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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Evenings over the frozen lake

Soon after we relocated to Madison in summers, we paid a visit to lake Mendota that was surrounded by lush green flora that time. During our conversation to some residents there, we gathered that in winters this lake freezes and people walk, ski and do ice fishing on it. And then a wait to witness another version of this lake started. Few months later, after watching hues of fall, came winters. I was finally standing over the lake with no drenching and drowning in water, caught up in the merriment of the moment. Belonging from comparatively much hotter region on earth, skepticism of surviving the chills of winters like these, where even lakes freeze, was extremely high.

​View of lake in winters (above), view of lake back in summers from the same point (below)
I looked at some kids playing on one side of the lake with their parents. On another side my gaze followed a group of men, walking to the deepest points (deepest till 83 feet) without any fear or anxiety. I had heard stories about cracking of ice on solid waters, where sometimes people die of hypothermia. So, I instinctively maintained my proximity to the shores.

Post few weeks, our Italian friend, planned a trek to the lake. He took us to the backside of the same lake, which we had not explored yet. As we reached down to it, there was a stunning white floor all around. It was another view of the frozen lake, much more mesmerizing, much more exciting. We continued to walk ahead. I was extremely cautious and alert of the brittle floors in between. Somewhere I was scared that due to my weight floors may crack and I will drown in coldest waters I have ever known. Past some ten minutes of walking, we saw a truck standing in the middle of the lake and two men ice fishing. My heart sensed a warmer feeling with a sudden sense of safety. My body felt lighter. Talking to one of the men there, we found out that this year ice sealing the lake is thinner i.e. from twenty eight inches thickness of previous years to mere fourteen inches. 'Global warming', I sighed thinking.
​From left to right: Our shadows on the lake floor, my husband and our friend walking ahead,
I am standing beside a fishing hole, ice-fishing in action)

Walking over the icy lake was in my immediate bucket list, and I was happy that my wish had been fulfilled. While coming back we saw a splendid sunset leaving its gleam all over the ice. A feeling of gratification was filled in us for our friend. It was because of him we experienced this beautiful day. Soon as we stepped on to the earth from solid water, he teased me saying ‘you are finally safe’ and laughed aloud.

​Sun going down from the time we started our walk to the time we reached back to that point.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Visit to Limestone Caves, finding God and evolution

My previous year was dedicated to traveling, exploring and absorbing myself in this new western world of East and mid-west in United States. I also spent some time trying my hands at Canvas paintings and polymer clay crafts (that I deeply fell in love with) and will eventually share those works here.

Right at the beginning of this year I visited one of the most beautiful natural sights in Madison with my husband called 'Cave of the Mounds', which was discovered in 1939. The delightful beauty of this limestone cave illustrates nature's intricate handiwork, with many beautiful structures inside. Limestone is majorly made up of Calcium Carbonate, that came from shells of marine organisms on ancient ocean floors. Since these are water soluble, rainwater created cavities in them forming a cave. The water that formed cavities, carried calcium carbonates to other areas creating new formations inside the caves. Many of these formations and structures took millions of years to form.
My previous visit to any such limestone cave was back in India in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, though those caves did not have cavities as deep as this. And hence walking here was a richer experience for me.
Cave of the Mounds, Wisconsin
During our walk, we spotted two places with peculiar formations (specifically to Indian eyes) closely resembling Indian Gods. The first was common and often found i.e. Shiva-ling. The second one resembled Lord Ganesha. With a quiet understanding, we passed a smile at each other. Both of us knew, if it was in India, this would have been a place of religious interest.

Formation inside the cave resembling to Lord Ganesha (above)
and Shivaling (below)
On our way back home, we were discussing about such places in India where devotees go despite the journey being life threatening. And many people each year lose their lives to be at those religious places. Interestingly, many of the relatives of dead consider it to be auspicious when their known die there (since everyone will die someday), believing them to reach heaven. Perhaps it is the spirit of adventure and the hope of finding something bigger than ourselves that makes us go such great lengths.

Since these caves were formed on ancient sea-bed, the limestone here were rich in many minerals and fossils. We bought fossils of fish, which being a biologist’s wife now, is a cherished possession at our home. 
The Ammonites (spiral shaped fossil) were sea creatures that lived from 65 to 350 million years ago and are now extinct.
It is interesting to see how every creature on earth including ourselves, evolved from fishes- you may find the first episode of this documentary interesting – Your inner Fish

P.S. Wish you all a very Happy 2017 :)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zealous Shopaholics Be wary!!!

