Monday, 16 November 2015

रेलगाड़ी की खिड़की से पीछे छूटती , भागती जिंदगी उसे कुछ मॉर्निंग वॉक पर उसके उठते कदम की तरह लगती है।  पहाड़, जंगल, खेत नदी नाले सभी स्वच्छ साफ दीखते हैं पर जहाँ से घर, क़स्बा, बस्ती, शहर की शुरुआत हुई नहीं कि गंदगी, कूड़ा-कचरा का ढेर पटरियों के किनारे हम मनुष्यों की सभ्य होने के दावे पर प्रश्नचिन्ह से प्रतीत होते  हैं।
सतपुरा की पहाड़ियों के सुरंगों से गुजरती रेल, जंगल और झरने उसे मूक निमंत्रण देते से लगते हैं। उसकी आँखें नम हो आती हैं। ये उसके अंदर बैठी कई सुषुप्त इच्छा है जो उन्हें देखते ही तीव्र हो उठती है। प्रकृति में जो भी हैं वह जीवन के मर्म से स्पंदित होता है या यूँ कहें कि जीवन के मर्म और प्रकृति के स्पंदन के बीच अन्योन्याश्रय सम्बन्ध है।
मौसम सुखद हो या कष्टकर- इन पेड़-पर्वत, नदी-नाले को कोई शिकवा नहीं।  ऋतू चक्र के बीच ये मौन रह अग्रसरित होते रहते हैं।  ये हम मनुष्य ही हैं जो स्वरचित नियमों से पराजित तो होते हैं पर सारा दोष प्रकृति पर डालने से नहीं चूकते।  

Sunday, 1 November 2015

01:18 PM

क्या बताऊँ कि तुम मेरे लिए क्या हो-

कि मेरे गोद में पड़ी खुली किताब की
 कुछ रेखांकित शब्द व पंक्तियां हो।
कि पौ फटती भोर की हल्की धुंध में
फ्लाई ओवर की सुनहरी स्ट्रीट लाइट हो।

अब क्या बताऊँ कि तुम मेरे लिए क्या हो।

कि नयनों के कोर से खिलखिलाती हँसी
का अल्हड़ सतरँगा आब कनी हो।
कि राह चलते फुटपाथ पर चाय की दुकान
में रेडियो पर बजती पुरानी गजल हो।

अब क्या बताऊँ कि तुम मेरे लिए क्या हो।

कि शरद् प्रात:कालीन सैर के वक्त पगडंडी
के किनारे उगे घास पर ठहरी ओस की बूंद हो।
कि पत्राच्छादित तरुवर की हरी छतरी से छन,
तन तक पहुँचती धूप की नरम गरमाहट हो।

अब क्या बताऊँ कि तुम मेरे लिए क्या हो।
अक्श तुम्हारा

जाते जाते हाथ यूँ निर्मोही बन छुड़ा गए कि ,
जहन में अक्श तुम्हारे बदल बदल उभरते हैं कई
पर कोई सा भी ठहर, हमदम अब बनता नहीं।  

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

 ठहरी तारीख
  ३० जून
विद्यालय से आ कर अभी संधया में इस  गाने को सुन रही हूँ जिसे आप अक्सर मुझे समक्ष बिठा गुनगुनाया करते थे " तेरे बिन सूने नयन हमारे...निंदिया न आये अब मेरे द्वारे ".
 "जग में रहा मैं जग से पराया, साया भी तेरे मेरे पास न आया "- आज छह वर्ष बीत चले. जीवन की उतार चढ़ाव ने मुझे मजबूत किया या कमज़ोर किया- अब तक समझ न पायी। संघर्ष, संघर्ष, संघर्ष ही पाया -  पलट के जब भी देखा। बहुत दूर तक नहीं देखती क्योंकि क्षणभंगुरता से काफी राब्ता हो चूकी है।

Wednesday, 17 June 2015



I wake up early today but not to the calls of the birds and the rustling of the Sycamore leaves. It's the call of the dying hours here which I feel in the morning breeze. With heavy heart, not willing to bid adieu to this quiet place, I stand with my morning tea on the terrace, looking at the running squirrels, the hopping hare, the flying sea gulls above in the vastness of the clear blue sky. Something inside me says,"This is not the end. You'll be back here.", but it's always the same with me whenever I have to leave a quiet place in the lap of nature far from the busy hum drums of crowded city life. I remember the unruffled, unspoiled beauty of 'Panchmarhi'. It was the same feeling then too and it is still very strong in me to visit the place and get settled there in the twilight of my life. But, the reservations of life hold me down from the day dreaming to the reality of life, the truth of life that nothing is going to stay forever...keep moving on.

There are dark clouds in the east. The wind rises and spreads those patches of clouds making the blue sky partly cloudy. The weather is cool and pleasant. We leave for the Newark International airport at 11.30 AM. Joe, the same cab driver is there. I keep looking out of the car window with eyes wide open. Yasmin is dozing off but I remain wide awake to see the green hedges, flowery shrubs, beautiful houses and meadows passing by, knowing that this may be my last chance. We reach in forty five minutes. 'How soon!' I regret with a sigh. Joe drops us at terminal B. We have arrived an hour early. The check-in counters of Air India are closed. We wait there with other Indian passengers. There are not many people waiting for the Air India flight. May be because we are early.

The check-in counter opens and I get the boarding passes- Passage to India. Since I have got rid of those two check-in luggage, I can now move around and see the terminal. There are three hours for boarding the flight. My gate number is 55. We go by escalator and find ourselves in a large foyer leading in all directions for different gates. There is an Indian before the passage leading to gates 51-57. He beckons at us. He is a Gujrati bhai 'Vijay Kumar Patel'. While doing his work of checking the boarding passes, passports and the weight of hand luggage, he continues talking to us about our destination and things about himself. He assures safe security check asking us to buy items from the airport duty free shops. But we are in a declining mood for shopping because duty free does not assure any discount on the price. We feast on our home made 'parathan-bhujiya' rolled in almunium foil. Then, we stroll around. The duty free shops are more or less the same anywhere with few buyers.

