Apr 24, 2009

Why I Love Ruskin Bond

Imagine yourself in a beautiful mountain valley, where everything is so quiet that all you can hear is the sound of a mountain stream and of the wind rustling through the deodars. As you gaze at the snow peaked mountains, can you slowly feel peace and calmness descend on you? - this is what Ruskin bond’s writings do to me. His writings have the power to lift me out of any gloom and transport me to a world filled with happiness and serenity.
He is the epitome of austerity and simplicity and this is reflected both in his writings and in his life. The power of his words lie in their simple wisdom and gentle humor which I feel is much more difficult to accomplish than any complicated piece of writing. He does not write romantic ballads or suspense thrillers, his stories are about the Himalayas and the simple hill people who dwell there.
I guess I am a bit of a dreamer like him, wanting and believing in the simple pleasures of life. The kind of life I would love to lead is the kind of life he is leading right now; tucked away among the mountains, doing what he loves to do best– Writing.
In his book’ The India I love’ he talks about his love for writing and living in the mountains - [Life isn’t a bed of roses .. and I have never had the comfort or luxuries that wealth can provide. But here I am doing my own thing, in my own time and in my own way. What more can I ask of Life?’]

Indeed .. what more can one ask of life !

Apr 22, 2009

When Londoners come calling

We have visitors from London. The hugs and kisses have been exchanged, gifts have been given, opened and fawned over. The visitors consist of my aunt, uncle and their two daughters. Daughter 1 – a shopoholic in her very well preserved 40s is a fanatic for perfumes and make up and is rather self possessed. Also she is totally into “spirituality” and does not as much as breathe before consulting her psychic and Tarot readers. Daughter no 2 and Husband are seasoned travelers who live out of well worn jeans and t shirts. They live in their own world, at their own terms, taking out time to travel to a new country every year. The elder sister carries Gucci travel bags; the younger one rucksacks.
The shopaholic comes to India often – obstentially to visit us but actually to Shop. She is very popular among her younger cousins because if you ask her to get you one estee lauder perfume she will get you three more plus hoards of body shop and Chanel products. The staunch devotee that I am of estee lauder and a sucker for perfumes; she ranks pretty high on my list of favorite cousins.
This time she told us how far she had progressed on her spiritual path and was in the process of letting go of her attachments and desires. This was rather surprising coming from someone who had just bought two diamonds earrings and half a dozen designer bags and shoes! Daughter no 2 on the other hand is less hung up on shopping and more on sightseeing. While the elder one is diligently combing through each and every mall in Delhi, gurgaon and Noida, the younger one spent days poking around ancient havelis in Chandani Chawk and sampling the gourmet delights of old Delhi and is now planning to go trekking in remote Himalayas.
The only thing in common between the two sisters is the long sharp nose that each one of us cousins has inherited from our Grandfather. That’s another thing actually – All of us cousins on my mothers side – have a long, sharp pointed noses that stick out of even the broadest brim hats. Noses that are the first to catch and quiver at even the faintest olfactory sensation, the kind of noses that would put even Pinocchio to shame.
So coming back to the two sisters; as I said they are totally different from each other. One a certified shopaholic and worshipper of everything branded; the other a staunch socialist who fights the shut down of small stores and businesses tooth and nail and only uses organic products. The elder one an active participant in family gossip sessions, the younger one not too attached to or even bothered about familial ties.So we are torn between taking one to malls, tailors, jewelers and cooking health food and digging out maps of Delhi and pouring over Himalayan trek routes with the other.
Given their diverse personalities and interests, this is turning out to be a very interesting two weeks I feel!

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