A Photo A Day: 30 days or so

August 19th was World Photography Day and while browisng through posts here and articles on Google, I found various suggestions for celebrating, honoring, remembering the day through pictures, obviously! While ideas were galore and temptations many too, I ultimately chose an easy one, a quite common one as well. And something that I have attempted in the past! Taking a photo every single day- not just a ‘pretty’ one but of a random moment at home or during a stroll outside or in the grocery store parking lot… a moment from everyday life. Many of us do that in-fact, probably without any set goal in mind but it doesn’t hurt to have one either! So, here I am sharing photos that I have taken, starting August 25th till a few days back. It has not been one photo every day, and there have been some gap days but for the most part, I was able to click one every day! Some I have shared in other posts while many are of a personal nature… telling a story in a moment that I would want to look back on😊My project is on going and I hope to share as I progress in a month or two!

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever done something like this, a semi chronicle -of -sorts of life in its every day glorified chaos, with moments sweet and salty?

 

Thanks for stopping by and Friday is almost here!

A Photo a Week Challenge: Sun & Water

A beautiful topic for this week’s challenge at Nancy Merrill Photography There is something surely surreal about these two forces together and it seems we can never have enough:)

 

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A sunrise, the first I had seen after quite a few years, at Ocean City, MD

 

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This is one of my favorite photos from our trip to Florida (this one was during camping at the Everglades) about six years ago. While the sun is not on the water in this it still, for me, creates that magic.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Organized Chaos

   It says ‘morning shows the day’. Not going into the philosophical meaning of this age old saying and instead sticking with the very literal sense, there are days where it seems that it was tailored to fit me! Well, we all feel this way, probably more frequently that we want to, don’t we?

   The other day it was a crazy morning as usual where the school going kid was not waking up and the little one was generally jumping (well, almost!) in her crib and the alarm was going off in the good man’s phone that he was unable to turn off with sleepy eyes. I took a couple of deep breaths and the rest of the clan managed to calm themselves down in their own ways and I was able to drop off the kid at school, miraculously, on time. Oh, by the way, I got honked on way to school too…and I was not at all at fault!

   We came back home and then ensued round two. I made my morning tea that I usually take with two biscuits (the ‘English’ biscuit, by the way) and I balanced it precariously on the edge of the cup and right when I was about to take my first sip, I saw it had fallen in the tea and given the tea a rather heavy and crumbly consistency. And that was that.  I got up to continue with my day’s work while the little one thought it would be a good idea to  crawl over to my flip flops, put them on her lap and take a nibble!  While I managed to prevent that from happening at the nick of time, I stepped on one of these tiny- yet- strong -enough -to -injure -a -grown -up- cars and let out a huge scream, internally, (yes , that’s possible!) as I did not want to scare the life out of the crawling baby. I limped a little for the rest of the day.

   It was time, soon, to pick up the little boy from school and I realized all my everyday pants were in the washer ready to be dried! AAAAHHHHHHH. I decided I would go out wearing what I was and would avoid eye contact with anyone once I was there. And how do you think that went? I met more parents than I ever have in the last one and a half years and they thought it would be good to exchange pleasantries (they are really nice people, nothing against them) and so there I was, in my pajama bottoms, talking about possible play dates. I am hoping that this has happened to people before me!

   Once home, lunch and bath time went by pretty uneventfully and I managed to out down the little ones for their naps. Now, they are usually good with their nap time, sleeping easily for an hour or two. And I needed it to happen that day as I wanted to get going on the dinner before going for my Yoga class in the evening. Take a guess how long nap time was? If you guessed 25 minutes, I give you a round of applause! I took a very deep breath, let all the worries out and the three of us had an awesome afternoon. We  rolled on the floor, got silly, had tickle fights and afternoon snacks, most of which my little one preferred to eat off of the floor and we sang songs as well! I remembered to run the dryer and got dinner started, that the good man finished cooking later. I reached my Yoga class 7 minutes late and had to wait outside…who reaches a Yoga class late??? It rained heavily later and I did grocery, got drenched and got grumpy.

   And then, when I reached home and turned the door knob, I was greeted by  peels of laughter and just like that all my crabbiness, from being late for yoga class and getting drenched among other things, just vanished. A goofy face and a toothless laughter hugged and squished the stress out of me and I counted my blessings.

    It’s chaos everyday and I call it organized chaos. And I love it, on most days. We all have/had such days where simple things go wrong and tiny things irk us and toy with  our inner peace. The frailty of human nature! How easily we let ourselves get lost in the transience of  moments that might be flawed and fret over that what is going to pass soon. Reflecting upon our current blessings escapes our notice in the mundane ups and downs of daily life. I wonder if we are a little quick in letting out big sighs and rolling our eyes!

