Transient Beauty

Snow on mountains
Image: ©Alok Singhal

Draped in pristine white robes
I watched the adventurers
Gathering to admire my attire
And feel the fetish of my fire

Some stood frozen in awe
Angelic messages showering through
Blue, gray and silvery gear
Momentous moments to cheer!

Silvery sky soaked me entirely
With his wondrous frescoes
Painted with natural hues
To match my ensemble cues

I smile as they ski down the slopes
Once a year such fun ensues
Only when I change my dress
To gaze at some signs of progress

I blessed those who just stood there
To commemorate my transient beauty
Along with digital trophies they depart
And carry exquisite memories in their heart.
© Balroop Singh

Many thanks to Alok Singhal, my blogger cum photographer friend whose breathtaking picture inspired this poem. You can visit his blog to see many more amazing shots of Mother Nature.

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Love You When You Move Slowly

Dear time, I love you when you move slowly

Dear old vagabond…
I love you when you move slowly
And let me listen to my heart
To count moments of bliss
To sit by the brook for hours
Savoring soft sounds

I love you when you choose to sit down
Weaving priceless webs with me
Watching my fingers trying to hold you
And trust your magic
Of erasing emotional hurts
Of creating memories

Not that I didn’t appreciate
When you ran ahead
And taught me to compete with you
Without any rules
Offering me the best benchmarks
Smiling at my whirlpools

Not that I detested your game
Of turning tables on me
Changing at will, ticking away
Robbing me of my dreams
Stealing my momentous moments
Impelling me to follow your schemes

Dear drifter…now I understand you
You are just a wave that gushes forth
Just a whiff of wind that passes by
Just a moment that slips away
Just a powerful tyrant
Obliterating all… whenever you want!
© Balroop Singh

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How Relevant Are Short Stories In Our Lives?

How relevant are short stories

Short stories are as dear as lullabies if they are introduced at the right time. While babies derive delight in looking at the illustrations and hearing the familiar voice of their parents, children love to cuddle up with a good story book.

My earliest memories of short stories are connected with my grandma, who could tell me weirest tales without a book but only at bed time. Her favorite refrain that ‘if we tell stories during the day, travelers forget their way’ was taken seriously by us. Though I chuckle at her belief now but it brings fond memories of her face whenever I think of stories.

My love for stories grew as I chose to study and later teach literature and had an easy access to all those renowned names known for writing brilliant pieces. Some of them got entrenched in my memory as they encouraged me to imbibe the values that they glowed with.

This love was recently revived by ‘What’s In A Nameby Sally Cronin, an engaging collection of twenty short stories, each story inspired from real life and emotions that every individual has to live through. Another captivating anthology ‘Twelve Tales Of Christmas’ by Cathleen Townsend infuses a spirit of togetherness and warmth through its stories of human interest. Now I am reading ‘The Story Teller Speaks’ by Annika Perry and I am amazed at her enchanting style of holding the readers.

My blogger friend Nihar whose ever-inspiring creative stories make a delightful reading, recently requested me to share the short stories that have left a mark on my personality and I got this idea of sharing these timeless classic tales.

The first one that comes to my mind is the ‘Gift of Magi’ by O.Henry. When I had read this story, I was too young  to absorb the emotion behind buying a gift, too young to understand why gifts are so important, as I had rarely received them but I learnt how important they can be and why people make sacrifices. I often wonder – could there be a better example of true love?

This value of sacrifice is further highlighted in ‘The Last Leaf by O. Henry. Old Behrman, an unsuccessful, dejected artist who was always talking about his masterpiece,  had nothing to sacrifice but he wanted to save the life of young Johnsie who had lost the desire to live. The last leaf that never fell and saved her life was actually Behrman’s masterpiece that he had painted on a snowy and windy night! How benevolence and inspiration can uplift human spirit touches my heart whenever I read this story.

‘The Model Millionaire’ by Oscar Wilde is remembered not only for the excellent prose and succinct style of Wilde’s writing but also for inserting subtle messages for humanity like… “Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed.” Generosity could be an inborn trait and a kind act never goes unnoticed. If Hughie could donate his last sovereign to the ‘poor beggar,’ the beggar didn’t disappoint him!

Saki, whose real name was H.H.Munro has written several masterpieces but ‘The Background’ appeals to me the most, as it is a satire on the hypocrisy and love of art, which is considered to be more valuable than a human being who is treated like a rare piece of art as he carried the masterpiece of a tatoo artist on his back! The story jolts you out of your slumber and makes an effort to underline what is more important – a person’s dignity and freedom or just a piece of art?

Short Stories

God Sees the Truth but Waits by Leo Tolstoy made a deep impact on me and I have discussed it time and again to fathom why does God wait so long, why does an innocent suffer for the crime of another person, how could forgiveness be as noble as it has been made out to be? Spiritual interpretations of this story have failed to convince me why was an innocent man used as a tool for the purgation of the soul of a hardened criminal? Isn’t God all-powerful?

The Bet by Anton Chekhov delves deeper into human psychology, bringing out the frailties of human beings on one hand and nobility that one can acquire if one wishes to. The argument over what kind of punishment is better – life imprisonment or death penalty culminates in proving that life imprisonment could be more humane as it offers an opportunity to the criminal to change. The lawyer who chose to accept solitary confinement, just for the bet, slowly rose above ordinary human beings and understood how immaterial is the lust for money and luxury.