Yesterday while walking in a mall I came across the store of one of my favorite brands.  Those were not my lucky moments as the dresses I really liked were not available in my size, while the ones which fitted me, didn't suit me either. I was about to leave the place when my eyes rested on the accessories on display. A small placard beside them read ‘40% discount’. Being a girl my hunger to see more variety arose.  So the saleswoman directed us to another corner, where some fifty or more pieces were shining bright.  Pointing at all the available collection of accessories, she told us that everything had 40% discount on them, while if we buy two we will get them at special price of $36. GK enthusiastically asked me to select two, since it sounded like a real bargain to us. He started probing for the best ones that suited me from the lot.  Being a picky shopper, I wanted only one piece from one store. I told him if I wanted to buy two, then they will have to be from two different stores. So we calculated their price after discount. It was $14 for one piece. I checked for the prices of all those I liked, and they were all the same. At the payment counter we again confirmed if all the pieces were on 40% discount on which the lady there said yes.  Hence, we would have paid six dollars extra (after adding the taxes) on the latter offer of two pieces at ‘just’ 36 dollars. We realized we were better off buying two of them separately than together. 
Thinking about it later, we were amused if people really fall for that. Probably to save oneself from the efforts of calculating the discounted price, zealous shopaholics do fall in such traps. The sound of latter offer was very inviting and convincing after all.  I never encountered such tricks back home in Indian stores because, Indians are good with numbers and want to be doubly sure they are paying the right price that is being offered to them. I am glad I brushed up my mathematics lessons at school despite the nightmares it gave me years afterwards.

Friday, April 29, 2016

You are known by the company you keep

Have you ever wonder why people are judged by the company they keep?
This world is a muddle of diversity. Every corner of this world is composed of people with different tastes, priorities, natures, upbringing and circumstances. In this confused mixture of masses, we find solace with those who are in close proximity with us.

 ‘Birds of a feather flock together’.  While growing up, we were told by our parents to pay heed to those we hang out with. They told us that we will become like the ones we move around with. If we surround ourselves with intelligent souls, our orientation will shift towards knowledge. Our company throughout our lives will constantly, in its own subtle ways, be shaping our identity in future. It may also determine our social standing in the world. During all those years in school, college and job, our conversations, our psyche got tinted in the hues of those friends we accompanied. Those people who loved to indulge in extravagant life of materialistic pleasures, always tried to pull others on similar grounds to accompany them.  On the other hand, those who were interested in books and philosophy attracted the interests of others too to ponder deeper. People with lot of negative energy and thoughts talked about negatives directly or indirectly most of the times, while happy people attracted happiness. We are mirrors to each others’ reflections. Our natures, way to tackle our problems, our orientations and way of carrying out conversations are reflected in each other. That comprise our character.  

Some relationships have no flow of positive energy. They are full of ranting and negative thoughts. It is better to cut off those emotional strings of gloom and pessimism to be freed from uneasiness and tiredness they cause. 

Every friendship or relationship should contribute to one's progress. There should be an exchange of thoughts and good knowledge from both the ends. Luck and cheer follow the joyous beings, while difficult ones attract difficulties. Keeping a good company is good for mental and physical health. And good set of friends contributes to a healthy, happy and progressive life.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X and Y, beginning of more complex problems in life…

After my graduation, I received a call on my phone from my old school. Authorities asked me to meet them, telling me there was some confusion regarding my 12th board exam result. I was tensed, not understanding what possibly could be wrong. I reached the school office and met with the P.A. to the principal. He informed me they had found some error in my mark-sheet. My math examination had miscalculation and I didn’t get even minimum marks that are required to clear the exam. I had never heard of such a thing before. Three years have passed since my 12th standard results were declared and no one called me before for this. And now when I had cleared my graduation they were telling me that I am holding a faulty mark-sheet. I was told that I will have to prepare again for 12th class and clear the exam to retain my mark-sheet, else they will cancel my qualifications and I would lose my graduation degree too. I was sweating in terror, extremely tensed and I had no clue how in the world I will go through all those mind-breaking chapters of trigonometry, inverse trigonometry, differentiation and integration etc. What if I flunk this time too? A chill ran through my spine. All those chapters of mathematics in 12th standard and three years of my graduation started taking rounds in my head. When my head was about to burst, I opened my eyes in panic.
P.S. This was a re-occurring nightmare in my life that repeated at least thrice. I always woke up panicked. I dreaded this subject more when ‘x’ and ‘y’ accompanied numbers. Things never remain fun and easy after that, those alphabets began to clamor into complicated formulas and more complicated formulas. Have you ever noticed more complex problems in our lives began with the introduction of x and y!

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