Unexpected visitor


The afternoon heat is stifling. All the fans are churning out hot air, in varying degrees of aggravation. The aircon is  lifeless. The leaves are still, glistening in the sun. The few pigeons that are sitting on the ledges of the building seem worn out by the heat and seem too tired to move. They sit patiently, their wait punctuated only by the occasional flapping of their wings.

I decide to open the balcony door fully, not sure if it will help in any way. I look at the sky. A perfect, blue sky with cotton-puff clouds looks back at me.

I stand on the balcony, staring at everything and nothing.

I look at my plants. They need more water. And as I look at my hibiscus plant, I see a bud that is just about to bloom. I can see just a hint of red peeping out of green. Maybe another two days. I smile. My smile widens as I see that we have a surprise visitor.

A beautiful dragonfly is visiting our hibiscus plant – elegantly poised on the thin branch, perfectly balanced, the gossamer-like wings glinting in the afternoon sun. He is oblivious to my presence, and is busy taking a breather.

The faintest breeze causes the dragonfly’s wings to flutter just a tiny bit.

I stand completely awed. Such detailing and such perfection in this small creature. He is obviously there for a reason, known only to himself.  Nothing seems to disturb his tranquility. He sits there for a long time.

I go inside to get a drink, he has still not moved an inch. Looks like he is in deep meditation.

I move closer and take a few pictures.  My chores beckon, and I go indoors, forgetting the hot sun and only remembering those glistening wings.

When I come back after sometime, my visitor is gone. Sharing some pictures that I took…

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Aaachooooo…..!


I am standing at the checkout line in the local supermarket. The line snakes both in front of me and behind me.  It is the weekend after all, and people are here to stock up.

I check my phone repeatedly for want of anything better to do. I keep refreshing my facebook page, my whatsapp and the news application.  The world is quiet, no ‘breaking news’. I resign myself to the long, boring wait.

I am soon distracted by a little baby in a pram. The baby is probably just a year and a half old.  She is so pretty – chubby cheeks and huge eyes that look like black grapes. She is gurgling, and chewing on a watermelon teething toy.

She smiles at her mom, hits the pram, and babbles on.

I am totally engrossed now, my body automatically moving along the line.

And as I watch, the little girl’s face suddenly contracts in preparation for a sneeze. And before she realizes it, the baby sneeze explodes out of her tiny frame.

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       Courtesy – http://www.gettyimages.in

The startled look on the baby’s face is priceless. She looks wonderingly as if saying, “Hey, what was that now?”

She continues her chewing, and I see it, and she senses it – a second sneeze is on its way. “Aaaachoooo”, she sneezes.

Now she laughs in wonder at what just happened. She claps her hands.

She is now prepared for the next one, but the sneeze quota seems to have dried up. The baby forgets and is soon rubbing her eyes.

I finally manage to reach the cashier. As I carry my bags and walk out I look back to see that the little girl has fallen asleep.

Sometimes there are more interesting things to observe than constantly refreshing one’s phone.

The Forgotten Song


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        Courtesy – http://www.playbuzz.com

A few days ago, I sat with a group of  friends playing a popular game called ‘Antakshari’, which is the singing equivalent of word building. One person sings a song, and the next person then has to start her song with the last alphabet or consonant from the first song, and so on.

We were having great fun. Many songs were sung, and the albums and movies remembered. When it was my turn, the song I wanted to sing suddenly vanished from my head. It hid at the tip of my tongue,  lurked in my throat,  taunted me from behind my closed eyes and teased me with images in my mind, but never once revealed itself. I managed to sing another song in the nick of time and the game moved on.

However, the song continued to bother me a lot. The more I racked my brains to remember, the more elusive it became. I could dredge up images, situations and memories around the song, but none of them clear enough to help me place it.  I finally gave up in frustration.

Days flew by. Last week, when I was in the supermarket, waiting in the checkout counter, the song slid back into my head, slyly and stealthily – that it took me a while to realize that the song had finally come back to me.

I smiled in happiness as I hummed the song. Sometimes, I wonder where our brain tucks away such information, only to throw it back to us at a later date, totally out of context.

I felt happy and light after the song came back to me, though I was not sure why it mattered so much that I remember it.

