Word High July: Bughaw

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Blue

One fine day in summer June

Singing loud and cheery tune

Friends exploring wilderness four

Breaking the silence with their roars

Besides the river the jungle spread

Carefully though on brink we tread

Excited thrilled and spirits high

We kept trekking the river side

Wondering what fun more awaited

When one friend at once located

A massive cliff towards which we headed

Nothing that day we least had dreaded

But upon reaching the spot

We admitted that we could not

Find a way to climb that steep

Cliff so we must now try to leap

The far side of the river and go

Exploring more of jungle so

One by one we each descended

Down the land where sea had bended

Let’s get down to the river now,

And holding hands together somehow,

Cross this river sparkling blue

Where crows above noisily flew

Then my first friend slowly got down

“It’s not deep” we heard his sound

As I put my foot in there

The ground beneath me ebbed somewhere

And in a flash I splashed in deep

Carried away by a powerful sweep

Of the currents of angry river

Whole frame of mine then tossed with quiver.

Blue and Blue was all I saw

Tasted water harsh and raw

I knew not how to swim back then

I gasped for air panic stricken

The river played me like a toy

As mad bull rides a poor cowboy

Then by miracle something caught

My legs as I pathetically fought

Towards the shore was I then thrown

And quick for life I clasped a stone

I coughed the water then my mind

Saw my friend who had been kind

To jump at once and swim like fish

Before I drowned like a wrecked ship.

 

–  r prab

 

(Source of above image : Water Minimalistic)

 

In response to Word-High July: 30 Beautiful Filipino Words: Bughaw

 

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Weekend Exploration: Libraries

I had a day full of travelling today. As I have come to a new city and have gradually found myself settling down with the new job and new shelter, today I felt I am ready to start for the next milestone- find a library here, for my weekend hangouts.

Thanks to my brand new smartphone, the first smartphone for me, I bought for myself last week (My elder brother helped me get the best one within my budget), which helped me use Google maps and go around wandering in the city.

I found three of them .The largest one was called ‘The City Central Library’. I decided to visit that one first.But upon reaching there I found it’s closed for restoration and will open in the first week of July. It was a disappointing start!

The second one was difficult to locate, as the Google navigation was showing me I had reached ‘The British Library’, although there was no such building anywhere around. I had to walk in random directions to figure out where it was located. This one was a good library! I walked across all the bookshelves and then gathered at the helpdesk about the membership rules.Finding it affordable I signed up immediately and got an Icard too.

I thought whether to explore the third library or not.But since I had time and I had already got the taste of exploration with my new device, I decided to go for it. The third one required me to walk considerably after getting down at the nearest bus stop. This library was called the ‘Mythical Society’. With such a fascinating name, it was alluring me a lot. When I reached there I found a colossal church-like structure. All the entrances were closed and some construction work was going on at the gate. There was no security guard or any associated personnel to whom I could inquire. Lastly, I checked for their number on their website (through my new smartphone, yes! )  and made a call. The person was kind enough to send me a guy who helped me get to the library.It was located on the backside of the building.

There I found lots of book on History, Science, Arts and Social Science.The librarian told me there was no fee to use the library services, though one could not borrow books. ‘You can come and read here’ he said. That was fine. Their collection of books was impressive. I was mostly attracted towards the Science section where I found some classical editions of famous Astronomy books. It was delightful and I spent quite a long time there.

I am glad I have found these places. All I want to do on a weekend is to travel, read and  write. With such fine libraries now discovered, I am sure to have a good time during weekends, doing the three things I love to do!

Thank you for reading .I hope you all are also having a good time and doing the thing you wish to do during the awaited weekends! 🙂

PS: Although I have got a smartphone now, I am still not very active in taking photographs.(Since last 5 years I had the basic Nokia phone.I admired it for the simple life it gave me and I used to rely on my laptop for all the other works) I hope I will form that habit soon. It’s only now when I am writing it here, I realize I should have taken pics. 🙂

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(Image not owned by me.Source: moroepl)

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’)

***

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)

 

 

We Are Visual Animals

Guess where I stumbled today during my wanderings in the virtual space? I discovered this wonderful blog, whose title itself was enough to capture my interest, attention and imagination!

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A mystical labyrinth created by street artist Nick Kuszyk

We Are Visual Animals is a blog which features the work of artists of all genre including sculptors, architects, photographers, graffiti artists, and many more.It was a delight roaming through it,and watching the wonders engendered by the beautiful minds who express exquisitely through visual means.The  designs were so prolific, they didn’t need words to communicate.

