Categories
poems

Pray for Lebanon

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, Bhopal, Beirut

IMG_20200806_005425_138.jpg

IMG_20200806_005425_137.jpg

Categories
animals birds climate change nature travel

Antarctica 2020

From past few months I am binge watching many documentaries presented by Sir David Attenborough, aired on Sony BBC Earth. Since that’s the only way for me stay connected to nature in this Covid-19 crisis (ah! I don’t like to mention this word) Listening to his meticulous narration about the secrets of our earth and life around us, I developed a special corner for the Antarctic region.

Since I live in a hot and humid environment, it is quite obvious for me to get attracted to icy regions! The grand icebergs which are at a distance of around 11,738 km from Mumbai are melting my heart away.

I have a very sedentary lifestyle. I have a 9 to 7 job, spend my weekends with family or friends. I’m just a simple citizen minding my own business. But I have a heart. I have eyes and ears that see and listen to the atrocities of human encroachment crippling the natural cycles. And what worsens my condition is my lack of knowledge about the consequences of my actions or inaction with respect to climate change. I have always wondered how a common person like myself can participate in this fight for a better environment.

So I try to keep myself updated with events happening around the world that create awareness about climate change. And that’s how I came to know about SeaLegacy.

On their official website you can check more about their work.

SeaLegacy has initiated a petition to protect the Southern Ocean by creating three vital marine protected areas in Antarctica in 2020.

I follow one of the co-founders of the organisation on Instagram, Paul Nicklen and it is from one of his instagram stories I got to know about this petition.

This is the first ever petition I have signed. And I was having qualms about posting it publicly on WordPress because I’m a little bit skeptical when it comes to signing a petition for any cause. Firstly because I may not completely know the consequences of me signing that petition, secondly because of fear of breach of private data and thirdly because I personally do not know who started the petition and what are his / her real intentions for starting it (yeah the third point is a bit political).

So what convinced me to sign this petition? Well I did go through the Instagram profiles of the founders, googled a bit about them, went through their website and found it convincing and important. I felt, yes in this way I could do something good. Well this may seem like I’m boasting about myself, but I felt like I must spread the word.

So if you would also like to know more about this petition and would also like to sign it, click here https://www.only.one/act/antarctica.

In my own city, I’m already observing some deviations in the monsoon cycles. The season started with a cyclone Nisarga( which is not a normal natural phenomenon) and now the rainfall is not satisfactory. Whereas some areas of India are experiencing really bad flood conditions. From past one week I’m seeing clear blue skies and scorching heat as if it was the month of March. If rains are not satisfactory, then it will completely dismantle the agriculture sector. Once the agricultural sector is affected, every common person is affected.

Climate change is real. It has become part of our lives. And now we want to run away from it, it’s not going to be easy.

 

Photo courtesy : WordPress free photos library

 

 

 

 

Categories
lifestyle nature photos spirituality travel

Patterns

Nature is the only beauty.

Categories
lifestyle motivation nature perfection photos poems spirituality strength

The first artist

Sometimes I think about the first artist
Who thought about taking a stone in his hand
And carving every leaf that falls on the ground
The first artist who was inspired by the rains
Who was inspired by the life around him
Who felt that innate connection with the soul of this universe
I think about the feeling that prompted him to connect with a withering flower
What allowed him to see beauty in those drying petals
In those colours around him that changed with every season
I wonder about the scent of fresh air he might have inhaled,
I wonder what he felt about the stars above his head
What he thought about this hide and seek of day and night,
I wonder how he construed the phases of moon,
The beauty of the sky at twilight
Simply beautiful!

Categories
lifestyle motivation nature perfection photos poems spirituality strength

Minuscule

Like a grain of sand on the beach,

We are all just small particles in the vastness of this universe,

Accept it humbly,

It’s not a choice

But the only way.

Categories
books Feminism lifestyle motivation perfection strength

10 life lessons learnt in 25 years

Hello everyone! Hope you all are doing well. I pray that God gives you the strength to overcome all your challenges! I’m quite happy today because this was my birthday week! I honestly hadn’t expected so many people to wish me, (because I’m a bit introvert) but this year was different!

So this was my 25th birthday! Woo!! Feels like I’m aging 😂! Well I already have one or two grey hair. So maybe yes! (I don’t fear wrinkles, but dark circles are not welcomed)

Many of my friends have got married, some have kids (hats off to them, I can’t handle my own mood and they are handling their kids), whereas some are pursuing their Masters degrees. What I’m doing? Rocking my pyjamas and writing this blog whilst sipping my coffee!

Of the 25 years, the past 10 years have been quite transforming. Because it was in these years we need to choose our career, college and the perfect job.