The boarding time is 3.50 PM. So, we sit in a restaurant near the passage to gate 55. The Gujrati bhai keeps coming to us. He talks all the time in his Gujrati style Hindi. It seems quite comfortable to see someone talking to you in your native tongue in a foreign land. The hour turns to minutes and seconds and finally it is time to leave. I give a warm hug to my brave girl and our eyes give way to our departing feelings, quite common in our race. It is that bonding that sets us apart from others. Yasmin will take train from Terminal B to Princeton. Waving goodbye at her, I finally make my entry to the passage to gate 55. I have to go through the same process of looking in the eyes of the camera to warranty my identity. Then, take off my shoes, laptop, handbag, travelling bag in trays for x-ray. When the security check is over, I feel relieved to be hundred percent innocuous. There are duty free shops inside too, from where I buy dark chocolates worth 20 dollars. It is the first shopping that I do at my own in that foreign land before departure. Well, at least it makes a mark on me that I am not that shy that can not even shop in foreign currency.

The Gujrati bhai keeps his word and arrives before boarding. He dials Yasmin's number and let me talk to her. It's a kind gesture of him that I will remember long. He, too, bids goodbye to me and then I move through the tunnel to board my flight to Mumbai, India. My seat number is 37 F. It's in the mid row but side one. So, no question of getting squeezed between two. There are mainly Gujratis in this flight because the destination point is Ahmedabad via Mumbai. I envy harmlessly at the business class passengers hoping someday to be one of them enjoying the luxury of the flight. But, I am quite content with my lot and seat. There is a Hare Rama-Hare Krishna American well clad in kesariya dhoti and ang-wastra. He helps other passengers with their cabin luggage over head compartments. They are quite high. So, I keep my back-pack near my leg space.

They give you enough to eat on flight to let you feel full all the time. I enjoy the snax, supper, breakfast and lunch watching movies. The head set/phone is okay this time. So, I re watch the movie 'Gone with the Wind'. Then I sleep for almost four hours.

Friday, 12 June 2015



It is not much to write about yesterday, 11 June which I spent watching movies and taking a 3 km walk in the park. Yasmin arrived late in the evening due to late arrival of train. We had an early dinner and took a stroll in the parking lane after that. The wind had dropped making the night seem warm too.


The sun is brighter and the day warmer than yesterday. We complete the packing after walk and breakfast. I pack my shoes too because from it is the last day of my walk here. It makes me sad. Yasmin gets busy with her office work on her laptop. It is her 'work from home' day. I cook  केले के कोफ्ते with rice and watch movie on Netflix. At 4.20 PM, we leave for Quaker Bridge Mall by 600, NJ Transit Bus. Yasmin has the bus pass but I pay one dollar and four cents. We reach there in an hour. It is a very big mall. However, not as big as Phoenix Market City of Bangalore. There is no basement parking like that of Phoenix Market City. In US, population is less than land and autombiles. So, the parking space is a very big open area with parking lanes well marked. The rules are also very strict in New Jersey. We leisurely move in the mall, doing some window-shopping or else buying some body spray and lotion, some clothes etc. Yasmin gets Tropical Mango Yogurt ice cream for me. It is very smooth and delicious. The serving quantity is more than what we get in India. So, we are unable to finish off our Chinese platter of Veg Chow mien and Chicken. Yasmin packs the remaining food. Our return bus is at 8.40 PM. We wait outside the Mall. The evening is cool and refreshing.

There are two African American boys who keep on talking loudly. Their mother seems a little mentally deranged. She keeps on poking her right ear with her finger and mumbling. I instantly recall the White American man who talks to himself while walking in the park. Some people behave in a weird manner. Yasmin tells me that such kind of people are more in number here than in other countries. It is because of the low family bonding that leads to separation, isolation and depression.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015



Only three more days,...these pages are about to close with the epilogue of good bye to this stay 'A dream fulfilled'. A kind of sadness comes over me but I quickly overcome it, reining in my spirit because I believe that every ending is a new beginning. I know that the wheels of free moving/ peregrinations have started rolling and, in near future, I am to make many such wanderings to near and far off lands, adding many more new pages to my blog.

When you arrive at any new place, you just get attracted to every thing, every detail of the landscape, the colour of the birds, the falling of the leaves and the seeds, the changing moods of the everyday weather, every little sound attracts you, the tulli, tulli chirping of the bird, the rustling of the Sycamore leaves, the squeaking of the running squirrels one after the other, the wheezing past cars on the wide road, the passers by's appearance and, then, there falls a silence. You come out of those sounds.

The fresh saplings have grown out of the Sycamore seeds that hung there on the edge of the roof, making a hedge in a neat line. No hands have trimmed them but they look neat and trimmed. I know that they are not going to stay there long in want of soil yet they add beauty to the house.



It kept raining all through the night and it is still wet and cloudy. The weather gets clear after 11 AM. I go for a walk and feel the warm sun in the light and cool air in the shade of trees. In the afternoon, I iron my clothes and pack them in my bag along with other things. I am bracing myself up to feel the heat of the home town and the work place.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015



It remains a rest day after the activity-packed weekend. I update my left diary pages, check emails take a 3 km walk in the park and fry samosas for Yasmin and her friend, Priyanka in the evening. It has been sunny all through the day, summer in the light and winter in the shade.

The evening is cool with pleasant wind. We all sit on the terrace, feeling the wind in our hair. The crisp, hot samosas taste good with green paanipuri chutney. Priyanka and I have tea with samosas. Priyanka leaves and then, we do a little bit of packing. There are now only five days left for my goodbye to US.

The sky is again dark with clouds and the wind is high too. A heavy rain follows. We retire early.

Monday, 8 June 2015




The Von Thun Country Farm exemplifies the optimum use of land resources in the best profitable manner of business as well as agricultural yield. We want to explore and learn something new. So, we reach the Von Thun's country farm by 11 AM. It is a sunny morning today and soon the whole place is full of people with their children, all in a picnic mood. The farm is quite big with hectares of land used for growing green vegetables, fresh fruits, horticulture. There are animals too, like sheep, goats and horses on the farm. But it's mainly for fruits, vegetables and horticulture.A museum gives a glimpse of the hand driven/pulled plow, cart and other agricultural equipment, clothes'dryer, sewing machine which reminds me of my grandmother's Singer sewing machine and grandfather's old gramophone that had a box, a handle, the HMV records and the loud speaker. They are now antiques and deserve to be placed in a museum for well preservation.

