Life and its Journeys

Throughout our lives, we have the opportunity to see many things that will change our prespective about the world. It is by traveling to different places that we are able to achieve this. It is our privilege to be Indians, being part of a nation which has so many cultures, giving us a different experience in different states, or even while traveling through different districts within a state. As we keep traveling, there are those places in the world which makes us feel safe as well as happy, and there are those which we hesitate to visit. Well, if we don’t visit, we never know.

The Ceylon Ramayana trip was one such journey which brought new experiences to shape my thoughts and life. It was spiritual, and there was more to it. Each cup of tea we had there meant more than just tea. Each person we met, whether it was a Buddhist monk or a commoner at the streets, had a story to tell – each in different ways, but all of them becoming part of our lives and thoughts. It was that kind of a journey when spirituality was frequent, whether it was a Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, church or mosque, and it was the journey which had life as a major part of it.

Towards Kandy, would be a spiritual journey for the soul (Captured in Sri Lanka).

But the British trop was entirely different, and it came only a few months after the trip to Sri Lanka. It was not spiritual or religious, even though it came right after that journey to the holy lands in and around Israel was cancelled due to some bomb blasts and possibility of war in the area. This one was a journey into modernity, but not far away from history and literature which were present throughout the trip. There were the favourite poets, novelists and history’s most famous people right before our eyes. Then there was the vision of this other side of the world.

England’s history, even the ruined side reflects a new world (Captured in England).

There was plenty in both cases, and I was able to find more than one side of my thoughts in each place. This plenty was displayed in one model in Colombo and Kandy, and in another way in London and Manchester. The admiration that we feel in each case is different, and just like we love each city of India in a different way, we saw such divergence here too. But this time, this was more than one could have imagined, and a divergent world is always a beautiful one, just like India has thrived with its unity in diversity.

Among all our neighbours, Sri Lanka has something special (Captured in Sri Lanka).

There can always be differences between closer places. The two towns of Kerala, fifteen kilometres from each other, belonging to the same district of Ernakulam, between Aluva and North Paravur, there is difference. The former being close to the river and the latter being close to the sea can be seen to have developed different cultures in the past, even though Ernakulam district has come close to each other making that difference minimal. We often hear people say that Kerala is like one big city, but the differences are clearly there in between the similarities.

Kerala has its one beautiful culture, and there too divergence (Captured in Kerala).

Considering such a situation, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka were always going to bring different lessons of life. Both places did feel good, and there was the desire to continue to stay there. At the same time, there was the need to be home. Traveling through these places provide the feeling of not being restricted to one place, for we, as humans are part of all of these places, and a part of these will follow us home. We are never really away from these places which we have lived or visited, and no city, town or village is really alien to us, if we look closely.

It is more or less the path that we take, that defines us (Captured in Kerala).

The story of humanity is the same in each and every place, and as we see the people and talk them, we will only know this better. By traveling, we enjoy these tales of those seemingly different people who are the same within, and we feel the need to travel more. At the same time, we understand ourselves more, for there might be more to us than we could ever know. We explore the world, and by doing the same, we explore within us, and the journeys change us, creating something different inside our souls. What more do you need for travel inspiration?

This is why I #SayYesToTheWorld. There is something for the soul around us with beautiful divergence, and there is always more than what meets the eye, bringing hope for a world traveller. Please watch this video and think about traveling more!

TeNy

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Music of the Swamps

It had gone quite dark as he walked through the swamps. It was the shortest path to the other side, and he had to get there somehow. Getting a car and traveling through the road meant that he would have to waste an extra hour and a quarter on the journey. But he didn’t want to reach his destination late. He wished to be there as early as possible. His phone was dead, and so was his only option for some light.

“Welcome to my world” he heard a voice from behind.

He turned around to see two eyes shining in the darkness. There was no light around except for what moon was providing. There was a shadowy figure right in front of him. It was rather like a small person, but the shape resembled that of a tree.

DSC01334

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Does it matter who I am? Do you know where you are?” it asked him.

“I asked you a question, didn’t I?” he asked again.

“Okay. I am the keeper of these swamps. I know who you are. I believe that you are here to steal the music of the swamps” the voice replied.

“I don’t understand. I was only taking a shortcut because I have an urgent thing to do. Please make way before I go through you” he said.

“You don’t walk through the swamps on a full moon. These are the days on which the swamps produce a certain kind of music which you are not allowed to hear. Well, hearing is stealing, and then I will have to punish you” said the keeper.

