Monthly Archives: November 2013

17 again

I feel 17 again. It’s already so cold here but it rained as well; the temperature dropped, the drizzles ballooned, the winds went racing, and my warm layers weren’t nearly warm enough. Instead of challenging my adrenaline and hiking up a fell, I modified my plans and stayed in; not at the cottage but inside a bus. No matter how severe the conditions but I could never waste a day sitting inside; I’d regret it too much. Now there are some special circumstances when staying in proves to be a bit better plan but nope, today was not that day.

I shivered while handing over the ticket to the driver and chose to sit towards the back where the seats are elevated and the view panoramic. The cheap plastic lid didn’t work and I had to hold the coffee upright at all times. For every sip I took, a sip leaked on my hand, my sweater, my scarf, and even my boots. The bus started from Keswick and went to Penrith, on to the Pooley Bridge, and towards the cows at Glenridding. I had an urge to inhale to the limit, squeeze my abs and step outside to stroll around but it was much too cold. The lake was a bluish color, not the usual blue you see on the postcards but a different one. A bit of silver, a bit of peacock, I’m unsure. I wanted to capture it permanently but it was much too cold. We then passed a little town called Ullswater, a place that I’d like to call home or at least my time share. The place is simply ‘unspoilt.’

We kept going and reached the farthest point, the point of a required return, Patterdale.

On my way back walking, I stopped at a little Cinderella store called ’17 again’ and bought a slice of the Victorian cake. Three layers of cake rolled in raspberry jam and happily separated by whipped cream. I had been eyeing on this for 2 nights and finally submerged. Then I realized – the anticipation was better.

Anyway, I never thought I could feel 17 again but I do; I’ve had a week-long crush on a certain someone, a crush with a tensile strength of steel. He looks at me with a look of desire, his hair falls over his forehead, his eyes squint wanting to tell me something, and his smile waits for mine. I only knew of his existence a week ago and he is almost fictional but I feel 17 again.

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maroon sweater & dark grey skirt

Since I woke up at 12:48pm and realized that the sun sets around 4:30pm, I wanted to act a bit differently and actually stopped to ask for directions. The girl with a perfect English accent pointed me towards the old Railway road that would eventually lead me towards the Castlerigg Stone Circle. At the time, I was busy buying a coffee and did not focus much on the word ‘eventually.’

And so I started walking towards Castlerigg. The first thing to my right was a school playground crowded with numerous kids wearing maroon sweaters and dark grey pants with not a care in this world. The scenery took me back to the old days when I wore a maroon sweater and dark grey skirt while studying at the St. Paul’s Academy. It was a miracle how I got into those clothes. In hopes of me some day becoming a successful engineer or a doctor of some, or any kind, my Papa dragged me off the bed and towards the toilet, on almost a daily basis. The memory brought back the vicious circle, my undivided attention towards ‘how to miss school today,’ forgetting the PT day, not polishing my sports shoes, missing home works, and all those harsh punishments! Suddenly I remembered Dee Singh, her equally evil sister, her strict mom with a mole over her lips and glasses that brought some serious tremors. I remembered the birthday parties, the games, the reason we separated, and Ranjana – the sweet, innocent, bullied-over girl.

And so I kept walking towards this trail that seemed never-ending. I had questions in my mind but I kept walking. The sun seemed to give in to gravity and the damn circle was nowhere in the horizon. 8 kilometers, several doubts, and possibly all worst-case scenarios later, I found myself finally at the destination. I went back in time and realized how never to trust the English when they say it’s only a walk away. These bastards walk a half-marathon just to buy a loaf of bread! I was just glad I found my way, much before I got lost. Yes, it was true what the girl with a perfect English accent had told me – I’d ‘eventually’ get to the Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Only later is when I realized that it was only 1.7 kilometers away to start with. I was irritated at first, but calmed down realizing how the long walk got me reacquainted with my maroon sweater, dark grey skirt, and the monogram ‘St. Paul’s Academy.’ It was a walk to the Neolithic age, my Neolithic age – the days of Dee Singh.

