My First Flight…The Most Memorable One!

my-first-flight

I have taken many flights of fantasy but this was a real one. I can still feel that sensation, that ecstasy and elation.

I still remember the way I announced…‘We are going to Srinagar by air’ as if I was already on cloud nine! And the beaming face of my mother is etched in my memory.

I could never write about it as the feeling is inexplicable, the rapture of delight is unfathomable…words can never describe some emotions yet I want to record them in whatever words I can find.

Married off at 23, I didn’t expect much as I had no idea what a blissful relationship it could be. Prejudiced against this overrated institution or ignorant about it… I was totally confused and carried on with all the traditions and rituals mutely.

One aspect was very clear in my mind that there would be what people called ‘honeymoon’ though this word too was obscure. I associated it with dream locations and picturesque surroundings.

I was given the opportunity to choose my favorite locale and I chose Srinagar.

Oh! The excitement. The preparations. The plans within my mind! The intensity of emotions that encompassed me kept me awake for long hours.

I was going to fly for the first time! Whatever travel I had known till then was either by bus or on motorbike. The thought of flying had never crossed my mind.

Those were the times when there were no online bookings and no smart phones. We boarded a train to Delhi, walked into the airline office to book our tickets, which were dirt-cheap, less than the tariff we paid for staying in a luxurious houseboat.5130140_12_z

Houseboats are dream houses, popularized by movies of those times and were preferred over hotels.

Next morning was the flight. I had nobody around me to share my overflowing emotions. A person of few words, my husband appeared to be very calm as if he had been travelling by air for all the 24 years of his life!

I asked him how was he feeling and he gave me a blank look. He didn’t even ask what I meant.

I told myself he doesn’t know me. Well, Mr. Calm…this is the beginning!

I told him I wanted the window seat and I did get it. All the time I was looking out of the little window (I wondered why do they design such small holes!)

You can’t imagine my amazement of watching the earth from above! No wonder people associate heaven with azure blue!

photo-2The clouds looked more like bales of cotton or soft snow, the sky peeping through pristine white sheet with hues of varied blues and the movement of clouds was mesmerizingly noticeable. My eyes ached but I couldn’t take them off from this ethereal experience.

Those were the days when snacks were offered free even for a one-hour flight but I had no interest in what the smiling airhostess was asking.

Lost in my thoughts, I was thinking about the birds who experience this feeling each time they fly, every single day. I was wondering what could be the thoughts of Wright brothers. I could almost feel their pride and deep down in my heart, there was a tinge of gratitude.

I got shaken out of my reverie when my husband shook me as he thought it was rude not to answer the question of the airhostess. Now each time we fly, he knows he has to tell my preference for a drink on my behalf also.

I have taken many flights after this. I must have flown many hours yet my penchant for a window seat has never waned and my wonder of looking at the clouds, the ocean, the roads and cars, which seem to be transported from the land of Lilliputians has never been quelled.

Today we are celebrating 39 years of flying together.

I wonder how people can sit on the aisle seat and bury their heads into their devices, oblivious of the beauty that sky offers from the windows of an airplane!

One of my friends doesn’t find flying fascinating. Fear grips her as soon as she enters a plane; she feels nauseated and therefore avoids flying!

Do you think flights can be enthralling? What emotions do they arouse?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

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Can You Hear The Voice Of Nature? An Emotional Connection…

Voice Of Nature

This is the question I have often asked myself…

Nature speaks to us through its ineffable beauty; its voice is powerful and intense in all its forms.

And I have learnt to hear beyond the whispering willows… the whining of Mother Nature.

I could immediately relate to the veiled laments when my dear blogger friend Nihar asked the same question in his book… “Voice Of Nature”

So could Haiku, the little protagonist of this book whose innocence mingles with the wisdom and perception of his new friends who want to live with the same dignity they were born with.

The story of this book is set in Nandankanan Zoological Park, a 400-hectare zoo and botanical garden in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.

A critique on our relationship with flora and fauna, how we respond to them and how much of spontaneous love children develop for them, forms the basis of this book.

Haiku, a little boy is symbolic of human apprehensions, which often dilute at the altar of self-importance, pleasure and leisure.

Haiku’s own loving relationship with Mogli, the white tiger, Bani uncle, the ancient banyan tree and Kuki, the little bird speaks volumes about the future of our connection with nature.

The fact that Haiku can understand the language and emotions of animals, birds and trees symbolizes that we can hear the voice of nature if we possess the inclination and the disposition.

If we can think beyond our own interests!

If we want to nurture our relationship with Mother Nature.

We love to visit zoos; we have created such places to gloat about the care we shower on our animals but we forget that we keep them caged for our own amusement in the name of saving them from extinction.

Animal Love

Caged Mogli is the center of attraction but he yearns for those old days when he was free!

The banyan tree has been a witness to the disengagement of mankind.

Kuki, the little bird is trying to decipher the reasons behind all this. Her shouting at the tree cutters proves inconsequential.

None of them are familiar with the words ‘selfish’ and ‘profitable’!

It is ironic that the banyan tree is rooted yet it has gathered all the knowledge about the people who visit Nandankanan Zoological Park and the white tiger has been confined to one place yet he is expected to put up a pleasant face! Both of them seem to be hopeful and the hope lies in the little boy.

