Growth

Hi everyone,

So twenty four days ago, which was December 4th, my blog reached its three year mark. Yeah. Wow.

I’ve just been thinking. I went all the way back, though the distance seems so much shorter now, and reread my first post. And my second post. And my third post. And all the other 43 remaining posts.

In those posts, in between those words, I could see. So clearly, it was blinding; I’ve changed. I cant find the person who wrote ‘I’m just starting out’. Its somewhat comical in a way I guess, that the me who is me isn’t me. But the gaps between each post just grew longer and longer and at some recent point I just didn’t know what more I could do.

Of course I still love those moments when I write, when suddenly words decide to flow into my brain and I can go deep into that blissful zone. But waiting for those words to come is like waiting for a meteorite; you never truly have the foresight to tell when its gonna come, and when it does you don’t know how destructive it’ll be and how lucky you are, and the fact if you’ll ever see it again. (okay that was kind of a weird analogy, if it was an analogy at all, but I hope you get what I’m trying to say).

I gave a chunk of myself, my better self, when I started this blog, so it could see, breathe, and feel. The things I saw and felt don’t seem trivial at all, despite having been my younger self’s view, but more so, they feel more justified and understood, like a dream.

To be honest, I don’t know what I’m trying to accomplish by writing this, but hear me out when I say that this explanation is more for myself and my peace of heart.

The style of my writing has always been a little different; somewhat formal and odd, or sloppy and slang filled, or even random and flowing. I never can decide what I can use or say to define me and my mind. I’m complicated, and fairly self-centred considering here I am going on and on about how weird I am and my writing and whatnot.

Again, you and me both are failing to see the purpose of this post, but lets hang in there, I’m almost at my conclusion.

So what I’m basically trying to say is that, writing has become hard for me, mainly, I think, because my view of the world had become skewed, not holding the same sense of innocence and wonder it did in the beginning. I feel like I’ve strayed off the yellow brick road and stumbled into the woods.

Okay, I can see that I’m losing myself and you so here it is:

I don’t know what more I can do for this beautiful, bubbly blog, its done so much for me and I’ve been repaying the debt since my first post. I’ll try to post something when I can, and this isn’t goodbye at all, to my blog and to you. I’m thinking of starting a new blog, maybe I will, maybe I’ll come back to this, either way I will update this blog every now and then.

Thanks to everyone that has followed my blog.

Despite all my ranting and thoughts above, one thing stands true; its My Way or No way.

 

AJ xo

 

 

The Road Trip: Part 3

And here is the final part!

Loss

So before heading back, we stopped at a place where my dad knew some people. There we met a few of my grandad’s old colleague, who recalled pleasant old times, and expressed their sorrow at my grandads passing. Among them was the son of one of those colleagues, one of my Dad’s childhood friends. He, his parents, his daughter and his older brother’s daughter lived in a small house, as one would when living in a rural area, but its size didn’t matter, especially when the people living there had such vast hearts. They were so welcoming and hospitable. Taking in the place they called home, I noticed that adorning the walls were many pictures of various ancestors and family, showing the importance and respect they had towards the past.

It was only a little later, after the conversation had delved a bit deeper besides the basics, that my dad’s friends mother mentioned with tears and grief evident in her eyes that her sons wife had died, very suddenly, little less than a year ago. After a moment of silence, we regained what little composure we could, what with the devastating words still hanging thick in the air, to try to offer whatever comfort and condolences, without prying.

Which was when we noticed the most vibrant and endearing little six year old, who didn’t know that her mother was gone. They’d told her she was in the hospital. It was truly heartbreaking, considering that her mother had been so young. My dad’s friend himself is not in good health either, nor does he have much stability with his job. I couldn’t express my feeling towards their situation, not while talking to the little girl and seeing the childish, heart melting smile on her face.

I’m now in the process of finding a way to help the little girl financially, so she can at least have a secure and bright future.

I suppose my trip ended on a somewhat sad note, but on the long ride back it made me ponder about a lot of things.

