Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Photography Art, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

Dance through the Storm

“ Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.” Allen Klein

Although the skies have been still cloudy and the roads are wet and slippery, with children clambering to escape outdoors and get wet with every opportunity that presents; the regular downpours don’t seem like a hindrance. The daily adult life, both at home and at work involves getting past the rain and into safety of the indoor world, regaling adventures in, around, about and out of the rain. The dark clouds outside need not necessarily darken the mood within, especially if one doesn’t allow it to happen.

“Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.” Tom Blandi

Like the rainy days, each one of us have our own “personal bad”. Whether it be the lack of material comfort, an uncomfortable job or family situations, ill health, difficult employer or simply being there at the wrong time; things will pass on. Yet never let those dark moments define or destroy the brightness that each day brings forth. Just as each one has their own “kettle of troubles”, it’s how one reacts hen the water boils that makes all the difference. From being irritated by the noise or rising steam to whistling out a tune from the “singing steam”; one’s attitude defines the circumstances more than “the reverse manner”.

“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.” Charles Swindoll

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
‘Well’, she said, ‘I think I’ll braid my hair today?’
So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. ‘H-M-M,’ she said, ‘I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today?’ So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.’ So she did and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. ‘YEA!’ she exclaimed, ‘I don’t have to fix my hair today!’
Attitude is everything.
Author Unknown

“A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” Anonymous

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Posted in Daily, Food, Photography Art

Cooking to Culinary Arts

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

For most gastronomes, culinary specialists, chefs, nutritionists as well as home cooks, food being cooked, served or even eaten reflects a lot of the “mood within”. For instance, if one is extremely tired after a long day, the easiest meal to make in a jiffy for a home cook is pasta and cheese followed by ice cream for the sweet end. On the other hand, to mark any special occasion, the requirement of a full three course meal (salad or appetizer, main course and meat) completed by a splendid (if not necessarily elaborate) dessert is a must. When in an angry mood, every chef at heart will go with their inner basic meal, not tuning to art of the eye, but just ensuring that the basic taste is palatable. Too irritated or bothered to cook, it will be pizza or “Chinese order” on the house. And when the mood is sad, it will be the comfort food , homemade, with a striking resemblance to one’s childhood or mother’s style, or the fast food version.

“The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living.” Dione Lucas

Essentially, cooking is a very sensitive art. While one mayn’t have the intensive training or qualification to be a chef of Michelin three or five star rated restaurant, but if one can make a complete wholesome meal for self, family and friends, that alone is enough. In fact, cooking is an expression of love. For every ingredient which balances the meal, it is a reflection of the care, precision and the basics of science behind it.

“Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.” Francois Minot

The “effective cooking” of today, is a balance of food and fun, of taste, experimentation and readily available ingredients. While baking involves following the written or “handed down” instructions to the point; cooking involves a little experimentation of ingredients, spices as well as art. The evolution of cooking into “culinary arts” over the years, has resulted in a whole new range of varied dishes blended together with taste, nutrition, quality, tradition, serving, managing as well as visual presentation to complete the effect.

“The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Entering into the month of “culinary arts” (July); the professional cooks and chefs who bring innovative cuisine from their kitchens to our tables every day are being recognized not just for their talent but devotion as well as contribution to cooking as an art form. For the home cook to experiment with technique and style, vast differences can be made by the order of adding the ingredients, plating as well as trying and blending the new recipes with the old ones. To start off, experimenting in small amounts can be tried. While most of the time, home cooking involves the regular, to celebrate this month, it would be good to plate the regular different or try something new altogether. For every cook, is indeed a chef with a hidden artistic side.

“Culinary tradition is not always based on fact. Sometimes it’s based on history, on habits that come out of a time when kitchens were fueled by charcoal.” Alton Brown

“In the abstract art of cooking,
ingredients trump appliances,
passion supersedes expertise,
creativity triumphs over technique,
spontaneity inspires invention,
and wine makes even the worst culinary disaster taste delicious.”
Bob Blumer

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Photography Art, Quotes, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Learn to “Notice”

Very often, when rushing for the next appointment or meeting, we often hunt for the needed items of the hour, but fail to notice the rest, like the fact that the main laptop power switch was on, the colleague next door was on leave or that the driver of the car parked nearby was having abnormal movements, most likely that of an early stroke. While these details may be excused when overlooked while in a hurry, the mind has become accustomed to seeing what it wants to see. Sadly with the rise of modern era, one of the most frequently lost out art is the power to observe and notice the details.

“To acquire knowledge, one must study;
but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
-Marilyn vos Savant

Are the other details important ?

