Mar 28, 2012

Missed Connections

Knowing my interest in people watching it shouldn't surprise you why I looked up Sophie Blackall as soon as I got off the Subway this evening. Turns out she was one of two artists selected for Subway themed illustrations for the year 2012!

I have always felt that mere words are not adequate to thoroughly explain the New york City Subway experience to someone who has never been on one. Well, Sophie has done an amazing job illustrating what she sees around and I can't resist sharing it with my readers and fellow bloggers with whom I have shared a lot of my Subway experiences - in words that is.

To begin with you'll notice the seating arrangement inside the new Subway cars that gives you plenty of leg room and ample bars at varying heights for the straphangers.

Next you'll notice the diverse mix of people riding the trains each of them unique in their own way, each having a story to tell. There are kids, elderly, musicians, artists, you name it. Each minding their own business reading or drawing or chatting or anything but avoiding eye contacts. On the occasional moments the eyes meet there is no smile or nod or any other recognition of it. We look away as quickly as we "met".

Then you'll notice the ample windows that give you something else to stare about at each station.

Sophie has done a tremendous job capturing the scene as it unrolls in front of her eyes. I understand she has also authored a book based on her Subway encounters, called Missed Connections. I am sure to find one for my reading. Apparently most characters in this piece of art is drawn from the book. So I just can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Before I wrap up, here's an etsy video I came across on the making of the art in Sophie's own words. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

P.S: You may also visit her blog to find the portions of the picture upclose.

Until next time,
~ NRIGirl

Mar 23, 2012

A Note

Mar 18, 2012

Laying it down

I am crying. Not because of any matter big or small you would imagine; but because I lay it all down at the altar this morning.

Visiting friends over the weekend we attended Church with them this morning. The sermon was titled "Laying it all down" which went on to explain how Jesus Christ lay it all down for the human race, for me in particular!

The pastor sang a beautiful song I had never heard before, "He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay..." In the end of the sermon there was an altar call for 'laying it all down'. The Pastor asked, "He lay it all down for you! What are you willing to lie down today?" I chose to lie down my dreams and that's what I am crying about.

In my mind whatever dreams big or small, the ones that have been fulfilled, partly fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled, and even those that might never be fulfilled have all been lain down - to rest forever. This makes me weepy.

What are these dreams, anything big, you might wonder. It is my all - big and small. It even includes my long lasting dream to take a family picture in blue jeans and white shirts. One might find it silly as to why it has to be a dream and why not just get clicked. The fact of the matter is that a dream is just a dream until one acts on it and in our 13 years of home making we haven't acted on making this dream a reality. Whose fault is it? Why bother? All I can tell you is it remains unfulfilled.

Another one is my fancy for world travel. Israel, Australia, Thailand & Paris seem so close at times yet ever eluding. The big plans for visiting all fifty States as a family might never be fulfilled at the rate in which the kids are growing. It is not the funds that are limiting, though it is true at times; but the time in most cases and hence stays only a dream thus far.

My dream home in India is yet another that remains at large. Why would you spend so much money building a house in India while you live oceans apart is a valid question. But why not is my valid answer! Would it ever be fulfilled? Only time will tell.

Oh yes, my dream job at the Bronx Zoo (oops!) is still pending decisions, though I am hopeful.

But the fact that I have lain it all down at the altar this morning, makes me wonder if I could ever carry them back. By laying it down have I given up hope or surrendered for His will? Israel explains it is the latter while I fear it is the former which is why I am crying...

Mar 13, 2012

Visiting places

I have been a little busy lately visiting places and meeting people... It is hard to believe, in just over the last two weeks I have visited Paris, Israel, the Gobi desert in Mangolia, Iran, Iraq, and travelled all over Brazil in bicycle - yeah, 2000 miles of biking from Paraiba all the way to Rio-de-Jeneiro...

You have guessed it right! I did all the travelling sitting in front of my computer, watching movies... It is a beautiful experience visiting places, learning about different people, sharing their dreams, meals, and conversations...