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The farm serves a good open space for children's fun filled outdoor activities where they can see, do, observe, play and learn. The Bee Buzz in the Bee Barn is a good brain teaser for young ones. Then there are sheep, goat and donkey barns. There is a marigold checker game because the pumpkins are not ready yet. The Peter Pumpkin does the animatronic talking about ho the pumpkins are grown at Von Thun's farm. The pumpkin bowling is quite a fun in which a pumpkin is rolled down the lane to hit all the bowling pins. There is moon bounce for little ones. For a little older ones, there is the pedal-kart course. It is quite a fun to see the children sitting, hiding, jumping in the middle of a pile of straw while they toss it in the air and at each other. This makes me remember my days spent at my native village. We enjoyed playing Hide and Seek in the hay stack in the barn but when we washed our hands and feet, they started burning and itching. Our grand mother, then, applied oil and massaged it to let the scratches heal, chiding us. I find a toddler lost in the Straw Maze. Behind him, walks his dad, to help him find his way out. It's nice to see the moms and dads giving time to their children and enjoying with them too instead getting irritated.

It's Strawberry picking time of the year. Some children enjoy painting strawberries on their face. We pick a basket and move into the furrows of the strawberry field. They all are ripe now. Many get crushed under the pickers' feet. One pound of strawberry if free on the admission charge of strawberry picking. They are so fresh and juicy that we could not resist eating them. But, since it is not allowed to eat, we have to check the temptation.

The Hay rides is of fifteen minutes in which we taken to a Pumpkin and Vegetable patch, located on the far side of the farm. We pass the apple orchard, blue berry orchard, a pond and corn fields. The hay ride makes me drive through the memory lane of riding in a bullock cart to the Pausi-Purnima Fair, held near the Koshi-Barrage on India-Nepal border. My brothers and I waited eagerly for this time of the year. We rode in the early morning, sitting huddled with each other, with our grand mother, aunt and cousins. Dukkhan chacha sat behind the pair of bullocks and sang a folk song to keep the winter-chill at bay. I still remember, the dip in the Koshi river in that biting cold. After that, we feasted on curd and flattened rice with jaggery balls. We have all the things in our country to enjoy but we shut off the simple, rural pleasures by adulterating it with dreams of a king size life.

The pony ride on the farm, draws huge crowd. Even, toddlers who can't walk straight, sit on the back of ponies and pose themselves to be clicked and enjoy the ride.

We have a packet of pop-corns and chicken nuggets under the cool shade of Sycamore trees. There are wooden tables and benches placed for the visitors. A pet cat comes there to feast on the leftovers. She is a cute fat cat. The children now, done away with all the games and activities, play with her.
Two cousin sisters come to watch the cat which is sleeping on the table after eating the crumbs of chicken nuggets and pop corns. The elder seems very fond of cats  She strokes its neck and back softly while the younger one seems quite amused about it. Just then, their brother comes and pour water on the cat's back. The cat gets up with a start, purrs and stretches its body. She, then quietly moves away from there as like a saintly figure, undisturbed from the miscreants' activities.
There is a farm product shop at the exit point, It sells fresh farm-grown fruits and vegetables, honey, jellies, marmalade, butter, candies etc. We buy zucchini for pasta from there and get back by 2.00 PM.



The cloudy sky and the forecast of rain by 8 o'clock in the morning has made us change our plans of visiting the sea beaches of Atlantic City. We now plan of going to 'Pick Your Fruits' farm but reschedule it on Sunday as the weather forecast predicts clear sky and bright sun. There a list of household items to buy and the clouds have parted letting the sun shine on our dampened spirit. So, after breakfast, we take the bus NJ Transit 600 to Walmart at 11.30.

 The warm weather and the smooth ride make us doze off but the regular announcement of the bus stoppage keeps us alert. We pass many townships, meadows, Princeton Hospital and Health Group, Princeton University and Museum. Finally, we are there at Walmart. We, first, go the Dollar Tree where every thing is at a throwaway price of one dollar and get many useful items on our list. We, then, stop at the Sam's Club. It is a huge, high ceiling large hall serving as the outlet/whole sale super store. Since, it is a sunny weekend after the long spell of rain and cloudy weather, people are all out to enjoy and shop. The store sells all kinds of house hold goods, from kitchen utensils and cookery items to bedroom linens and draperies, from toiletries to gardening equipment, from electronic goods to sports items. The bread-bun and cookies are just too tempting ones but everything comes in a big packet or a bunch of ten or more. There is a big section of poultry, all kinds of meat and fresh water and marine fish. One corner of the shop has a restaurant where you can sit and eat. We move around the place but don't buy anything because the things are sold in bunch.

We buy the remaining items on the list from the Walmart, eat at Subway and wait for the bus  at 4.45 PM. It is the last bus because of the weekend holiday. The bus arrives a little late. However, we are back by 6.00 PM.

Friday, 5 June 2015



The cold weather and the cloudy sky are getting on my nerves. There is a dull kind of pain in my head and back of neck. The acrylic painting is almost complete and I am not in a mood today to give it the finishing touches. I keep browsing Netflix and watch two movies before the lunch and after the lunch.

Well, the sky becomes clear in the evening and the wind also drops down a little. We go to the local shop for some groceries. It's nice to be outside. There's an Indian superstore where they play Hindi film songs and bhajans that give you a feel of being in India though the female shopkeeper behind the billing counter speaks in English.

 Last Sunday, Yasmin introduced me to a gentleman who works there. He smiled and asked me if I liked my stay there. Getting my answer in affirmation, he said that for a short stay, it was good but not for permanent stay. I felt the homesickness of the gentleman and thought about Patna. However comfortable life here is, it can't be like living in your native land.

We get watermelon from the Chinese shop but it is not as sweet as like that we have in Patna. However, it is quite fresh. Fruits are sold here in varieties that I could never have ever imagined of.