 

    There are things that we would, ideally, want a little different in our lives and it is true that we let that get to us sometimes. It bothers us, makes us sad, makes us question past decisions and overall leaves a sour taste in our mouths. But, then when we pause to look around and see all that we have, does it not fill our hearts with gratitude and does the restlessness not disappear?   Piles of unfolded laundry mean our families has enough clothes to wear, accumulated dishes in the sink mean our families has enough to eat, paying bills means we have a roof over our heads and jobs that provide for all of that, text messages and phone calls to return mean there are people who care, giggles and crayon marks on walls mean we have little ones growing up. I really could not care less about how I look, what cars we drive, the gray on my hair, that jeans which I no longer fit into and judgmental people. What about you? What brings you happiness in your daily life? How do you deal with tiny things that disturb the so called balance of our perfectly imperfect lives?

 

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance “-Eckhart Tolle. 

 

Thanks for stopping by and hope your week is going well!

Tuesday Tales- The Pink Trash Can

   Many moons ago, I had the opportunity to live in Kobe, Japan as part of the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program and to say the least, it turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. Today’s Tuesday Tales is about how a little pink trash can from my first day in Kobe.

                                                       The little pink trash can 

   I was young and it was the first time I had traveled ‘overseas’ and I was hopeful, albeit a bit nervous. I had no idea about what to expect and in a country the language of which I neither spoke nor understood, planning to work there for a couple of years did not seem as daunting as it should have. I was running high on all things bright and beautiful and was honored to be a part of this pretty cool and at the same time, enriching, program.

   It was the month of August and it was hot and humid, a weather I was quite familiar with. After a couple of days of program orientation in Tokyo with probably around 5000 participants from more than 40 countries and mesmerized by all that was going on- from our stay in the wonderful Keio Plaza Hotel, to attending lectures to a beautiful milieu of what seemed like a cultural amalgamation, to making new friends-everything seemed to good to be true. After a three day period, I boarded the Shinkansen from Tokyo  and reached Kobe, along with my colleagues, some of who I became good friends with, that continues till today. We went to the Board of Education building of the city of Kobe where after some more briefing about the whats and what not-s of the program, my co-teacher from the school I was going to be teaching English at, took me to what was going to be my home for the period of my stay in that country, and the first place where I would be staying all by myself for the first time ever…too many firsts, one may say!

   We went up the stairs and opened the door to the place and it was then that reality hit me. I was looking at a tiny place that was just floors and walls, with the tiniest gas stove I had seen. Oh, there was a little futon too but it was all rolled up in a corner and had not caught my attention in the beginning. I dragged my big red suitcase inside, thanked my co-teacher, Ms. Takashima (who by the way, was surprised at the emptiness of the place), closed the door after she left and slumped on the floor in a pool of tears. I was exhausted and scared but the glitz and happy faces of Tokyo and the adrenaline from all the excitement had kept me from facing some realities that the sight of an empty place brought to the forefront in no time.

 I was alone for the first time ever. I had never lived without my parents and I was without friends. It felt claustrophobic in there and it was hurting bad. I went to the bathroom, turned the tap on and just sat in the bathtub, with my clothes till on. And I cried my heart out. I saw no reason to be there and just wanted to run back to the place and people who I left behind, waving through the murky glass doors at the airport.

   After I was almost done crying as I could not cry any more, I heard the door bell ring and someone saying something. I was drained out from all the crying, not to mention the soaking clothes. By the time I had changed into dry clothes, and thought of three excuses about what was wrong with my eyes ( an unhealthy duration of crying does strange things to the eyes obviously), whoever had rung the bell had gone away. When I opened the door, I found a little pink trash can with a pretty lid on it…it was definitely the cutest trash can I had ever seen, with a note on it that said- ‘I hope you will make this a part of your home-Ms. Takashima’. Also hanging on the door handle was a ‘welcome bag’ from the previous batch of JET participants, who were living in the same building as us and it had all the basic necessities to help us through the first few hours.  A dinner invitation for meet and greet was followed by a very teary Skype call home and the day ended with me passing out on that tiny futon.

    As I woke up the following morning and made tea (I had brought supplies from home), I realized I was calmer and less claustrophobic. The little pink trash can, with the note still stuck on the lid, was part of my ‘home’ now and I knew 20 more people than the previous afternoon and I had survived my first night away from my family. And at that moment I remembered something that my Baba always says ‘Din periye jaye. kalker din o eshei jaye‘ (loosely translated- time keeps on moving and, tomorrow always comes). I had never before paid much attention to this saying of his that he uses too much and I realized the truth of those words in that morning, sipping tea in my first home with the pink trash can.

   That pink trash can made that empty space my home and the next two years went by in the blink of eye. I had some of the best times of my life there, I definitely learned much more than I had before, I made some very special memories and even more special friends and I reconnected with a lost friend who I am currently married to and who is a wonderful father to our two kids!

 

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This picture of the school playground was taken by a dear friend and colleague near the end of my stay in Kobe. It has remained a favorite.