I guess I’m missing something!

How can I forget the irresistible urge to find the perfect life partner 😉! And then once we are done with this treasure hunt of finding the one, who’ll stay with us until the day we replace our original teeth with dentures, it occurs to us that relationships aren’t just about celebrating anniversaries!

Each of us have been through some bad stuff and in the process have learnt a few lessons, so here’s my list of 10 lessons I have learnt in the past 25 years!

In this blog, I would be emphasizing more on the points I learnt as a growing woman.

1. Know your finances!

There is nothing in this world that can argue with this point. Financial independence is must. Early financial independence much better. I started working at the age of 20, which is quite common. But I would suggest if we start working a bit early, maybe by 18 or 19 years of age, could be a part time job related to the field you are studying or would like to make a career in that field. Or it could be any job like at a cake store or any kind of simple job that you can handle along with your studies, projects, assignments. The money you would save from these jobs would help you to pursue your masters degrees or maybe you could do something else, like visit the place you have always wanted to travel to!

2. Take up internships

Suppose that in your vicinity there isn’t any job opening for a part time job. So it’s completely alright to do an unpaid internship, if you can afford to do. If it’s paid well and good. Doing an internship while being in the second or final year of college can help you prepare for the bigger world outside your college. Let me know in the comments below your experience at your first internship / job!

3. Find a good friend before you find a boyfriend

We are living in an age where guidance is equal to Google! But having a real person to guide you is anytime better. Now this person could be your friend, anyone from the family or from your college or workplace. And only you have the power to find the right mentor for yourself. Sometimes we might find things around ourselves a bit blurry, during such times it is always beneficial to have atleast one person who can help calm down our mind.

4. Watch your money!

In the initial days of your career it is important to have a budget, a practical budget that includes all the expenses that you must do to carry on your daily life. Now the reason I am advocating for a budget right from the initial days, so that it becomes a habit. This habit will help you to take better financial decisions in your life ahead.

5. Grow your savings

So you have got your first job, which could be your dream job, you are earning a decent salary and you also spend your money wisely. But what do you do with your savings? Now this is a very subjective question. Because each of us have different aims to achieve with our savings. But if in case you’re not much aware about the many long and short term options where you can invest your money, you should start educating yourself. I want to make it very clear here, I only want to encourage you to keep yourself updated with available options, where you can grow your saved money. As a beginner you would want to keep your money safe, so search for options wherein you can earn a decent interest but at the same time your principal investment stays intact. Once you know how the financial markets work, you can go for advanced options like mutual funds, stocks and bonds. Along with investment, insurance is also an important topic to which I would like to draw your attention. If in case you are the sole earning member of your family, having a medical insurance is helpful. Remember these are crucial decisions and need guidance from experts before you put your hard earned money anywhere.

6. Health is wealth

So we discussed a lot about the money matters, let’s discuss now about our real wealth, our health. I think female health is the least discussed topic in the context of feminism. We talk about our right to wear whatever we want, but hardly about our menstrual health. It is very important to track our periods. Our periods are the indicator of our health. If you are missing your periods for 3 consecutive months, you need to see a gynaecologist. Similarly, if you are experiencing excess bleeding during your periods, you must see a gynaecologist. Periods are not just an indicator of our fertility (and I hate it when people look at our uterus only as a baby making machine) but are also an indicator of our overall health. Here is a simple blog that outlines the importance of regular periods.

7. Get some sweat!

Well this point makes me ponder what are your favourite physical activities? Let me know in the comments below. My personal favourite is Yoga. Because it’s very economical. At the most I require a yoga mat. I can do it at my home, at my own pace and there are many YouTube and Instagram channels for guidance(all for free). Some two years back I had enrolled into a 6 months yoga session and that’s where my interest started developing. Here are two Instagram accounts I would like to recommend, Adell Bridges and Hannah Barrett.

8. Keep your hobbies alive!

Once we enter our 20s it becomes a bit difficult to keep up with our hobbies. We have many other priorities to be fulfilled and in this race the one thing that’s close to our heart, our hobbies are left behind. Wherever you are in your life, whatever be your hobby, take out some time for yourself atleast on your weekends.

9. To be in good books!

Sounds very cliche, right? But it is most useful advice one can give to anyone. Tell your friends to read books and tell strangers as well. I’m sure both of them will receive this advice happily. Which books should you read? It’s completely your choice, there is a book for every reader. Reading makes you curious, makes you question things around you, makes you sensitive towards others and the list goes one!

10. Backpacking my own city

I’m missing all those places I have travelled to in my city. All those small cafes, those narrow lanes, the commute through local trains, the museums and art exhibitions! I pray the world recovers from this current crisis as soon as possible. It is very helpful if you know the hidden corners of your own city, maybe some gemstones are hiding in those corners!