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Bust of a woman with head thrown back by sculptress Sophie Kahn

The presentation of the artworks on the website was visually satisfying.They feature high resolution wide screen pictures that will allow a viewer to adore the artworks in fine details!

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“Rafael Araujo, an architect and illustrator, creates beautiful illustrations of Nature.He leaves the construction lines intact to highlight the order and organization beneath our seemingly chaotic word”

On the home page, you scroll down to see the name of the artists.You click on anyone of them and find yourself adorning their creations, almost like in a museum, while intermittently you get to read their interview,  between the subsequent images.

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I lost my sense of time exploring this enamoring museum of arts! I am excited and eager to invite you all to visit this page! I am sure you will love it! Although most of the interviews are dated 2014, so I guess may be I found it late and most of you might have been there already. Nonetheless, I am sure revisiting it will be as satisfying as ever!

Visit the page here: We Are Visual Animals

Thank you so much!

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“From a distance, Jessica’s illustrations look like colorful tapestries – look closer though, and you’ll notice a number of odd details”

 

The Library

When I was a child, I used to visit an old library.It was located quite a distance away from the city.I would ride my bicycle and take my first halt at the market near the temple.There, I would have some snacks and beverages.

Then I will start my long cycling trip to the library.The route entailed me to pass through a desolate long road, lined on both sides by massive trees.While I passed through that stretch of the path, my excitement would start soaring.

The canopy of the trees made it feel like passing through a green tunnel while the shrill chatter of thousands of birds echoed like in an old abandoned castle.I would slow down my pace to experience the moment in all its detail.The sound, the view, the color, the smell, the chaos, the dampness, the isolation.

After passing that, I would quicken my pace because the path would slope down.It would take me some 30 more minutes to reach the library.I would disembark near the gates.The gates will always be open in a careless manner.There were trees, shrubs and wild plants all around the library. The library itself had discolored walls and random patterns made on  it from decaying moss.

Ideally, the place did not have a very inviting outlook.However it was this sense of abandonment, desolation, and antiquity that actually attracted me to this place.And I would often be the only person to visit that library.With its collection of books, all old, the archaic aroma and the (sometimes scary) silence, I considered the place to be one of the favorite destinations for spending my evenings.

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State Museum:Peace and the Library!

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It got pretty late for me to visit the State Museum, which I had been looking forward to visit since a long time. Had I discovered the serenity of this place before, I would have more of my leisure days spent within the calm premises of this place.

Museum, in the first place is not an attractive place to look forward to go. But when seeking a quiet destination to spend some hours, it’s a place extraordinaire’. And it was by chance that I actually went out of the room today just in quest of finding some new location to spend my evening.

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I at once felt a deep likening for the place as I entered the museum compound, suddenly getting transferred to a zone of peace having just traveled the busy road outside, which felt so hectic and polluted. Inside there were fountains and greenery and a silence that felt like a state of meditation.

***

Walking across the hallway glancing at the clay sculptures of native races of people of the forest land, gave me an aesthetic delight .The naive folk dresses adored the sculptures, depicting their popular social and cultural activities.

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The section on archaeology was quite interesting. It always transports me to the ancient times and makes me recall the childhood fascination with prehistoric life, which seems so unreal and much like a fantasy than reality to me.

Overall the museum seemed desolate and isolated.. But that was in some way making the place feel good.I thought I had discovered a wormhole to a new land-so close to my hostel, so much in plain sight , (everyday glanced upon during every trip to and from the college)  yet so undiscovered.

The best part in the museum that I found was the Library. I literally found myself gaping at the exquisite collection of books kept there. My initial thought was that there would mostly be books on Jharkhand’s culture and all. But no, they had more than that! There were plethora of books on Indian History and Culture. There were separate encyclopedias for every major country of the world. There were books on History, Sociology, Geography , Astronomy , Philosophy and few on Economics too. There were famous fictions of English and American authors. There were beautiful books on tours and travels. There were books on Bollywood and almost every other non-fiction category one can think of- Wildlife, Botany, Environment et cetera. The best thing was that most of the books were from standard international publishers like BBC Press UK, National Geographic, Harper Collins, Macmillan and Penguin.

I felt I had finally discovered a place I was looking for; especially for my days at hostel when I get utterly bored. Now I have an option to visit a serene place nearby with a library; for some casual read about cultures and histories of the world or just for some artworks!^^

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