Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Calvin's CLoud

The world keeps on changing, but there is always something, somewhere, that remains the same.

Ruskin Bond

The Mountains Come Calling

I just returned from a 10 day trek to Uttarakand, the glorious land of the Himalayas, of pristine beauty, Nature's effortless charm hypnotizing every weary traveller who passes through her; 

To quote my favourite, Ruskin Bond:

"It is always the same with mountains. Once you have lived with them for any length of time, you belong to them. There is no escape."

Words could not have been truer. I loved Ruskin's Bond read, Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas- he transported me to his world and I yearned to see the land he described with such passion, delight and warmth. 

Months later, when I made this trip, I felt his words coursing through my being. It all adds up, my blog is aptly named ofmountainsandstreams. 

I am convinced that I am a child of the mountains. Maybe it will be my final resting place.

It rained in Chennai this morning and the weather was wonderfully cool, a needed respite from the scorching heat. I was immediately drawn to the memories of trudging through the lush greenary in the falling rain, huffing and puffing, while enjoying the landscape strewn with landslides and beautiful Himalayan blooms. 

Life and Death coexist.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Calvin's CLoud

Listen, clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell, for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend. When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.

- Rumi

The Jungle Book (2016)

Rudyard Kipling's, The Jungle Book has captured the imagination of children and adults all over the world. The fascination is understandable. The story is one of humaneness, friendship, courage and sacrifice. 

Directed by Jon Favreau and co-produced by Brigham Taylor, The Jungle Book transports you to the world of Mowgli, a boy who is brought up among wolves, lead by Akela the leader of the pack. Where humans are dreaded and killed by the jungle inhabitants, Mowgli's special place attracts Sher Khan who finds every chance to kill him. 

Bagheera the black panther keeps an eye on him, ever vigilant and protective. Mowgli is asked by Akela to leave the jungle and go where the Red Flower glows. I love how Kipling weaves his imagination from the jungle's perspective. The fire is nothing more, but a glowing red flower! In his travels, Mowgli finds a new friend in Baloo the Bear. With Baloo and Bagheera by his side, Mowgli fights back to earn his rightful place at home, among the wolves who rule the jungle.

All is well again. 

The movie was an absolute delight to watch. My mind kept wandering to Kipling, wondering about his inspiration and influences as he brought the Jungle Book, a collection of short stories to life. A quick research tells me that Kipling's father John Lockwood Kipling completed a few of the illustrations. Kipling moved to the United States after a ten year stint in India. During this time, Kipling's magic came alive.

Undoubtedly enjoyable, the movie is a great treat to watch and let your imagination fly.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Calvin's CLoud

If you want to be happy, be.

Leo Tolstoy

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Passion vs profession: Which One Wins?

I was asked by an interviewer to provide a 100 word writing sample showcasing creativity and vocabulary on the topic, Passion vs Profession: Which One Wins?

Here is what I wrote:

"The question could not have been better timed. As a fledgling artist and a working professional, I have been torn between becoming a winner on both fronts. To accomplish anything in this world, we need to have passion. It is this burning desire to achieve the insurmountable against all odds, which makes something completely unique out of each one of us. 

A profession like any other, can be treated as a regular job that one may pursue to simply bring home the dough. On the other hand, it can become a work of art if practised with perseverance and thirst."

I mention the timing because I had come home after frustrating myself over the blend of the tulip petals and its tones in oils. I had bawled my lungs out while my teacher put things into perspective for me. My writing was spontaneous. 

I love Yo Yo Ma's passion, his words, my teachers and their patience in guiding impatient students like me, who need gentle moulding, else the clay will break. 

I am truly passionate about Travel, Food, Music and Art, not necessarily in the same order. If I could trade my current profession for any one of these passions, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Just Like That.

Make Good Art.

A Good Old Friendship

My uncle passed away a few days back. It was heartbreaking and the family gathered around to help with the final rites. I felt drained, physically and mentally, the strain was telling. I skipped music and art classes. Maybe if I had attended class, I would have felt better.

A week later, along came my friend from the States. I was seeing him well over a year or two, but we could pick up where we left off. During my childhood days, he used to take me and my brother out for ice-creams and that's how I have always remembered him. Since he was on an extremely short trip, I pestered him to make some time for us to get together and also because he made dinner and luncheon dates with the rest of the town, and nothing with me! 

