A simple filter


I am home by 7 pm most evenings, when my family envelops me and becomes my world – where my routine revolves around school work, dinner and banter.

But over the last few days, I have been out later than usual, and have been in the central business district on some errand or the other.

Daylight is breathtakingly beautiful, twilight and the star-studded sky are both stunning, but man-made skyscrapers glittering like jewels at night, their backs tall and proud, astound me. I am enticed by this shimmering spectacle of buildings, their reflections bouncing and gently undulating in the water in the bayfront.

Joggers are pounding the pavement, people are heading home from work, tourists are caught up in the magic, and their cameras go click, click, click.

Christmas decorations are everywhere. Twinkling baubles of red and green, silver and blue. There is magic and hope in the air.

The world is alive and bustling. I am so caught up in all the bustle. Cars are like streamers on the road; and people are walking, talking into their phones.

There is a lone bicycle parked on the pavement. The benches are wet, testimony to the heavy rain that lashed all afternoon.

I keep taking pictures. I click this one.

I change the filter on my phone camera to black and white, and click again. The scene transforms into something even more magical.

There is only black and white. The same scene, but so different. I keep looking at the colour image and then the black and white.

While the colour image is vibrant and lively, the black and white image is somehow simpler and clearer.

And, as I head back, I liken these two images to our life. Sometimes it is so difficult to cut through all the noise and colour in our lives, to clearly see what matters.

Maybe we just need a simple filter to see things clearly in black and white, cut out all the things that do not matter and focus on the things that really do!

Another Day Begins


I am on my morning walk.  I enjoy the cool air as it envelopes my face.  The Sun is still an orange tinge on the horizon.

I see other joggers and walkers.  Some are techie-joggers, they have devices strapped to their arms and their wrists, measuring various parameters.  They are on a mission, say their serious faces, burn, calorie, burn.

Cute little dogs are on their morning walks too, pausing here, sniffing there, enjoying the smells of dawn.  Their owners stretch themselves, sometimes walking, sometimes trotting with their pets.

The drone of vehicles has started on the main road, as I leave our building. Early morning office-goers, trim and proper, in their formal attire, well groomed and ready to take on the day, with their laptops and papers and smartphones.

School-going children waiting at the bus stops for their buses. Teens listening to music, the younger ones chattering away, some other ones still half-asleep, clinging to their moms.

The last-minute breakfast-munchers, quickly biting into a sandwich, as they get ready to take on their day.

One set of people going into the tube station, one set coming out, both sets in a hurry, smoking, eating, talking into their phones, but hurrying.

The newspaper vendor, doing brisk business, as everybody wants to know what’s happened in the world, while they slept on.

The caffeine-lovers, who sip large-size take-away coffees, as they walk.  I want my coffee too, but I have to finish my morning beat.

When I reach the stadium, all these thoughts vanish, as I watch people whizzing past, walking at alarming speeds, jogging and some even sprinting.  A few stretch, a few curl, a few twist, a few climb, a few hang….on the exercise bars.

I join the ‘serious‘ now. Meeting my fitness goals for the day. The Sun is up and about.  I finish. I guzzle water.

I head back home.  The frantic office-goers are now replaced by older folk, who are on their morning walk; men and women walk back, swinging their tennis or badminton rackets, after energetic games.

The vehicles are noisier, the Sun is warmer, the trees are greener, the wind is warm.  I reach home. I measure, I note.

I turn my attention to the rest of my day.