Serene Silence

Sylvan Lake, South Dakota

This magnificent view was at Sylvan Lake during my visit to South Dakota. Like many other places of interest that South Dakota has to offer, Sylvan lake is one of them. This lake is a hidden gem amidst the towering Black Hills.

This spectacular lake with a view makes you feel relieved and rejuvenated with nothing but tranquility induced by chirping birds and mild breeze. A quick hike around the lake was as beautiful as it looked and sounded!

This place reminded me of the fact that there is beauty in stillness. Though silence may often be associated to negativity which depicts lack of communication or connection, there is beauty to it. Amidst all the chaos we live in along with constant chatters of the mind, taking a moment to cease, to be calm, devoid of stress, ‘to-do’ lists and connections is very much the need of the hour in today’s world. I enjoy tranquility and solitude more than many things in my life and it brings me immense joy and peace. Taking a moment off from your busy lives, just to be calm, to feel the silence and the beauty it offers can do wonders if practiced daily. Trying to disconnect from the world to feel and cherish the stillness of the present is a great way to tame our wandering minds.

This image is my go-to picture that reminds me of the beauty in serene silence and how much I need it!

Weekly Photo ChallengeSilence

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Evoked…Again!| Winter Musings

Every winter evokes a nostalgic state of mind which takes me back to 2014. For most part of my life I enjoyed winter, as all it meant was an opportunity to wear sweatshirts and of course the holidays! But my stint with a real, freezing white winter was experienced when I first landed in the United States. It was the month of December in 2013. My friend and I were nervous as much as excited while heading out from the airport. Though we had an idea of what to expect from a Midwestern winter based on our research during grad school applications, we weren’t really cold tolerant people.

As I stepped out, I noticed traces of snow here and there, but less than what I imagined. The chilly breeze through my hair was a feeling I would never forget, as it is still fresh in my mind after 4 good years! After all, that was my first feel of Nebraskan winter. Within few days, we had good amount of snow and just like many, I enjoyed my time with my first snow.

The honeymoon stage with my snow experience was over pretty soon and thus came the hard part. A 26- minute walk to my apartment every Tuesday and Thursday night after class was the toughest part of my masters program in the States. Yes, I wouldn’t ascribe my hardships in a foreign country to a hectic schedule, busy lifestyle, never ending assignments, homesickness or the tough coursework, but to a bone chilling torture of winter walking with heavy backpacks, freezing palms and feet that almost feel numb and dead by the time you reach home! Not to forget the foggy glasses as a result of my thermal face mask. All this in spite of wearing four layers of clothing with heavy jackets, gloves, beanie and boots!ย  The privilege of not having a car! But yes, it was HARD!!! Those moments were the only times I felt like running away, the time I missed home and family real bad.

The same scenes repeated each time we went walking to a nearby Walmart. Nothing is as close by as you think when you walk on a freezing winter evening with temperatures falling below -30 C, carrying tons of grocery bags! Phew! (in a cold way) I think most international students can relate to this if they lived in colder places. But it was definitely intense for someone who used to cuddle up in a fluffy blanket just for tropical winters!

I still have a love/hate relationship with winter, but amidst all my hatred for spine chilling cold winds, there was and is one thing I crave for- Sunshine! Yes, who would’ve thought I’d really crave for something so basic- like sun rays! To feel the warmth in a way I never felt all those years back home. It made me realize the need and existence of light and heat from sun.

Now, I’m glad to be in a position where I no longer need to walk miles for groceries or any place else on a winter evening, but winters do evoke my cravings for sunlight! They made me notice and acknowledge a blessing I never really cared about. No matter how much winter reminds of my hardships during my early encounters with it, it definitely made me grateful and reminds me to get out and get my daily dose of Vitamin D!

Daily PromptEvoke

Missing in Action- Blog Update

Hola!

Hope everyone is doing good! I don’t know if you noticed, but Aura with writing has been missing from your feed for many months. I haven’t posted anything for the second half of 2017, as I was completely involved and busy with an important life event taking place. I usually write when I can totally indulge in writing and not just for the heck of it. As a result I end up vanishing for months! The end of year always reminds me of my progress/ regress with respect to writing and blogging, as every new year marks the anniversary of this blog.

I started Aura with writing in January 2016 with a budding interest in writing and art. Though I did not make much progress with blogging as I wish to in the last two years, my hope to continue to get better never seems to die. No matter how many times I vanish and get away from writing due to circumstances, I always yearn to get back and learn. Now here I am, yet again, writing reflections for the year on the last day of 2017! (At least in my time zone!)