One of the most common feelings that often swamp one are the feelings of regret, guilt and lost opportunities. Unfortunately all these can be avoided by observing the details that may seem unimportant then, but later becomes vital. Time is one factor that will never wait. Besides it’s always the details unasked but observed that make the difference, build and sustain relationships or clinch the idea as well as effect the change.

“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.” Susan Sontag

The observations made by one will be reflected in their words, actions and thoughts later, many a time unknown to them. While we may miss them out at times, learning to look for the bigger picture will help us prevent regrets and fatal errors. Hindsight is a keen thing. Once we reflect back and retrospect and learn from the errors, the more progress we can make ahead in our lives. Each day, hours and minutes of observation are lessons as well as occasions to make our life worth living and making memories to treasure.

“I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.” Haruki Murakami

Once a teacher said to his student: ” Look around you, and then tell me all the white objects.” The student looked around. He saw a white ceiling, walls, white window frames, a tablecloth, curtains, book covers and many other things.
“Well, Now I want you to close your eyes and name everything in this room that is yellow,” said the teacher. The guy was at a loss: ” But how can I answer you, I did not notice anything!”.
– Now open your eyes and see how many yellow things here !!! Yellow pillows, a yellow frame with a photo, a yellow pencil stand, a yellow rug …
– “But it’s not fair! You yourself told me to look only for the white color,
but there was not a word about yellow!” – the student was indignant.
– That’s what I wanted to show you! You focused and searched for objects of only white color, but did not notice the others.

“Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.” Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Photography Art, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Stepping Out of the Game

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” John Burroughs

There lived two families in the neighborhood. In one family there was silence and grace, while in the second there were endless quarrels, showdowns etc. And then one day the wife said to her husband, “Why don’t you find out how they next door, turn out to live without scandals.” The husband went and hid behind their common fence and watched. As the neighbor washes the threshold, a bucket of water stands next to her and then her husband walked. Inadvertently he hooked his foot on the bucket and overturned it. “Well, it will start now,” thinks the neighbor behind the fence. Instead he heard the wife as she apologized to her husband that she had put a bucket of water in the way. And her husband also apologized to her for he had walked without looking and also added work to his beloved. In general, they apologized to each other, cleaned up everything together and went into the house. And the hapless neighbor came home in bewilderment and told his wife: “You know, my wife it is strange, we try to do everything right and have endless scandals, whereas they are both to blame and everything is amicable”.

“At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start being successful. As long as you blame others for the reason you aren’t where you want to be, you will always be a failure.” Erin Cummings

Famously and colloquially known as “the blame game”, we all have been a part of it at some point in our life. From the high school days of incomplete assignment, low grades or addled performances to the college or university days, leading on to the work front; assigning of blame to someone else’s shoulders have been done consciously or subconsciously.

“Everyone’s quick to blame the alien.” Aeschylus

Like the spider’s web, once we get caught in this game; we tend to apply the same tactics in all the spheres of our life. Consequently the price paid is heavy, for not just effort but energy, work, relationships and above all, time is wasted. To get the trend down, a few quick steps would aid in sorting out and settling the mess.

“No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for… reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration.” Casey Stengel

When stuck in the mess or being falsely targeted for the work; first take a deep breath. Second were we in any way wrong, either while doing the task or assigning the task. If yes, take corrective measures; if not, still the option is to settle the scene and correct the wrong. Third and very practical of all, let bygones be bygones. Learn form the past, but don’t dwell too much on it, to spoil the pleasant surprises of the future.

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” Henry Ford

Posted in Daily, Life, Photography Art, poetry, Quotes, Reflections

Rise of Spring

“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Hans Christian Andersen

With the fresh fragrance of spring in the air, early mornings beckon the restless mind for a moment’s peace. For those of us caught in the daily melee of chaos, where everyday turns into routine; taking ten minutes into the sun, before the morning chores brings a new perspective to life.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir

Looking into the hue and colours of nature, it’s quite startling to believe that this was the same brown, wintry landscape a few months ago. As colours are brought to life, nature teaches us a few simple but pertinent lessons of life.

Events will happen by choice or against our will. Time always moves on. But by staying in the rut, we get left behind and no amount of cribbing will get us across those days. Instead buckle up and take one step at a time. Looking back on those days of the past, one will realize that things aren’t that bad, when viewed from far.

The harsh winters of nature brings forth beautiful spring and joyous summer. The distraught of then bears fruit now, as long as we never forget to toil keeping one’s hope, kindness and spirits in tact.

Every tree’s loss of winter doesn’t reflect in its’ branches through spring. Instead new shoots and leaves come to life. Forgive and let go; but learn from it. The pain will lessen with time, but let it not be the cause of the future.

