It was a summer vacation and I was looking forward to experience some new place through reading. Having a very active imagination, I often plan for such virtual vacations for myself.(When I can’t travel for real) I pick up a novel set in a particular country or locale, which I want to gain an impression of.Then I spend weeks living in that locale, as I continue to read the story.It not only exposes me to that place- their weather, their climate,their geography,their hills and the rivers, but also transports me to a different period of time, if the tale is a historical one.

I get to feel the behaviour of the people in those places-  the way they talk, the kind of humor they cherish, the things they admire, the things they despise and their attitude towards life. Additionally, I observe their manners, etiquette, their customs and their rituals. A further learning is about the social order and community life in those places and those times.

Just as I read Nefertiti to experience ancient Egypt, I have read several other books for the same reason of experiencing a particular place and time. One was “Genghis Khan” by Sam Djang, which helped me go back to 12th Century and experience life in Central Asia. I love the rain forests and the adventures that exist in their wilderness.  I experienced them when I started reading “Congo” by Michael Crichton.I confronted the dark alleys, the hidden cafes, the desolate meeting places, the strange men with powers attributed to their dark businesses in the city of Bombay,  through Gregory David Robert’s “Shantaram”.That was one quirky vacation if I can call so!

In this present phase, I am having a great time exploring space! This month, I had an exciting trip exploring the enigma of Cosmos, with Arthur C Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” Then I had a hair-raising experience of inter galactic travel through wormholes, via Carl Sagan’s “Contact”. My third venture of space exploration is going on now, and the book through which I am touring, is aptly titled “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.

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(Image Source: Link )

 

Remembering the Visit to The Sun Temple

“Here the language of stone surpasses the language of human”

— Rabindranath Tagore (Indian poet and Nobel Laureate, 1861-1941)

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I tried to regard the scene from the perspective of my younger brother, who was seeing this magnificent relic from history for the first time.Till that moment, he had only seen it in his history books.

We were standing in the vicinity of giant archaic monument- The Sun Temple at Konark in the state of Orissa (India). I had been there previously, several years ago, the memory of the last visit was fresh in my mind.

During my previous visit, I was probably 14 years old. I was there with my father, my sister and my elder brother.That time, when our bus had brought us near this tourist site, my excitement had knew no bounds.Old things- artifacts and monuments from yore, thrills me immensely.

Just finding a simple archaic book in library escalates my fascination to heights, then  imagine in what a mesmeric state I would have gone into, standing there in front of that monument, which had every essence of archaism  imbued in it.

As I had entered the exquisite compound in that previous visit, a colossal sculpture of what looked like a dragon over an elephant had caught my gaze. A tourist guide was explaining about it to an entourage of visitors some distance away.I could make out his words, though it had required me to strain my ears a bit ” ..the man lying below symbolises Humanity, but above it is an Elephant, signifying that Buddhism is superior to it.Elephants were used to depict Buddhism.But on top of that is the ferocious roaring lion, symbolizing Hinduism, and that, it is superior to them all..”

When I was walking on that same path again, 10 years later, with my younger brother this time, I could catch his interest upon seeing the same sculpture of man, elephant and the lion.I  could hear the echo of the words I had heard from that tourist guide in my mind. I started explaining it to him, with excitement.Dance_Pavilion,_Konârak_-_Lion.jpg

 

When we were inside the prime temple compound, a feeling of awe and wonder started surging within me again as the sensation of thrill, of being around archaic things started to crawl in. I stood before the temple, the old decrepit structure, now supported by iron columns to prevent it from collapsing. I recalled from my memory having read about it in history  books.

Built in the 13th Century by King Narsimhadev-I, this temple was dedicated to the Sun God.The temple was made in the shape of a vast chariot, the wheels and horses sculpted on its side.The temple faced east, such that the first rays of the sun in the morning traced the path in between the pillars at the entrance and reached straight to the main chamber, falling upon the deity of Sun God, sculpted inside in the sacred position.

I recalled from my previous visit, the information, that over the years  the temple had been pillaged for the ancient sculptures of the deities. The manhandling, and also because of the geological reasons, it was crumbling down.The iron beams were installed to protect it from breaking. Furthermore,  in 1903 the whole interior chamber of the temple was ordered to be filled with sand and its main door sealed with big bricks made of rocks to further reinforce support and save  it from falling down.