the Orange

Sitting at a café bar ‘The Orange’ – the band of four cute guys seem to be of the Scottish origin, or at least their music is! I tried to relocate to a table far far away but as luck would have it, they are playing right into my ears. As my luck would also have it, two of the four are super cute and it helps to have had two pints! “Is it alright to place a beer on your table, hope we aren’t bothering you much? Not at all, you four are the heroes tonight!” As I type away, a follow-up question soon followed – “You aren’t a music journalist by any chance, are you?!”

And, that was my cue to blush, laugh, and leave my cheeks flushed. Two of the four are super cute and it helps to have had two pints!

appreciating the afternoon

My pedometer doesn’t lie. I wanted to appreciate the afternoon and stroll by the lake. As soon as I stepped outside, my first view was of the infinite green grass carpet that continued towards where the earth and sky meet. The ground elevated itself into the sky and then hid behind the frothy clouds. Little lambs filled up the pasture like little sprinkles on a butter pecan icecream. The cool winter 1°C breeze turned my nose into a pale pink color while the body warmed up just to overcompensate. It was a perfect demonstration for ones who know my dramatic nose.

grasmere3

I started walking and while my smile touched my eyes, several thoughts kept invading my mind – the bank account, immediate debits & credits, my overall worth, the near future plans, current desires, and the overall purpose. A quick pause and I apologized to myself for digressing off base. I jolted back to the different shades of colors, almost like an artists’ palette. I realized how the idea of a mirror came about – it must have been while looking at your reflection on any of the 20 major lakes in the Cumbrian region.

At times of high stress, I have trouble falling asleep and so I turn towards my iPhone and open an app. I turn on the sounds of a river, the ocean, a flute, and some drops into a bucket. At times, the chimes do the trick. Lake District is where the geniuses came to record those sounds. I found myself standing at a juncture where water was trickling down a little stream into the lake, while the water in the lake made waves, almost jealous of an ocean. The branches swayed and gifted a free ride to the leaves. I stood there and recorded the perfect merger of these sounds, the sounds that we take for granted, the sounds of nature.

I walked, walked some more, and kept on walking. My shins had started to complain but my other senses dominated over. I kept walking, and then I walked some more.

12.8 kilometers. My pedometer doesn’t lie.

in a place like Kendal

On my way from Windermere to Kendal, I spotted a shepherd maneuvering his herd. He didn’t have an iPhone and wasn’t in any sort of hurry. His only worry was the movement of his sheep. He was surrounded by the moist grassland for miles in every direction. The air was oxygen-fresh and the land slithery smooth. I couldn’t observe his facial expressions but I knew right then that all innocent children stories are written here, in a place like Kendal. A sort of place where there is no pressure of deadlines, no worries of pollution, and no sense of crime. Stories so naive, where all humans are created equal and no one is starved. Stories so morally inclined, where the right always beats the wrong and there’s always a lesson to be learned. Stories so heartwarming, where animals play all day and children fall asleep with a soothing smile. Children stories are real and the once upon a time’s and happily ever after’s do exist, in a place like Kendal.

a bus trip to Windermere

One of the toughest decisions of my Saturday morning was what to pack and what not to pack. The book ‘Fifty shades of grey’ – pack, another book ‘The Tipping Point’ – not so much. I do not wish to learn how to excel in my career or further hone my skills when I can experience the rage of hormones and eye on beautiful strangers and later, artistically combine the two in some form or fashion. The warm black coat would be an extra layer of warmth but won’t I just hike around all day? Put it back in the suitcase, Ruhi! The makeup kit – yes! Who knows who I might meet and when I do, I most certainly do not wish to look like Bridget Jones on her ‘Great Depression’ day over Daniel Cleaver or Mr. Darcy. Boots? Too much weight to carry; I’ll just do with my sturdy hiking boots. Laptop? Well yes, how else would I be able to keep you entertained!