I offered to chauffeur him around for the last minute shopping essentials which was still left undecided with his packed schedule. Finally, it all fell into place last Saturday. He was not comfortable zipping around city on a puny bike and instead sought the comfort of my car, which I reminded him was nothing but a false sense of security. Infact, decades ago, he used to cycle down to his cousin's house and it did not bother him then!  I was fed up of traffic and lack of parking space and resisted the car driving, but of course you know the story by now.

While we were shopping for a lovely salwar suit for his wife, I wanted to buy a few suits for work as well. He decided to buy them as a gift for me. I added a nice clutch to it with a smug smile and he sweetly obliged. I called him my summer Santa. I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled. The fun did not end here.

For old times sake, we headed over to Ibaco for some ice cream. Ibaco had bought over the brand of ice-creams we used to have as kids. So to celebrate our not so easily forgotten childhood, I gave away to temptation and memory, dived into a scoop of Belgian chocolate with a lovely thick fudge covering it. My friend settled for a Jackfruit icecream because he does not like chocolate. I was mortified, but that did not stop me from cleaning up every little drop of in my tub. I am going back with Mom for a scoop of Dark Chocolate next.

When I showed my help all the goodies I got, she remarked, " there is nothing like good old friends, the ones you grew up with, they are the ones who are always there and the affection remains true".

So true.

In the end, you always go back to the people that were there in the beginning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Calvin's Cloud

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains immortal.

- Albert Pike

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

His Last Leg

At a family get together last weekend, one of my cousins mentioned that my uncle was terminally ill. He is suffering from liver cancer and it is now slowly eating him up. He also ails from diabetes and was insulin dependant, further complicating treatment.  The doctors have already informed the family his time was up and they should make it as comfortable and memorable for him. Everyday that he breathed was a bonus.

I was deeply saddended. I had only met him last year and when he announced he had cancer, he looked quite healthy except for the slight tremble of his fingers. He had lost weight because of diabetes. So I could not fathom his matter-of-fact attitude towards the lethal disease, which he fought head-on, for two years.

Today, when I visited him, I never imagined I would seem him curled up like a shrunken vegetable. His face was sunken and he was in pain. The medication had made him drowsy. I was in tears and tried to be grown up among the grown-ups who had arrived to pay their respects. But amazingly, among all the visitors, he was able to recognize and respond to only my voice. I was so happy I made him smile in all that gloom. He smiled through the pain. He still had the spark.

When I was a naughty toddler, while at my grandparents home during the holidays, I put my finger inside the electrical socket and understandably, was howling in pain. It was my uncle who rescued me that day.  Maybe, he remembered that childhood memory of his niece.

My uncle has the fighter spirit, a quality he inherited from his grandmother who was independent, fierce and brave; but I pray he lives an everlasting sleep soon. I wish him peace in his journey. Its been a long hard fight and he must rest.

God bless.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Sense of Direction

Guaranteed not in scope when you try crossing the intersection to work and home - the experience is nothing short of Conjuring 1 and 2. Motorcyclists are one of the worst lot (Mind you, I respect my fellow travelers as much as I am one of them two wheeler riders). 

They try and cram into every inch of space making it as claustrophobic as possible, heightening the adventure by scratching the sides of a few vehicles as they graze by, knocking off the side view mirror with their lack of skills and mostly, stupidity; rev up their engines and make a dash for it when the signal turns green, which is utter mayhem, almost like Encierro, the Running of the Bulls festival in Spain. Dangerous to themselves and everyone around them, the motor cyclists are unmanageable.

Everyday when I try to reverse my car from the parking lot to the road, I say a small prayer so I have the strength to silently fume and drive on without any morning skirmishes to rock the rest of the day. The two wheeler crowd that make up the maximum traffic on my stretch of the road, reward me with an incredulous look instead of giving me a little space to maneuver my vehicle. They either curse or whiz past on both sides leaving me and my tiny vehicle frozen until the air clears.

Today it just got worse. I forgot to pray. The usual route I towed had been modified to include a  divider of sorts, so when I turned I did not have enough passage to drive through it. With oncoming traffic and motorcyclists unwilling to help, I looked on helplessly until an auto-driver stepped in to make matters worse. His sense of direction was no where close and resulted in a nasty scratch on the right side of the car. An idiot two-wheeler rider who was kissing my car got stuck and I had to move forward to let him loose. Finally, another driver from the opposite side signed the direction to me, which finally made sense. 

I headed off in the direction of the tall buildings reminding of the long day ahead.

Calvin's CLoud

One advantage of talking to yourself is that you know someone is listening.

- Franklin P Jones