Thanks to the readers of this post or should I say posts, for taking the time to read about my trip that unknowingly spanned three posts. So that was my road trip summed up. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but something different and great all the same.

-AJ xo

The Road Trip: Part 2

Hello, here is the next part!

Namesake

That same day we went to another town, this one had a connection to me though; the name of the town and my surname were the same. I felt so excited at the prospect of being on the land of my namesake town. Even though there was no known evidence that my ancestors had resided there, it felt special, and I felt a kind of covert wholeness and glee. I wanted to stride through the town, head held high, shouting out my surname. Odd, yes, but I have a possessive nature, that extended to this town too, after all we shared a name. I suppose it would’ve been all the more better if there was even the slightest sign of my forefathers’ mark, but it was still worth the visit and the feeling of gratification.

Feeling the love

After visiting my namesake town, we went to a village nearby where we owned some land. It was scorching hot outside, and with the air con blasting a comfy chill in the car, I had no intention of stepping out. As the car came to a stop, confined on the small road, there were kids peering at us through the windows, in awe of the car and its mechanics. And then out came this lady, fairly old, to see the commotion and after seeing my dad first, and then my mum and me, went into a state of craze, but in a good way. I was utterly confused, about why we were there, who she was, why she kept smothering us, why we were waiting for someone and what the heck was going on.

My confusion was cleared up when my dad explained that she was the wife of the caretaker of our lands. And the interesting thing was, my great-grandma’s* father*, who was a very respected and wealthy man and a sort of mayor in this town back then, had servants and the man we were waiting for was the son of my great-great-grandad’s supervisor of lands. Their family had been serving ours for a long time, thus their awe and respect. The house that my great-grandmother grew up in was bought by their family, and in place of the house they put a cattle shelter. There were chickens, buffalos, hay, mud and dung strewn everywhere, as they explained the structure of the old house. And in attempt to get away from a very large buffalo that seemed to be a bit too much interested in me, I unceremoniously stepped in a heap of buffalo poop; embarrassing and disgusting. But besides that awkwardly gross moment, everything else went smoothly; they were all very joyful for our company and vice versa.

*my dad’s father’s mum, who’s still alive and hale and hearty

* my dad’s great-grandad, and my great-great-grandad

I didn’t reaslise how much I wrote and how much I had to say about this road trip so I’ll be finishing this off in part 3!

-AJ xo

The Road Trip: Part 1

Hi,

So, a while back I went on a three day road trip. I had five main stops, so I’ll be writing about each of their significance for me.

Kondapalli

A tiny place called kondapalli was our first stop. There are these certain dolls that are made there, named after the town. The town wasn’t exactly a tourist attraction, though the toys were fairly famous, the town they were made in wasn’t, so we didn’t really know what to expect. Anyway, we found only about four shops that were selling the dolls, but what we were looking for was someone who made the dolls in their own home, someone who wasn’t doing it for the sake of retailing but because of talent and interest and art.

And that someone we found. Next to one of the shops was this house, acknowledged by a door wide open in a cramped space, which had some toys set on table out front. Finally finding someone genuine, we went inside inquiring if we could ask a few questions and take some photos. The man creating these toys was a fifth generation craftsman, learning all from his father, and he also told us that he was, sadly, his family’s last generation craftsman. My dad did most of the talking and here are a few facts that we learned: The toys are chiselled out of locally available special light softwood and hand made with basic tools. They’re painted with organic vegetable dyes. The most popular toys are Dasavatarams (ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the main Hindu god).

The toys are crafted in Kondapalli, and given to retailers to sell for an exceptionally higher price than the crafters get paid, or when they sell them directly. It’s a struggle for those townspeople, trying to keep alive the art, which they so carefully and precisely create with respect, so seeing this man opening up about his profession and its difficulties was really something different.