A Man Who Had No Eyes by MacKinlay Kantor has stayed in my memory for the outstanding style of narration, style and a sudden unexpected twist that leaves the reader spellbound. It is not just a short story… it is a comment on life, how we approach it positively and move on. A must read to change your outlook on life.

Sparrows by K.A. Abbas brilliantly highlights some harsh realities of life, which had hardened a man. But a streak of kindness, so natural to human instincts, didn’t die and it could be ignited by loving birds, without even a word. A man, presumed to be devoid of emotions, shunned by villagers and even his own family is transformed into a loving and kind human being by the love of sparrows for their own young ones.

God Is Near by James Herriot convinced me that love could be found in furry friends too. If we love His creation, we can feel the presence of God around us even without visiting any religious places. Dr. Herriot’s unspoken commitment to the dogs and cats of Miss Stubbs was no less than her housekeeper.

Short stories lay bare various facets of life. They are more effectual in conveying the values without sermonizing about them. Each emotion can be felt through short stories if they are told in their true spirit.

Have you read any of these stories? Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.




A Spectacular View Of Palm Islands From 52nd Floor. #Dubai

Palm Islands view from 52nd floor
View from 52nd floor of Marriott Harbour Hotel

Draped by a fearless felicity
That defines my ebullient spirit
I could tread treacherous trails
Eager to take in the gales.

Each new path beckons me
Promising joy and thrill
Of adding another folio
To the cryptic book of life.

Pages that stand out are self-written
They smile and glow with our ventures
Infusing delight all around for self-quenchers.
© Balroop Singh, Nov. 2017

The Palm Islands of Dubai, considered to be the 8th wonder of the world is one of the most popular destinations to explore. An eloquent example of superb engineering and affluence, The Palm Islands are man-made marvels, created in the Persian Gulf to expand Dubai’s coastline. They are shaped like a palm tree and their shape can only be seen from an elevated place.

We didn’t take the long route of going to the Palm Gateway Monorail Station to take the Monorail upto the top, to view the major landmarks like themed hotels, Aquaventure Waterpark, Dolphin Bay and the Aquarium because the real thrill lies in viewing the magnificence of man-made palm shape, which cannot be seen from the surface.

Palm Islands - view from 52nd floor

After much research and review reading, I came across The Observatory Bar and Grill, which is situated on the 52nd floor of Marriott Harbour Hotel. My excitement doubled to know that this restaurant offers panoramic views of The Palm Jumeriah and Dubai Marina along with delectable food.

We booked our table for lunch well in advance to be greeted with smiles and were ushered into the magnificient lobby divided into three segments. Most of the tables were laid by the massive windows through which we could look down at the astounding azure landscape, dominated by palm shape, created by incredible planning of master minds.

Palm Islands

An amateur photographer in me was too excited to take as many shots as possible but none of them could capture the whole shape of the so called islands. We couldn’t take our eyes off the serene scenario while we enjoyed the drinks of our choice. Delicious food added an extra zing to my senses! We carried another string of unforgettable memories, shimmering in our souls.

Thank you for reading this experience, special in many ways.

You can read more interesting facts about Palm Islands.

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Balroop Singh.

Image from Youtube

Sunrise – At The Top Of Burj Khalifa

Sunrise from the top of Burj Khalifa

Some moments of joy come uninvited.
Some moments become memorable
Just because we let them be,
Without any expectations.
They never disappoint!

I have never made an effort to watch sunrise except once, which I had shared in an earlier post but watching it from the top of world’s tallest tower seemed special. It was spectacular and exhilarating!

Sunrise from the top of Burj Khalifa

A visit to Burj Khalifa (Dubai) was never on my bucket list. It just got planned at the last moment of our annual visit to India as we were flying Emirates. We thought that a hotel just opposite this Burj would be an ideal place to stay and we chose a room with a view.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

Then I stumbled across a promotional offer of watching sunrise from the 124th floor of this iconic tallest structure in the world. I booked the tickets a week before we started our trip, keeping in view the long queues that you have to deal with.

We woke up very early to keep our rendezvous with the sun.  Jet lag helped us too! Since we were staying in a hotel opposite Burj Khalifa, we could just walk across the road to reach the entry point, which is through The Dubai Mall and you have to walk almost a mile to reach the ticket counter from where the online voucher is converted into a ticket.

A musical climb up the elevator within seconds was a memorable experience worth mentioning. This is the best time to watch the city from the top of Burj Khalifa as a beautiful skyline greets you from the terrace.




We spent almost an hour, waiting for the splendor of the sun to spread across the sky…an experience of a life time! Each moment has gone down the memory lane, glowing gorgeously orange. I was elated at the choice I had made.

Most of the reviews suggested that the evening time is more appropriate to go up but it gets very crowded at that time.

View from the room
View from our room during the day

I didn’t expect another thrill, which I could watch from the window of my room – the sunset! Just look at the image that I clicked:

Sunset view from my room
Sunset view from our room!

Could I ask for more in a single day? I heart was overflowing with gratitude for my daughter who had suggested the hotel to us.

Thank you for reading one of the memorable experiences I had recently. I have many more to share.

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Balroop Singh.