Oct 17, 2012

Happiness comes in small packages !


Usually we look for happiness in big things. We feel we would be happy if we had a bigger house/car or a better Job. We would be happy if we were married (or not married!)

We confuse happiness with the fulfilment of our desires. Happiness to us becomes something that we will get once we have all that we want. And if life doesn't go the way we want, we become sad and bitter and decide that it’s not our fate to be Happy!

Happiness doesn't come from big materialistic things. It comes from small everyday things that we usually forget to enjoy in our maddening pursuit of the “Bigger Things”!

For me happiness is the Methi Parantha my mother makes for breakfast, happiness is looking at the antics of the birds in on my veranda wall, happiness is a good book and a cup of coffee, happiness is people telling me they love my blog.
Happiness is also collecting the Parijat flowers during my early morning walks.

Parijat or Harsingar is a small white flower with a bright saffron stem. This extremely fragrant and delicate flower blossoms at night and drops as soon as the first ray of the sun falls on it. Somehow this pristine flower always has a very peaceful and tranquil effect on me.

There are a few Parijat trees in the park near my house and every morning the fallen flowers lie like glittering white jewels on the grass under the tree. Every day after my walk, I collect the flowers, put them in glass bowls and keep them all over the house.  It always makes the rooms more fragrant and cheerful!
A few days back I was not in a very good mood when I went for my walk. I was thinking of a beautiful pottery tea-pot that I had broken accidently. It was a gift from a dear friend and I valued it greatly. Pouring tea out of it had become a ritual I looked forward to every day. Now thanks to my clumsiness I could no longer use it!

As I walked towards the Parijat tree to collect the flowers, I saw a few branches lying under the tree as well. On a whim I picked them up and brought them home. I was looking around for a pot small enough to hold the fragile branches, when my eyes fell on the discarded tea pot. I decided to put the stems in that broken pot, arranging them so that the broken end could not be seen. Then I decided to put the flowers in my room, next to my books. 

Then I clicked a picture.


And as I looked at the picture, I realized that I had a few of my favourite things right in front of me .. Books, pottery and Flowers !

And that made me very happy indeed :)

Happiness is not something we need to run after or look for. It’s there, right in front of us.All we need to do is change our perspective!  

Oct 15, 2012

A fairy-tale called Quebec City !

This post is a continuation of my "Canada Chronicles" series.
 After I finished wandering around Toronto, I was at a loss with what to do with myself. Since I had spent a lot of time and resources traipsing about UK and Scotland, I couldn't take myself off to a week of hiking in the Rockies as I was dying to do. So I did the next best thing. I took a trip to Quebec City.
I couldn't have chosen a better to spend my last few days in Canada because that trip was the highlight of my entire Canada Trip.I discovered that Quebec City is quaint, delightful and quite magical!

Perched rather precariously on top of a steep hill, overlooking the St Lawrence river, Quebec City is a world heritage site and the only walled city in North America besides Mexico.



Quebec City has an old worlds charm and you feel as if you have been transported straight into a Magical land.
The old  town is surrounded by a huge wall and 
 as I looked up at the ancient gables and turrets, I felt I was looking at a castle out of fairytale.I almost expected horsemen to gallop out of the doors and a fair haired princess to look down from one of the windows !



 The city has a lot of tourist spots such as the magnificent Parliament hill, Plains of Abraham as well as the Chateau Frontenac hotel.


Parliament Hill



The Chateau Frontenac is supposed to be the most photographed hotel in North America.


Although the whole city is a tourist’s delight, it’s the old part of the town that is really picturesque and quaint. I spent very little time at the tourist attractions. 
Instead I spent all my time wandering around the cobbled streets of the old town soaking in the fantastic and unique ambience of the place. 
I found the place vibrant,thrumming with energy and absolute 
joie de vivre.
The shops were quaint,with very brightly painted vibrant doors and windows, Bistros with their chairs spilling over the side walks.



Every window had Flowers in all colours and shapes framed in them. 




I was fascinated enough by the cobbled streets, the cute shops and the lovely flowers everywhere,when I saw this ..




I also discovered something which no guidebook had mentioned. The old Town has this whole lane filled with artists displaying their watercolours and sketches.Most of the paintings were of the natural beauty and architecture of Quebec. 


A lot of them also do portraits and you can get your portrait made in a very short time.



By the end of the day, my feet were killing me from all the walking I did but my mind was a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours and images.

Quebec City left me totally enchanted and mesmerized.This is one place I shall definitely go back to ! 

Oct 4, 2012

Thursday Challenge -The Hemis Festival at Ladakh !

Today"s Thursday Challenge is "CULTURE" (Food, Dance, Clothing, Festivals,...) 

Last summer I had the opportunity to see the Hemis festival in Ladakh.
 It is one of the most visually enriching and vibrant festival I have ever seen. 


The Hemis monastery is one of the finest and richest in Ladakh. Situated on the outskirts of Leh – around 40 km from the city, Hemis monastery is most famous for the festival it holds annually for two days during the summer.



The monastery started getting crowded from early morning and it was choc a block with not only tourists but locals who had come from far flung villages to see the festival.We actually had to climb on the wall to get a clear view ! 


 Highlight of the festival are the masked dances called Chamm which are performed by the Lamas of the monastery. 


The costumes and masks are brightly coloured  and very elaborate. Since the faces of the lamas are hidden behind the masks, it’s their movements  as well as the elaborately decorated and painted masks that actually depict the nature of the character and the emotions the dancer is portraying.  




Most of the dances portrayed the victory of Good over evil ! 




 

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