I encountered a group of farmers raising camels in the Gobi deserts, lot of little children living in camps in Turkey/Iraq border, an interesting ostrich farm and a family story associated with it in Iran and visited the cherry blossom in Japan, life as it unfolds in Paris for many different people and the journey with James to Jerusalem was an eye opener - reminding about life's journey...quiet a challenge...

You must have heard of the phrase "Books can take you places". Well, I believe movies can take you further... Also, to me books are only enjoyable as long as I haven't seen the places described, whereas in movies when they show places I have been to, it gets more interesting...

If you have some time at hand and love to join here are some suggestions:

1. Story of a Weeping Camel
2. Song of Sparrows
3. Paris, Je T'aime
4. Turtles can fly
5. The Middle of the World
6. James's Journey to Jerusalem

When you visit, please pass on my love to the camel farmers, the beautiful mom in the middle of the world and the kids in the camp and especially "Satelite"... Tell the little boy who dreams to raise fish that he did a good job cleaning the dirty pond and I wish him the best in his endeavors and to James tell him I am sorry he got lost, the next time he is out of the prison ask him to please go to Jerusalem at once and hurry back to his village...

Sorry, I didn't quiet get to know anyone in Paris, may be you will ...

Mar 10, 2012

Please share...

These are heart wrenching stories, but I share for a reason...

On the 34th street Subway station a lady boarded the train this morning. She was about 50 years of age; had no bags or belongings; wore a jeans and a sweatshirt with sneakers.

As the train started moving she started speaking to us her fellow riders in clear voice. These were her exact words:

"Ladies and Gentlemen! I am hungry. Very hungry. If any of you can spare something from your lunch or breakfast this morning...  like an apple, an orange, a sandwich, anything, anything at all, please share..."

Then she passed the aisles from one end to  the other saying, "anything? anybody?" and not a single soul stirred. Few continued to read as if they didn't hear a thing. but many were just looking at her and seeing through her.

When no arms extended I too felt reluctant as I didn't want to be the odd man out. But at the same time I couldn't just ignore her. I had a banana other than my frozen lunch. I offered it to her ignoring the stares from the fellow riders. Her face lit up. She blessed me and accepted it. I could sense the glances from the people till I got down at my stop.

Though it made me feel a little uneasy I was glad I could share...

Last week when I returned from the Bronx, at the passage way that connects #5 train's Time Square stop to Port authority walk way, there was this beautiful young Mom standing with an infant bundled up in her arms, with a hand written note that read, "Lost my job. Have two babies to feed. Please help!"

I wasn't sure if I should help. Was that a trick she was playing? But then I looked at her again and she had such a grace about her that I couldn't just walk by. Gave her a dollar. Walked few more steps and then as if something dawned on me came rushing back to her. Fetched out a bigger bill and pressed it in her hand. There were tears in the corner of her eyes and mine too welled up as we held hands for that one brief moment. No words exchanged but it was all understood. I was sorry and she was thankful.

What if these were not genuine cases, one may ask. My response is, if they are that desperate, so be it. I have lost nothing!

Now the only reason I am sharing these with you is so that you too would give, share and help - the very least we can do. Next time you come across someone in need, please don't rush by. Give! Anything. Something. If nothing, lift them up in your thoughts and prayers. But please do not ignore... this is my humble plea...

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
~ Holy Bible

Mar 7, 2012

Taste above all else?

Traveling East these days is a bit annoying, as the Sun pops up out of the New York skyline, glaring with its powerful rays. It is almost audible in the silence of the hour making it impossible to sleep. But I pretend to anyways, lest my hands will fetch the handheld to stay connected to the outside world. I wish to hold off on that till the evening.

On return however, I doze off nicely, waking up startled to the reality. As I near home I can see the moon shining so bright refreshing my soul. Yesterday it appeared a little crooked but today it is almost full. Night sky these days has plenty of stars and the cool breeze only makes it more mesmerizing. I just stand there in the open air a little while longer!

I have been trying to write a poem in vain. I have scribbled off tons of paper in my mind already, most of them started along the lines of "Dear Moon", "Hello Moon" etc. Dear Moon? Then what? That's where I got stuck and had to leave it at that... Then it went on about stars for a while, like "scattered jewels", "shattered dreams", "sequined vail" etc and it didn't quite sound like me nor the stars; it was obvious I was desperately trying to come up with a poem, so called it quits. Poem has to be spontaneous, with no effort, right? Yep, that's what I thought.