11. The eleventh point

Life is short but don’t make it even more shorter by rushing for instant happiness. Take time. Understand. Cry if you wish to, don’t if you don’t want to. But don’t rush for anything. Don’t rush for the perfect relationship. Don’t rush for the perfect life. Try to accept the beauty of life in it’s slowness, in it’s randomness. As an introvert it becomes tough to get along with random people, situations and places. A strange kind of anxiety strikes in our minds and we become repulsive and aggressive. Use this spike in anxiety for your benefit. Question things, but don’t run for answers. Just wait for them. I’m not against taking efforts to understand life, but don’t break yourself completely for a few heart breaks. Your every emotion is true, your every action had a reason. But life is unpredictable. This is a lesson I’m learning presently. And I’m sure there are many more lessons on their way!

There are many more points I would love to write but I wish to keep them for another blog. It’s better to not over stuff our minds!

Have a great weekend!

Stay calm

Best wishes,

Akshaya!

Categories
food lifestyle nature travel

Five travel bloggers to follow on YouTube and Instagram!

With Instagram and YouTube becoming a part of our daily lives, there has been a tremendous upsurge in the number of people taking up travel vlogging as their full time profession. Travel vlogging isn’t an easy profession. It looks interesting but at the same time requires a specific skill set. From photography to writing, to budgeting and marketing! But as audience we aren’t much aware about the efforts these vloggers take just so that we could see this enigmatic world around us!

Personally, I watch these videos for two reasons, one to observe various cultures around the world and two to escape from my own monotonous 9 to 5 life! There are hundreds and thousands of channels on YouTube and Instagram to follow and here are my personal favorites!

Eva zu Beck

I just love her! Such a lively personality! She travels some of the most remote areas from the plains of Mongolia to the pristine island of Socotra! The first ever travel video I saw from her channel was about her visit to Syria. I like to read and watch about history and maybe that’s why YouTube recommended me her Vlog channel. Her travel videos are full of adventure and surprises. She easily connects with the local people and that’s why her videos are worth watching.

Vagabrothers

Vagabrothers is a story of two vibrant young men Alex and Marko, immersing around the world cultures from Uzbekistan to Argentina! The best part about their travel videos is the awesome views they share. I’m not an expert in photography, but I can definitely see a visible difference in the way they shoot their videos. The colours, the light and their description about the place is really very intriguing. Both of them have different personalities and this add more to the beauty of their videos. Their travel videos show a perfect balance of historical narratives of that particular place along the modern version. PS : I have a little bit of crush on Marko❤️😀

Mountain trekker

The best part about his videos, he speaks in Hindi! (English subtitles are available) Varun Vagish’s travel videos have a sweet simplicity. In his videos along with travelling, he also guides future travellers about how to visit the place on a restricted budget. If he makes a 15 minutes video, he devotes atleast 5 minutes in how to reach the place, accomodation options as per our budget, safety measures to be taken while travelling to a particular place, the dos and don’ts and a lot more. So he provides a complete package of excitement along with some useful travel hacks. Checkout his series on Turkey to get some amazing tips on how to travel in Turkey✌️

Rick Steve’s Europe

In case you aren’t much of an adventure freak and would rather love to go for simple walks and good food, Rick Steve’s Europe is the best YouTube channel to follow. His videos focus on the historical, architectural and cultural backgrounds of the countries in Europe. From Scotland to Sicily, to the heart of Portugal, Rick Steve’s travel videos serve not just the entertainment purpose but also the education purpose. His videos are very informative. Huge respect for him!

Kirsten and Joerg

Now here is a completely peaceful and romantic genre of travel vlog. Kirsten and Joerg are a lovely couple living in UK and showing us some of most rustic and fairytale kind of villages from the UK! Checkout their blissful cottage video in Devon! It was because of this video that made me fall in love with their YouTube channel 😍!

 

These are my top five recommendations about travel bloggers. I would like to extend this series of top five for some other topics as well. My only motto for writing this blog was to appreciate the efforts that they are putting in making their videos. Although all the above travellers belong to different countries and have their own style of vlogging, there is one common thing about their videos.

They are spreading love. Many of the countries they travel to are having a certain perception in the minds of general public. Their videos are helping to bring about a change in the way we see the world. A big thank you to all of them!

Have a good weekend!

Stay calm and keep reading my blog!

Best wishes,

Akshaya!