So I get ready with my lime green backpack, if you must know, and charged ahead towards the bus station. Bay 25-28 and bus # 324. Five minutes late, and the entire plan would collapse so I hurried and still bought what was the most critical for my bus trip – apples, a bag of chips, and some Moroccan couscous.

In assembly lines / manufacturing, the term ‘bottleneck’ is used quite often. A bottleneck is defined as a phenomenon where the performance or capacity of an entire system is limited by a single or limited number of components or resources. For me, it’s my freaking bladder. Anyone who knows me and knows me well accepts me with my baggage, my bladder. So, after I down a 500ml water bottle, I get up to use the bus toilet only to find out the absolute worst – no toilet paper!

no-toilet-paper

Luckily, we were 2 minutes away from a station so I run and tell every human on the bus to not leave without me. There was an entire conversation behind this incident but I did make the elderly anxious and worried. When I came back to the bus, I was welcomed with a round of applause and multiple expressions of ‘Thanks Heavens!’

I arrived safely in Windermere. My bus trip was at last, successful and my bladder is happy.

business or vacation?

business travel

Business trips create a stir, a stir to your normal routine and a stir to your comfort zone.

I’ve heard some disgusting reviews – “It’s too cold, the weather is yucky, the flight is 11 hours, the food is bland, my body clock gets messed up, I can’t train for my marathon, my dog won’t survive, I miss home, and blah blah blah…”

Business trips work beautifully for me since I’ve always liked to mix it up. I guess I am a fan of chaos. You dread the long flight but there is no better news than to find the seat to your right vacant. Of course, you wait with a heavy heart till the door is locked. You aren’t doing anything critical but you won’t turn off your phone until the air hostess practically yells at you. You have to somehow force yourself to have a couple glasses of red wine just so you can fall asleep; what a pity! Packing up your life in a little suitcase makes you wonder how little you need to survive. How else do you capture the snow while it’s sunny in California? The body is challenged by the jetlag but the orthopedic pillows relax the body. Heinz beans start the day; a cheeseboard satisfies the growling tummy and samosas & paneer tikka wraps it up. Calories keep flowing in without any exit strategy whatsoever. Not being able to exercise becomes a blessing in disguise. You work day and night to satisfy the worldwide requests but your vacation then starts on Friday at 8:00 am PST. It’s an opportunity for my winter clothes to come out of a coma. And, spreading the joy globally by letting others be mesmerized with my presence, well that’s just a topic for another day.

The best is to know that all that goes out of your wallet will soon find its way back. Your trip truly ends when the boss approves your expense report. I don’t know about others complaining, but I sure do apparently find a way to come to terms with a business trip.

Karma takes too long

There has always been an unanswered question, and an unquenched thirst. Why is it that the hard-working strives for patience, tolerance, and perseverance while the cheat wins the race? Why do bad people achieve what they want while the good just accept their fate? How do I teach Karma and Dharma to my unborn children when the outcome isn’t always all that enticing? If the results of the ‘wrong’ way might be more fruitful, why shouldn’t I be a part of the Mean, the Evil, and the Ugly?

Why can’t I take charge of the situation? Would it be too bad if I were to be the judge? Why can’t I follow Newton’s third law?

Karma

The fourteen chapters of Bhagawad Gita cover this same argument but never once could I understand or to better explain, accept. Until, 2 days ago.

“Dharma se sukh nahi, Dharma me sukh hai” – The eventual peace comes not as a result of good conscience, good deeds, and good intentions, it comes during. You just focus on what you control which is just you, your intentions, your thoughts, and your actions. Leave the rest. Leave the rest to one who controls the rest.

When the conscience is clean, there is sleep at night, a joy in stride, and peace at heart. There is no fear waking up, no shivering when a question asked, and no trembling when something’s a miss. The destination might be farther away, but the journey becomes sweet.

Karma takes too long but I’d rather wait.