Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tunes of nature

We in the forces can only have such a treat of being woken up by the melodious tunes of a pipe band. So my house here in the cantonment, happens to be located at a place which falls in the route for the daily drill practice of the band. Wherein they play while marching in a columnar fashion. But what made my day, was the tune they played today. It is of one of the most popular songs from the hills of Kumaun, ‘Bedu Pako Bar Masa’. Although I am the breed of one of those Non Resident Kumaunis , we had quite a big community in Lucknow, where I lived the early years of my life. The morning tunes today, took me back to the memories of our gatherings back home, where the folk songs from the mountains of now known as Uttarakhand reverberated. The music transpired by the tunes of nature, reflected the purity of soul of the simple people of this region. Aptly known as ‘Devbhumi’, the tussock of faith and devotion has been home to innumerous sages and seekers of tranquility since ages. Though born and brought up in Lucknow, I have grown in the environs of the protected culture of poorvanchal. As the marching troops passed by, the fading euphony lifted the mist of the by gone times and a serene timelessness prevailed. Running down the brown hills enveloped in the dried pine leaves, me and my brother stopping in between to shout our names used to get thrilled to hear them echo back. Snuggled between the tall mountains of Bageshwar, there somewhere amidst the calm and pure serenity of nature, away from the eccentric city life, was my father’s village, ‘Kuchauli’. Located in a valley, the village was surrounded by the ethereal beauty of kumaon hills. Tall pine and deodar trees swaying to the melodies of cool and fresh mountain breeze with the majestic view of the snow caped great Himalayas in far vicinity, the place was most loved destination for our summer holidays. Enjoying the joys of simple living we used to immerse ourselves in the unspoilt routines of village life. Living in the old but very traditional houses with beautiful exteriors carved in wood, the feel was just perfect for a relaxed time rediscovering the roots of our existence. The remote rural life, rich in culture and drenched in simplicity reflected in the kind hearted people of the village. Donning their customary dresses, the smiling faces of the 'pahari' ladies welcomed every passing by traveler. The sumptuous meal cooked on the slow wooden flames out of the muddy stove made it taste the best ever in the world. The cold water of the mountain streams, the step farming on the hills, the absolutely stunning clear night skies, all this and much more bundled up together, made this place a perfect antidote to the atrocities of this frenetic world. Drawn back from the yesteryear to this day again with the sweet voice of my younger one, the memories singing the tunes of nature which looked so far, though farther in the time lane are actually farthest in real time as the village worst hit by the brain drain stays abandoned by the young generation. An abode becomes beautiful when it has such people living there but here the village had lost its charm when I visited it three years ago as it lay deserted with people moving out in search of higher education and job. Moving ahead in life is good but if villages get desolated like this and we move away from our genesis then what are we preserving for our future?


Our ancestral house amidst the beautiful Pine trees

The village settled in the mystic valley 

The picturesque scene from the hills around

Taking break from work ladies enjoying the morning sun 

The roads emerging from nowhere

The village did’nt had a motorable road even uptill three years back

The beautifully carved wooden doors

That’s my son sneaking out of the beautiful window

The ever smiling faces of pahari ladies

The majestic view of the Great Himalayan ranges

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Haylo friends. Today is 25th December. And I wish you all merry Christmas. Why Christmas is merry and not happy I used to always wonder. Anyways it is yet another day in our life which gives us a reason to be happy and spread happiness around. As a child, the idea of Santa getting gifts for kids was fascinating. Though my biggest socks hung every year near the bed never got filled with any sort of gifts, even years after when I know about the mystery behind that sledge man, the thrill of watching a man in red robe distributing givings is unbound. Years down the line today, when I pack the Christmas gifts for my young kiddos, I try to meet the hopes of my little ones but I feel too drawn towards the happiness quotient of the not so privileged lot.

