Travel Shot: The orange smiley

A rainy day in September 2011. It is mid-morning and I have just completed a climb of the Pavagadh Hill to visit the Mahakalika Temple on its summit. It has been a tough and painful climb, partly because of the steep steps, and partly because of a sprained ankle. By the time I finish with the darshan at the temple, I am quite bad-tempered with pain and just want to get back to my hotel room and rest my ankle.

I decide to take the cable car back to the base and as I make my way to the cable car station, I see something that stops me. It is a smile. A beautiful smile beaming away at me from a small roadside shrine built under a tree. It is a smile that literally shines and sparkles amidst other expressionless, almost dour faces surrounding it. It is an open, wide and  happy smile, and one so infectious that I forget my painful ankle and smile back in turn.

Roadside shrine, Pavagadh

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What do you want in 2012?

“What do you want in 2012?” is a question that I keep getting asked these days, reminding me that it is that time of the year.

It’s that time of the year to reflect on the year gone by, and the time to re-imagine the new year to come. It’s the time to look back in order to look ahead, the time of the year, when old gives way to new. It’s that time of the year for hope and good wishes. It’s that time of the year when some people make resolutions, and some people do not. Now I’m not a resolutions or reflections type of person. Sure, I’m the type who learns from mistakes and errors and positive stuff as well, but I’m also the type who takes life as it comes. So every New Year / birthday would see me just shake my head to such questions and not answer them.

But somehow this year I feel different. I feel like answering the question. Perhaps, because I am one year older, but more, perhaps, because this year has been like no other—a year of personal loss, self-discovery through my first solo travel experiences, expanding my world through blogging and meeting fellow bloggers face to face, winning the first prize in a blogging contest, and so much more.

It’s New Year’s day today, and yes that time of the year. A short while back, when a friend called to wish me, she also asked: “What do you want in 2012?”

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Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?

There is political correctness and then there is political correctness, but of the absurd kind. Wishing people Happy Holidays, instead of Merry Christmas belongs to the latter category. In the mistaken spirit of secularising everything for fear of offending those not celebrating the festival, the whole idea of wishing someone has been trivialized.

Christmas at Covent Garden, London December 2008. I will always remember this Christmas for the lovely music played at street corners, for walks in brightly lit streets of London, and of course drinking mulled wine 🙂

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