Up in the clouds….


We are up in the hills, on our way to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, also known as the ‘Scotland of the East’ and ‘the abode of clouds’!

The road snakes right and left, as our car makes its way up the hills. As we go higher, we are literally in the clouds. It’s as if the clouds have come down to play a game of hide and seek. Our car slices through these clouds, as they glide past us, busily going about their day.

We see flashes of green, then white, and then green. The sun shines on a glorious, blue sky. The world looks happy and cheerful.

All along the way, we see the locals going about their day, busy with farming and mining. This beauty surrounds them everyday. I feel envious.

We stop now and then at a viewing point; to stretch our limbs and soak-in the beauty all around us. The distant calls of birds can be heard, and the occasional vehicle. Otherwise, there is only a deep silence. There is harmony, there is peace.

At one such viewing point, we sit down to look at the merry clouds and the sedate hills below.

We sit down, each of us wrapped up in our own thoughts, trying to understand this beauty and to relate it to our crazy lives that have so many deadlines.

Here, there are no deadlines, life seems simple and peaceful. We are in no hurry to leave.

There are fresh pineapple stalls along the way, and hundreds of varieties of Indian pickles on sale.

We sink our teeth into the delicious and succulent pineapples, watching the road fade away into the distance.

As we go higher, the clouds envelope us completely, in a welcoming embrace. We stop at the Lake Umiam view point, where trees, mountains and lake have all merged with the clouds.

Brrrr…it is cold. We watch the lake from above, visible on and off. Faraway lights are twinkling through the cloud cover.

There is a mobile tea stall (in the boot of a car), where we slurp cups of hot, masala chai. We walk up and down, exclaiming at everything.

After all, we are not up in the clouds often..!

The simple and the familiar


Mother Nature has her own rhythm. The universe is unfolding as it should. The sun rises, day dawns, the sun sets, the moon rises, the tides change, stars twinkle and night arrives. The cycle keeps repeating – there is a comfort in this rhythm, in this routine; whatever be our problem, we believe that a new day will bring new hope and light into our lives.

While this is the global rhythm, each of us also has an everyday rhythm. Things that are familiar and keep repeating in our everyday routine. Things that we consciously or unconsciously look for, and derive comfort from.

It can be the gentle thud of the newspaper hitting your porch, or the old man who walks around the area below your home every morning. It can be the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, or the way a particular bird visits the tree near your house at precisely the same time every morning.

It can be the woman with the red handbag, whom you meet on the train every morning or the security guard who  shouts out a cheery hello when you leave the building everyday.

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It can be a tilted roadsign, or a curve in the road. It can be that cheerful little cottage on the way to your office or the noisy bunch of teenagers who board the train everyday.

It can be the way the office smells when you sit at your desk. It can be that blank feeling as you wait for your laptop to boot for the day.

It can be the familiarity of walking down with your colleagues for lunch, or walking back to work with a cup of your favourite coffee.

These are the small everyday things that give shape and structure to our day. When things are not going too well, these familiar tasks and sights give us something to hold on to.

Simple, familiar things.