Has this ever happened to you? Would love to know.

Yay! My blog turns ONE today.


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               Courtesy – wikipedia.org

Dear friends,

It was exactly a year ago, on 25th Jan 2015 that I posted my first blog on ‘Simple Moments of Life’.

When I set out on my blogging journey that day, little did I realize that this blog would come to mean so much to me.

In keeping with the blog’s theme, I have attempted to capture simple, everyday moments around me, and bring them to life on my blog, for I believe that our lives are made up of such simple moments.

Writing these posts has given me immense joy and satisfaction. However, more than the writing, what gives me greater happiness is the realization that blogging is about much more than writing.

To me, blogging is about connecting with people from around the world, and about friendship. It is about reading and learning about different people and their cultures. Blogging is about fun, laughter and good moments. It is about so much more.

I have made some wonderful friends this last one year. Thank you all for enriching my life through your blogs and friendship.

Thank you for reading my blog and stopping by to leave your likes and comments. My writing derives meaning only when you visit my blog.  And for this, I cannot thank you enough.

I look forward to many more years of blogging and knowing all of you.

Thank you, once again.

Lots of love,
Nimi

The choice is ours


I recently watched a video on personal transformation, where the speaker spoke about about how one should try to work towards becoming ‘extraordinary’.

This really got me thinking. All of us are running different races. Each race is unique. All of us are travelling on different paths, meeting people along the way – some people who stay with us for a long time, and some others whom we know for brief periods of time.

If we were to zoom out and look at our lives, we would see billions of such paths, criss-crossing each other. It would be very difficult to distinguish one line from the other. All of them would look quite ordinary.

So then, we have a choice – to either lead an ‘extraordinary’ life, in the truest sense of the word, by giving ourselves fully to every moment on this journey called life or to lead an ‘extra’ ordinary life, where we carry a lot of extras like our ego, regrets, anger, greed, jealousy and ill-will. In this case our life would be burdened by all these extras and will truly remain ordinary.

However, if we drop these extra burdens that we carry with us, we can truly lead an extraordinary life.

Extraordinary or ‘extra’ ordinary – the choice is ours!

Very, Berry Good


I am doing my weekly vegetable shopping; my eyes fall on lovely, green gooseberries.

We Indians pickle gooseberries, grind them into chutneys or eat them raw, with a little salt.

My mouth waters when I see these beautiful berries. I quickly unroll a plastic bag from the dispenser and fill it with gooseberries.

As I stand in the checkout line, I smile as I remember how we loved these small berries as children.

Just outside our school, was a street hawker, who sold all kinds of berries. She was usually seated on a stool in front of a small table, where beautiful triangular mounds of berries called out to young children.

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              The Indian Jujube
   Courtesy – http://www.maalaimalar.com

The measuring of these berries was done using small metal containers called ‘padis’ – a measuring system that goes back hundreds of years, and which was still prevalent when I was growing up. There were measuring containers of different sizes, each priced accordingly.

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     The padis used for measurement
       Courtesy – http://www.thehindu.com

The lady usually had an assortment of berries, all in vibrant colours – Naga Pazham (Jamun), Vicki Pazham (a local wild berry), Elantha Pazham (Indian Jujube) and Gooseberries.

We usually bought an assortment for 25p. With our school bags slung on our back, we would receive the berries in our palms, and bite into them lazily, as we took the bus home.

The Naga Pazham usually coated our tongues purple, and we would sometimes pretend that we had worn lipstick, by applying the juice on our lips.

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                  The Naga Pazham
          Courtesy – http://www.agrifarming.in

The wizened, old lady who sold these berries, was there as long as I can remember. She must have sold thousands of berries to school children over the years.

She did not speak much, but just cackled out the price, when asked. She had a jute bag, under which our coins would disappear. During winter she wore a scarf and a shawl, but she was always there, come rain or shine.

I come back to the present and feel a tingle of anticipation when I think about eating the gooseberries I have bought.

These things do happen!


My two friends and I were trying to hail a cab to get back home. We had been out the whole afternoon, and were quite tired.

Most cars had a ‘Hired’ or a ‘Busy’ sign, and we were quite irritated. We tried calling for a cab, but to no avail.

