Serene


This isn’t the first time that a Chennai beach forms the setting for a post. And it probably won’t be the last. And every time I have written about the waves, it has always been with fondness, and serenity.

This week’s photo challenge, Serene comes at the most appropriate time. It has been a month of blogging madness—and a deeply fulfilling creative extravaganza. It’s perhaps most fitting, that NaBloPoMo culminates in that experience, which it perhaps the closest to me.

I wrote previously about the rather sad state of the Marina beach in Chennai. The Elliot’s beach, more popularly called the Besant Nagar beach, fortunately, does not share the same fate, and is my favourite place to visit early in the morning for relaxing—especially during Margazhi.

Besant Nagar Beach
A quiet stretch of sun, sand, and the sea, next to Arupadai Veedu Murugan Temple, Besant Nagar

Photo taken with a Moto G3, edited with Befunky.


This is the 30th, and last post of this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano. Tomorrow, I won’t have the pressure of posting something. A chance to put my blogging feet up for a while, take a short break, and try to put myself back into a more sane routine.

Throughout this month, on most days I had absolutely no clue what I would post about, often till the moment I began typing. And every time, I surprised myself. I almost didn’t participate, because I am still recovering from the health crisis I put myself into last year. But it has been an absolutely amazing journey, and you, my friends, have been the best part of this journey. To each and every one of you, who has read, liked, rated, shared and commented, thank you.

A happy reader makes it all worthwhile.


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If you liked this post, check out other posts on Chennai:
Read more posts about Chennai (hint: it mostly revolves around the sea)

Oars


Conflicting thoughts dance around his head.
He shakes them off to go earn his bread.

At the river bank he picks up his oars
And ferries people across the shore.

As he rows he feels happy
His hands and body move in perfect harmony.

He breaks into a smile
And forgets his problems for a while.

The happy customers will pay up the fare.
But the contractor will take the lion’s share.

He sighs and consoles himself
After all, his dream won’t come true by itself.

His simple heart plays its own beat
One day, he’ll have his own fleet.

Oars


Photo taken with a Moto G3, edited with Befunky.


This is post #27 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging


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Sunset at Sangam


We’re in November! The year is fast ending. Now where did this year go? For those who know me, it’s been one heck of a roller coaster the past couple of years. And given all that’s going on right now, it would be madness to even think about participating in, what the blogosphere calls, the Nanos. So I’m not thinking about it. I’m jumping right in. If I can manage it, hurrah! And if I can’t, well, that’s okay too.

How about you? Are you going to blog every single day in the month of November? Are you planning to write a novel? Are you crazy enough to do both?! Let me know 🙂


I had previous written about our experience on the boat ride towards Sangam and the jolly boatman who thought we were out to steal his job! This is a picture of the boat on which we sailed. We reached Sangam—the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati—at Sunset, and it was breathtakingly beautiful!

Sunset at Sangam
Sunset at Sangam, Prayag (modern Allahabad)

Picture taken with Moto G3, edited with Befunky. Click/tap to view my Flickr Photostream

It appears that I have several photos with curves in them ;). That makes this boat my third post for the weekly photo challenge! Check out my previous responses Lamps in the sun and On the road: Gangtok to Darjeeling


This is post #1 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

Keeping level


Of Udaipur’s many lakes, the Fateh Sagar takes pride of place. While lake Picchola has the exotic lake palaces, Fateh Sagar retains the beautiful backdrop of the Aravalli hills.

“Well, you’re on vacation, but if you are early risers, I recommend taking a walk along Fateh Sagar. The roads are closed for vehicles till 8 am for morning walkers,” our host Dhananjai at Khudala House advised us.

I remembered reading about the beauty of sunrise at Fateh Sagar on an online travel forum. And so, on a Sunday morning, we set our alarm for 5:30 am, unlocked the House’s front door and sneaked out.

A few minutes later, we crossed the barricades to enter a walker’s paradise—the lake on one side; a rock-cut wall providing shade from the heat of the sun, on the other. We joined hundreds of locals walking briskly along the cordoned section of the road.

We walked leisurely, admiring the still boats basking in the golden light of the rising sun, the soft rustling of the gentle waves, the cool atmosphere, the seemingly endless hills washed green by the monsoon rains and the clean environs.