I walked again towards the main door, where the sunlight used to enter without any hindrance once,  there,  nothing could enter now as only big blocks of stone bricks laid closely thrust blocking the entrance solidly.

As my brother went about exploring the spacious temple compound I sat on the old stone stairs just gazing at this old piece of historical remnant, silently standing without any emotion.The sun was setting behind it.I could see young people studying the architecture, families taking photographs of each other, children running around and playing cheerfully. The sun was warm and dizzy.I slowly felt every voice around me starting to fade.All the signs of modern world disappearing, the iron beams that supported the temple vanished, the clouds ran amok like a time lapsed film and I saw it! Ancient people walking around the temple, clad in white loin clothes, with the ceremonial threads hung across their shoulders, their foreheads smeared with holy symbols. I looked back, and saw dancing girls, in their adorned yellow saree with red borders, and white flowers curled up in their hair.They were performing Oddissi, a classical dance form, to the beats of mridangam, a barrel-shaped double-headed drum ,an ancient musical instrument. They sang songs in an archaic language.I turned around and saw the sky above turn dark, then suddenly, light sprouting like a blooming flower from the clouds, a strand of light, golden in color raced from the heavens and traced its path along the walkway, passing by the lion and elephant sculpture.The dancers greeted it with their dance. The musicians eulogised it in their songs.The ray moved swiftly and entered the main door of the temple, the rock bricks were no longer there, it reached over  the solemn deity of the Sun God, illuminating the chamber and the priests showered flowers upon it, rang the holy bells and chanted the sacred mantras. The temple was back to life. Back with the people who had created it and whose lives revolved around it.

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When we were departing, I asked my brother what things he liked about the temple.He went on to tell with animation how much he delighted seeing the actual magnanimity of it which hadn’t become apparent in the books. He went on to tell of his admiration for the intricate designs carved all across the monument in fine details and admirable symmetries.

As we were boarding the vehicle to return back, I turned to take a one last look at the monument. For more than 800 years, it has stood here.It has seen several weathers come and go, land forms change, people come and go- it has been the witness of mankind from the age of kings to this age of technology. It has grown old now, its wall has eroded, its frame has cracked, it is feared to crumble down, more beams have been added for its support.

I began to perceive the monument as an old abandoned person.Very weak, sick and not willing to talk with anyone.It had its glorious years, with its people who had created it and whose lives revolved around it.They were all long since, dead.It was the only survivor.And it had lost all interest in life.It now didn’t bother who was walking around.These new people were anyways very different and it didn’t belong to this era of them.It laid solemnly gazing at the sky unaffected by the sound of cheers and the strange flashes of light these people produced- recalling the years it actually belonged to, when the morning ray of light used to enliven everything around it.

(18th April has been declared by UNESCO as the World Heritage Day.When I came to know of this information, I at once sat on my computer to make a post about my visit to the Sun Temple, which forms a very dear part of my memory.My first visit there had been in 2004, then again in 2014.The Sun Temple was declared as UNESCO’s World Heritage site in 1984 and is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of India)

 

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Text on the slab near the gateway of the temple reads: ‘To preserve this superb specimen of Old Indian architecture, the interior was filled in by order of The Hon’ble J.A. Bourdillon C.S.I Lieutenant Governor of Bengal A.D 1903′

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The wheels of the temple are sundials which can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute

 

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The Sun Temple Compound: The iron beams for support can be seen protruding from the left side of the temple

 

(Images not owned by me, All images sourced from: Wikipedia)

 

 

3 Day Quote Challenge II, Day 3

Ah, and here comes the lovely weekend!

I hope everyone gets a chance to take a break from their routine errands and to do every sort of thing they can to help them shed the baggage of exhaustion and get closer to peace and rejuvenation!
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I am just completing reading the book Contact by Carl Sagan! Let me give you a sneak peak of it!(that is , if you haven’t read it, or haven’t watched the movie which had followed the book release, more than 2 decades ago! I know I am too late !) Anyways here it goes-

Earth’s radio telescope intercepts unnatural signals from the Star system of Vega, 26 Light years away.It is thought to be some remote and advanced civilization communicating!As the scientists start deciphering their coded signals, and reveal the ‘Message‘ suddenly the whole human community is appalled. The signals are instructing humans to undertake a project!

But who are sending those signals- And will undertaking that project benefit us – or annihilate us- We can’t send them back the signals, as it will take 26 years to reach them! We can only start working on the project – and can’t know their intent unless we complete the task- and see for ourselves what does it lead to!But will it get completed amidst the commotion of arguments from scientists, statesmen and religious leaders of the world?

A delightful read, which gives insights about human behavior from different countries with different beliefs, responding to such cases which concerns the fate of Humanity as a whole.

What  I liked the best in the story is, how the subject of space science, when we start contemplating the vastness of cosmos,  lifts our consciousness to such higher levels that we start feeling more contentedness with every human being. The subject makes us more compassionate and meditative.

I will like to quote this part from the book, which beautifully captures the essence of this feeling!

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With this I conclude my this edition of 3 Day Quote Challenge!

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I am grateful to Spiritual Journey for kindly nominating me for this challenge! At her blog she has an archive of prolific quotes, motivational stories and compelling spiritual thoughts that will surely impart you with profound perspectives about life! Do visit her blog!

Furthermore, I am grateful to Ebby for also nominating me for this challenge! Ebby is a wonderful conversationalist and she writes about social issues she feels deeply about! A charming and lively personality who writes lucidly, you would surely like reading through her blog.

Thank you very much!

 

 

3 Day Quote Challenge II, Day 2

On this 2nd day of the 3 day quote challenge, I feel fortunate to note that on this date 15th April , far back in the year of 1452  one of the greatest artists we have known, was born.

Leornado Da Vinci, when I had first heard this name, I only remember him being referred to as one of the greatest genius of all time. I was curious to know more, and what I discovered next was the remark- he painted the most famous painting in history- The Mona Lisa.

This guy seemed to have done everything that included the words ‘greatest’ and ‘in all of history.’ I recall examining his sketches about some flying machine, published in a magazine.It had thrilled me, because I had never known an artist with such inclination towards scientific inventions too.

I remember watching a documentary about him which depicted how strange a person he was.He would often disappear for days, then come back with new ideas- nobody could decipher where he would suddenly get ideas from.Some claimed he had contact with extraterrestrial beings. That just made his personality even more outlandish.

The peak of my fascination with him was reached upon reading Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. I believe most of us would have got enraptured with his mysticism after reading that absorbing fiction.Mysteries hidden in paintings! Secret paths, Secret societies! Whew!

I always regarded Da Vinci with awe because of his versatility.(He is even said to be able to write and paint simultaneously with both his hands)  I invariably held that we should learn from  him, that the pursuit of knowledge doesn’t need to be restricted  to one domain.At the end every knowledge will culminate to help us understand a greater truth.

Like, Da Vinci learnt about so many things- his interests included such myriad of fields as  invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.Ultimately all these understandings would have influenced his mind to become a better artist.Who knows he might have used a principle from music theory for the selection of colors for his painting! When you know so much, you can just play with theories and create magnificent things!

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 I wanted to pay tribute to this great artist today,so I made these posters using the pictures of some of his famous paintings along with his timeless quotes.

(You may notice a ‘G’ logo in each poster. That is the logo of the Creative Club of our university.The club is called ‘GrayScale’.I had to post these pics there too so I have kept the logo in each of them.)

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I am grateful to Spiritual Journey for kindly nominating me for this challenge! At her blog she has an archive of prolific quotes, motivational stories and compelling spiritual thoughts that will surely impart you with profound perspectives about life! Do visit her blog!

Furthermore, I am grateful to Ebby for also nominating me for this challenge! Ebby is a wonderful conversationalist and she writes about social issues she feels deeply about! A charming and lively personality who writes lucidly, you would surely like reading through her blog.

Thank you very much!

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: The Travelling Library

As I was rummaging through my old trunk filled with books, I was thrilled to see some classics lying there, unattended since quite a long time.I have to relocate so I have been going through all those closed boxes,trunks and bookshelf, where dust and insects have seemingly constructed a housing colony of their own.

Few of the books I noticed had got weak and fragile.I feared their pages might start falling off if mishandled even a bit.I decided to get them hard bound at the book binding shop.

