nourishing the craft.

Delving deep into the inner depths of a creative process has always been my piece of cake. I get thoroughly excited by souls who put that extra effort to have a signature in everything they do. They have that inner enticement of fulfilling and perfecting their craft. In my view which could be limited, I personally believe technology blended with liberal arts has been the most path breaking combination that has had an enduring ascendancy on most creatives & the creative process. It’s said that in art, the creative process generally include stages of inspiration leading to percolation which paves the way for the preparation which eventually culminates to the creation and eventually the period of reflection. I have always felt that such stages are applicable for any sort of creative process. It could be a painter working on a thoughtful abstract, an engineer working on a technical solution to a structural impasse, a poet making finishing touches to a sagacious prose, a dancer choreographing a graceful slide, a sculptor chiseling an authentic portrait. It could be anyone. It could be you.

Spectators visiting pavilions at Expo 2020, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 2021



I’ve been flicking through some of the excerpts from the book ” The Meaning in the Making ” by the renowned photographer Sean Tucker. In it he outlines a philosophy for a creative life. I like his laser focus on the creative process. He writes:


“When we pick up a paintbrush, or compose elements through our camera viewfinders, or press fingers into wet clay to wrestle form from a shapeless lump, we are bending things back toward Order and wrestling them from Chaos. But making things is often not enough.

We also want the things we make to be filled with meaning. We’re each trying to describe what we know about life, to create a collective sense of “safety in numbers.” When we reach the end of our traditional descriptive powers, it’s time to weave collective meaning from poetry, painting, writing, dancing, photographing, filmmaking, storytelling, singing, animating, designing, performing, carving, sculpting, and a million other ways we daily create Order out of the Chaos and share it with each other for comfort.

— Sean Tucker , The Meaning in the Making

wanderlust.

It’s with much desolation that I read the news that Mr Vijayan is no more. He’s a tea seller from Kerala, India who travelled the world with his wife.

Wanderlust.

Copybook films has made a beautiful short film about them. It has been really inspiring and is deeply touching. It kind of supercharges your mind. Rest in peace.

Invisible Wings

breathing profundity

This would be a slice into the Ponder Series

“Breathing Profundity”

When I say that we’ve a lot of blessings that we don’t notice, it might appear poetic & looks like another philosophy post blooming. I would like you to think with me on breathing. Have you thought deeply and consciously about what a great blessing it is. I had been hospitalized with situations where it was difficult for me to catch my breath. I had put a note on that day in my diary to write about it many months later when I’d be fine and this is the day & boy I’ve thought a lot about it in depths through which I want to take you now : )

I’m not an expert to expound professional biology here, but the intention here is to unravel the magic happening inside you on a layman terms.

Try holding your breath for about 40 seconds. The beauty of breathing is that if you or me are put in a situation that we can’t breathe for more than about 40 seconds, we would give up everything we have just to breathe again. After a minute or so of not being able to breathe, we would be losing consciousness. Brain death would follow in about 3 minutes after that.

You’d have taken approximately about 7 breaths by the time you have reached reading till this line of my post with you not needing to do anything to facilitate it. Have you thought about the marvelous system within you enabling you to breathe. The air entering your lungs has been cleaned and a humidity regulation happens within your windpipe. Blood circulation from the lungs enables it to be conveyed to cells and are used for their nourishment and vital functions. Carbon Dioxide is received as a waste material and when we expel the breath, it is pushed out. We know the science, but have we thought about it and how fortunate we are to take a breath through this state of the art system inside. Breathing is a key to many important things happening within our body such as cell division, beating of our hearts, movement of muscles, thought etc. This process that we often relegate as a simple one represent the source of life of about 100 trillion cells in our body.

The gateway to the entire system is the nose. We often think of nose as the organ for detecting odour or smell. But they serve important functions such as making the air we breathe suitable for lungs. The nose has a perfect aerodynamic design and is a marvellous air conditioning system within itself. Nose has special filters inside in the form of hairs. Even its curvature has its design intent. The nasal mucus warms and moistens the air we intake. After the first level of filtration, the second filter it passes through is the mucus. Dust, bacteria and pollen are trapped. There are mobile propellants carrying mucus and they get swallowed in reflex and gets destroyed by stomach acids. Alternatively, they could be expelled by coughs. A pretty decent vigorous cough has a speed of 960 Km per hour. Have you thought about this safety precaution within you ? Hairlike structures called cilia line the mucous membrane and move the particles trapped in the mucus out of the nose. The tiny hair like structures called cilia on deeper examination is an engineering marvel. It forms a cylindrical rotor with nine different protein chains. It’s internal components resemble an engine. The next component is the windpipe.

Respiratory System – Artistic Illustration

The walls of the windpipe are supported by C-shaped rings of cartilage.If the windpipe had been made from flesh alone, the ensuing softness could result in regular blockages. That could make it not possible for us to breathe.
If it had been made from some thing as hard as bone, then our actions could be to a huge volume restricted. Yet the cartilaginous shape which makes up the windpipe is ideally fitted to all varieties of movement, and it continually stays open because of its flexibility. There is a small flap of elastic cartilage referred to as the epiglottis proper at the doorway to the windpipe. This flap routinely closes the doorway to the windpipe at some stage in swallowing. During all of the hundreds of food you’ve got got eaten, from babyhood right as much as the present, you have swallowed tens of hundreds of times. And each single time this little flap has closed the doorway for your windpipe at precisely the proper moment. Although we are ignorant of its presence and may exert no control over it, this little flap has saved your life via way of means of closing the doorway for your windpipe at simply the right moment.