Awaiting duties
Awaiting duties

 It had poured heavily over the past two days—a kind of rain that would have brought Delhi NCR to its knees. And yet, the streets of Udaipur were devoid of waterlogging. Even Fateh Sagar’s water level remained constant.

When we first came to the city, our hearts were set on lake Picchola, having been enamoured by its ghat and the surrounding architecture. Making our way from the airport, our talkative cabbie Chetan had said, “You come to Udaipur, the main lake is Fateh Sagar. The boating is good here too, and reasonable. Picchola is okay… famous for the palace. But the real beauty is in Fateh Sagar. It is 20 kms if you want to go all around it.” At the time, we dismissed his words, but as the winding roads revealed the breadth of the lake and the distant hills, we understood what he meant.

Over an hour into our walk, there still was no sign of the sun. But what was that? The sound of water. A waterfall? Noone mentioned a waterfall in these parts.

We reached the end of the cordoned section, and there she was, not-so-quietly going about her job of making sure the water doesn’t spill out into the roads. I’m not sure what this structure is called—a sort of dam, I suppose, to control the level of water.

Fateh Sagar lake overflows into the Aravalli hills
Fateh Sagar lake overflows into the Aravalli hills

Nearby, a middle aged man with a mesh paddle was busy cleaning the lake—the ‘filth’ mostly comprised of leaves. Standing on the bridge, we soaked in the misty spray of the ‘waterfall’ and watched the calm water of Fateh Sagar spill out into the bushes on the other side.

The tank is overflowing!
The tank is overflowing!

And behind the bushes, we saw our sun—already up, waiting for us. We wondered if this was the viewpoint that we were supposed to have reached an hour earlier. If you happen to visit Fateh Sagar for the sunrise, perhaps you could shed some light on this matter. On the other hand, if, like us, you get caught up along the way admiring pretty much everything and miss the sun rising from behind the hills, here’s our takeaway:

The sunrise isn’t a view. It’s an experience.

Sunrise at Fateh Sagar
Sunrise at Fateh Sagar

In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: share with us the structure of something typically overlooked.

Photos taken with Motorola Moto G3. Click / tap on the image to enter my Flickr photostream.

The nauka


“Do you want to make a boat?” There was a hint of concern in the man’s voice – he seemed to have mistaken our behaviour as a threat to his livelihood.

Up until then, the nawik was quite cheerful. He encouraged us to feed the birds. Another man on another boat sailed by, selling goodies to be fed to the birds. “Don’t worry about polluting the river – the birds will swoop down before it soils the water”, he said, gently steering the boat across the remarkably clean Ganges. The Magh Mela had ended only a fortnight ago, and the temporary docks were still up – being taken down one nail, one plank at a time.

Seeing our keenness to photograph everything around us, and the special attention his boat was getting, he was at first amused, and then a little worried.

We couldn’t help laugh a little and reassured him that we were just fascinated and enjoyed getting up close to the many textures in front of us. We had no intention of making a boat.

Somewhat reassured, he returned to his usual cheery self and continued to row gently. “The other nawiks were interested in showing their muscle and speed at rowing. What’s the point? Why rush? I enjoy myself. Don’t you? You’ve clearly come from far just to see the Sangam*. You would want to spend more time, won’t you?”

We nodded our approval of his thoughts. He offered if we’d like to try our hand at rowing. Of course! He taught us to row and the technique for steering. We both took one oar each and rowed for a while. “I’ll take a picture of you two! You would want to keep this memory.”

We taught him how to use the phone camera and continued to row. He was a good teacher. And rowing was actually fun! After a while he took back the oars. It was, of course, his job!

We soaked in the glow of the golden sun as it began diving into the river and once docked at the ghat, we paid our nauka a tip for the memorable trip.

Here’s one of the many close-up pictures of our nawik’s prized possession – his nauka

Captain hook? One of the metal loops along the edge of the boat.

To see what details other bloggers around the world are clicking, zoom in to this week’s Photo Challenge


Glossary

Nauka: boat
Nawik: boatman
*Sangam: the confluence of three rivers at Allahabad: the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati