Love is…strong

Love is...not without its complicationsRelationships can be messy and complicated. There may even be times when we wonder what possessed us to get married in the first place. So when a friend recently asked me what makes my marriage tick, I had to think long and hard about the answer.

I’ve been married 8 years and knew the darling husband for 3 years before we tied the knot — that makes it 11 years with the same man. Wow!

If I said it was an easy journey, I’d be lying. If I said I was blissful every single day, I’d be lying. But I do know that I am truly blessed that we found one another. There are times when I can still get weak-kneed just looking at him…times when I marvel at the universe that brought us together…and yes, even times when I wonder how insane I was to have gotten married! But those are fleeting moments, generally brought on when I am really angry or frustrated with the husband — and those moments happen in every marriage.

So, what makes me feel like the luckiest woman alive when I wake up next to him every day?

The fact that, no matter how many fights we have, the core of our relationship —our bond — has grown stronger over the years. We can fight and argue and storm out of the house on each other, but at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, the love is very much alive and growing.

What is it that makes your relationship tick?

Synchronicity

Here’s what my horoscope said for today:

A cat caught by surprise

Image via Wikipedia

You’re bound to feel creative today. Rather than engaging in something physically active, consider exploring your artistic side. Try your hand at painting, writing or a craft like floral arranging. Explore the essence of color and imagination.

Creative expression is not only a means to communicate with others but also with yourself. Take the time to learn more about this part of you. You may be surprised!

I almost fell out of my chair when I read it! I’ve been involved in creative tasks since morning, even before I read my horoscope for the day. I updated my photoblog, Shutterbug, and am busy designing a blog button for it since morning. It’s very rare for my horoscope to actually be this accurate, so I’m going to plan some creative time for later in the day too. It may be time for some photography or altered art this evening!

Have you experienced such synchronicity lately?

Whispers of Cruel Words – Alex Coleman

Whispers of Cruel Words

Criticize all you want, I won’t be perfect
talk all you need, I won’t change
laugh at me and I’ll laugh back,
there’s no shame in being myself
I’ll show who I am
and you’ll wear all your masks,
your backed into the corner
from all your insecurities
one day you’ll fall,
along with all,
your whispers of cruel words
and that’s all they are…
whispers; hardly heard.

Alex Coleman

Zangoora: A Bollywood musical extravaganza

Billed as the largest Bollywood musical extravaganza, Zangoora — The Gypsy Price is one of the first musicals to be staged in India along the lines of musicals staged abroad. Since it’s being staged at the Nautanki Mahal at Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon, I had to go watch it. My only worry was that the husband might balk at the prices — the extravaganza doesn’t come cheap, with prices ranging from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 6,500 — as he’s not into musicals and theater, but he agreed without batting an eye!

Zangoora - the gypsy prince

The Nautanki Mahal is done up in old-world style. It follows a predominantly red and gold color scheme, evoking the grandeur of a bygone era, with beautiful, huge chandeliers dominating the central dome in the waiting area, throne-like chairs scattered around, a bar at both ends of the waiting area, and walls painted to look give an inlay effect.

Photography wasn’t allowed inside the theater, while the play was going on, though I did get a shot of the stage before the play began. 😉

The story itself is simple. The play opens with the Prince Rudra’s first birthday celebrations, during the course of which the king declares that he will not charge taxes during the year, and asks his kingdom’s three chieftains to make the same declaration in their provinces. The three — Thodamal, Daulat Rai and Zohravar — are none too pleased with this decision, and hatch a plot to wipe out the king and his family.

Opening scene: elephant throne

Prince Rudra, however, is saved, and ends up with a gypsy caravan, where he is brought up as Zangoora (Hussain Kuwajerwalla), the leader of the gypsies, who sets the stage on fire with his gypsy dancing partner Laachi (Gauahar Khan). Meanwhile, Zohravar (Sadanand Patil) takes over the throne and launches his reign of terror on Shaktisheela. Of course, since this is a Bollywood musical, the story has to end well, with good winning vs. evil and Zangoora, a.k.a. Prince Rudra, winning back his rightful place on the throne as well as his lady love, Sonali (Kashmira Irani).

The dancing gypsies outside their caravan

A typical Bollywood plot, you say, whose chances at the box office may not be that great? But hey! This is live…and it’s magic!

Right from the opening scene, where you have the king and queen holding court on the back of an elephant, to the electrifying, high-energy dances, the play keeps you captivated and begging for more! The cable work is excellent, reminiscent of a Broadway musical, as actors fly through the air, spin cartwheels, fly into a dream sequence, or come onstage, suspended upside-down, to deliver prophesies to Zohravar. The sets and props are excellent, breathing life into the different sets — be it the forest, the gypsy caravan, or the throne room. One scene in particular, which is set underwater, is breathtaking. LED screens and special effects are used to show fishes and plants, while two mermaids swim through the water suspended on cables. Pure magic!

Celeberating Zangoora's coronation

If you’re around Delhi/NCR, this musical should be on your must-watch list. It’s slated to go on until December, so you have plenty of time to catch it!

Still need some convincing? Check out this sneak preview of the musical. Note: this is a shot from a promo night, so it doesn’t showcase all the scenic elements.

Liked what you saw?

Images from Reuters blogs.

Meditation music: Relaxation music

How has the week treated you so far? My week has been really hectic — a lot of high-pressure deadlines that I had to meet at work, driving through some absolutely crazy traffic, long nights and early mornings.