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          Courtesy – http://www.123RF.com

Finally, after 15 minutes, we saw one, and luckily for us, the cab slowed down, and dropped off a couple of people on the same road.

Yay! I got in at the front, and my friends got in at the back.

We gave the cabbie directions, and just as he started the car, there came a continuous beeping sound.

The cabbie said, “Ma’am, could you please fasten your seat belt?”

I laughed and nodded, quite forgetting that I had already worn it. When I saw that I had worn it, I said, “I have.”

The beeping continued. The cab driver felt that maybe, the buckle of my seat belt had not engaged properly, and asked if I would unfasten and refasten the seat belt again.

I happily complied. But the mysterious beep was back again.

Suddenly, the cab driver guffawed loudly and said, “Sorry ma’am. It is ‘I’. I have not worn my seat belt. Must have forgotten to fasten it after I gave my last customer his change, just before you got in.”

We had a good laugh, and till he dropped us off, the cabbie kept shaking his head and saying, “That was a first, how could I?”

Lunch


Wherever I go, I love observing people – especially in airports, railway stations, hotel lobbies, and in-flight. Each of these places is a different ecosystem by itself, where people from different walks of life converge for a certain period of time.

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This afternoon, my husband and I went out for lunch. We went to a popular restaurant in the vicinity.

We placed our order, and waited. My husband was busy on his phone, and I observed the people in the restaurant.

There was this family of three – husband, wife and a one-year old baby. The mom was trying to feed spoonfuls of baby food from a box, while the dad kept the child engaged. The Dad became an elephant, with a trunk and tried to snatch the baby’s food away, then he transformed into a lion and a horse. The baby gurgled and giggled, and finished her food. Each parent took turns to eat, while the other entertained the child. Been there, done it.

There was a man, who reviewed the menu for a good twenty minutes before he placed his order. I was curious to know what he ordered.

Then again, there was this man with his headphones connected and feet tapping, as he relished his lunch.

There was a group of college students, loud and cheerful, enjoying their lunch and friends’ company. Many delicious platters went past us to their table – a few sizzlers and many aromatic ones!

My tongue watered in anticipation. Our order seemed to take forever.  A tray filled with huge glasses of bright green slush went past. I wanted one of those. I wanted one of the sizzling platters too…but we’d already ordered, so I waited patiently.

Finally, our food arrived, and then my stomach and mouth took over, enjoying every mouthful. Different flavours and spices played different notes on my tongue. The food was amazing.

The table with the college students broke out into a birthday song for one of their friends, as candles were lit and wishes exchanged.

Looking out the window, I realized that the skies had opened up. We finished our lunch and settled down for a nice, hot cup of coffee.

A few people left, many arrived. More food, yummy smells. Melodious instrumental music played in the background.

I smiled. Another world, another ecosystem.

What is time?


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        Courtesy – cmcacorner.com

There is one sentence that I hear very often  -“I don’t have the time.” I say this a lot too!

The days just seem to fly. The New Year is already 16 days old!

What is this thing we call ‘time’? Why don’t we ever have enough time?

What is time? I ask myself.

Time is a resource. Each of us has been given a certain number of years, months, days and hours to live on this planet. We call this ‘time’.

However, ‘my’ time is not ‘your’ time. Each of us has ‘time vouchers’ of different denominations.  These vouchers keep depleting in value, and unused vouchers can never be reclaimed.

Time is a ‘synonym’ for our lives. We should put it the best use possible.

We should spend time on things that actually matter. We should take the time to laugh, love, hug and cuddle.

We should take out time to dance in the rain, sing in the bathroom and ‘de-phone’ ourselves.

We should spend time reading, meeting family and going on long walks.

We should spend less time worrying and more time smiling.

We should allow time to burst into a hundred fragments of children’s laughter. We should allow time to curl around our hearts with beautiful music.

We should allow time to tease our tongue with new food flavours. We should allow time to tip-toe all around us when we fall into a nice deep sleep.

We should allow time to gallop with us as we strive to attain our dreams. We should allow time to give us the equanimity to accept what is.

Our life and time are one and the same. So let’s harness this resource we have, to do all the things that truly matter.