Tomorrow, we are going to a farmhouse 'Pick Your Fruits'. It is near New Brunswick.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

अनमना सा मन



It's a day of speculation for me. It seems I am done away with writing simply about park, people and surroundings.

आज कुछ मन अनमना सा है.
डायरी के इन पन्नों पे,
होती हैं इकतरफा बातें,
लिखती भी मैं ही हूँ,
पढ़ती भी मैं ही हूँ।
तस्वीरों को निरख निरख,
आँखें अब चली है थक.
सो, आओ हरी पार्क में,
वृक्षों की सघन छाँह तले,
बेंच पर बैठ, हाथों में हाथ डाल,
करें कुछ छोटी-लम्बी बातें,
पूछे एक दूसरे का हाल चाल।
आँखें मुंद, करें चेहरे पर
महसूस ठंडी हवा का झोंका
पत्तों की सरसराहट और
चिड़ियों की चहचहाहट,
बरखा की कुछ बुँदे अंजुली में भर,
खिली धुप की कुछ गर्माहट बटोर,
आओ, चलें करें कुछ बातें।
कुछ अपनी तुम कहो, कुछ मैं कहूँ,
कुछ मेरी तुम सुनो, कुछ मैं सुनूँ।
इतने में ही तो,
अब थमने को है पवन,
तिरछी हो चली है किरण।
क्या सुना तुमने भी कोलाहल?
चीखते समुद्री गल का कोलाहल?
बीतने से पहले,
इन लम्हों को,
अपनी मुट्ठी में थाम,
चलो मिल लेते हैं गले
अब हो चली है शाम।
आज न जाने क्यों-
मन कुछ अनमना सा है।

Wednesday, 3 June 2015



It is not raining this morning yet the sky is still cloudy. The past two days have been a sort of house arrest for me. So, hopefully the clouds may part to let the sun shine upon every thing as well as my sagging spirit (Visit to Atlantic City).

Well, prayer gets heard and finally, with clouds parting, the weather seems to be looking up. I go to the park and complete six rounds of it, thus, up scaling my record, from 5.1 km to 6 km. The birds are all on the grass, picking their food, brought by the rain. The squirrels, out of their trees-coves, are running and squeaking all around. It has been a house arrest to all of them. I see a bulldozer, a lorry loaded with gravels in the parking lane. They repair the parking lane quickly and then leave to do the repairing work elsewhere. The air is dust free here because every inch of the ground or pavement is covered with grass. People do not walk on the grass or on the road. The concrete pavement is meant for walking.

While watching the episode of 'Cedar Cove', I come across this dialogue-"Time helps you choose the memories you want to hold on to." When I sit back and close my eyes, they are the happy memories that flood in and the sad ones sit at the bottom like pieces of rock.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015



It is moderately cold today due to continuous drizzling and wind and leaves me confined in the room with writing the diary page, painting and watching movie. Solitariness gives a lot of scope for both inwardly and outwardly speculation. It's a bliss most of the time unless you exhaust yourself of all your creative resources which I think is hardly exhaustible. It is our mind that gets exhausted because 'Man is a social animal'.

Now it is raining with that little music of rain drops on the roof above and then the drops dripping down from the sloppy edge on to the wooden floor of the terrace. When it stops raining for a while, a kind of thin mist envelops the sleepy houses and trees by the side of the lanes. Mist brings in more rain.

Instead of doing indoor workouts, I decide to do a little bit of cleaning work. Cleaning the carpet with a brush will serve both the purpose, cleaning as well as exercise and I find it quite engaging. It gives a good feel when I am done with this cleaning business. I just stand there in the middle of the room and appreciate my work.

I start with painting a new canvas after lunch. To have a little time off, I make a cup of tea for myself but forget it to pour into the cup. It has become cold. It tastes bitter in my mouth but I gulp it down.

Monday, 1 June 2015



 May is over and June is here reminding me of the fleeting time. Only twelve days are left now and then I will have to leave to be back to join the hum drums of my life. I don't want to idle on the swiftness of the time. I count the twelve days and the works related to recreation to be done.

So, after breakfast, I work upon this Diary Project, updating the left pages. I take some time off, watching movies on Netflix. While browsing, I find "Sleepless in Seattle". I like Meg Ryan's movies. It is a good movie and it's purely a coincidence to know about the tradition of visiting the top of the Empire State Building on wedding day or Valentine's day or marriage anniversary day. The reference of the movie"An Affair to Remember" in 'Sleepless in Seattle' urges to watch it. It's a moving story of a popular film star falling in love with a beautiful singer. Although each is already engaged to another yet they decide to break off the engagement and meet on a fixed date at a fixed time on the top of The Empire State Building. The hero leaves the glamour world of silver screen and starts painting to earn money. The day arrives but the heroine meets with an accident... The story reminds me of the Indian true copy of this movie 'Mann' starring Amir Khan and Manisha Koirala.

Yesterday, it drizzled all through the night. Though, it stopped in the morning. It is again drizzling now in the evening. Yasmin is back from work. I feel a little cold but not that cold. We think of taking out the blanket again. Weather keeps swaying from warm to rainy, to cool to pleasantly/moderately cold, even in summer here.



It is a rest day after a day out in the busy city of New York. Yasmin and I enjoy a walk in the park. we do house hold chores together, buy groceries from the local shop, cook fish and relax in the first half of the day. I take a little siesta and watch 'Anna Karenina on Netflix. It is the tragic story of a married aristocrat lady who falls in love with the affluent Count Vronsky. This proves fatal to the name and fame of her family, her social reputation and finally she suicides throwing herself before a running train.

Yasmin does her office-work on her laptop. The evening is cool and the soft wind lures us to the park where we sit there on the bench talking to each other on various topics. There are two skaters today along with walkers and children in the park. We come back when it starts getting dark. The Met forecasts rain with thunder tonight. There are clouds in the sky. We take a walk in the parking lane after dinner. The parking lanes are as wide as roads. We get a light waft of jasmin in the air. We feel it and look around. It is coming from one of the terraces in the neighborhood. There resides a South Indian family. It smells so fresh in the silence of the night, bringing sweet memories of homeland.   We retire early by 10.00 PM.