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge-Photo Walk

   This will be my third post for the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge hosted by The Snow Melts Somewhere (https://thesnowmeltssomewhere.wordpress.com/) and Something to Ponder About (https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/and when I woke up this morning, one of the first things that crossed my mind was ‘what would the prompt this week be’!

   I love taking pictures and there is no denying that and though I am not good at it, I am quite passionate. I am not the one who has the phone ready in her and at all times and clicks at anything and everything. On the contrary, I have had more missed chances that I would like to acknowledge as I was busy rummaging through what is supposed to be my bag but looks- like- a- sack, trying to locate my phone in vain! But, when I do go on walks, I am mindful about my phone and it’s storage space (another dreadful scenario I face often) and I remember to carry my camera as well. This week’s prompt gave me a chance to look back at many pictures I had taken that I have not had a chance to share yet (I am assuming none of my previous posts have these!) and I feel thankful and happy. None of these are recent but they all are special in heir own way,  with anecdotes that make them close to my heart.

   These first batch of photos were taken during our first visit to my sister-in-law in California and it was our first proper trip ever. Neel had recently got his first job and I was doing an internship at an organization, whose cause I was passionate about. I had never been anywhere before that in this country (other than Minnesota where we both went to grad school) and, on top of that we were visiting family and a very dear friend too! It was a special trip, reminding us of the steps we have had to climb to be able to go on a trip at that point in our lives. We did not have a camera then and so these were taken by my first smart phone:)

 

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San Francisco, CA 2011

   These next set of pictures are in and around my neighborhood during spring time, a couple of years ago probably. These are during the times when my then two year old and I would be going on our afternoon walks, him toddling as fast as his tiny legs would allow and me walking a few steps behind him soaking in all the magic that was happening as the little guy would walk, stop  and gaze at almost everything with wonder and delight! And as I took innumerable pictures of him, I also would occasionally take some of the cherry blossom that add pink and white to our neighborhood during spring.

 

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These final set of pictures are from our last visit to Kolkata , India in the spring of 2018. They are from in and around my in-laws’ house and my father’s house and hold a special place in my heart as it was around this time we found out that we would be adding another member to our family of three!  Now that she is four months old, looking back at these pictures bring back those flutters of excitement and anxiousness and remind me once again, to count my blessings and be grateful . It also hurts a little as I reminisce about growing up in this soulful city- a city I still call home, a city that has seen me through my many ups and downs. It’s the city where our parents and my younger brother live-  indispensable and unequalled, who enrich our lives with their selfless love; people we have left behind to find our footing in this world;  people whose hearts ache a little more with every passing year as we wave goodbye at the airport gates and people who bear more than their age allows  to make life easier for us.

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Friendly Friday Photo Challenge-Feelings of Spring!

   It is almost spring here in New Jersey…almost. It’s somewhat the ‘feeling of spring’ as this week’s theme from Friendly Friday Photo Challenge hosted by Something to Ponder About (https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/) and The Snow Melts Somewhere (https://thesnowmeltssomewhere.wordpress.com/) suggests. Winter-y weather seems to be dragging on forever  here on the East Coast and even though temperatures have started rising to the ‘comfortable’ 40s and 50s, there is still quite a nip in the air that sadly keeps us from keeping our winter jackets away.

   For me, here,  birds are the heralds of spring; their much awaited chirp breaks the monotony of the wintry silence that keeps us engulfed, what feels like at times to be, for ever. Kids playing outside and neighbors chatting for more than the perfunctory greetings are all signs of warmer weather and cheery hearts! And then come the sprouting of tiny greens on the bare branches, little pink flowers  with a smell that is almost intoxicating and that urge to breathe in lungs full of fresh air. I grew up in Kolkata where spring is much warmer and while the pink of cherry blossoms is surely missing,  the  red ‘polash’, a fiery orange-ish red flower also commonly known as the flame-of-the forest and colorful bougainvilleas add that rejuvenating splash of color,  signalling the advent of spring.

    The look that my four year old gets when I say ‘it seems to be a good day to go to the park’ has added to the wonder of spring for the past couple of years. The joy and exuberance that a child feels from being able to run around in the open, after remaining cooped up indoors during the dreadful winter months is hard to parallel! We still need to wear fleece jackets and hats but we go out and run around to our hearts’ content and the little guy exclaims, almost every step of the way to the park, at all the things he had missed during winter and the spark in his eyes warms up my heart, as I try to keep up with his bouncy steps.

   These pictures of spring were taken a few years back:

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These sunflowers added to the  bright Florida sun, on our way back from camping at the Everglades back in 2012.

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We spent last spring in Kolkata and these bougainvilleas adorned the rooftop of my in-laws’ house.

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And these are from a couple of days back, in our neighborhood….most tree branches are still bare but some have started to spring back and I hope to take better pictures once the pink and the white of the cherry blossoms take over.

 

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And this was on the first warm-ish day at the park!

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Happy Spring folks!