(sneak peaks from a soon to come food blog – TBC)
ONCE UPON A TIME an unmarried 20 something year old girl ventured off to Jaipur for a weekend of literary bliss with some girlfriends. After spending three days sipping too many sweet masala chai’s and being entrenched in controversial discussions by the likes of Pico Iyer, Shabana and so on, the girl trailed off on her own to go Riding through Romantic Rajasthan for 10 days solo….
“Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded. Someone sober will worry about things going badly. Let the lover be.” (The Book of Love, Rumi)
“The willingness to do something where there are no guarantees. The willingness to invest in a relationship where you don’t know it’ll work out. The willingness to say I love you first.” (Brené Brown)
“If you want to be more alive, love is the truest health.” (The Book of Love, Rumi)
“Friend, our closeness is this: anywhere you put your foot, feel me in the firmness under you.” (The Book of Love, Rumi)
“When someone sees the same people everyday…they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” (The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho)
“We owe it to ourselves to take the risk to hurt and to be hurt, to leap before we look, to be the fool, because by holding back we lose nothing but the opportunity to find the greatness we seek.” (sovia philosophy)
“If you hold back on the emotions – if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them – you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief, you’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. Throw yourself into these emotions, allow yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, experience them fully and completely so you know what pain is, what love is, what grief is. And only then you can say, ‘I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.’” (Tuesdays with Morrie; Mitch Albom)
“…when each day is the same as the next, its because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives everyday that the sun rises.” (The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho)
“Life is an experiment. A never ending series of trial and error. Have the courage to forgive yourself when things go wrong.” (sovia philosophy)
“Perhaps its true, that when it rains it pours. But its also often true, that when it shines…it beams.” (sovia philosophy)
“The boy felt jealous of the freedom of the wind, and saw that he could have the same freedom. There was nothing to hold him back except himself.” (The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho)
“Have the courage to be imperfect.” (Brené Brown)
“Go to the wilderness…we could all stand to unplug and get inside our heads a little more often.” (Susan Cain)
“Be at peace with your past so you can focus on the present and enjoy your future.” (sovia philosophy)
“Be willing to let go of who you think you should be to be who you are…what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” (Brené Brown)
“…I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man…life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.” (The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho)
“…My life had gone to bits and I was so unrecognizable to myself…and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt – this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty, and also your entitlement as a human being to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.” (Eat,Pray,Love; Elizabeth Gilbert)
“Always always, choose passion over fear” (sovia philosophy)
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” (Ken Robinson)
“He gave the I have a dream speech, not the I have a plan speech…you need to know why you do what you do.” (Simon Sinek)
“The key to maximizing our talents is for all of us to put ourselves in the zone of stimulation that is right for us.” (Susan Cain)
Track spinning | Is Pal, Aaja Nachle
I remember passing by the slum areas often while gazing out the taxi window on the streets of Mumbai. At the tender age of thirteen I was bewildered, fascinated and intimidated all at once. I wondered what happened behind those straw doors and wooven roofs that I so frequently witnessed as a tourist.
My curiosity continued to grow after that short first trip to India and so I delved into Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, Thrity Umrigar’s The Space Between Us and Gregory David Roberts Shantaram to feed my fascination. Although I knew they were fictional stories, I was intrigued by the characters and their lives. There was this peculiar sense of familiarity, like I was reading about a distant relative or neighbour; I hurt when they hurt and wept in the emptiness of their hardships.
Although I didn’t know if I would ever have the capacity to help or change the reality it was based on, I never seemed to take my mind off of it. I yearned to learn more and followed in the direction of intuition until then.
Twelve years later I found myself packing my bags one day. I was getting ready to uproot my life for six months to lust after a burning curiosity, a long time dream to explore the country that was supposed to be akin to me.
I arrived in India with a thirst for knowledge and a quest for change, but in that first month there I was very quickly confronted with a cold reality of struggle. I battled day in and day out as I chased for answers to understand the things that made me me. No matter how many times I fell, I got back up and kept going, but India kept testing my patience, pushing my limits… angering and dissapointing me in every possible way.
The unwanted attention, pestering and disrespect stained my insides with deep resentment. I was mad at the people, mad at myself, mad for everything I had given up to be there. I felt like I was drowning in deep water, desperately gasping for air with no rescue team in sight. I ached for comfort and wondered how to reconcile my wavering spirit.