The trips begins with a little blunder in the form of two two cabs arriving at 4.15 AM to pick us and drop at Princeton Railway Station. The train to New York is at 5.10 AM. Actually, Yasmin had booked the cab on Monday. She forgot to save the cab's number and when trying to verify the booking, she booked another cab on Friday evening. Now, when we come out to take the cab, we find two cabs waiting for us. The first one is the same person who had dropped us home from Hong Kong Market, East Brunswick, last Sunday. Yasmin does not argue and realising her mistake pays extra 20 dollars to him without using his cab service. She later, in the cab, explains to me that she did want the cab driver to suffer on her account, he was up at 4.00 AM to pick her up and not paying his due would be doing a disgrace to the self respect of a hard working fellow. Moreover, she did not to spoil the whole day for 20 dollars. How nice of her to shoo away the blunder in such a good way. I appreciate her.

I find everything easier here than India, right from taking the ticket from the ticket kiosk to boarding the train. The trains usually run on time except in winter during snowfall. The platform is clean and quiet. There are only a few passengers. There is an announcement for the passengers destined for New York City to move to the far end of the platform and board the train from the lower end. I can't understand. We move to the lower end but the gate is closed. The train arrives and two ticket checkers alight and unlock the gate. The passengers get down the stairs and from the lower platform, they board the train. Something new to observe and learn! The Ticket checkers are very fast in their work.

The train is very neat and clean. It is double-decked. The seats are two in a row, two on the left and two on the right. At the very entrance, there is a space for the wheel chaired passengers and the senior citizens. The physically disabled and the old folk are looked after well here. People see to it that they may not have any kind of discomfort and are always ready to extend their help to them whenever needed. The train moves without any jerk. The train number, station-stoppage, next station keep displaying on the digital screen and a computerized voice keeps announcing. We have this facility in India only in Metro trains. There is no crowd inside the chair car. Everyone is seated.

The train stops at New Brunswick, Edison, Metuchen, Elizabeth, Metro Park, Linden, Newark International Airport, Newark Penn station, Secaucus and then we are inside a long tunnel which ends at New York station. It takes only 65 minutes to cover 54 miles. Hmm...this is New York...the much heard and much read New York City. Even the railway station is like an international airport, abuzz with moving crowd, elevators, escalators, branded shops, eateries, subways... I, from a small, developing and over-populated country, feel lost here.

The policeman outside the station points out the direction from where to get a cab. There's a provision in the cab to pay through card-swipe. A mini television installed on the back of the front seat is telecasting the news headlines. A glass with a small window in the middle separates the driver/front seat from the passenger's seat. Through the busy, broad streets of the New York City, the yellow cab takes us to the China Town, 88, Bowery Street.

It is still early and other tourists have not arrived yet, not even our tourist guide. The shops have the shutter down. However, we locate  a few Chinese Bakery and go there. They are selling breads, buns, croissants, cakes, tea and coffee and other beverages. Never have I seen in my life so many varieties of breads and buns. They look so yummy. I want to taste them all but knowing the limit of my appetite and capacity of my stomach, settle down with an almond bun with tea and Yasmin with croissants. They taste good.

We come back to the Bus stop at Bowery Street, The Tourist guide is there. Her name is            , not a student this time, but a working mother in her mid age, who says with a smile that she wants to have a burger at Mac Donald's rather at the Restaurant at the riverside because the burgers cost two-three dollars at MacD whereas nine dollars at Hudson side restaurant. I like her for her affectionate smile, her gentle ways, her devotion for her work and family and for us, her caring attitude for me when she extends her hand to support me when I am getting down the bus, her getting down the bus and going after to look for the passenger who has not come at the supposed time.
 New York is just a hub of tall, taller, tallest buildings and tall that you have to take a lot many steps to move back and keep tilting your head back till there's all possibility of getting a somersault, to get the complete view of the zenith of the tower or building. I wonder how do they make such tall buildings or towers. The scene of September Crash 2011 flashes in my mind and I just shudder at the very imagination of the tower crumbling down and people running in panic here and there finding no place safer to move.

We visit the Wall street famous for the World Stock Exchange, The Federal Hall where George Washington had taken his oath as President, The Wall Street Bull. We then take a cruise ride in Hudson and see the Statue of Liberty, The ride takes one hour but quite different from that of the Thousand Islands where we see nature in its most beautiful form and around The Hudson river, we see man's pride, glory, achievements at its zenith.

There are parks, jogging and cycling tracks, water sports and other indoor sports auditoriums for recreation and fun running parallel along the Hudson river. It being a sunny weekend, there is a huge crowd of people out there on the dock and everywhere. Really Americans know how to live king size. They work hard to earn such living. They are not dreamers but performers whether in sports, in business, in IT sectors or any thing else. I see a woman in her sixties running in shorts on the jogging track.

We sit on the wooden bench and have our lunch there. There are a few Indian families too. Otherwise, there are mostly Chinese, Americans or Spanish.

We come to the Times Square Streets of New York. There's the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. WE are not interested in visiting it but are quite amused to see people posing for photographs with great personalities and celebrities. It's nice to wander on the streets, music is in the air, my steps on the beat, doing a little bit of window shopping, eating Italian Pesto Pasta.  No one looks poor or impoverished. Even the rickshaw puller looks happy and sufficiently dressed. People, esp. women and babies are so beautiful! I remember the lines"A little misery is good for the soul." and feel intrigued here. Misery should be in appropriate amount in one's life to do goodness to one's soul. Too much or too less imbalances the act of goodness...huh, unable to see through this philosophical quote.

We come to one of the tallest buildings of the world- The Empire State' building, a 102- story skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan. We have to undergo the security check to gain entry to it. There are 102 floors. The elevator knows only the multiple of ten and it carries us speedily to the 86th floor which showcases the history, the builders, the work, the years to build it. The construction started in 1929 and it took only one year and forty five days to complete it. It is 1,250 feet high up to the top floor, excluding the height of the antennae which is 204 feet high. Amazing indeed! There are two observatories- on 86th and 102nd floor. We get the bird's eye view of the New York city from the 86th floor. The city, a huge concrete mass around Hudson river, glares back at me in the dazzling sun shine. I compare it to green and quiet Plainsboro of New Jersey and the lines by Duncan Campbell Scott rings like a sweet music to my ears-
     "There is rain upon the window,
       There is wind upon the tree;
       The rain is slowly sobbing,
       The wind is blowing free."

