Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A blind date with endangered species

Many travel to explore, some to rid boredom and a few to learn. But I travel for Self Exploration. My bucket list always consists of places of pilgrimages like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Uttarkashi, Vrindavan, Puri, Rameshwaram etc. My travel inspiration is always to meditate, to do yoga and to realise Self. I am quite open-minded person therefore this time I decided to go on a blind date, without planning, going to a place that is unknown, to have rewarding and unforgettable experiences. #TheBlindList can be exploring the unknown places in the world, #SayYesToTheWorld where nobody has reached before, experiencing nature to have enriching moments and spine thrilling adventures.

I went alone in hills covered with forests with my camera, telescope and a water bottle. Leaving the main road, I started walking on the steep rocks. Reaching a considerable height, upon a flat rock I adjusted my telescope for some bird watching. I was trying to focus on a pied wagtail but it was focused on sociable lapwing. My poor focusing capability and my good luck to spot it. I watched the movements of this critically endangered species for near about two minutes! Then a pair of saras crane came and started feeding upon weeds. I watched this spectacular event of a vulnerable species with my naked eyes. I was distracted by a hissing sound behind me. As I was alone I was extra careful. I turned around and spotted a king cobra coming out of bushes. I froze not out of fear but out of precaution that I become untraceable for snake. It could recognise only vibrations on ground made by feet. Another king cobra appeared. My good luck a pair of vulnerable species and my bad luck I have nothing to protect myself from these two venomous snakes. To my relief, they rolled down the rocks. On reaching ground, they coiled around each other. One of them lifted its head from the ground. The other coiled around the other. One over the other, in the air, on the ground, in the grass and on the rock; together they were everywhere. They were dancing or fighting, kissing each other or attacking each other whatever they were doing but I couldn’t kept my eyes off them. From nowhere a green peafowl came, grabbed another snake and flew away. The two stopped fighting and went away in two different directions because of fear or because of sudden disappearance of the reason of their fight!   

Before green peafowl (endangered species) could find a strong branch to adjust itself, a leopard attacked it. To protect itself from sudden attack, it released its grip. The leopard, a vulnerable species put its claws on its fleshy body. The bird tried to fly. They both rolled in air and fell on the nearby bushes. The sloth bear, a vulnerable species made a loud noise when its sleep got disturbed. Moreover, it slapped leopard that in haste lost its control over its prey. The family of smooth coated otters (vulnerable species) attacked the snake that fell nearby. After finishing their meal, the adults were giving swimming lessons to the young ones in the nearby wetland. An adult otter stood on its two hind legs, looked towards me and winked. It dived back in water. I was so much mesmerised that I forgot to shot such interesting incidents.

Meanwhile the sun moved down. I started my journey back. I felt a sticky thing on my leg. An Indian pangolin (endangered species) was licking with its long, very long tongue! I took out my camera to make a video but my conscience stopped me because after sharing it on social media, many would want to kill it for its beautiful shiny skin. I wanted to save it from being killed so I put camera back in my bag. I captured the movement and activity of that animal in my memories forever. Let us live and let them live!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Book Review : Perfect Love – 5.5 Ways To A Lasting Relationship by Shubha Vilas

Perfect Love – 5.5 Ways to A Lasting Relationship is a treasure trove of scriptural wisdom for the modern age. It contains six scintillating stories namely ‘The Wheel of Fortune’, ‘The Golden Letter’, ‘A Silent Voice’, ‘The Other Before Oneself’, ‘The Woman Who Chose’ and ‘A Condition About Conditions’ from the scriptures with deep philosophical truths for creating enduring relationships. The stories contains simple keys yet powerful for transforming relationships.

Forgiveness is key is the main theme of ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ which narrates the story of Nala and Damayanti. Tolerate first and forgive next is the first key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Rukmini expresses her love to Krishna in ‘The Golden Letter’ as she explores that expressing love is crucial in a relationship. Appreciative expressions of love are the second key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Trust is foundation of all relationships. In ‘A Silent Voice’, Shakuntala first starts learning to trust herself, her inner voice and then later on trusting Dushyanta, her lover and husband. Trust in others begins by trusting oneself first, inner voice second and life itself, third. Trust is the important key to make a relationship strong.

In ‘The Other Before Oneself’, the author narrates the love story of Udayana and Vasavadatta as well as Lohajanga and Rupinika who build their relationships based on quality time spent in each other’s company. Spending quality and quantity time is the fourth key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Savitri’s determination to stay with Satyavan is retold in the story ‘The Woman Who Chose’. The determination to stay together actually increases the overall levels of happiness and contentment in a human being. Savitri was resolute not to let go of the relationship even in the face of death itself.

As the name suggests ‘A Condition About Conditions’ is about the conditions that have positive or negative impact on the relationships. A positive condition is the last half-key to make a relationship last for a lifetime. The stories of Shantanu’s relationship with Ganga and Satyavati and Pururava’s love for Urvashi talk about how negative conditions complicate relationships from the beginning and strangulate them in the end. Whereas Draupadi’s marriage with the five Pandavas lasted a lifetime.

Quotations that I liked from this book are as follows:

1.      Just like birthmarks on your body reveal your identity, your values are birthmarks on the soul that reveal your character.

2.      Confusion and clarification are two sides of the same coin. When the side of confusion faces you, turn it around and seek clarification.

3.      Dependence is taking, independence is giving, and interdependence is an exchange programme.

4.      When you look down upon someone, they appear ugly. When you look up at someone, they appear beautiful. But when you look straight at someone, they appear the way they are.

5.      Exposure to a variety of people, thoughts and culture is like learning to appreciate all the colours in a set of paints.

6.      Words can paint images, which no brush can.

7.      Filthy roads are better than filthy minds; at least their filth is visible.

8.      Those who are troubling others are actually borrowing trouble for themselves.

Shubha Vilas is a TEDx speaker, lifestyle coach, storyteller and author. He has delivered more than 4000 lectures on application of scriptural wisdom in day-to-day life. Ramayana: The Game of Life is his bestselling series. He’s also the author of Open-Eyed Meditations and The Chronicles of Hanuman. Curious to know more about him, then visit his website –

For all those who wish to improve their relationship with their partner it is must read book! :)