Tales Under the Stars

Sky

 

No matter how frequently or seldom one travels, it never ceases to amaze me how exciting and memorable that could get. It creates an opportunity to learn and observe with eyes wide open. The consequential travel anecdotes concocted thereafter, are always memorable. One such memorable experience of mine was at Grand Teton National Park and another one at Mac Donald Observatory. Back from exploring the beauty of Grand Teton’s mountains and lakes, I was sitting right outside my rustic log cabin shortly after dinner, gazing at the ethereally beautiful night sky, full of stars. That moment was magical.

Years later, a visit to the Mac Donald Observatory brought back the opportunity to look at stars using telescopes. I remember gazing three of them at once. Amongst them, the guide informed, the ones close to each other were Mizar A and Mizar B and the distant third one was Alcor. The brightest star viewed with naked eye, pointed another guide, was Blue Star. Magic moment relived.

I often catch myself smiling at the slightest flash of these beautiful moments. They bring joy, excitement, the quest to know more, and most importantly, memories. Beautiful memories of bedtime stories, stories at the dinner table, stories narrated at  terrace under the stars. Gradually, those stories from my remembrance became the nook of respite. The narrators who were grandparents, parents and aunts always had all the time in the world to spin a yarn of anecdotes for all the children. Not just stories, but some could actually talk about the pattern of stars and the ways to observe them. Sometimes, when siblings got together counting stars, the older ones always took pride when they outnumbered the others.

Grandparents often told us about their parents being stars in the sky and that they were always looking out for us. Light years seemed not-so-distant when great grandparents were stars.

The very thought of those insouciant days creates a corner of respite in my mind. Days before television broadcasted reality shows, dramas and sitcoms incessantly, before gadgets took everyone over in it’s clutches, those were the days when yarns of tales seamlessly started spinning under the stars.

Don’t we all cherish those tales till date?

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The Potatoes Are Rotten

So here comes another Friday, which certainly, is the most highly awaited day of every week. Meal planning has always been the most exciting part of my Fridays. Meals, especially dinner, has to be special and interesting. Last Friday, I brainstormed half the afternoon and enlisted names of food that we had been badly longing for but haven’t cooked or eaten in longer-than-recent past. The names faced a tough competition and shepherd’s pie was crowned winner. An enthusiastic and excited me jumped on to the next episode of gathering all ingredients. 
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Oh no! The potatoes!
The starchy, tasty, popular yet humble potatoes had rotten. Huh! what would I do without this food crop.
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 Is it just that we would be longing for a hearty shepherd’s pie over a longer time period now? “Oh no, there is no way I could sulk over this any longer,” I said to myself. To overcome the blues of not being able to cook and eat who was crowned, I glanced through the list. All I knew then, was a mirror there would have better narrated the noticeably lugubrious visage on my face. And since there wasn’t one (mirror), I was only left to realize how the absence of potato could temporarily make your life a desperate impasse. And having said that, it is important to justify with the list I made that afternoon.
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Alas! none of the above was possible. The condition of potatoes were most likely due to spurt of humid weather conditions and I am to blame for not checking on them earlier during the week.The humidity also led to downpours almost the entire last week but a day or two. Unfortunately Friday had seen the week’s highest downpour all day long with indeed very wet areas and rushing to the nearest grocery was impossible.
Going by the saying, “there is always a first time for everything,” I finally made truce with myself for overlooking the condition of potatoes. But simultaneously promised myself,”this is also the last time for any such mistake.” After all, I don’t want to be held guilty for depriving myself or my spouse from indulging in guilty pleasure on Fridays. Or should I say, our Fridays are meant for, “Hello Calories and Hello Taste” and any such indulgence is impossible without these tubers food storing bodies in our pantry. Since we all know potato as one of the leaders in carb and starch marathon, almost all of us mentally advocate it’s limited consumption in today’s date. But it’s no show in the kitchen means:
 None from my list above
 No Fries,Wedges and Chips
 No Hash Browns
 No Mash
 No Roasts
 No Scallops and innumerable etceteras
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Oh! can I really hang in with all that?

 

 

The Wonderwoman

 

I am talking about her. She is, not perhaps and certainly, the most priceless creation on earth. She is a daughter, sister, friend, a woman and wife. But she proudly calls herself a mother. Despite the fact that she could be addressed as any one of the above, she proudly identifies herself as mother. After attaining motherhood, her life revolves round her children until she breathes. Was just wondering how a mother, never keeps a track of her sleepless nights but certainly notices if her child gets sufficient sleep. 
Several sleepless nights for a mother begin when
-she communicates with the baby in her womb