There happens another blunder when the tour is about to end. The Empire State Building is near to New York Pennsylvania station. But, since we don't know this, we come back to the China Town by bus. There, we ask our tourist guide about getting a cab for way back to railway station. She feels so sorry for us telling that we had better stayed at Empire State instead of coming here as the place is near to the station. Our jaws drop down thinking of taking a cab and spending 15 dollars for our foolishness. We wait for a taxi. Just then, a bus stops there. We ask the bus driver about the route to station. He tells us to reach the 34th street and from there, to walk to 7th Avenue. The address gets muddled up in our tired mind but we move on with unsure steps which is somewhat guessed bu the driver who honks the horn to attract our attention. we come back and he asks us to board the bus. Yasmin says that she does not have the change. But, he is a kind man who nods his head and again asks us to sit in the bus. We feel greatly relieved and immensely thankful to him for his act of goodness. We sit there while he drives and stops at every stoppage for the passengers to board and alight, gets up from his seat every time to fasten the belt of wheel-chaired passengers. I keep on observing his little yet so sincere acts of goodness. A scene from the past flashes across my mind-"A young woman, with her one year old baby, boards a bus in New Delhi. She has to stand all way long with the her baby in her arms but no one offers her a seat. It is too difficult for her to hold the baby in one of her arms and support herself from falling with another arm...but nobody ever rose to offer her a seat."

We come back by the evening train. I feel nice to be back to this quiet little town 'Plainsboro' of New Jersey. I will remember long the goodness of one soul 'the City Bus Driver' who helped us in finding our way back to station without asking for the bus fare in a foreign land.

Friday, 29 May 2015



It's a beautiful sunny day. While walking in the park, I reflect on the boundary wall free houses here and all of a sudden, these lines of Mending Walls by Robert Frost' flashes across my mind-

"He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."...
I wonder If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours?
Isn't it where there are cows?"
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there's that does not love a wall,
That wants it down...
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,...
HE will not go beyond his father's saying,..
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

Some poems become immortal because of their universal theme. Robert Frost's poems are rich in symbolism that rakes up the brain of the high brows and the thinkers on a much larger scale than petty issues of day to day life.

When I see no boundary walls here, less cases of assault, theft or trespassing reported here, I question the use of walls in India where such cases create everyday's news headlines in spite of the boundary walls. Why are we so possessive of our worldly insecurities that hinder our self-progress. It then, comes to my mind the lines of 'Geography Lessons' by Zulfikar Ghosh-

" was clear the earth was round                      
and that it had more sea than land.
But it was difficult to understand
that the men on the earth found
causes to hate each other, to build
walls across cities and to kill.
From that height, it was not clear why."

I find people in the park, greeting me with a smile and then, I fail to understand what stops us from smiling back at strangers which I find quite common in India. I don't find people here, staring at others' clothes that makes one feel so uneasy and self- conscious, giving a kind of feeling of sin committed. Clothes are not character here. People have respect for others esp. women and old folk. Why are we like that primitive man with stones in each hand? We call ourselves educated but are we making proper use of education? Do we have rational thinking?

Questions after questions rumble in my mind. What must be done to overhaul the entire thinking process of our mind? That primitive man is so deep rooted in our mindset that it will take many generations to uproot it. These questions haunt my mind and the only answer I find to them is the quote-"Be the change to bring the change." Changes are there taking place in the present generation in India but at a snail pace. However, it is better late than never.

I have cooked rice and 'Besan sabji' in mustard paste for lunch. Yasmin likes it. I love to cook, esp. for my children. It is a kind of meditation/querencia for me. 

I have almost completed the acrylic painting. This one I have made it especially for Shammi. He is so fond of dogs.

Thursday, 28 May 2015



Yasmin's cell phone charger has developed some kind of issue. It did not work yesterday after the rain and is still not working. May be I was late in taking it out from the socket near the window when rain started seeping in through the blinds. These iPhones are very delicate and sophisticated. They need careful handling. However, she has another device to charge her cell phone.

It seems it did not rain in the night because the terrace floor is damp but not wet. The sky is still overcast with clouds. I won't be able to go for my walk today if it continues to remain so.

The rain has brought the slight lingering smell of compost manure. I hear the twittering of one particular bird that keeps calling in a distinctive 'tulli, tulli, tulli, tulli'-four times at regular interval. Birds enjoy the onset of summer as winter is very harsh and snowy here. They fly west then.

Standing on the terrace, I find walkers in the park. Their presence there clears my doubt and I change into my tracks and shoes and off I go to join them in the park. The grass is all wet but the jogging track is clear. I complete three rounds, walking 3.2 km. There is no wind. It seems a lull before thunder and high wind, may be so in the afternoon or evening again like yesterday.

The rain has scattered the flowers and seeds of the Birch trees on the track. They lie there, soggy and wet looking like maggots and doe worms. The Trees in the park are quite old. They have spread their roots deep around the soil. Some roots are so thick and strong that they have created cracks in the jogging track.

People bring their pets to the park but I don't find any litter there. There are two separate wastage bins- Trash and Glass/Cans for recycling. That makes me wonder how good it is to see people follow the Dos and Don'ts. A little effort by everyone saves a lot of waste of time and money. There are trash bins, large and small at every nook and corner of the parking lanes and road sides. The parking lanes are wide like roads. What seems like a road is actually a parking lane in front of every apartment. Vehicles are parked in a line and that leaves  for no question of encroachment by others.

I catch up with my painting left for the last five days. Shammi asks me send the picture of it in progress and I do that. He says that it is coming out well. That gives an extra ounce of confidence to complete the work. The dog in the painting is a bit difficult to do. Drawing or painting animals is always difficult for me. Even then I make up my mind to complete the painting by tomorrow and I like the way it is coming up.