Kuchipudi

The next day we set off to another small town called Kuchipudi, where the classical Indian dance form Kuchipudi originated from. My mum, being a professional Kuchipudi dancer herself, was quite excited to see the great things that the town would behold. We found the dance school there and went inside to have a look. From the outside it looked large but possibly neglected, but we dismissed the idea, not judging till we had a more knowledge about the school. Once inside, we realised that our assumptions may be correct, seeing its emptiness. There were only two custodians and us in the building. Each room had photos of those who mastered the dance to such an extent that they deserved to be honoured. We asked one of the custodians why there was no one here and he told us that since the government had changed, the teachers weren’t getting paid; therefore no classes had taken place in a while. It was saddening to think that those, whose passion for this dance reined high, couldn’t get to be educated further in it because of the government’s problems. And coming to the town itself, the thing was, despite the immense name for the dance form, its birth town was overlooked. To say the least, we were disappointed and somewhat pitiful.

I don’t want to dump too much and confuse so I’m posting these in parts. So the continuation of this post shall be in part 2!

-AJ xo

Looking Through My Lens….

Hi, So I’m in India at the moment and I have a tendency to get quickly bored, and borderline frustrated, when the Wi-Fi stops working. *sigh* It happens quite frequently here and often for long periods of time, therefore leaving me tragically alone and bored.

My dad felt that going on long drives, in a practically dinosaur aged car, with bad breaks, no air conditioning and annoying seats covers that DO NOT aid the heat situation, might help. Thanks Dad.  And I forgot to mention how I had to lug around my camera so I could get “some nice shots of natural and unique things in Indian villages”.

Whoopee…. But what I did love about the long drives was this amazing sense of liberation, which is so hard and rare for me to feel while in India, the smell of fresh unpolluted air, and the free wind seeping into my skin.

So, as we went through this one village  while back, something that caught my eye, with a bit of prompting from my parents, were these four ancient ladies, and I mean that with the a high sense of admiration and wonder, sitting on the front porch area of a worn brick house.

I was itching to capture them with my camera, so I shyly and nervously asked if I could take some photos of them and they surprisingly agreed. The thing is, in abroad or foreign, which is a term used to refer places other than here in India, most people would feel a bit creeped out if I asked generally to take a photo of them, I know that I would too, and decline. I found out that there is an old superstition believed by rural folks that taking a picture will steal your soul, so many refused to be photographed, though I am yet to see such people.

Anyway, one of the women, who was quite dazzling for her age, was wearing this beautiful gold necklace, as well as other unique jewellery pieces, that looked radiant on her orange cotton sari, and her old fashioned village look was so intense and rich, but simple.

They all actively spoke and posed, though a tad flustered and curious, adamantly requesting me to print and give them these photos, which I assured I would. I later contemplated that it had probably been quite a while since they might’ve had photos taken of them.

By the time I finished getting the shots I wanted, I small group of neighbors and bypassing locals had surrounded us, to see what the odd girl with the camera was doing. Soon, many others wanted to have photos taken and I turned to into a good-natured photographer.

I was later saved by my gracious Dad, and as he thanked them and explained why I was taking photos, I felt connected to the bucolic village and also had a regard for these people associated with veneration. I’ll have to visit once again to give them the photos and maybe capture some more of them and their village.

AJ xo

5 Tips About Life from a Teenager to Teenagers……

The title says it all so straight into the post.

1)Lead your own life but let others guide you.
Us teenagers are at a stage in our lives where we want to control everything as much as possible, though in reality we actually can’t. We ache for freedom and equality to our superiors, and the need to do what our mind and heart wants is prominent. But your freedom and thoughts could help you achieve something, or could take a turn for the worse, if you choose to abuse them. That’s why, still keeping your own ideas and morals, let those with more experience help you. That doesn’t mean you have to take their advice and help but just take a chance and listen,because you never know who’s words are going to be your turning point or lightbulb moment. Besides you have your entire life ahead of you to lead so what’s the hurry?

