sunset at vellore/shelly paul
Image by Shelly Paul

A religion’s origin, that is lost in time. A religion, that has survived the influx of many other religions, cultures, its own corruption and foreign invasions. After several thousand years, Hinduism is still the predominant religion in today’s India. It is more a way of life than a religion. It permeates into everything that’s Indian. That is why it is hard to separate India from Hinduism. Everyone who is born Indian does have a degree of Hinduism within them doesn’t matter the religion they are born into currently.

In the hopes that he might pen this story, which is beyond depiction, I've told it to my son... ...don't be taken in by Orhan if he draws Black more absentminded than he is, made our lives harder than they are, Shevket worse and me prettier and harsher than I am. For the sake of a delightful and convincing story, there isn't a lie Orhan wouldn't deign to tell." - from the novel 'My Name is Red', by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Erdağ M. Göknar
You ask, in lips of men what 'truth' may be; 'Tis speech from every taint of evil free." (Explanation: Honesty is that, which that does not harm anyone) - Kural:291,From 'Thirukkural, by Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, who wrote down philosophy in 1330 concise haikkus. (English translation by Rev.Dr.G U Pope)
beach/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

She scanned the landscape through a small window in her office. The world was a desolate white as far as the eye could see. All the ground was white, trees were bare brown. Icicles hung frigidly from the roof tops. It has been an exceptionally long winter with record breaking snow-storms.

She walked to the chair behind the desk and sat down. She reached for a magazine from a pile that was stacked neatly on one corner of the desk-top. She thumbed through the glossy pages of the gardening magazine for a glimpse of summer flowers and spring blooms. She dreamed of warm blue skies decorated with long strands of white, wispy clouds as they curved down to meet the ocean at the horizon.

After a while, she put away the magazine and pulled out her appointment book. Most of last week’s massages were cancelled on account of the storm. The roads were still treacherous in the aftermath.

"Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible, descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now." -From Swami Vivekanda's speech, at the World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893

SiddharthaSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being of indian origin, I was really thrilled to read this book that captures the ancient spiritual India quite accurately. The most poignant moment for me was to read about Siddartha coming face to face to Gautama Buddha and tell the great teacher that wisdom cannot be taught; that it is incommunicable. Isn’t that so true? No amount of reading or meditating can teach us about life.

The only way to learn about life is to live, to immerse in this extraordinary opportunity that is the human experience,

Swirling flakes fall from above,
Dancing around stoic street lamps – giggling,teasing
As they fall, carpeting the earth.

Cotton tufts swell from below
Gets caught in the headlight,
Makes a beeline to the windshield – melts away.

Dancing swirls multiply,
Fills the air, obscuring vision.
Moving pods slow down, blinks intermittently

Howling winds gather the dancing dots
Slaps it unevenly on all creation,
Blanketing everything in white

"This world and all our powers in it are far more awful and beautiful than even we know until some accident reminds us." - From G.K.Chesterton's essay, 'The Advantages of having one leg'
"...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." - oft-used quote with variations, from "The Sherlock Holmes stories", by Arthur Conan Doyle
man without qualities/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

I have been trying to find a large chunk of undisturbed time with little success. Last week, I hit upon an idea for a novel. I need at least a few weeks of uninterrupted time to work on this idea. But this was not to be. Just this morning, when I finally had some free time to work on my story, my sister Ruth called. She calls me three or four times a week to discuss her everyday life.

Until last year, she called our mother. After her passing, I have been cast in that role. Since she is my kid sister, I could not bring myself