To have a little change, I open Netflix to watch a movie. I start watching the episodes of 'When Heart Calls'. It's an interesting watch about a teacher who starts teaching the children of Coal miners' widows who lost their husbands and sons in a mine blast. I feel the truth in the dialogue,"There's a reason for every fear we face and every hardship we suffer to make us stronger than ever..."The episode are rich in the philosophic observations made by the Teacher which I feel at many places resonating mine.

Tomorrow is Yasmin's work from day. The charger of her cell phone is working now.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015



It is again a sunny morning. I get up rather late today at 5.30 AM. Yasmin prepares the Tapioca globules (Sabudana) poha for breakfast. It tastes good. She leaves for her office at her usual time.

I feel moist in the warm air today while walking in the park. I complete 2.2 Km and come back. The flowers planted yesterday have straightened themselves in the bed and look fresh with red and white Petunias, Flocks and different varieties of Vinca Rosea.

I leave the glass door open today as it is warm inside too. It is not hot like India but I feel the humidity inside the room. The movement in the park increases with the evening approaching. I stir fry lady fingers and Hyderabadi green chilly for dinner.

All of a sudden, I hear the pitter-patter sound of the rain drops. I rush to the terrace and find the sky overcast with dark clouds. The rain drops are quite big. There is thunder in the air and within a moment, it starts raining cats and dogs with high wind.

I worry for Yasmin. She must be on her way back home. I send a message. She assures me that she has the umbrella and is on her way back. The intensity of the rain makes me doubt whether the umbrella be of any use in such a heavy rain. But I can't do anything. I keep the glass door of the terrace closed. Just then I remember the window of the bed room and rush only to find rain seeping in through the blinds. The carpet near the window has become wet. I close the glass quickly and spread a towel to absorb the wetness on the carpet. Weather is really very unpredictable and moody in New Jersey.

Rain has cooled down the heat. Yasmin has reached. I make chilly and cauliflower pakodas to enjoy the rain together. The leaves of Sycamore look fresh but drooping in the rain. It stops raining after half an hour. To my surprise, I see the sun rays on the terrace floor. Clouds have parted a little to let the sun peep through. The weather changes its mood here like the dresses of a ballerina. The pakodas are very crispy.

Yasmin is working on her laptop and I, on my page of diary. Just then, we hear  some kind of strange sound at a distance. We rush to the terrace. I look up to see a flock of large sea gulls flying overhead, flapping their wings and squawking loudly. I ask Yasmin to click their photo but it is late. They fly fast and disappear round the corner of the tiled roof.

I should always keep my camera handy to click because 'the moment is there and the moment has gone'.



I wake up to the twittering of birds coming from the branches of the Sycamore trees. Yasmin, too, gets up. The twittering continues.

It is a working day for Yasmin. The weather is again clear today. I remain busy in updating the diary entries in the morning. Yasmin leaves at 7.30 AM for Office. I see her off. Before leaving, she asks me to remind her to get the print out of the booked ticket of the New York Tour.

I sit back again to complete my work. I can hear the different types of chirping by birds. They keep attracting me with their delightful noise. Finally, I leave my chair, go near the glass door and see outside it to find a brown sparrow sitting on the branch of Sycamore tree. I come back to take out my camera. The bird is still there to be clicked. I oblige my self doing this. I found one black sparrow with a yellow speckle on its neck, sitting on the wall by the railing of the terrace. I click it and the squirrel, too. It seems they are all in a playful mood today to enjoy the warm sunshine.

I leave my work and put on my sports shoes and go to the park for walk. The sunshine is bright. So, I walk under the green cover of trees. There are only a few walkers today. Two boys are practicing Basket ball. I take two rounds and come back to do a little stretching exercises. I find that they have planted flowers in the flower bed near the swimming pool. The red and white wild roses in the road dividers, are in full bloom. They look very beautiful.

I take an afternoon nap today after lunch. It is warm inside too. Yasmin comes back early today at 4.45 PM. We go to the local shop for vegetables. I feel good to take a leisurely walk to the shop. When we come back, we carry chairs onto the terrace and sit there for quite a long time watching people in the park.

I complete my page of diary before going to bed.




It is holiday today on account of Memorial day. This Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. Yasmin stays at home. I upload the Pictures on my page of Face book. I have to update my diary entries too. So,I remain busy updating the backlogs.

It is a sunny day again. We go to the local shop for grocery and vegetables. Yasmin shows me how to cross the road. There is a button on the pole on the pavement near the Zebra-crossing to push She pushes it and wait. There flashes the sign of pedestrians to cross the road. All the traffic comes to a halt and wait for the pedestrians to cross the road. There is seldom a case of hit and run here. Pedestrians are given much attention and care. People are very law-abiding. It is good.

Yasmin buys leg pieces of chicken from the Chinese Super Store and vegetables from the Indian store. While returning, I find the swimming pool cleaned and inhabited by beautiful White Americans basking in the sun on the pool-chairs around the swimming pool. They are enjoying the sunshine.

In the evening, we go for a walk in the park. After taking two complete rounds, we sit in the bench and relax in the seemingly warm, gentle breeze. The park is abuzz with walkers, runners, children, volleyball-players, basket-ball players and a lot of other activities. There is a children park too, within the park. Little children are playing around on swings, sea-saws and sliders.

Yasmin has to go to office tomorrow. We come back. 



As usual, I rise early at 4.45 AM, unable to sleep any longer, I leave the bed and drew the curtains aside. The veil of the darkness is slowly lifting with the approaching sunrise. Yasmin is sleeping and I don't want to disturb her sleep. So, I move on my toes. She wakes up at about 6 o'clock. I miss my tea and lemon water. There is a percolator with coffee sachets in the tray on the table. I think of making a cup of black coffee but coffee can not be a substitute for tea. So, I drop this idea of coffee. Besides, I have had the little water in the bottle. Here, drinking water is not free, like in India. People have to purchase mineral, nobody misuses or wastes water here. 'How much do we waste water in India', I just keep pondering over it for a few minutes.