The Imperceptible Nod – A short story


Aryan sensed that it would be one of ‘those’ weekends. He had gone home that weekend to unwind and catch up on some well deserved rest. He avoided prolonged conversations with his mom, because all she wanted to do these days was to get him to meet her friends’ daughters.

Adding to this aggravation was his happily married sister, who came up with lists of girls, who would be the perfect match for him.

Truth be told, he knew he would eventually marry, but right now, the thought of marriage scared him, and with his workload he hardly found any time to date.

A young man is no match for two determined women, and so he listened to both of them raving about this beautiful, young lady named Rhea, who worked in the same city as he did. Rhea was a teacher in a renowned private school, whose sister had gone to school with his.

He nodded without really paying attention. His mind took in a few words here and there, but he was more worried about whether he would reach home in time to watch the final of the soccer match on TV.

Finally, they spared him, and after quick hugs, and reminders to call Rhea, he drove back.

Once back at work, the weekend, and sleep, seemed like faraway destinations. He was into IT sales and  was busy chasing his number targets, meeting prospective customers and trying to close deals.

A couple of weeks later, he had a meeting with a new prospect – a private school. While he waited in the school’s lobby, he suddenly remembered that this was the school where Rhea worked.   He looked at the school through a different lens now.

There were two smart ladies manning the reception desk. He walked up to one of them and asked, “Hmm, Is there a teacher named Rhea, who works here?”

“Yes, sir. Would you like to meet her?” asked the receptionist.

“Oh, no, actually. I just know her through somebody”, he said.

And desperate to change the topic, he said, “Could I have the school brochure please?”

The receptionist replied, “Sure. Are you looking at admission for your children?”

He nodded vaguely, imperceptibly – a nod that could have meant a yes or a no! The receptionist walked over to a shelf and picked out some literature about the school. He thanked her and went back to his seat.

Suddenly, he heard the receptionist calling out to him, “Mr.Kumar, that’s Ms.Rhea. The one there in the grey dress.”

And as he turned to look at Rhea, he heard the receptionist calling out to her,  “Rhea, there’s a gentleman who wants to talk to you about school admissions for his children.”

He looked shocked as Rhea made her way across the lobby. She was beautiful.

“Mr.Kumar, I am Rhea. I teach primary classes here and am also the admissions coordinator for junior school. I understand you are looking at admitting your children here. What can I help you with?”

Aryan said, “Good to meet you. No, I mean…no children, I mean, (he realized he was blabbering). “Sorry, I am actually here for another meeting – with your IT department, so if you could give me your card, we can catch up at a later date?”

They exchanged business cards.

“Sure, no worries”, she said and walked away with a wave.

He had blown it and how! That irritating receptionist…grrrr. He would gladly throttle her.

Then again, the problem was non-existent. He would just not call Rhea again, and it would end right there. So what if she thought he had children.

He went on with his days, the incident completely forgotten.

A few days later, his sister called him to say that she was in town and asked him if they could meet up for lunch and if she could bring a friend?

He booked a table at an Italian restaurant. At 12.30 pm he was seated at the table, busy checking his email. He heard his sister before he saw her.

He looked up with a smile, and stood up to give her a hug. He froze when he saw that his sister’s friend was Rhea. His sister made the introductions and winked at him.

The colour drained from his face. Rhea smiled and looked at him as if his face was familiar. He could see that she was trying to recollect him from somewhere. She wrinkled her nose in concentration throughout lunch.

He wondered what his sister had told her about him. His sister looked at him strangely and was trying to make up for his lack of interest in the conversation.

Finally, and thankfully, the nightmare ended. His sister looked rather grim and said to him, “I will call you.”

From Rhea’s face, he knew that she had not placed him yet.  Thank God for small mercies.

The two ladies walked away and he breathed a sigh of relief.  It was over. He only had to give his sister some story about his strange behaviour during lunch. That would be a breeze.

He went home early and settled down before the TV with a drink. He was channel surfing, when he heard a ping on his phone.

It was an email about admission procedures at the private school where Rhea worked. It was signed simply as Rhea, Admissions Coordinator.

He cringed that she had placed him, and had let him know it this way.

Well…you can’t win them all, he thought to himself.