 

Categories
motivation nature poems spirituality strength

Life of a decaying leaf

Life of a decaying leaf
Is eternal
In this mortal universe,
Where the stars can die
A mosaic of light and darkness
The Creator who is Humble
Unknown
And hidden
The life of a decaying leaf is eternal
In this never ending vastness
A canvas beyond our conscience
Our consciousness
Is a startling puzzle
When nothing around makes sense to me
I stare at this decaying leaf
And I feel,
A decaying leaf makes more sense than anything else around me

© Akshaya

Categories
books Feminism motivation poems strength

Women behind the camera

I was 18 when Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first female photojournalist passed away i.e in the year 2012. It was the news of her death that introduced me to such a simple and powerful woman. I was surprised and equally felt bad for my own self, that I got to know about her so late.

I am not sure when and how the camera was invented. I tried searching for some reliable resources on internet to share on my blog, but I didn’t find any. Instead I found an interesting website of the world’s first photographs.

So what is a camera? A device that clicks photos, right? Well that’s how many of us understand it. If you are looking for more detailed answer, like 1000 words answer on how camera actually creates a sharp image, here is a site for you!

I wonder if Homai Vyarawalla thought the same about cameras! She was the first Indian woman in the 1940s capturing the most iconic images of Indian Freedom history and remember all of this in a saree.

Today in 2020, almost 80 years later, the cameras have changed, times have changed and a saree is reserved only for special occasions like weddings.

One palpable change can be seen in the subject (or objects) used for photography. Photography is broadly used for two things first for journalism (showing the true face of the society) and second for advertisement which means showing the truth (or untruth) is a better way! Both the fields rely more or less on the same equipment, but have different goals to achieve. Now a camera is also used in the film industry, but for now we shall keep it out of our sight.

From the black and white era we have come to the era of Instagram, where pictures speak more than words. And sometimes they make the words go speechless. And in this paradigm shift, the subject or object of photography is turning a bit more feminine.

Homai Vyarawalla was a woman behind the camera, capturing the reality through her lens. Her subject was the society, which included men, women, rich and poor.

But today’s photography preaches women more as an object, from an advertising aspect. Maybe I am not aware about today’s women who are behind the cameras, giving directions. If you know about any such women please enlighten me about the same in the comments below.

The same social media has definitely helped women to raise their voices, talk about topics as natural as periods. But we would want this strength to spread beyond the social media, to places where it has not yet reached. Like the women making ends meet in the rural areas, the women of the previous generation (our mothers, grandmothers), women who could not complete their education and are now compelled to work on unfair daily wages.

#feminism is good for spreading awareness and at the same time helps business giants formulate their marketing strategies. #feminism promotes women power and also cosmetic products at the same time.

Real power lies in giving directions, taking up responsibility, learning from mistakes and moving on!

Wishing you all a happy weekend!

Best wishes,

Akshaya!

Categories
books Feminism motivation poems strength

Broken Wings by Khalil Gibran

Love. Some hearts feel empowered with love and some hearts experience death with loss of love. Reading Broken Wings has introduced me to the latter. But this book is not only about love, but also about the strength and fragility of human heart. Although the narrative is from writer’s perspective, readers can still feel a direct connect with the female protagonist, Selma Karamy.

I want to delve more into the character of Selma. I want to compare her stand with the modern day woman. The book was published in Arabic language in the year 1912. The story is set up in the city of Beirut.

In the story Selma marries a man against her choice. She accepts her fate. She loves the narrator, the lead man of the story. But she had to marry a man who belonged to the rich influential class of the society. She didn’t argue with anyone, not with her father for allowing this marriage or with the society for arranging the marriage. She silently allowed all of them to mould her youth, with fire, which in the end melted away.

21st century women would find all of this annoying.

21st century women are educated and financially independent. But does that mean we have earned everything? Well that’s another topic for a detailed discussion. This story was set in the 20th century. But Selma was educated and well mannered. She complied to all the conventional rules and didn’t let her conscience rule her actions.

Now the part that intrigues me is does this difference in the centuries matter? When I look around myself I do see educated women, but I see that their education is valued, partially. It is valued when the woman earns for her family but I’m afraid that her liberalised thoughts are valued.

So how different is the 21st century woman from Selma? We are powerful but partially. Because many of our sisters are still following the fate of Selma.

In the story ahead, Selma does become pregnant with the child of her husband. What entails in the story further, you must read it directly from the book.

I want to bring your attention towards the least discussed topic, our right to have a child or not have a child. Selma hoped for a better life if she had a child of her own. Nowadays women think it’s better to not have a child for a better life ahead. Times have changed. This by no way means to demoralise women who wish to have a child.

Selma Karamy had the strength to accept all the sharp arrows of life.

Whereas the 21st century woman has the strength to defend herself with the shield of her education and confidence.

Best wishes

Akshaya!