Today in Subway I had seen some ads which I wanted to share with you. Now please don't think I am running an ad campaign for the product or the brand. Far from it! Just thought this was a smart and interesting idea... and couldn't resist sharing with you. I especially liked their catch phrase: Taste above all else! But is it? Have they tasted plain cold fresh water?!

Can't believe that alone made in to a nice post!

So, what are you waiting for? Anything interesting you see along, read along, hear along or think along bring it on! It has been so long hearing from some of you... Hope all is well.

Friend always,
~ NRIGirl

Mar 5, 2012

Untamed mane!

I like it when the wind messes up the hair; mine as well as others. There is something special about the fly away hair. It knows no pretense, no holding back; just the letting go and yielding to the unfathomable wind!

Fly away hair is the result of a relaxing day.  Imagine strolling down the boardwalk or playing ball at the beach, who cares for the shape of their hair at those moments. It runs wild with the wind, gets wet in the sea, catches some sand as we roll, but who cares!

Remembering the journeys of the past, you will recall how the hair too enjoyed the ride, tossing and turning and flipping and knotting, all the while messing up our hair dos if any. But did we care? Only the least!

School excursions and home picnics when we showered directly in the falling waters, did we worry to fix the hair? Not at all. Letting it dry in the breeze we enjoyed our lunch by the shade; did we not?

Further down the memory lane, as little girls in white petticoats, with head full of mane cured with oil, playing house with our best friends, the house maid yelling at us to tie up the hair lest it catches fire at the play; don't you recall?

The summer afternoons when we biked around the town in rented bicycles our fly away hair ended up in a sticky mess of sweat and dirt which made our grandma concerned for raising us up like wild donkeys.

And my single attempt on the horse by the beach was the only time when the fly away hair didn't turn out as much fun as fear overtook the cheer when the horse stood up on its hind legs and I slid down to the ground crying and screaming and refusing to go back on top of it again! Ever!

The best way to enjoy the fly away hair is of course to swim with it and watch it follow you in smooth silky waves. The other alternative to that is to sleep in the fan breeze with your towel dried untamed mane!

For those who have never tried any of these, what are you waiting for? Let it fly!

Mar 1, 2012

Granted wish!

Guys! Girls! Guess where I had been the whole day? Okay, I'll give you some clue: I walked in as the peacocks were just waking up and the variety of ducks and swans were just starting their day. Some sea lions barked at me happily as I passed these exquisite birds on the way!

Yep, you got it right! I was in a zoo. Not just any zoo but the head quarters of Wildlife Conservation Society or in layman's term Bronx Zoo! But why? Oh! That will have to wait; as I am not at liberty to share it right now.

Let's call it an "appointment". I would even go further and say it was a divine appointment! It was just like a dream. I mean I had the whole day to myself! The plan was to go in to office soon after; but since it took so long to get through I had to take the day off.

Now at leisure, gave company to a lone rhino, shopped for some souvenirs for kids and decided to grab a bite. Only then I noticed this flock of flamingos (about 2 dozens) and two large graceful white swans outside the glass wall!

Immediately I felt the day was specially made for me! Just for me! Just the right temperature. Just the right setting. It was out of this world - at least my world!

I was shocked and surprised at the same time, with this unspeakable joy bubbling inside me, making me smile and somersault all over. It was absolutely breath taking everywhere I turned!

Just sat there, taking it all in! Only regret was I didn't have a camera handy to take and share some pictures with you all. Blackberry had died on me and so I was really lost in the wild!

Wasn't it all I had asked for?! It was all granted! Just like that! Can you believe it? I still can't...

Even as I wrote the post last night, I had no clue what was in store for me in less than 24 hours since then. Had I known, I wouldn't have written that gloomy post after all, you see. But then in a way I am glad I did as it helps to see my state of mind then vs. now. It helps me enjoy & appreciate this hand picked day all for me!

Thank you for all your well wishes and encouraging comments. I know I can turn to you all anytime...

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