In the evening,as I carried the satchel of old books with me, happy that they will look robust after the binding was done,I was interrupted by a friend who asked me where was I headed to.
“To the book binding shop, ” I said with delight.
“But there is no binding shop, aren’t you aware?”
“What ! There was one besides that electronics repairing store, a young man used to run the shop, I remember”
“It’s been years he closed down, must not be getting any business probably”
“Really” I was surprised “No book binding shop nearby?”
“None I know, nobody needs it anymore I guess”
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This episode unfolded yesterday evening and I had been thinking about it since morning. True, I myself now read most of the books on Kindle and search more fervently on Google rather than my thick encyclopedias. Perhaps we are living in the phase of transition.Our very next generation may view paper books with curiosity; and wonder how could we be comfortable with that, much like us, who would gape at the big floppy disks, 1.44 MB memory size, our fathers used to work with!
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Mandi wrote this beautiful story as a part of the challenge “Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner, ” which she is avidly pursuing! The story struck a chord with me as she narrated this curious tale of future generation teens who accidentally find a library and start speculating as to what sort of thing it is! I couldn’t help but smile thinking this is exactly what had been going on in my mind.I invite you to read this nice story by her, titled “The Travelling Library”.I really liked it and I am sure you too will appreciate the essence of the changing times, this story captures.

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Thanks to Roger Shippfor hosting FFftPP. Today’s sentence to be included is: “Thoseare the directions…”

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“These rocks are cool,” Tanya sad climbing on top a stack of rocks. “I wonder how and why they are formed like this?”

Tanya’s friend Crystal chimed in, ” Yeah, I wonder too. But we’re in the middle of nowhere and have no phone reception so we can’t even Google the answer. I’m questioning why my friend Tyler told me we should takeparticulardirections to see these rocks.”

Suddenly, before Tanya and Crystal’s eyes a building appeared. It was all glass but the inside was filled with millions of books and scrolls.

Crystal tried to pronounce the word on the front of the building. “It’s a library,” Tanya said. “It’s where people used to research before Google and the Internet. I’ve never seen a library. I remember…

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3 Day Quote Challenge II,Day 1

3 day quote challenge is one of the most adorable challenges that has been endorsed by the blogging community!

Quotes are a powerful medium to share feelings,thoughts and ideas in packets of portable words that often help us find peace,strength and wisdom.

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I remember when I was young I had that incessant urge to understand the world around me.Why is the sky blue?What is the sun made of?What happens in the moon?Where does the river gets so much water from?How do the pictures appear in the television?.. the list was endless.

When I began to go to school, I often found it difficult to ask too many questions, because most of my queries would not concern the textbooks and I was afraid of being thought of as an outcast who was too naive to ponder about such things nobody seemed much to be bothered about.

But in the course of growing up, I encountered some teachers who started giving answers to many of my questions, without being asked, and despite none of them being in textbooks. They would just say- “You must have wondered why the sky looks blue?”

Imagine how awakened, excited and thrilled I would feel when some teachers did that.

In particular I recall my 8th grade Mathematics teacher who went on to tell every  bit of story  behind Mathematical ideas. “Did you ever wonder why Natural Numbers are called so?” “Did you ever wonder how Algebra developed?” “Did you ever think why they say parallel lines meet at infinity?” I found him answering many of the things I indeed used to wonder about, but never had the courage to ask! Encouraged, I would often accost him after the class and probe him questions that bothered me, apart from those he had already talked about during his lecture.He was always sincere in answering those! In fact he was such an inspiration to so many of my batch-mates, quite a lot of them started loving Mathematics and few of them today, have become Mathematics teacher like him.

I also recall our History teacher, and our Biology teacher who would always go an extra mile to tell us fascinating things related to their subjects, making us keep craving for more- Passing on their passion onto us, the passion to learn, explore and discover!

I want to dedicate my today’s quote to all those such teachers, with due respect and heartfelt admiration.
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I am grateful to Spiritual Journey for kindly nominating me for this challenge! At her blog she has an archive of prolific quotes, motivational stories and compelling spiritual thoughts that will surely impart you with profound perspectives about life! Do visit her blog!

Furthermore, I am grateful to Ebby for also nominating me for this challenge! Ebby is a wonderful conversationalist and she writes about social issues she feels deeply about! A charming and lively personality who writes lucidly, you would surely like reading through her blog.

Thank you very much!