It was the end of January when I returned to sister’s home in Delhi after spending a few weeks with my parents (who had been visiting) in the South. After three months of India and a little dose of home I was feeling calmer about the upcoming weeks of exploration.
A few days before leaving to travel Rajasthan on my own I received an email from a google group I had signed up for – a network of young professionals in India sharing resources. An organization called WASH United was seeking photographers to document sanitation in the Delhi slums. I wrote back immediately disclosing my interest in the opportunity, using my blog as a resume.
The next thing I knew I was meeting up with a group of young talented Indians, ready to explore the Delhi slums….
Four months after the fact and I still find myself in awe. Visiting the slums was one of the most fascinating, eye opening, heart wrenching and heart warming experiences I’ve had in my life. Even after reading extensively about slum life in India, it didn’t all sink in until I found myself walking through the sewage filled nooks and crannies, interacting with the locals; visiting my distance relatives.
They offered seats along their ledges and piping hot chai as they relished in fascination of our fancy gadgets. The children giggled and jumped, excited to pose for the camera. They brought us into their world forgetting the hardness their own and filling it with the joys of human connection. And even if temporarily, I began to forget my anger and frustration as I watched them carry through the day; smiling and scrubbing, laughing and limping. It was then that I started to recognize a new reality; why I love India.
I battled with myself about whether to post these pictures. Something about exposing their lives with nothing to return to made me feel empty inside; as much as I love the art of photography, human compassion trumps all. After much contemplation however, I share these with you in hopes for us to humble one another, sometimes we need a reminder of how fortunate we really are.
As you go through my work, I hope you make it a thoughtful experience. One in which you ponder why you’re thankful for what you have, and consider what you could do to spread the joys of your life, far beyond your own reach.
For now I am working away on a few new projects I hope to spread your way soon.
Throughout my stay in India I spent four weeks in a rural area just outside a city called Nasik, training to become a Yoga Teacher. What I had anticipated would be a relaxing retreat, actually turned out to be one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had in my life.
Unlike alot of the mass marketed teacher training programs in India, I picked one that focused on resembling the lifestyle of a traditional Yogi. Ultimately this meant I had also signed up for a thirty days of bucket showers, daddy long legs, snakes, 4am wake up calls, scrubbing floors, silent days and disconnection from the world… Ashram life.
To start off, I share with you some of the most profound life lessons I learnt along my Yogic journey.
Hope you enjoy!
The 20 best lessons I learned about life while living at an Ashram
1. There is more embarrassment in pretending to know something rather than just asking. Take pride in your curiousity and be intelligently informed.
2. Relish in your own introverted-ness.
3. Be at peace with your past so you can focus on the present and enjoy the future.
4. You control your obstacles; it is your decision whether they will hold you back or help you grow.
5. The answers to many of your troubles are silence, or will come to you in silent moments.
6. Have faith in yourself and the universe.
7. Smiling with warm eyes can solve a plentiful of your quarrels.
8. Spread your joys as far and wide as you can.
9. Few things in life are surprising these days; pique your imagination by constantly finding fascination in the unknown.
10. Being alone and being truly comfortable with it is much harder than people make it out to be. Be gentle to those who do it, they are fighting a much harder battle than you see.
11. Be at peace with the reality that at the end of the day something or someone may not rescue you, but rather that you will rescue yourself from your own suffering.
12. Smile more often than you cry.
13. Be connected to the people you love near and far, make time for them even if it means a short text or e-mail.
14. Respect your mind and body for what they are; love yourself.
15. Don’t be so hard on your own heart.
16. Share your knowledge, talents and resources with the world, because nothing means much these days if you aren’t sharing.
17. Save yourself from the battles of boredom by striving for a life of continous learning and curiosity.
18. Embrace life in its entirety; celebrate the small wins and big wins.
19. Honour your emotions. Once you’ve wholly experienced them, discipline yourself over and over again until you learn to control them.
20. Always, always, always choose passion over fear.
Look out for more posts to come in the “Diaries of a Yogi” series, where I will delve into the in and outs of living life as a modern day Yogi and showcase some of my favourite photographs.