-the baby keeps awake after birth
She doesn’t care about her sleepless nights and its after effects and the baby is all grown up in course of time.
Gradually, her focus shifts towards the education of the newly grown youngster, a mother is more concerned than her child. She wishes her child does well in his career.So, here comes another set of her sleepless nights preparing midnight snack or a health drink while his or her career shapes up.
Alongside comes the socializing days of the youngster. A mother happily sips her midnight coffee, either engulfed in a book or taking a night stroll in the porch. Well, after long and tiring days, who would want to keep awake over cuppa joe? A mother certainly would. All she wants to ensure is her grown up child is back home safe.
The mother endows her children with best of her wishes as she gets promoted to a mother-in-law and eventually a grandmother. She happily executes her duties towards her children and grandchildren without any demand or expectations and remains a constant source of their emotional support. No matter how far she physically is, she leaves everything behind and runs for her child if situation necessitates the same. She always has time and patience for everyone’s emotional outbursts, mistakes, rudeness or ignorance.
But does she really have someone who would hear her as a woman or mother? Did she ever find a friend in her spouse or children? If not yet, it is time a mother gets unselfish love, respect, support and friendship from her children. Let us not forget that she has brought us in this world and performed her duties and beyond. 
But despite everything she did and still does,
Her concern is often mistaken as her interference. 
Her unselfish and undying love is often taken advantage of. 
Her sleepless nights are often ignored as, “I did not tell you to keep awake, did I?”
Her loneliness is often labelled as a natural phenomenon while aging.
 A mother is the woman who sacrifices her most wonderful years of youth for her family, buries her own dreams somewhere deep inside and eventually forgets if she ever had dreamt for herself. She dreams through her children’s eyes, who may, or may not, realize her worth. 
So let us all get together and give this wonder woman a standing ovation. Let us thank and show God our endless gratitude for creating mothers. But more importantly, it is time we get started being a child worth a mother’s undying love and let us not forget to thank her for who she is.
Wishing each and every mother across the globe A Very Happy Mother’s Day !      🙂

Little Wonders

So I decided to take a break from my pending household chores, checking e-mails, phone calls, and have an entire day to myself, which means, completely engulfed in myself. I did not even want hunger apologizing, “Sorry to interrupt but I am on.” And I treated myself heartily to rule out any such odds. And then it was my time. Talking about time, I decided to look back. I was all gung ho about my childhood, to which, I am sure, most of us would say, “I second that.” Childhood is all about losing a contest and still getting awarded with, “Nice try and I am proud of you.”  It is about not getting judged on questions tagged silly and getting patient answers from elders. This reminded me of my grandmother, who was patient enough not just answering my questions but also narrating interesting stories everyday. As a five year old, my excitement knew no bounds when I was back home from school and ran to her. She readied herself for an interesting talk session every afternoon and I wondered what did she have in store. One such afternoon, I found her flipping through a carefully preserved album. The images immediately caught my attention because-
-they were black and white,
             and
-the children in those photos were unfamiliar to me.
 
But even before I could throw my question about who I was looking at, it was grandma pointing towards herself in the photo asking, “how did you like me in that cute little ballet dress? “ and “ this was when I was your age and was photographed with my cousins during a birthday party,” she furthered. I took a close look, and looked closer and closer, stuck by awe. After moments of close investigation into the photograph, I questioned, “You are my grandmother and you couldn’t  be small as I am, right? Aren’t all grandmas supposed be all grown up with silver hair and glasses ?” 
 
She bursted into laughter, gave me a tight hug and said, “ Back then, I had a grown up grandma too.” 
 
And like always, I was convinced by what she said, even if that kept me wondering “how” for a jiffy.
 
Back then, those thoughts were plain and simple, not silly. They are timeless memories capable of making me smile every time I remember them.
 
As evening neared, I was unwillingly into winding up the date with self to fix dinner and zeroed on trying a new recipe. I started to prepare and wondered, what if I end up cooking a not-so-tasty new meal tonight, would I judge my own cooking skills or simply say ,”nice try ” to myself.

Maine (ly) by Woods

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It was this May in the afternoon and was drizzling by then. The morning downpour finally decided to unwind. I could not get wait to get off the car and started to walk down the pathways of the Acadia National Park, Maine. Precisely speaking, at this point, the ocean was less visible and there were more trees. This forest-between-the-road led to the Otter cliff. The trees screeched around me. Trees that were not just green, but some had fascinating hues of russet and white.Image

The greens popped fresh after rains complementing the rich, bright russet.

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Not just colors, but there was more to it. The shape of the trees effortlessly ignited vivid imagination.

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Be it density of trees, or a simple solitary log, they were indeed mesmerizing.

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The Pine Tree State sure offers unique geographical features, but I was specifically smitten by the pine cones, ferns, greens, wildflowers, and rich hues.

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Far from responsibility, I was lost in the woods of Maine.

Turning One

ImageFirst birthday is always special and my blog turns one today.

                                                  Happy Birthday 🙂

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Thank You team WordPress for providing this platform to begin a wonderful journey 🙂 

On this special day, I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all my fellow bloggers whose perennial patronage has been immensely motivational. I am thrilled to share how enthusiastic I feel about each of your visits, and opinions. That certainly means a lot coming from such wonderful people. Your time and visits are precious and will always be.

