This is the first time I saw the sun during this trip in India. Every single day in the last week – be it in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kalyani, Lucknow or Kanpur, all I saw was totally overcast skies – and I mean not a single break in the cloud cover the whole day.
It is like India got a head start on the full solar eclipse a few days earlier…
For the first time, on the drive from Kanpur to Lucknow airport, I was able to spot the sun. Asked the driver to stop the car so I could take a couple of shots…
We called it “Kokil” (this is from the cuckoo family). Has the distinct blood shot red eyes…
Shot with a DSLR from bout 40 yards away..
Found in my father in law’s garden. Again, taken with an iPhone…
Taken with an iPhone at less than 6 cm distance…
I am not sure if all my friends in India will agree with this – these days, there seems to be far less number of the common birds that we grew up with. I remember seeing a lot of sparrows (chorui pakhi), crows (kaak) and common mynas (salikh) everyday in those days. I barely see any these days.
This trip, so far I have spotted a common myna and a crow from the balcony of my dad’s house…
This is the common myna.
“Na samjho ke hum
Pee gaye peete peete
Ki thoda sa hum
Ji gaye peete peete”
“Please do not misunderstand that
I became drunk …
Because I kept on drinking
Think about it this way…
That I got to live life a little…
Because I kept drinking…”
“Koi ummeed bar nahin aati
Koi soorat nazar nahin aati
Maut ka ek din mu’ayyan hai
Neend kyun raat bhar nahi aati?”
Roughly translated.. (Improvements always welcome…)
“I don’t see any hope coming my way
Nor a visage of a solution meets my sight
That death will come one day is definitely true
Then why is it that I cannot sleep all night?”
This is where our US journey had started. Nearly a quarter century ago, after getting married in a court of law in India, we had headed out to the US. And this was the airport that we finally had stopped our journey in. After thirty hours of flight or so, I was completely dazed and thoroughly ill equipped to understand anything foreign (e.g. I had entered a “Restroom” at the airport thinking that is where I could catch some rest during transit 🙂 Don’t blame me – in India, we called them “Toilets”).
In any case, our entire married life has been in the US and it all started at this airport in this country.
We come back to this airport every single year.
Last evening, not having anything better to do, Sharmila and I went for a walk on the boardwalk by the beach. After a bit, we found some rocking chairs lined up along the walk under a street lamp and decided to settle down in two of them. With our plastic coffee cups. Which were filled up with red wine 🙂
I had some powerful “living in the NOW” moments. First, the picture does not do full justice to the ambience. What you do not see is the roaring noise of the waves in the dark in the front. Or the strong sea breeze leaving a very pleasant feeling as it kissed the skin.
It being dark, nothing of the mighty ocean could be seen. Except for the dotted lights of a ship here and a plane there against the large black canvas of a moonless night. What could be seen is a lot of people walking on the boardwalk under the streetlights. It has been a long long time since I had sat down and relaxed and just watched people. You know just watch them as they come and go.
There were old people shuffling along, there were families strolling with the adults having some meaningful discussions and the kids just frolicking along, the young kids in whatever would be considered today’s fashionable beach clothes going in a group, the clearly well to do lady in high heels and the seemingly homeless person with all his belongings in a bike he was pulling along…
I had completely forgotten “people watching”. Just sitting there. Watching them go from left to right and some more from right to left. In a completely non-judgmental way. You know – like they say being “in the flow”.
And then the mind wavered. And speeded to the past. Not sure whether it was the breeze on the skin or the dim streetlight, the mind time traveled in a jiffy to the summer nights in Durgapur when I was barely a kindergartener or possibly in first grade. My dad had an “easy chair” (a cross between a foldable hammock and a lounge chair) and in those sultry evenings, he used to sit down outside in the light breeze. I would join him and sit in a small chair. Pulling up the chair closer to him, I would incessantly ask him questions about those blue twinkling stuff in an otherwise dark sky. And watch anybody who went by the sole streetlight that would be lit up half a block away…
Keeping up with the speed of life, they say is a big challenge.
I find slowing down far more challenging.