Places in my heart (contd.)

Away from city’s madness…

Living in a city is good and comfortable at times. But at times it drives one crazy, and I just long to escape into Nature’s lap. Once there, it feels so natural to be there, to live amidst greenery, lakes and forests. It makes me feel so alive and each moment feels sharper and crisper. It is like viewing a movie in HD quality instead of a low resolution one. And I realize how much happier one can be in the natural surroundings; one just blends into the overall picture, and boundaries start blurring. You expand.. This expansion (of the consciousness) becomes a spiritual experience if it’s felt for a sufficient time. It’s really hard to feel the expansion on a short weekend break. One needs time to shed one’s inhibitions and prejudices before merging oneself with the surroundings. You need time to let go certain things acquired by living in the city. The feeling of being “separate” from everything must go. The worries, the tensions, must go. And they do go! And then you realize how small and insignificant they can be when laid against the backdrop of majestic nature. It is not that the worries or problems do not matter for us any longer. It is just that they become smaller than us…because our consciousness begins to expand… Needless to say that, solutions to problems, insights, realizations dawn upon us in peaceful, quiet natural places. The mind slowly becomes peaceful like a lake with still water, reflecting only the surrounding landscape and beauty!

Later, gratitude comes into the picture. That is the next level. It needs time to get to this level: feeling gratitude for one’s life and blessings, for problems and confusions, for one’s dear people and so on..the list could be endless..

Lessons learned

Once sitting on a rock in a very beautiful natural place, I was constantly bitten by mosquitoes. The sun was rising and the early morning air was still damp. After some time of battling the mosquitoes and trying to cover myself with some shawl, I finally gave up! I felt- “let them bite, let them be. I cannot afford to leave this great place because of them”! After some time, as the sun rose I was lost in the beauty and the mosquitoes left me in peace. They made me focus on my surroundings as I could not do anything else with them! It was a moment of bliss, understanding and gratitude. Such small lessons keep happening when you are in the wild, away from the “civilized” world..

Coming back to city feels like coming out of a dream. And those small things appear to be magical and wonderful. I start missing so many things when away from Mother Nature. I miss things like: walking on the sand, on big and small rocks; climbing uphill and then stopping to catch my breath; the rustle of autumn leaves under my feet (in Russia); the forest that smells of different plants unknown to me; hugging trees, touching new leaves; a swim in a natural lake; chirping of the birds especially in the mornings and evenings, the breeze blowing in my hair, the blue – blue sky and so much more..

When camping in a forest area there are other experiences full of learning and fun. Like many times due to rainy weather we could not light a fire because all wood became wet. Finally someone would light the fire with help of a kerosene tablet and old newspaper. Could there be something more joyful at that time than the sight of fire? So would be with tea, hot food or even plain biscuits.. All work is done differently than in a comfortable home kitchen. You have to make an effort for every small thing- starting from lighting the fire, bringing water and making tea over the camp fire. And then you savor and cherish every bite. And feel genuinely happy for each bite – amazing feeling! A forgotten feeling in our daily city lives, full of comfort and instant solutions for every need… To experience Gratitude one must go through difficulties in the materialistic plane (I am not suggesting to leave the civilization completely!))

 

Another magical moment when camping is putting up a tent and organizing your tiny living space. If you have seen a camping tent you know that it is packed into a small bundle. Once you install, it becomes your home – your home for those few days; a very delicate house that could be blown away by a strong breeze or could get wet in a heavy rain. And yet, with all its vulnerable properties it is a HOME. And inside you feel safe and warm. Once lying in my sleeping bag it dawned upon me that what a thin piece of material separates me from the outside world. And what surprised me was the fact that this thin piece is ENOUGH..just enough! I do not need bricks and wood or cement to make a wall around myself; because I do not need much protection. I am already protected, unlike when I am in the city. There are no real dangers amidst Nature. I trust my surroundings, they can not do me harm! I feel the importance of what the camping tent taught me – walls need not be THICK and SOLID to make one feel safe, they can be FLUID and FLEXIBLE! And if some day you decide that you do not need them at all it is easy to remove them.. A flexible home could lead to a flexible mind..)))

I would suggest anyone who wants to get rid of some fears in social life to try camping once. A very useful experience is to live in a thin camping tent and be close to Mother Earth for some time.