 🙂

What I do not even attempt asking her is “How are you today?”

Just like everyone else, I too love sunny days sans few that gives me occasional heat rashes. And there are other seasons too. We know of cold winters, and that it rains during monsoon, etc. Well that is how mother nature has endowed each season with. But irrespective of seasons or occasions, we all, usually, are good or fine, when asked “how are you?”

It is a social courtesy to greet someone and ask how they are doing, especially if the meet is occasional. That is what everyone does. I know someone I happen to meet on and off at certain social jamborees over quite some years now. This someone has been my subject of observation, unknowingly at first, and then with all focus. She has this special and identical tone (for years) while answering the question how are you today?” 

Following are her list of answers –

“I am not too good. Well you can see that its humid and I am sweating just way too much. Lets hope for a better and bearable summer next year.”

or

“Yes I am kind of okay. It is just that the damp monsoon just doesn’t seem to get over. It was difficult but I had to make it today.”

or

“Oh yeah I am ….kind of trying to cope up with the harsh and depressing winter. So not much happening these days.”

And I wonder whether-

She expects a cold summer, a hot winter or a drought? Does season needs to be customized?

All I know is that I have not ever taken a single attempt asking her “how are you?”


Acknowledgement Matters

I recently received a call from an old friend who managed to seize few hours from her hectic schedule and unwind over the phone. No thanks to her not-so-fancy-but-a real turnoff  daily routine that rarely would let us talk or even catch up online. And given the fact that this time the hiatus from our interaction was quite long, we left no stone unturned to prove the proven equation that states

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sketch: the author of https://largerthanlifeblog.wordpress.com

As we neared wrapping up the conversation, she spoke about something that touched. Actually if I recall the conversation that lasted a little more past sixty minutes, I must say I re-realized the importance of an easy word of immense importance – acknowledgement.

Now before I go ahead, allow me to introduce this friend of mine who is undoubtedly a versatile and rare talent. She is an

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sketch: the author of https://largerthanlifeblog.wordpress.com

and hardworking finance professional, an

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sketch: the author of https://largerthanlifeblog.wordpress.com

She does not cook so often. But she is really good when she does.And hence, a

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sketch: the author of https://largerthanlifeblog.wordpress.com

But above all, she is a great, great friend and human being.

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sketch: the author of https://largerthanlifeblog.wordpress.com

And now, this friend of mine barely can steal some time for herself and her hobbies. But  as we went ahead with our long chat, I realized it is not really time that keeps her off her interests but the motivation to do so. When we discussed how talented she always has been, she said that was once upon a time. I tried to figure out what made her feel so.And when I insisted that she should pay little attention to herself and her talent, she immediately agreed. That did suffice for me to realize that something she really misses is being genuinely acknowledged.

We love to see ourselves, our family, friends, and acquaintances  or just anyone we know, smiling and relaxed. Don’t we? I think it is not that difficult a task if we remember to acknowledge. It does matter and make a difference. We are all human beings who love to loved. Acknowledgement is inexpensive. But it has that feel good factor that acts as a powerful motivational tool that matters more than an expensive gift. Whether at job, or amidst friends or family, every individual  likes to get noticed.

For instance:

1) It is common for a watchman (in offices, restaurants, etc) to salute everyone  everyday.But how about the watchman being greeted in return? That would definitely make his day because uncommon is priceless. 

2) How about appreciating a student for his/ her art and craft and ignoring his/ her not-so-strong mathematics?

Well, it matters! Even if an individual is aware of his/her talent, it means a lot when someone else appreciates him/her. It is a priceless power booster. So,let us go ahead and just


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sketch: the author of https://largerthanlifeblog.wordpress.com

Note From A Little Heart

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My neighborhood is quite happening with diner and potluck plans (with/without any occasion)on, thus turning any day into a halcyon day. I am an active participant but not really a planner. While others plan, and if I am not reading, I prefer playing with my  two 5 year old playmates -R’n’B (that is how I address them with the first alphabet of their first names). We play air hockey, watch Tom and Jerry or Transformers, Oscar’s Oasis and so on together. We also love running around the lawn playing picnic and fishing games. I was hosting this farewell dinner for R and family, two days before their moving out. Lots of cooking, chat, and eating went on. I could not really play that day as I was busy preparing diner. R was getting kind of bored until he discovered some stationeries and got occupied scribbling. The party went on, amidst which, I went on to pull out some soda cans from my refrigerator. Something was unusual and my eyes ran carefully through the fridge magnets trying to figure out the difference.  And there it was. I found a stick note on my fridge that read,” I love you but bye.” I knew I was going to miss one of my playmates-R and kept uttering that on and off. But he never uttered until that day. A flow of emotions ran as I was waving them good-bye two days later. And everyday since then, the stick note reminds me how much I am loved.