My 2017 in a nutshell:

The year started off with fresh enthusiasm and promises to keep writing no matter what! Well, I did stick to it for the initial few months and wanted to even after the hectic AtoZ Challenge! But well, it wasn’t easy for me to get into my Zen zone of writing meaningful content when a lot was going on.

Most of my 2017 was stressful both personally and professionally, but ended on a very high note with some unforgettable life events and moments I will always be grateful for! As always I learned few life lessons and this time it wasn’t the hard way! Not because life was easy, but because my perception slowly started shifting for good.

I noticed a lot of improvement in my way of looking at things and people and have made progress in my journey of optimism. All these will definitely reflect in my writings in the future. After a debacle for two years, I realized I shouldn’t be making any promises on being regular on the blog, but hey! Old habits die hard and I’m definitely no quitter!

I was an avid reader as a child and was always engrossed in books. But as I grew older, my reading has declined significantly with 0 being the count for the past 4 years! This very fact makes me feel ashamed and uncomfortable as much as it reminds me of my time I wasted with unnecessary browsing and internet.

My wishlist for 2018:

In 2018, I wish to get back to my old habit of reading, apart from writing. I’m challenging myself to read 30 books in the new year. I do think the number is high for someone who lost the habit of reading, but my over ambitious book count should motivate me enough to get through at-least half of them. As far as the blog goes, I want to update at least twice a month. Not making any promises, but nothing wrong in trying, right? I’m also looking forward to make some major lifestyle changes, one at a time at my own pace. Eagerly waiting to write about them if I’m successful at getting habituated to at least one from my check list. Signing off hoping for an exciting 2018!

Happy new and prosperous 2018! May this year be better and brighter than ever! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Geothermal Textures

One of the most intriguingly fascinating experiences of my life happened during my trip to the Yellowstone National Park. This National Park is a natural wonder that has a lot to offer- a live, visual Geography class and a natural Chemistry lab experience! These pictures are a proof of few of the phenomenons I’ve never seenย  orย  experienced!

These photographs were captured at the Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone. The terrace formation was a result of hot water springs cooling down and depositing calcium carbonate from thousands of years. The formations which are an outcome of a geothermal phenomenon have resulted in these unique and intriguing natural textures. A closer look at the texture resembles deposits of limestone.

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Mammoth Hot Springs
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Mammoth Hot Springs
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Mammoth Hot Springs

 

Weekly Photo ChallengeTextures

Doodling Series๏ปฟ- #1 Look Out the Window

I’m excited to share that I’ll be starting this new series on the blog called the Doodling Series. Art and doodles are like my long lost companions. Though writing is something I’ve been doing for the past few years, art has always been my first love. After ignoring my love for doodling and painting for over two decades, I finally decided to get back and try my hand at them. My recent posts on zentangle were the outcomes of this effort. Now with the doodling series, I intent to attain the motivation to draw, sketch or doodle. Though these doodles won’t be flawless, my intention is to observe the improvement or betterment as I move forward with the series.

I shall continue to write, but posting a doodle once in a while on the blog wouldn’t cause harm I feel ๐Ÿ™‚

Look out the window

Growing up has lesser perks to life than we expect as a child. As a kid, we crave to grow up faster to escape the hassles of NOT being an adult. But only when we get to adulthood do we realize how ignorant we really were as a kid! Life and its experiences teach us many things, but at the same time, we tend to lose some of the most valuable sensibilities we had as a child. Few among them are the wonder, curiosity and the ability to wish and dream.ย  Continue reading “Doodling Series๏ปฟ- #1 Look Out the Window”

Historical Heritage

The moment I saw the word Heritage, I had two pictures in my mind. While the first one is synonymous with my childhood, the second one was a dream destination I considered as a child. So, I have two entries for this week’s photo challenge.

I left Mumbai when it was Bombay with beyond wonderful childhood memories. As years passed, my memory of Bombay was restricted to my personal experiences and very few places and monuments that I remembered as a kid. The foremost one was the Gateway of India and the next was the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. These two monuments indeed emanate Heritage, given their historical significance. These photographs were taken during my last visit to Mumbai after 20 long years! As I stood admiring the Heritage of Mumbai, my vague memory was brought back to life and I cherished every moment of it!

Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai

My second entry for this week’s photo challenge is this phenomenal lady with the lamp. The very thought of USA always popped up one image in my mind all my life- The Statue of Liberty. This National monument of the States is an epitome of great historical importance and heritage.ย This photograph was taken during my visit to the Statue ofย Liberty Monument on Liberty Island, New York.

Statue of Liberty, New York

 

Weekly Photo Challenge–ย Heritage