Swim

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“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 

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Travel Diaries: Laxmi Ashram, Kausani

5

Dharti hai ek,
Aasmaan ek hai.
Phool hain anek,
Baghbaan ek hai.

All the squeaky voices, hushed conversations, and noisy banters were replaced by a mellifluous chorus as I sat down in the back of the classroom. Morning prayers at Laxmi Ashram, as I found out, are always unifying affairs, and down-the-line cheerful and cathartic.

Forty five minutes previous I was tossing Imli toffees in my mouth to prepare myself for the ensuing altitude sickness. I was going to hike to a seven-decade-old, all-girls residential school run on the principles of Gandhi’s Nai Taleem. Established in 1946 by Catherine Mary Beilman or Sarla Behn to empower rural girls and women through education and holistic skill-based learning.

When I reached the Ashram, there were two smiling faces, waiting. Waiting to open me up to a world of simplicity and unity. To show me how empowered and independent young girls go on to become pillars of strength for the rural community.

I was a bit late, thanks to the multiple stops I’d made during the hike. Some girl students were collecting their books while others had already started ascending the stairs to their classroom. I entered the room from the back, and quietly sat on the floor like everybody else. I was soon going to hear them sing a prayer song that would footprint my heart.

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I left the place humming a tune of togetherness, and optimism. Of a song that distilled in a few words this beautiful message:
There is one Earth. And it is but one sky that canopies the flowers on its face. The flowers may look different, still there’s but one Gardner who looks after all of them.

My Recent ‘Feels’ Playlist

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When it comes to music, my song picks end with anything that has strong lyrics. A song that marries the sensation it evokes with the emotion it comes from sticks to my playlist for a long time. This may be because of that thing about music – it connects, makes you feel less lonely. So, today I decided to list down a few such songs; I call it my ‘feels playlist’ as it has the power to soothe my melancholy and elevate my joy.

Nostalgia: The songs that disinter the sweet moments.

Journey: Companions for when the going gets tough.

Perseverance: For me, these songs are like anthems that obviate the blues.

The Rationals: These songs can work wonders to kill the din and clutter of a bad day from your mind.

Happy listening!

for you.

 

                                                                                                     

That lonely stump in the park

those ringing sounds of the dark

lifeless leaves on the bottom of your shoe

make up a song of fright and gloom

a rant, and maybe a terminal note

that spiral the tiny ball in your throat

that burrow far from the good-natured sky

like slouched soldiers on the sly.

 

Oh, rip that piece of paper

and don’t let those hands waver

for the fledglings of joy will soon stop by

cancel the noise like the songs that got you by.

 

I know you’ll rise from under this rock

pick up your head and walk

give me a list of all the things you like

and I’ll give you one of mine

if it is the conversations that you crave

if it will bring a smile to your face

we’ll talk about the bits and bobs you want to buy

heckle and joke, watch the time fly.