Stepping Up

IMG_20170609_121147_788.jpg

It was one of those turbulent days when you forget that rubbing your eyes this hard could possibly leave you with no lashes, when the comfort of your bed makes an unreasonable case escaping responsibility, when the present is hazed by a head full of voices of past mistakes and a heart curdling with the uncertainty of the future. In that moment, you look up and find the stillness and streaks of light you yearned for within you. You pick up the monster machine lying under your pillow and let some of this light in through its lens. This moment is crucial, for after that, you close your eyes for a minute, step up, and step out of bed.

To small victories, each day.

Advertisements

Roots

IMG_20170521_193749_969.jpg

Try to wash the dirt off my leaves,
The sun would make the drops fly,
Brown would coagulate,
And then you’d sigh.
Green would sprout
With an outward brightness,
An inward progress, shining loud,
Only if you water my roots
That burrow far from the hyped cloud…

 

Swim

jacob-walti-447 (1).jpg

“This summer I went swimming,
This summer I might have drowned
But I held my breath and I kicked my feet
And I moved my arms around…”

Loudon Wainwright III, Swimming Song 

Exploring Delhi: Humayun’s Tomb

IMG-20170322-WA0020

Those walls
Resting on symmetry
Climb up to a bulbous head
And finials reaching out
To a clear firmament.
Those walls
With holes and crevices
Let light in
And shine it out
Out of those rooms
Full of stories and sounds.
Those walls
Of rust red tombs
With six-pointed stars set in sandstone
Chipping away
Living on.

IMG_20170328_203807

Humayun’s Tomb was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1993, and has undergone extensive restoration work since.

One fine day, a friend and I were idle, magically, at the same time, and we decided to head to Humayun’s Tomb, the mausoleum of the Mughal emperor Humayun built in the 16th century in Delhi. What ensued was a realisation about how we often overlook the beauty of our own city while hankering for escapes to outstation destinations. A wondrous escape was right here, under our proverbial noses!

IMG_20170323_091732_427

We reached the main tomb enclosure after passing several smaller monuments that adorn the path leading up to it. It was more than 400 years ago that Humayun’s first wife, Haji Begum, commissioned the tomb near the banks of river Yamuna.

IMG_20170323_170114_028
The site was chosen because of its proximity to Nizamuddin Dargah, which is the mausoleum of the Nizamuddin Auliya, a celebrated Sufi saint and a favourite among Delhi rulers.

img_20170325_094733_959.jpg
Designed by a Persian architect, Mirak Mirza Giyath, it was the first garden-tomb to grace the Indian subcontinent with its ‘Charbagh’ gardens. The structure portrayed a leap in the design of Mughal royal mausolea, which reached the apogee with the Taj Mahal at Agra.

IMG_20170325_115120_780
Naturally, it is one of the top tourist attractions in Delhi, being a monument that gives a peek into history together with art and architecture. As for us, this small trip was also a fresh change from the long hours spent amid papers and books and electronic devices.

IMG_20170322_112134_270As much as I wish that we had chosen a breezier day and time, the sight of lush green fluff shining bright under the buttery noon more than made up for the mid-March heat.

IMG_20170322_110341_270
Even more memorable was that this mini-exploration culminated under the cool shade of a tree overlooking the six-pointed stars set in red sandstone, in the good company of an old friend and alloo paranthas packed in a steel lunch-box.

Featured image clicked by Ishan Sharma.

Plans

hlgmlpxosjk-oliver-cole.jpg

I have a map.

It’s vibrant,

Dotted and streaked

With bold, adventurous plans.

I have a boat.

It glides and nods,

Cuts through waves,

But takes me on a new path,

An unknown trail.

I have a compass.

It flits and flirts with the wind,

Wayward and difficult,

Points to directions I haven’t framed.

And there is no lighthouse to lead the way.

I have an anchor.

It’s been on the mast since I set sail.

I hop onto it to brave the weather, uncertain.

My map is a criss-cross of contrasting inks,

I’m questioning,

Re-thinking,

Scared.

But in for the ride,

However it fares.

I am navigating through life.

Photo by Oliver Cole via unsplash.com

The Street

streetlife

The dawn rose and my eyes adjusted to the view, from bokeh to bright, as the sun sprinkled a golden filter across the street. Who were these people, so immersed in their preoccupations, chasing life, their hopes and anxieties all closed to me?
Do they have a special pocket in their briefcases, one in which they ensconce their dreams? Do they ever think about home, or are they happy to get by just like me, meeting new people, gleaning stories?
Who live in the thatched cottages on the mountaintop? Do they savour the sunrise and sunset as much as the tourists? Do they ever look out their windows and watch me on this bench where I sleep?
Who is the owner of the antique trinket shop? Does he know who carved the wooden camel so painstakingly?
What is the tale of this bustling anecdotal street?

I started from home with little more than an intrepid spirit and a guitar. Today, I have a bag full of memories; they can’t be distilled into a single photograph or diary entry. 

History

6

“To understand history, we have to go inside and listen to what they’re saying. And look at the books and the pictures on the wall. And smell the smells.”
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things