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And so, it leads me to a thought that there must be something like “Travel Therapy” (TT)!!! I am sure it is a therapy or a learning course, training in life skills – whatever you call it. It is something anyone could do. It need not be a very far place from your home. But it must be a peaceful, clean natural place. It would greatly help to connect to yourself. Stay alone or take just two or three like minded people who feel a similar need. Give time to yourself. Travel not only for the sake of seeing new PLACES; travel also for the sake of seeing YOURSELF in those places blended in the surroundings. That might bring you to a new level of awareness. It will expand the mind and one’s perceptions of life. And only when you EXPAND there is more space. And, that SPACE can be filled with LOVE in your heart. I think, a journey is complete when it fills your heart with more love than before you set out! And thus, TT has served its purpose!

Text and photos: Copyright © June 2017 Inesa Sinha

 

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Places in my heart

Places….there are places that leave an impression in your heart. Places that somehow touched you or changed something in you or your thought process. Places that gifted you great beauty. Places that played a role in meeting someone. All these wonderful destinations! I feel lucky that all these years I was able to travel and see many places on Mother Earth. These travels let me know Her and myself better.

Continue reading “Places in my heart”

Why I love to travel

Some time back, I was sitting at a jazz concert in a beautiful grand hall of Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg. I love jazz music, and went to a concert after a long time. Apart from listening to the lovely music I was admiring the hall and its decor. The architectural style seemed to be a Baroque one with elements of Rococo. The four huge crystal chandeliers looked just like one sees in the Hermitage museum (St.Petersburg, Russia) and other palaces. The main staircase also reminded the ones I see in numerous palaces, only sans the golden and elaborated decor present there.

So, here I was sitting and having a double treat – music plus architecture, a treat to eyes, ears and the heart. And then it struck me that why I love to travel. Rather, one of the things I love about traveling; it is not just the passion to get on a journey, or see new places. It is also to see HOMES and BUILDINGS in other places. So, I realized that one of the first things I see when I land in new places are houses and buildings. I just love to see how and where people live; how the homes are shaped and decorated. How the cafes, shops or museums are planned. What are the solutions for interior design in different parts of the world? All of this enchants me and is stored somewhere in my mind. So, it becomes really exciting to see all this in other countries or cities or villages.

Love for architecture, homes and interiors meets my passion for travel. And that’s how they get enriched with each other. I decided to start this blog right there during the concert to share my observations while I travel or while I stay at home.

Copyright © April 2017 Inesa Sinha

Small places…happy life

The benefits and joys of living in small places!

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Since, last three – four years I have been spending some time living in a small village in Kerala. It is countryside by the Arabian Sea. Tired of living in a megapolis for many years, I return here in the winters and experience a life which I used to dream long ago. So, here is my list of what makes me so happy living in a small, slow paced village:

  • You meet like minded people very soon and easily
  • No need to spend time and energy in traveling from one end of the city to the other. No painful traffic jams
  • Less crowds in public places like shops, banks, clinic etc.
  • Easy to talk to anyone, people are mostly in a relaxed mode, not in so much hurry
  • You keep meeting known people on the beach at the local shop, at the temple, at a bus stop…gives a feeling of being connected to one another
  • You are closer to nature, the air is fresh and the body is much more rested than in the city
  • Mind is more peaceful, more relaxed
  • Spontaneous happiness is possible- some wishes materialize much faster here, I guess because of a more pure atmosphere…
  • Connecting to your inner self is easier. Self -awareness level increases
  • People smile more!

A Midsummer night’s dream

This summer I am in India and getting some sleep at nights! Unlike the summers spent in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where the nights are not meant for sleeping… because I am talking of the white nights phenomenon. The northern pole and countries like Norway get 6 months of day and then another 6 months of night. As we come down from north to Nordic countries like Sweden, Finland and parts of Russia this phenomenon gets less. Still what we get in Saint Petersburg are the white nights, starting from May and ending by early July. The days get longer, and in May itself it gets dark only after 8-9 pm. By June 21st when the day is longest the sun hardly sets for 2 hours at about 2 am. This way one can literally read a book at night without using a lamp. The best part is that when you return home after work it is still day time. One feels the day hasn’t finished yet.