“Well, I don’t care about your music, but I have to go through the swamps to reach the village on the other side. I don’t care who are, because this is an emergency. So, stand aside, little person” he shouted.

“This won’t do you any good. The music of the swamps is sacred. This action of yours will have terrible consequences” the keeper warned him.

“I don’t give a damn” he said as he walked around the keeper to keep moving.

“And here you walk towards your end. Whatever you are hoping to achieve will never happen” the keeper was heard yelling.

He didn’t care at all. He did feel that the someone was making some music though. He wondered if the swamps do make some music. But he didn’t care to return or stop to think further. He kept walking, but the swamps seemed to extend a lot more than his expectations. This path no longer seemed to be the shorter one for him, as he felt that he should have taken the longer route by road. The music was getting stronger and soon, it turned into some kind of chant supported by some primitive musical instrument. He stopped to see a tree carved into something which resembled an entrance. He walked right in through it, but nobody got out through the other side.

“So, it is done?” the keeper was seen asking a huge shadow which covered the moon.

The next day, the body of a young man was found at the end of the swamps. The villagers attributed the death to a little shadowy demon which was believed live in the swamps. But the post-mortem revealed the cause of death to be because of hitting the head on a hard substance, which was believed to a thousands of centuries old holy rock on which he slipped and fell.

On the very next day, clouds covered everything on the sky, and a few villagers reported at the police station that they had seen a young man walking on the swamps with a singing young lady, and their feet never touched the floor. They also told the police that there was the music of the dead going on at the same time, which was a variation to the praise of the dead, that was sung when people died and their soul never really left this world. It was recorded as “the music of the swamps”.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

TeNy

Exploring the Elements

This writing is part of the Explore The Elements Photo Contest which was announced by Thomas Cook. Here I explore and represent the four elements of nature with the help of the photos which I have taken using my Sony Cybershot DSC W-310. You can check here for more details about the contest: http://www.thomascook.com/blog/holiday-competitions-deals/explore-the-elements/ #ExploreTheElements

1. Earth: As it is said and known, “for dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return” is what the following scene reminds us about claiming our place back under the Earth and hope for a better time at the other world. There is stubbornness in this idea of truth, and the certainty of this return to the dust and dirt is as clear as the presence of these things on the surface of the Earth. The problem with humanity is its consistent loss of memory about this, and their pursuit of Carpe Diem. The photo was taken at a church cemetery around the city of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England.

It is to the insides of Earth that we have to return, for we are dust.

It is right into the insides of Earth that we have to return, for we are dust.

2. Water: You can see how well water could adapt and as much as it can become the life saver, it can be the destroyer. The unbelievable amount of suppleness can be attributed to this element which is a powerful force of nature which can make impact in its presence as well as the absence. The photo shows the brutal strength that the element of water came up with, during the monsoon rain of 2013 (there were worse situations during that period at the banks of the river Periyar) at the town of Aluva, near Cochin, Kerala, India.

Water has its power to take over whenever it wishes to.

Water as an element has its power to take over whenever it wishes to.

3. Fire: The element of fire always burns, either in the minds of the people or on the far away horizons, as the globe of fire reflects our motivation and desire, becoming the silent watcher of the human hatred for the other people of their kind. The energy of fire is something that we can take into our lives, without the negative sides, choosing not to burn the people around us with hatred based on religion, caste or race. There is the need for fire in our lives. The photo was taken at Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India.

The beauty of fire on the sky can't be ignored by any camera.

The beauty of fire on the sky can’t be ignored by the eyes or any camera.

4. Air: There is freedom associated with air, something which is not easy in this world. We, human beings are bound by strange things and weird laws being passed, some of them making just the religion more important than humanity, and a few other making a few animals more significant that human beings. We should have chosen to air in this life, so free and with all the wisdom that is gained by traveling over long distances. In the photo, you can see how the vegetation bows down in reverence to the strength and wisdom of the element of air – photo taken at Ilaveezhapoonjira, Kerala, India.

When the element of air travel around freely with wisdom, take a bow.

When the element of air travel around freely with wisdom, take a bow.

There is only the human nature which is as unpredictable as the elements of nature, with compassion on one side and the tendency to be devastating with a certain amount of inherent evil which comes up here and there. There is something about the use of the word “nature” at both places. I hope you found the four photos of the elements of nature interesting – they have all been cropped and adjusted to a standard size so that there wouldn’t be any confusion. They were all taken by me only on my camera, Sony Cybershot DSC-W310..