We get ready, pack things and go to the ground floor for breakfast which is not complimentary in our tour package. I am not a foodie. So, I always get muddled when I am to choose from the menu card. I leave it to Yasmin to decide. She orders 'Egg start with fresh fruits' and tea for me. When asked to make a choice between brown bread or muffin, sunny side up egg or double sided egg, I prefer to have muffin with egg sunny side up. This is something new for me. I feel happy to learn the difference between sunny side up egg and double sided egg. We prepare these things but are not familiar with the terms/names.

Really travelling gives us an opportunity to learn numerous things. I remember Francis Bacon's view on Travelling- " TRAVEL, in the younger sort, is a part of education, in the elder, a part of experience...It is a strange thing, that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen, but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in land-travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter to be registered than observation. Let diaries, therefore, be brought in use..." Remembering these lines by Bacon, I feel so happy that at least I am making the most of my travelling by recording my observations here in Pages from New Jersey.

Tea arrives first and a happy, contended smile spreads on my face. I pour the tea into the cup fondly and with each sip, the smile widens on my face. The breakfast is served. The waiter brings a basket of various kinds of jams. He asks Yasmin to pick any flavor. Before she decides, another waitress asks him to leave the whole basket saying that they want to have all the flavors. I like the people and their small gestures of understanding. I take out each one of them and spread it on the muffin. They are simply delicious. I notice two White Americans sitting on the breakfast table to my left. The man is busy telling about himself to the woman to which she is listening very attentively, speaking less, nodding her head sometimes. People speak very nicely with gestures and expressions to make themselves well understood. Moreover, they are attentive listeners too. The Chinese old couple, on my right side are eating silently. People don't speak loudly here unless required.

After the wholesome breakfast, we board the bus to leave for the Thousand Islands. We reach there in two hours. Joe gets tickets for us. Meanwhile I go to the rest room. There I find people standing in a queue, waiting for their turn to come. Nobody outstrips anyone.

I have never been on cruise ever. It's first of its kind for me. So, I am much excited about it. The cruise arrives and after the passengers alight, we board it. There is a man to collect our tickets. This time we prefer to be on the top to get a full view. We select a corner to stand. In the beginning, I thought that it is just for namesake 'Thousand Islands' but as the ship starts sail, I am astonished to see the beautiful castles, boat-houses with docks, gardens on those beautiful, scintillating islands. Would that I get a chance to spend a weekend on any of these islands some day...!

The fast current of wind, ruffling my hair, brings me down from the dreamworld. I can see ripples of waves dancing on the rocks trapped underneath at the bottom. The ship leaves behind a
trail of foams, bubbles, froths in the water. There are other
private jetties too with a couple or some people who wave at us while passing by and we wave back in return. We have to pull back
our hair or sweep them behind from our face because they keep blocking the view of picturesque islands. Still I feel nice with the fast wind playing wild with my hair. There are wild innate
feelings that keep surfacing up in some very wistful moments...

The man behind the mike keeps us warning to stand away from
the rail. But who pays attention when you are too engrossed in living the rare moments knowing that they are short lived but are to remain etched out in memory forever?

I am lost in the beauty of this unreal world of fairies and castles.

The man informs us that there are one thousand eight hundred
or some small and large islands. There are beautiful resorts,
hotels, houses with gardens, lawns dockyards built on them
for the tourists. Hmmm...It is all a matter of money, honey,
for such recreation and fun in life! For a while, even my
self-contended nature wishes for the little Elf to appear
before me asking me to make three wishes and I ask for
abundance of wealth to stay here...but who knows!

The ship keeps on moving steadily and looking down at the
waves parting for the ship to move, I remember the lines by
S T Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner-

"The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea."

For me, the reality, the practicalities of life is the silent sea.

I know that it is a far cry for me to hire any of these islands for a summer recreation. Nevertheless, I feel quite happy even to get this chance to visit these far off lands and waters, seeing and writing about them, thus, getting enriched in the experiences of life.

There are sea gulls and migratory birds flying over our heads, making different kinds of sounds. They keep fluttering their large wings.
They are not the Albatrosses waiting for us to offer food to them. They have plenty to eat here and rest when they get tired flying for days. I just wonder at the dark side of the Mariner, "What prompted him to shoot the bird!"

I take a look at Yasmin. She seems lost too, in the beauty of the
islands.There seems the same kind of wistful look in her eyes.
May her dreams come true!

A light house comes in view. We are approaching the dockyard now. Soon the dreams are to ground there, to be anchored and harbored there waiting for an opportune moment to arrive...

Joe and Jason are waiting for the passengers to come back and board the bus for return journey that will take some four-five hours.
Joe is quite pleased with our punctuality and expresses in words, "I am so happy with my people. They are good fellows. They always arrive in time and I don't have to keep waiting for them. We are ahead of other buses."

She asks Jason to drive fast. She says that she is starving and want to have a sumptuous Chinese buffet at a Chinese restaurant on way back. Jason is happy too. The journey is nearing its end and he would be able to have rest. He is a very quite, adorable little man with decent ways. They talk in a very friendly way. It is actually Joe, doing most of the talking and he, occasionally, giving his opinion or remarks. So, when Joe asks for passengers' opinion for buffet at a Chinese eat out, he says lovingly, "Where there's a Joe, there's a will."

It is later on, when Joe asks us to give good rating to her, that we come to know that Joe is doing her part-time job as a tourist's guide to pay her tuition fee of her higher studies. I feel overwhelmed.

The food at Chinese restaurant is really a treat for me. I enjoy all sorts of fruits, donuts, momos, noodles, chicken cooked in different kinds of sauces. Never had I eaten such a variety of Chinese food in my life before! No doubt, Chinese look so healthy! The food makes me feel drowsy when I get on the bus. I sleep all the way.

The Bus reached The Hong-Kong Super Market at about 7.45 PM. Yasmin books a cab on her cell phone but the cab arrives late. We sit there waiting. It comes at 8.20. This time it is the cab owner. He has now become quite familiar with Yasmin. Even in the cab, I keep dozing off. We reach home at 9.30 AM.

Adieu Niagara Falls and Thousand Islands till we meet again!