People, both native and tourists eagerly wait for this time of the year. Needless to say it is the most exciting time. Tourists flock Saint Petersburg; there are crowds of people everywhere during the night time as well. One has the advantage of a long day to see so many places in the city and the suburbs. Saint Petersburg is situated on the banks of river Neva which flows right through its center. A boat cruise on this river and its adjoining canals surely promises to be a romantic one! Another tour which is a must for any tourist is a night bus tour like “Saint Petersburg in White Nights”.

The numerous bridges across the Neva river have a system of opening up at nights to let the navigation pass. It is almost a mystical sight when the dark silhouettes of a bridge begin to move upwards and one sees two halves of the bridge standing upright. The bridges continue this opening – closing every night throughout the summer and autumn till November. Once winter sets in and the river gets frozen, navigation stops. The schedule of opening and closing of all major and beautiful bridges are published in the newspapers. So a person can plan his sightseeing at night keeping in mind that one can cross a bridge only at a particular time of night.

The only constraint for people who don’t own a car is the metro. The metro closes by 12.50 am and opens at 5.30 am. So if you miss the last train be prepared to spend the summer night on streets or in a park. Some cafes, bars, disco clubs are open 24 hours. So if one has company it’s not so tough to spend the time after seeing the bridges do their open-close act.

Another thing one should not miss is the numerous festivals organized during the white nights. For Russian ballet lovers there is the great ballet festival at the world famous Mariinsky theatre (formerly known as the Kirov theatre). One can watch the stars of Russian ballet and enjoy the grand interiors of this imperial theatre as well. For music lovers there are several classical and light music festivals. Jazz and blues fans can hang out at the open air concerts, usually organized in some park.

Numerous big and small events are organized almost daily in the city. But one must keep in mind that it’s better to buy tickets in advance for the major events (one can also book them through the net). Saint Petersburg being the cultural capital of Russia often runs out of the tickets.

So with some planning one can have a great time. Saint Petersburg is often called “Venice of the north”. Rightly said, because it has more than 100 canals, bridges, great architectures and many more buildings built by Italian architects. The city has barely a 300 years old history (it was founded in 1703), but it has inspired numerous poets, painters, writers, musicians, dancers and thinkers. And the white night is the inspiration of all inspirations for any person who can admire beauty.

Inesa Sinha
(Saint Petersburg, Russia)


published first on  http://www.worldwithoutobstacles.org    (see Articles)

History Deflects

History Deflects

Today is 12th may 2270 AD. I am writing this story with a thing which they called in olden days a “pen”. This pen was made in and has ink which never gets dry. It belonged to my great grand father.

Well, now it is time for me to start my story. It was the great event of 2212 AD. It happened in the month of May: – WATER ON EARTH FINISHED!

We, the homo- sapiens have gone beyond the limits of development. Scientists produced such things which no one could imagine even in the 21st century. Though man progressed greatly, he still was a man. And for a man it is natural to make an error. Man committed a great error as a result of which water on earth completely finished.

We invented some machines which could produce rivers out of a drop of water. But the problem was: – there wasn’t even a drop of water left on earth.

Next, our great robots suggested making water out of hydrogen and oxygen. But there was no oxygen as we had used it all up in burning processes in our factories. We had a great robot named “Emero”. The very minute water and oxygen finished (they finished at the same time), he produced an artificial atmosphere for the people to survive. They needed oxygen to live.

So, the robot manufactured a gas in the artificial atmosphere called “Artoxon”, equivalent to oxygen. Though it could support human life, it could not help in producing water.

How long could people live without water? Something had to be done.

This time again “Emero” contributed to the lives of humans. He proposed to shift to Venus, the nearest planet to us. We had found 25 more new planets in our solar system. Out of them man could live on eight of them. Venus being the nearest to us, it was most suitable for us to shift there.

There was a bridge between Earth and Venus. People crossed it by a super fast train. The journey took only two days to reach the planet. But it was a very hard journey. Thousands of people could not withstand the rigors of this journey. The journey claimed many lives. The “Artoxon” (gas which supports life), was not enough to supply it to every man, and moreover, the stock of food was not sufficient.

Thus, finally man himself murdered the earth with his unlimited desire for progress. He deserted the earth which had served him for more than three billion years.

Now, when I gaze at the sky in search of the “deserted planet”, I ponder over this problem – how long will we live on Venus? Perhaps, time will come when we shall leave this planet too. But till then the new history of mankind begins on Venus.

By Inesa Sinha, (written when I was a student of class eight)