Here, I nominate five other bloggers to participate in this contest:
Anita (http://www.anitaexplorer.com)
Maniparna (http://maniparna5002.wordpress.com)
Namrataย (http://namratakumari.blogspot.in)
Shibu (http://shibumathewn15.wordpress.com)
Tara (http://crimsonapril.wordpress.com)

TeNy

The Effect of Mass Effect

There are times when you remember those lessons from teachers, and among them, there were games, about which I had written earlier. Along with Age of Empires‘ lessons in history, Age of Mythology‘s myth related classes and Tomb Raider‘s attempt to improve my puzzle solving skills to which Prince of Persia also contributed, there was always Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena to teach how to control anger by helping us blow a computer bot’s head off and shout “Head Shot”. But among these games, what Mass Effect taught was more of an endless collection of things. Here are a few.

Spare some time to look at the world of Mass Effect - gaming can wait :D

Spare some time to look at the beautiful world of Mass Effect – gaming can wait ๐Ÿ˜€

1. It is a big, strange world, and there is the need for tolerance: You take control of SSV Normandy, a powerful spaceship as Commander Shepard, with missions and a chance to meet different species of aliens along with completing the objectives. It is not so different from being in our own world except for the appearances of the aliens and all the shooting that can happen at anytime. We are all aliens on Earth as these people are when travelling through different parts of the galaxy. Every species is different, but we can get along with most of them with some tolerance.

Isn't this the best time to travel to Mercury? Or should we wait for Santa Claus? :D

Isn’t this the best time to travel to Mercury? Or should we wait for Santa Claus? ๐Ÿ˜€

2. Exploration is a must and without it, there is a void: The game’s vast universe is something to be explored. There are some strange planets, and we don’t know what awaits us there. The only thing that we can confirm is about the nature of the elements there. After we get there, there is the chance to get lost in the beauty of the detail there. There are times when creatures come out of nowhere, and the sand serpent kind of things might be common. We face the dangers of the world there as we struggle with the competition in the society in the world outside gaming. It is only then that we get better.

Another planet to explore, and a vehicle which suits the same.

Here is another planet to explore, and a vehicle which suits the terrains of these worlds.

3. Choices make big impact, not just for you, but for many others: There are many choices that we have to make in this game. Not only our actions, but also our words make a difference. It can make a hostile drop his gun, one of our allies turn against us or a friend shoot us. It can lead to the death of one of our soldiers, and there are times when we have to choose a life over the other, or the life of someone over the mission. The game is full of choices, and I had never played a game which had made me choose so much and also suffer the consequences in a few more minutes of play. Not so different from real life, is it?

Make the choice. Meanwhile, note the point from Ashley :D

Make the choice. Meanwhile, note the point from Ashley Williams who speaks the truth ๐Ÿ˜€

4. There is always something more than what meets the eye: Mass Effect does have a twisted story, and a lot of effort has been put in there to make sure that it doesn’t end up as just another shooter with guns and blood making the rules. Even as things would eventually lead to an alien race called The Reapers who would come and harvest the developed life as they always did, there are lots of twists concerning the same, and our protagonist has to fight more than just the harbingers or the final agents of Armageddon.

An ancient civilization devastated. But it should still have a few surprises.

An ancient civilization devastated. But it should still have a few surprises for our captain.

5. Settle your differences before it is too late: Mass Effect is a game that thrives on relationships. There is friendship as well as the romantic relationship that blossoms for the protagonist, and displeasure is another side of the same. Just like in the game, we are aware of a possible end of the world considering the recent terrorist attacks and acts of hatred – so it becomes our duty to be tolerant of others, and hope for a better future. There was something more about this, but by memory is a little faded.

You are already in the battle. Better before death than in afterlife.

You are already in the middle of a big battle. Better before death than later in afterlife.

I have never played another game like Mass Effect. Most of you have watched Interstellar, but this game which came in 2007 had a lot of space exploration elements. It is one of those rare games that give so much choice. There is the movie on the same, which is a work in progress – it is going to be huge. There is already an animated movie Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, and two sequels to the game. Do you know that Mass Effect 2 is considered one of the greatest games of all time? I have a lot less idea about Mass Effect 3, but all three games were received with a lot of acclaim.

Oh no! This is not where I parked my spaceship, or is it? :D

Oh no! This is not that area of the galaxy where I parked my fantastic spaceship, or is it? ๐Ÿ˜€

*All images used in this blog post are the screenshots of my game-play from Mass Effect.

TeNy