If we could “find God in nature, in animals, in birds and the environment”, as Pat Buckley said, we would think more like Haiku!

Nihar’s book inspires us to understand the divine bond of harmony, which exists between nature and man. It grimly reminds us, “There is a blurry boundary line between nature and civilization.” We must redefine it.

Albert Einstein also exhorted us “Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.”

I would like to express my immense gratitude to Nihar Pradhan for sharing his book with me before its publication. I read it with great awe and admiration. It raises the hope that the younger generation would enhance their efforts to restore the lost glory of Mother Earth.

It also reminded me about my visit to Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, India where I could experience the beauty and bounty of wildlife and plant life. A home to numerous majestic animals including Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, and Tiger, this Park was said to have 25 tigers, living in their natural habitats but we couldn’t spot a single one!

Doesn’t it show that they possess a better protection sense?

Please share this post at your favorite social networks to express solidarity with this noble cause.

Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh

The Reality of Happy Marriages!

Oscar-Wilde-Marriage-Quotes-Images-300x199

When you enter into a solemn relationship, which has been named ‘marriage’, you have big dreams of sharing exhilarating moments of togetherness, of remaining happy and blessed.

Nobody ever thinks that this relationship would not last, human hope is so astounding that even after seeing unhappy marriages, we tell ourselves: ‘this can’t happen to me.’

Alas those promises we make, those visions we have, those reveries of heavenly life fall apart in no time… or so people think!

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.” — Simone Signoret

Are there any happy marriages? What is the definition of a happy marriage?

There can be as many definitions as people because what may seem unhappy to you could be just a compulsion, a family commitment, a sacrifice, which would be a part of being married.

Fawn Weaver’s words, “Marriage is like watching the color of leaves in the fall; ever changing and more stunningly beautiful with each passing day” are so entrancing!

#CASE – 1

This is an arranged marriage. The bride steps into the two-bedroom apartment of her husband, whose parents and an old, ailing grandmother share this home, which seems be a harmonious dwelling.

Slowly the bride realizes that her happiness lies in submitting to the wishes and desires of all the members of the family as her husband also thinks so.

She gets used to fulfilling all the demands and peace prevails though she has many issues.

Since she is a home maker, she has to dance to the tunes of elderly members of the house all the time, depend on her husband for all her needs, she gets no money for her personal expenses, she has no leisure, she can’t go out alone, has to coax her husband for a vacation, once a year because children need to be taken out. [Peer-group pressure] She has never mentioned the word – ‘divorce.’

Do you think they are happily married? They think so.

#CASE – 2

This is a love marriage, which seems to be like that fairy tale ‘the happily married ever after.’

This couple lives in a big mansion.

Both are financially independent, inseparable and so loving that people envy their blessings.

They enjoy exotic holidays and find great pleasure in each other’s company but they fight almost everyday. Any argument by the wife is met with physical abuse, which is condoned by her each time!

She seems to be slightly better than a slave because she can only go out with her husband, she has to accept all his decisions, domestic violence and be happy.

How she can put up the façade is an enigma. She cannot think of the word – ‘divorce.’

Do you think they are happily married? They think so!

#CASE – 3

This is an arranged marriage and the couple lives in their own apartment with their lovely, intelligent children.

Their world revolves around them, they have all the freedom in the world to take their own decisions, they care for each other and love is the core word that binds them together.

There are some issues with this couple too!

Their busy life has taken the charm out of their own love, they hardly have any sex life, their communication centers around the activities and achievements of their children and they have been drifting apart slowly.

Sometimes they wonder whether there is anything left in their life.

Should they stay together? They feel it is their responsibility to give the best of everything to their children.

They do think about divorce.

Do you think they are happily married? They have their doubts!Happy Marriage

Sometimes I think about these multi-dimensional words – happiness and unhappiness!

We use them so often, so casually but rarely do we ponder about their dimensions!

Let’s face the reality:

Unhappy marriages are more a product of the mind and modern philosophy of being independent.

It is this individualistic approach towards marriage, which makes it unhappy.

It depicts the self-centeredness of human beings who want to be themselves yet seek a companion for reasons best known to them.

The institution of marriage was created to cement love, affection, responsibilities and values, which could be handed down to the coming generations too.

“In every marriage, more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and to continue to find, grounds for marriage.” – Robert Anderson

All relationships go through initial period of uncertainty and need some time to work out well. No marriage can ever be perfect. Compromises and adjustments are an essential part of every relationship.

Some questions to contemplate:

How ego, bitterness and annoyance creep into a sacred relationship of marriage is quite uncanny.

How it can be sacrificed at the altar of Individual differences, coldness and monotony is so bizarre!

How can we think of divorcing a person with whom we have spent half of our life? Isn’t it so selfish?

This post was inspired by this thought, which has been plaguing me ever since I heard that one of my neighbors father is going to divorce her mother, a lady in her sixties and she needs a therapist to cope up with this windfall.

I know this is not the first case. I know divorce rate is rising in free, financially stable countries. I know people are developing the resilience to face such situations.

Isn’t it unfortunate that we have diminished the sacred bond that ties families? What can we expect from the youngsters who grow up in such societies? I would love to hear your views.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

Image credits: inspirequotes.net