With all the craziness, I really needed to find some peace during the weekend, and was fortunate to stumble upon some beautifully relaxing music.  I hope this piece is able to soothe your frazzled nerves as well as it did mine!

Hope you liked this music.

(Click to read older Spiritual Sunday posts)

Book review: Empires of the Indus – Alice Albinia

In Empires of the Indus, Alice Albinia traces the route of the River Indus from Pakistan and Afghanistan, upstream through west India and to its source in Tibet. Part travelogue, part history lesson, Albinia goes where angels fear to tread in her quest to trace the route of the River Indus. During the journey, she shares details about the myths and legends associated with the river, which through millennia, has been worshipped as a God and used as a means of imperial expansion.

A major portion of the book is set in Pakistan, and as an Indian reader, it gave me a rare glimpse into that country’s culture and history. While it is a known fact that Pakistan is a Muslim dominated country, what is not so widely known is just how badly it treats its minorities.

Sheedis of Pakistan

For instance, Sheedis — an African-Muslim tribe — have worked very hard to erase their rich musical past, having all but given up playing the mugarman, an African drum, and singing and dancing in order to better assimilate themselves into Pakistani culture. Still, the community largely remains mired in poverty and illiteracy. Another tribe that is tenuously holding on to its culture is the Kalash, who live in the remote Bumboret village, 150 km north of Pirsar.

“Neither Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, the Kalash religion is syncretic, involving a pantheon of gods, sacred goats, and a reverence for river sources and mountain tops. [But] Such is the pressure from Islam in Bumboret, few young Kalash seem proud of their pantheon, or even to know of its existence.” — p. 225

Albinia travels through remote areas of Pakistan, through the now Taliban-infested Swat region (which at the time of her travel itself was seeing a resurgence of that fundamentalist faction) and into Afghanistan on foot, as she traces Alexander the Great’s route along the River Indus as he set out on his campaign to conquer India. What is most surprising is the danger she knowingly put herself into in this quest, but it is heartening that she met a number of helpful people along the way.

River Indus, Skardu, Pakistan

Vast swathes of regions that Albania travelled across are now disconnected from the rest of Pakistan due to the heavy floods there, which have set back the country’s infrastructure by at least 30 years. So in a way, her book serves as the most recent glimpse into the culture, geography and people of that area.

From Pakistan — the bulk of her 305-page book is about her travels through Pakistan and her two cross-overs into Afghanistan — Albinia travels into India and then Tibet as she traces the Indus to its origin — the Senge Khabab. Her trip to India is covered in one 22-page chapter, while the last chapter, 24 pages, details her travel through Tibet, up to the source of the river.

Though her travels through these two countries are glossed over, this is an interesting novel given the breadth and depth of history and geography that she covers. If you want to know more about Pakistan, or are an avid historian, you’ll definitely like the book.

If you’ve read this book, do let me know what you thought about it!

My favorite things…

The Sound of Music LP cover.

Image via Wikipedia

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…

I love that song from Sound of Music! Which is why I decided to name this latest series after that song. I got this idea from Misadventures with Andi, and thought it was an excellent way of keeping track of some of the things I love and sharing them with you!

I was contemplating if I should make this into another of my regular features, but then decided against it. I want this to be a totally fun post, without having to worry about missing out a day, so I’m going to post these whenever I have a few new things to share with all of you.

I was looking for the Now What? magazine this morning, which used to be published by Jessica Wesolek over at crea8it! While browsing through her site, I came across this lovely  luminara. It would look beautiful on my sidetable! The best part? You can make it yourself at home! Click to know how to make a luminara.

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself loathe to throw out wine bottles, hoping I can alter them in some way to use them as showpieces around the house. Don’t these painted, stamped and wired treasure bottles look absolutely divine?

Inspired by all this craftiness, I headed over to Karen’s Whimsy, my favorite altered book artist, to have a look at her beautiful relinquaries. For some reason, this particular relinquary has been one of my favorites since a while.

Well, that’s it for this time! Hope you enjoyed looking at these beauties as much as I did while putting them together!

Wandering Wednesday #4: It's all about books

Old Leather Books-- Thomas Love Peacock

Image by Wyoming_Jackrabbit via Flickr

Want to read something, but stuck for ideas? Take a look at my bookshelf!

You could also look at Random House’s list of Top 100 books – both novels and non-fiction. Or try Biblomania’s free online literature.

If classic literature is more your style, head over to Planet eBook and download them for free!

Don’t want to download? Then head over to 101 Zen Stories and read stories online!

Hope you enjoy visiting these sites as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you!

Do you have any favorite sites that you’d like to share?

(Click to read older Wandering Wednesday posts)

White Nights – Paul Auster

White Nights – Paul Auster

Cover of "Disappearances"

Cover of Disappearances

No one here,
and the body says: whatever is said
is not to be said.  But no one
is a body as well, and what the body says
is heard by no one
but you.

Snowfall and night. The repetition
of a murder
among the trees. The pen
moves across the earth: it no longer knows
what will happen, and the hand that holds it
has disappeared.

Nevertheless, it writes.
It writes: in the beginning,
among the trees, a body came walking
from the night.  It writes:
the body’s whiteness
is the color of earth.  It is earth,
and the earth writes: everything
is the color of silence.

I am no longer here. I have never said
what you say
I have said. And yet, the body is a place
where nothing dies. And each night,
from the silence of the trees, you know
that my voice
comes walking toward you.