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” Hal Borland

I Have Come to You

I have come to you, delighted,
To tell you that sun has risen,
That its light has warmly started
To fulfil on leaves its dancing;

To tell you that wood’s awaken
In its every branch and leafage,
And with every bird is shaken,
Thirsty of the springy image;

To tell you that I’ve come now,
As before, with former passion,
That my soul again is bound
To serve you and your elation;

That the charming breath of gladness
Came to me from all-all places,
I don’t know what I’ll sing, else,
But my song’s coming to readiness.

Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” Lord Byron

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Photography Art, Quotes, Reflections

Of Butterflies, Spring and Change

With Spring in full force, the fields become rich with various hues and shades of colours; leaving behind carpets and patches of vibrant flowers. Amidst this mosaic of colours, few winged beauties are seen in the landscape, adding a potency, luster and liveliness to life; never ceasing to amaze man with the marvels and wonder of God’s creation. Come spring and summer, the focus is on the winged patterned coloured “Rhopalocera” species, more popularly known as the “butterflies”.

“As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.” Joseph B. Wirthlin

In grade school, we had studied the life cycle of the butterfly from the caterpillar stage. From a grubby sickly green or brown coloured caterpillar, emerged a magnificent winged delicate specimen of sheer beauty, design and style; though this happens only after the caterpillar undergoes its’ own struggle and transforms. No matter how young we are or how old we become, the delight of a butterfly still holds true, then and now.

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” R. Buckminster Fuller

Nature teaches us many lessons from the life of a butterfly and here a few pertinent ones that has been observed. First is to be open to change and transformation. From the ugly scrawny state to the winged stage, developing in its’ own chrysalis and then breaking out on own helps develop the wings of courage, beauty and honour. As the story where the caterpillar was helped goes, the butterfly never survived but crumbled down.

“Adding wings to caterpillars does not create butterflies. It creates awkward and dysfunctional caterpillars. Butterflies are created through transformation.” Stephanie Pace Marshall

Second, butterflies never chose to focus on fame and glory. They are pretty not vain, instead they go about the flowers, quietly displaying their colours and spreading happy vibes. They delight in their surroundings embracing each new change as they come, not sticking to one zone but exploring each day as it comes.

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

Third and most important is to carve one’s niche for oneself. For a caterpillar to transform, it needs to wrap itself in the silky shroud of chrysalis and go through the change. The caterpillar does it alone, embracing the quiet to think and then under the metamorphosis. The journey in our life too is mostly ours. Though we do delight in the company of others; each one has their own inner struggle to overcome and new horizons to brave. What might be easy for one, mayn’t be so for other. Yet to learn to accept others’ as well as to change oneself for the better, is an art of life and pre-requisites for staying alive and happy.

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” Rabindranath Tagore

We all have our own allotted time in this world. For some of us, along the journey; losses became too many and gains too few. Nevertheless, things will work out eventually. For like the butterfly, time allotted is less but learning to work as well as enjoy the flowers alone will happen once we build the courage to move on. We are all butterflies in the making. When its’ time to fly, remember to use the wings we were blessed with after our change. The world has its’ own share of butterflies among the fireflies, moths, ladybugs and the rest; and we will learn to belong to one when the time is right as long as we believe we can.

“Everyone is like a butterfly, they start out ugly and awkward and then morph into beautiful graceful butterflies that everyone loves.” Drew Barrymore

Posted in Life, Photography Art, Quotes, Random Thoughts

Practicality of the Rainbow

“Nullum Dolorum, Nullum Quaestum”

Trying something new is always a venture of exciting possibility, realization of dreams as well as fear of which side the balance will tilt towards, success or failure. The best thing about all these emotions, is that its’ a part of surviving and living. Everyone has their own set of fears, insecurities, burdens and pain whether its’ of physical, spiritual, emotional, moral, internal or external type or kind. For more proof, nature holds the evidence.

Caterpillar. Chrysalis. Butterfly.

Rain. Sun. Rainbow.

Carbon. Pressure. Diamonds.

Pyramids of Giza. Roman Colosseum. Great Wall of China.

 As evidenced by history and time along with nature, showing in its’ magnificent examples, unless we toil and sweat, there wouldn’t be any gain. The key to surviving and taking life in all its’ colours, is to look beyond the immediate and overcome the bad slow and steady. If at times, things don’t go the way it should have, worry but don’t despair. Find the courage, time and hope to improvise for another shot. Just like the beauty of diamonds, pressure has and will always be a part of achievements.

“One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.” Thomas Fuller