Spring is the most beautiful time of the year. It’s that time when the sun is shining, the birding are singing and the flowers are blooming. It brings forth the renewal of life from the harsh cold winter; right before Summer and all those ‘Suns out, Guns out’ posts that plague social media outlets.
“To Infinity and Beyond ! “-Buzz Lightyear , Toy Story
Shout out to the incredibly talented and versatile photographer Zai Khan. This amazing shot of Orion’s belt in the night sky at the Ruins of Hampi, India had me totally astounded at the very first glance. Have a look at all her amazing work on Flickr by clicking here.
Once upon a time, out in the grasslands of Mongolia, there was a young lady who went by the name of ‘Sarnai’. She was beautiful, intelligent and warm hearted by nature.
Unlike the other girls in the village who were focused on cooking, knitting and harvesting grain; she was quite fond of canines.
Her passion and obsession for the animals would often set her apart as it was mostly considered quite a manly role to take care of the huge shepherd dogs. They needed to be well fed and exercised in order to effectively herd the flock.
The villagers warned her that she might get into trouble but she was a stubborn lady and persisted until they had no choice but to accept her for who she was. She loved her pet Shepherd dogs and took great care of them.
Then one day as she was sitting by a hill top collecting flowers; she heard a rustle behind the tall grass in front of her. She didn’t feel any wind blowing and yet she could see the blades of grass moving for a while and gradually the rustling stopped.
All of a sudden, as if from out of the blue she saw a new type of canine approach her in a calm manner from behind. Surely enough, it was her first encounter with a wolf.
She wasn’t afraid of it at all and was in fact extremely curious. The wolf sensed her lack of fear and asked her “Woman, are you not afraid of me?
The strongest of your village’s men flee after noticing me from great distances; yet you stand your ground here firmly. Do you not know what I am?”
The girl replied with a wide smile saying “You’re such a majestic looking dog! Why would I run away from you? I love dogs and you’re the most amazing one I’ve ever seen.” The Wolf was offended and growled sternly back at her saying -“I am no dog dear woman. I am a Wolf and my name is ‘Chono’.”
“It’s nice to meet you Chono. My name is Sarnai and I’d love to bring you back to my village and show you off. The other dogs are my pets but you can be my friend.”-she said, excited that she had come across such an exquisite find.
Chono was truly unlike any dog she had ever seen. He had a certain grace in his stride that commanded respect.
In response to her offer, Chono sat down while letting out a deep sigh and scratched behind his ear with his left paw.
He realized how naive Sarnai was and gave her a piece of his mind by saying-“Look woman. I’ve recently had a terrible experience dealing with a human who hurt me. I’m not ready to trust your kind, not for a while at least.
Unlike your other pets, I’m not obligated to be loyal to you and if I wanted I could tear you to pieces right here and make quite the meal out of you as revenge for what your kind have done to me.
You are ignorant and have much to learn but since you showed me kindness, that too without fear; I’ll return the favor and spare you. Go back to your village and never come here to the hill top alone again. The other wolves out there will not be as kind as I have.”
Dismayed, Sarnai lowered her gaze and put the remaining flowers in her basket, all except for one. “This is for you to remember me by.”-She said as she stormed off angrily through the tall grass and made her way back to her village.
As soon as she got back, she began to play the role of a victim and told the villagers that a wolf caught her by surprise on the hilltop and tried to eat her. Frantically, all the villagers came to her aid and checked to see if she was hurt.
They told her not to worry as wolves are known to be ferocious creatures and that they would make sure Lord Tengger the God of all creation took back their souls.The village men gathered their blades and whatever weapons they could salvage.
Amongst the ruckus, the chieftain of the village made his voice heard. He told the villagers that he would go alone and face the wolf himself. He assured his followers that Lord Tengger would protect him.
The chieftain made his way to the hilltop and shouted with a thundering voice- “Show yourself Chono!”
Surely enough, Chono on hearing his voice came out through the grass.
“Chono, what is this I hear? A daughter from my village claims that you tried to eat her.” Chono returned the chief’s allegation with a fierce intimidating gaze. He could smell fear from the chief but Chono said nothing.
The chieftain then told him in a cool relaxed tone :”I know that you spared her life Chono. If you wanted to eat her, she would be eaten. Not even her bones would make it back to my village. I am old and wise enough to know this. So I wish to know then why you chose to let her come back?”
Chono replied:”I know what it is like to get hurt. I had lost my pup to the hands of a human hunter. Sarnai too has loved ones and I wish not to see them get hurt as I have. She’s stubborn, but her heart means well.
Go now chief and I will once again show restraint for breaking the truce between both our species. Your kind is to stay down in the valley and mine here on the hilltop.”
“Why yes, I have not forgotten. You too mean well Chono, Thank you. May Tengger keep your soul safe.”-said the chieftain while humbly bowing his head to Chono.
“And your’s too chief, for my patience is wearing thin. That’s two meals I’ve sacrificed now. If I were you I’d make haste downhill.”-Chono snarled angrily.
The chieftain smiled and went on his way.
Once upon a time there were two monks, one younger and one older who were heading to a new monastery to meditate. (more…)
A summary of an old Indian parable :
Once upon a time on the banks of the river Ganges, a monkey lived in a tree rich with fruit. One day as he was eating them, a crocodile showed up suddenly out of the river.
It was the first encounter ever between the two species. The monkey saw that he was hungry and threw down for him some of the fruits. (more…)
Yesterday was June the 21st, the longest day of the year; the Summer Solstice. The day with the most sunshine and the official commencement of Summer according to the Gregorian Calender. Exactly six months ago, I visited the infamous ‘Swan Lake’ with the hopes, dreams and aspirations of coming face to face with; well you guessed it, a Swan. I was eager to see one in the wild, just chilling in its natural habitat, away from the grind of everyday city life . I had only previously seen them in captivity. Well as it turned out, I didn’t get to see any swans and was rewarded instead with a chance to see many, many geese. I was happy none the less . But Swan Lake kind of felt incomplete without the Swan part to me.
So, I decided to re-visit Swan Lake in pursuit of those ever-so-elusive swans and I thought to myself “What better date to pick than the longest day of the year itself; more sun, more fun !” I knew it was going to be a long hike ; so I got my old grungy backpack and started filling it with the most random things you could possibly imagine. Because you never know when that unopened can of red kidney beans will come in handy…