2)Don’t always go with the flow
Be your own person. The cold hard truth is that you’ll always be judged. Parents just say you won’t because they’re your parents , they try to encourage you, and try to create a false world around you,with good intentions of keeping you safe from the real world, emphasis on try. But anyway, you decide whether or not you’re actually going to let others judge you.Teens are easily influenced by others, and that’s one heck of a problem. By worrying about fitting in and pleasing everyone else, you’re forgetting to do one teeny tiny major thing: be you! And the real you is not the person you are with friends, not the person you are with family, but the person you are when nobody is there,and it’s just you in your room, away and alone from the prying eyes of reality.

3)There’s always another chance
We teenagers break down as easily as we get right back up, and despite knowing this deep down, we often don’t want to realise that we ourselves are our biggest fear, enemy and bully. Not all teens are like that but many are; blaming themselves for small things, and involuntarily corrupting their minds with false thoughts and assumptions about themselves. That kind of thing often leads to depression and/or anxiety and many other emotional problems. It’s kind of like being a perfectionist having a break down at others imperfection and blaming it on theirselves. The main point is, don’t be so hard on yourself, even if you do do something wrong, there are always second chances. you should never let one thing break you down, or else it makes it really hard for you to go on with life.

4)Put that phone down
Okay, so we all absolutely love our phones, especially us teens. Maybe I’m exaggerating but for many it’s about as important as oxygen is to us. We no longer live in the world of reality, but instead in social networking sites, youtube, music, gossip, friends etc, but that’s not a bad thing, I mean it’s all part of the trending teenage culture. But put down your phone, or any technology really for a few and see the world through your own eyes not through your iPhone. I personally love photography and the latest ‘selfie’ rage, but photos were invented so we could relive our memories when looking at them, but now when we look at photos there isn’t a memory to relive because we are too busy attempting to capture the memory to live it . So all I’m trying to say is that, the world deserves to be praised for its beauty by your eyes and mind, not a camera’s or by filters.

5)Let it go
Finally, I think we should stop trying to deny the simple pleasure of ourselves and reality. There isn’t time to worry about mistakes, and problems and imperfections. Life is far too small for all those minor details but it’s big enough for you to explore yourself. Once you waste that minute thinking about ifs and buts you’ll never be able to get it back and that means one less minute to indulge in your own life. Live in the moment and save your worries for later. Remember, *yesterday was history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that why it’s called the ‘present’. So let yourself be free just long enough  to be a teenager, because once your an adult, life has it coming for ya.
AJ xo

*That’s a quote by Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda by the way.

Stereotypical or What ?

Hey,

I’m just going to get straight to the point and jump right onto the topic and focus of this post; tourists.
The definition of tourist is. ‘A person who travels or visits places for pleasure.’

When I think of tourists, I see people who have a dozen different brochures, about who knows what, overflowing in their hands, huge, but somewhat practical, backpacks, no doubt stuffed with souvenirs from all the gift shops, and their cameras poised in their hands ready to snap pictures in any angle. But that’s very stereotypical, and partially biased on my part. It’s also the old stereotypical image of tourists.
Modern day tourists just whip out their smart phones and switch on their 4G to search up where to go or what to do, a small purse, cross bag, or satchel slung on, probably containing nothing more than basic things like water and money, and their phones are everything for them, perfect to take quick selfies, instead of having to lug big heavy cameras wherever they go.

But the reason places are so popular and known to the world is because of these tourists. All those tourists who tweet and blog, vigorously use, or I like to think abuse, all the social networking sites, review, rate, revive, and report every place, giving it popularity or totally disowning it because it didn’t live up to their individual expectations and excitements.

Honestly if it wasn’t for tourists there’d be no such thing as a famous place or thing. Tourists are the judges of our architectural creations past and present, they are the cause of the downfall in adulation and commerciality of a landmark, or the reason a place has uprisen on the enticement scale.

Also,as tourism is a big financial source for some countries, lack of tourist activity would obviously result in economic labefaction.