The under dressed kids near the roadside, gathering the warmth and life at this time of year from the not so well lit up fire, trying to envelope themselves in rags of their existence. There lies beneath a stack of bright red Santa caps and masks. The sold ones brought them the bread for the day and the unsold ones promising one for tomorrow. Some of them donning the cute look with the caps on, luring the kids behind the closed windows of the cozy cars. These little nothings who don’t even know the meaning of Christmas spread the happiness in the lives of our little bundle of joys by selling off the Christmas accessories. For them it is just another way of sticking to the thread of life. But we the privileged, educated and fortunate ones, at times snub off these unfortunate ones in the name of comfortable tags like child labour or mendicity. What we don’t realize is, that buying one more cap even if we have one, won’t take much out of us but would give us an opportunity to spread happiness in the life of these kids. Try doing it this festive season. Try buying an extra pack of finger chips or any snack today and give away to these kids around. Try and give any unused toy, clothes or books. Try and help them in any possible way. Even our little effort will bring so much of joy to their faces that I am sure we will know the pleasure of giving and sharing. We have always bought from these people at the signal but out of tantrums of our own kids. Let us today buy for the delight of these under privileged kids and spread the happiness in their lives. God has made us capable to help people around so let us do it and be a Santa. A Santa which brings joy, happiness, a belief and above all hope to live on.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


As kids, checking horoscopes or finding out the characteristics of a particular Zodiac Sign used to thrill us and bring a zing to the life. Infact those of us still in the habit of flipping through the pages of daily horoscope, it becomes a mood moderator at times. Sometimes I wonder if my extremism and rapid mood swings have got anything to do with my being a Piscean or is it attributable to having a Hypo-Thyroid disorder? Thyroid, because though at times, but it is quite capable of throwing moods out of proportion. Well whatever the reasons may be, at least today, I look at it in a way that reaps the most out of it. Here I share with you an interesting one.

I love to read. But neither have I grown up in a book laden home nor it was a childhood interest. I happened to pick it up a few years back. Once into it, I thought ‘Oh what I missed all my life!’ but then almost immediately quite offended, my inner self replied ‘C’mon, at least you started it now and hello! Life’s not over as yet’. And now I say, “Thank God, I developed this habit”. I became a voracious reader only to slow down after my kids. So recently when I got on a reading spree, I was reading these two absolutely non-connected books which once made me slip into my spiritual shoes and at other time made me put my combat cap on to delve into some thrilling action. Well I am talking about ‘Living with the Himalayan Masters’ by Swami Rama and ‘No Easy Day’ by Mark Owen. Readers who are in a habit of reading more than one book at a time, will surely agree that it is a difficult thing to do and you need to have the knack of shifting from one mindscape to the other, justifying the grasp of the subject. So let me take these one by one to speak about it.

‘Living with the Himalayan Masters’ takes you deep through the spiritual journey of the sages and speaks about the eastern school of philosophy. In particular, it is an autobiographical account of Swami Rama in form of anecdotes. The book speaks about the spiritual encounters of the Swami and about his spiritual growth through the Himalayan passes and meeting with various sages and yogis of different practices. Written in a very simple manner, the book dwells on the ability of any person to achieve peace within and without the need of a structured religion. What I liked the most about the book is its approach towards getting over with the negativeness of life like ego, jealousy, mistrust etc. It reveals the life experiences of Swami Rama which transformed him and helped him overcome these pull backs in life. It is the story of an ordinary man who became a Yogi. And quite an interesting read too.

Now the second one which went simultaneously was ‘No Easy Day’ by Mark Owen. In the varied versions of Mission ‘Neptune Spear’, this book’s claim to fame is being the first hand account of the operation which killed the most dreaded militant and founder of the terrorist organization ‘Al-Qaeda’, Osama Bin Laden. Written under the pen name of ‘Mark Owen’ even this is an autobiographical account of a Navy Seal but at least half of the book is about the mission which killed Bin Laden. Being from the forces I could relate to the rigors of the training and exigencies of services. But the most thrilling part was reading through the narrative of the operation itself. Going by the high profile of the mission it kept me on my edges and curious about knowing the next move of the commandos. The book has been written well and takes us on a spine tingling ride of adventure.

So now that you know about the two diametrical books, I am sure you would understand that how at one point of time I was sailing in the sea of spirituality, trying to explore a pathway to peace and tranquility and almost immediately with a pounding heart became an invisible member of the killing team through the greenish haze of NVGs. And even if you do it that well, what would you attribute it to ?