So to help you stand tall in this modern tourist world; here are a few tips on how to be a good and slightly un-stereotypical tourist:

1.Be sure to do some extra reading about the place you’re going to, like how do people dress, what religion is majority of the population; are there many museums, what sport is most popular ? Obviously, doing more than the average tourist research is going to help you feel and fit in better, for a start.

2.Learn a few phrases on the local language before you go to the place;
If you’re speaking to locals and you have a dictionary or book of some sort, obscuring your face while you try to speak in their language, it’ll be embarrassing for you, and stressful, or possibly maddening to the locals, whose language you’re failing to speak. It’s politer, easier and simply better if you’re ready with a few key phrases.

3. Visit a few places besides what’s in the guidebook;
Okay,for example, if you go to Egypt, you’re obviously going to go to see the pyramids, the Sphinx etc, but what if you put down the stereotypical tourist guide(btw not a real book) for a sec, then you might just happen to find some amazing bazaar tucked away in a corner, which is perfect to get your fill of culture and maybe even buy some prezzies for friends and family back home. So explore yourself, find something new and make it a tourist attraction if it already isn’t but it’s wholly worth being one.

And the most important tip; wholeheartedly enjoy the company of the place, things and people you visit.

AJ xo

Aotearoa

Hi,

Wow, I can’t believe that on December 4th this blog reached its 2 year old mark! I’m so happy and exited about what’s yet to come!

So anyway, me and my family went on an early, one week vacation to New Zealand and just returned a few days ago. And in case you don’t know, NZ is basically best known for being the home of Bungee Jumping, well, that and also the Māori tribe,their rugby team the ‘All Blacks’, and the millions of sheep that reside there are a very famous too.

New Zealand is made up of two islands, the North Island and the South Island, bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea and to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean.

We visited the South Island, or Te Waipounamu which is the official Māori name. Christchurch was the first city we explored and it’s the largest city in the South Island and the country’s third most populous urban area.

Though,rather unfortunately, an earthquake in September 2010 had significantly shaken up Christchurch. Nearly six months later, when the city had come near to picking up all its pieces, disaster striked again in February 2011 with another earthquake, leaving the city in tatters, more brutally than the previous one. A total of 185 people were mourned by the citizens of Christchurch.
Three years later and the city is still recovering, from all the damage done, both physically and emotionally.

But on a somewhat happier note, we then had a six hour drive ahead, through and in various mountain regions to arrive at Queenstown.

In the beginning of this post I mentioned how New Zealand is the home of Bungee Jumping, well to be even more clear Queenstown is the true home of this crazy thing considered a sport.

Not only can you bungee jump in this town, you have options to skydive, white water raft, paraglide, kayak, zip line, jet boat and much more.
Seriously, adventure awaits you every nook and cranny in Queenstown, just waiting to pounce on you and give a thrill you didn’t even know you wanted, or needed.

One of the adventurous things we did was go on a Shotover Jet ride on Shotover River, where the 360 spins done will leave you dizzy, the sudden turns and jerks of the jet boat will splash you, the speed will make the air slam in your face and the space between you and the Shotover Canyon walls will be just a mere three or four centimetres. It’s perfect for people, like me, who don’t want to do anything extreme but still want an adrenaline rush.

Besides all the crazy going on, when you look at the breathtaking mountains and lakes, the only thing you’ll feel is serenity.

And at almost all the local gift shops, you’ll find sheep skin furniture and amazing jewellery made from native gems and materials, like the Pāua shells, and also the Māori symbols with their meanings which are incorporated into many of the merchandise.

Overall it was a pretty good trip as I felt peaceful, happy, active, energetic and mostly positive while on this trip, not including my crazy spikes of adrenaline that popped up sometimes, but that was inevitable considering I was basically in the land excitement, as I like to call it.

AJ xo

WIN WIN !!

Hi,

Now that I’m tall enough, most of my mums clothes fit me, which is great for me because I can just go to her closet, look for her new item of clothing, still fresh from its purchase, and just wear it. My mum on the other hand doesn’t benefit from this as she can’t wear any of my clothes because they’re to small. I don’t know if we can share clothes(by which I mean I can wear her clothes) because she’s very slim for her age (which is late thirties) or because I’m chubby for my age.

Anyway, like most other girls I adore playing dress up in mum’s closet and the best part is that basically everything fits me, so I can just take whatever I want and transfer it to my room, though my mum isn’t exactly all to pleased when I do that. Sometimes we even compromise and intentionally buy stuff that fits us both. But there is always that one item that we both like and both want and we aren’t willing to share, and I then usually argue that it would look better on some one younger (like me) and not an old person, and my mum argues that it’s meant for someone more mature(like her).

The problem is that I have my old stuff and my mum’s old stuff so my dad refuses to buy me more clothes when I have so many, which is why he benefits in both me and my mum sharing clothes. And since I tend to take my mums clothes, she doesn’t have as many as me so my dad buys her new things, which is quite aggravating and unfair in my biased opinion. But my cunning mind has a plan; the more new stuff my mum gets, the more I get because they fit me too. So yay me!!! That’s the routine we have when it comes to our clothes and I don’t know about my mum but I love it.

Not too long ago, I didn’t like getting my mum’s hand-me-downs, I wanted my own new things, not used ones from my mum, that seemed like they were centuries old. But then my mum would urge me to try something on, usually stuff that she used to wear before I was born, or when she was in her teens, and I, grumbling and grim, would go try it on and emerge sulking.
Until, Id see the shimmer in her eyes and smile on her lips. My mum would start to explain the dress’s history, where she got it, when she wore, etc, and I could feel love, happiness and pride literally radiating from her. It sparks her memories of when she wore the dress and how she now felt so thrilled to see me wearing it.

She then goes on to say that maybe some day, I’ll pass the same dress down to my daughter, tell her about both me and my mum’s adventures in this dress. And at that point, when she mentions that, I’d utterly and completely lose the feeling that this precious item of clothing was a hand-me-down. It was a part of my mum, and now a part of me, contains her essence and imprint on it, and soon mind too.

Me and my mum bicker like siblings, laugh like besties, and love one another like family, because we are all those things to each other.

LOVE YOU TONS MOMMY, XOXO !

AJ

Take a bite of the Big Apple!

Hey everyone,

Today I want to write about New York. It’s such a ……..well metropolitan place, is really the only way it can be described.I love how so many movies and books are based in that beautiful yet modern city. There are so many different aspects to this one city, it’s quite remarkable. Also as Alicia Keys put it, NYC is a “concrete jungle where dreams are made of”.

I feel that one of the best times to go to New York is during Christmas time. The big shops have grand and unique window displays that even native New Yorkers marvel at time after time. A must do thing during that time is go ice skating at the Rink in Rockefeller Centre and maybe snap a selfie or two with the big Christmas tree there.

But NYC is great during all times of the year. Some of its biggest attractions are of course the Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, Central Park,Times Square,Brooklyn Bridge,Broadway,the list seems endless !!!

And like I said, so many books and movie settings are based in New York. Another reason I love it is because everyone thinks that it captures the true essence of a city life. Traffic every time of the day, colossal crowds of people pushing past each other on the streets to get to their destinations in time, the famous skyscrapers of NYC looming above everyone’s heads, tons of tourists during every time of the year hogging up the Big Apple’s major attractions, though the city itself is the biggest attraction.

If during the day it’s so busy, bustling and beautiful, you have to see how it is at night.
And the best way to see the entire city view is at the top of the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building has 103 floors, is located in Midtown Manhattan, is the second tallest building in New York and can give you a 360 degree view of the Big Apple.

The tallest building in New York is the One World Trade Centre, which has 104 floors, stands as the tallest building in the United States, tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the fourth tallest building in the world at 541 metres( 1,776 feet).

So many awing things lie in the one city that is New York.

The image of New York that had been burned into my mind since I last visited it, keeps reminding me of my time there and how much I enjoyed the company of such an amazing city.

Till another city next time,
Image

AJ