Body tissues produce carbon dioxide due to their daily functions. This carbon dioxide is carried away from the tissues through the blood. This blood, loaded with carbon dioxide, is dirty blood. In order for the blood to be wiped clean it needs to make touch with the air. The oxygen in the air and the carbon dioxide withinside the blood will as a result be exchanged. There are round five litres of blood inside the human body. In order to be aired, this five litres of blood needs to unfold over a place of around 100 square metres. That is equal to the area of a tennis court. Everyone reading this blog post now has a place the scale of a tennis court squeezed into his lungs. Think about it!

The lungs consist of bronchia divided into hundreds of various tubes.
At the end of every any such bronchia are the alveoli, or air sacs, the size of a pinhead. There are about three hundred million of those air sacs in a healthy lung. Their general floor region is equal to that of a tennis court. The air passing via the bronchia fills the alveoli. The alveoli are blanketed with a dense community of capillaries, the smallest of the blood vessels. The alveoli and capillaries are separated from every different with a skinny membrane. This membrane allows an alternate of gasses among the blood and the air. The carbon dioxide inside the dirty blood and the oxygen in the air are exchanged here. And the dirty blood is cleansed in the alveoli. The device which permits your blood to be cleansed with each breath you’re taking is constructed on an air sac no large than a pinhead. Alveoli has a thin water layer inside and this creates surface tension. This could cause the alveoli to collapse on exhalation, but it does not happen when we breathe due to surfactants produced by Type II cells. These surfactants reduce the surface tension of water inside the alveoli.

Now, the oxygen which enters the alveoli interacts with cells that’s in charge of transportation, the “red blood cells”. Haemoglobin, a special protein is present inside the red blood cells. There are about 250 million haemoglobin molecules in every single red blood cell. They contain iron items and they bind to oxygen like a magnet. When it reaches the relevant places, some internal mechanisms within the body reduce this binding power of haemoglobin and thereby aiding release of oxygen. The by product carbon dioxide is also transported similarly. There’s a very delicate and balanced plan in place here.

The role of brain in this process is also worth pondering. The muscles around the ribcage are sent commands from the nerves in the medulla to fill the lungs with air. This signal is cut for 3 seconds which aids to the muscles to relax enabling exhalation of air. This is not in our control and we don’t think consciously about it.

The brain – artistic illustration only.

To summarize it, we have the marvellous air conditioning process in the nose, the safety measures in the respiratory tracts, the functioning of cilia and mucus, the special design of the windpipe, the flap openings, the tennis court area squeezed in our lungs, the alveoli of size no more than a pinhead, interacting cells, haemoglobin, the special nervous system directing a sophisticated transportation network. And the magic happens without you expending any effort or thinking about it.

It took me a hospitalization to ponder deeply about it and feeling grateful for this. Don’t we need to be filled with gratitude & awe to Almighty when we take a single breath. Think about it. For something as effortless as breathing, there’s an entire world working inside us aiding it and it’s too sophisticated to be an accident or co-incidence. It’s tailor designed on purpose for you. They’re working in the background to be known & discovered by you. To be aware of it is key to many enlightening delights. It’s another moment where we discover extraordinary systems within what seems ordinary. God bless!

You’d have taken roughly around 36 breaths by the time you’ve finished reading this article : )

Some of the other chapters from the Ponder Series that you can read on :

Perceiving Time
Ornate Blossoms
Visual Narrative – Ponder Series
Reflecting on Shadows
Stumble over Pebbles
Ethereal Quality | Petals
Golden Ratio
Vision – Pondering on the intricacies
Ruminating on Bird Nests
Living Embellishments
Pondering on Birds 
Perceptions

If you are reading this series for the first time, have a look at the intent post.

When we think about the world around us and also when we look within, it might seem usual and ordinary. But ponder series, as you might have already guessed, is all about thinking deeply and delving into the details by going beyond the ordinary perceptions. It’s a very humble endeavor towards unlocking extraordinary in the ordinary by opening our eyes of wisdom and insight. Hope you enjoy reading them. God bless friends : )

intractable

“Intractable”

Although not perfectly recollected in many situations, deep down I truly believe that gratitude and calmness are key to many peaceful delights in this world. Writing in awareness of all my imperfections, reflection on what we have has much more compassionate adherence to it rather than taking up futile thought attachments by pondering on what we don’t have. The weight of comparisons would weigh us down and robs away happiness. What has come to you has come with time and purpose. What is to come is written. Wait for the script to be unfolded and be very patient if that’s not the story you thought of. And in between what has come and what is yet to come is this moment. The moment you are now scrolling through this piece of writing. The experiences of last year has reaffirmed this truth over and over again and has scribed it deep within myself. I’ve been in hospital bed due to illness away from everyone all alone and unchained from all responsibilities, promptness and rushness I’ve been used to both personally & professionally. I truly never had such an opportunity to recollect and put back my thoughts on the overall scheme of things. I was relieved of the notion of trying to control the clock of my life and schedule it on my terms and had this forgotten realization that I’m playing the central character of a personalised flick called destiny which is already scripted. It emboldens a comfort that not a single thing is actually in our control even though deep down we believe we have control over several things. Keeping distress and resistance away from the unfolding divine plan of what’s happening is the longing that I strive for now. As with the famous saying, nothing really goes away until it teaches you what it’s supposed to. May Almighty bless us with contentment and fulfillment. I’m grateful for the time you’ve taken in gazing at my writings.

human libraries

I recently read about “human libraries” that is common in Denmark. The concept is interesting. There are libraries there where you can “borrow” a person instead of a book and listen to their life stories and experiences for 30 minutes. I came to know that this is available in several countries. Wealth of experience is a priceless resource.

Portrait – Libraries of People

..“Human knowledge consists not only of libraries of parchment and ink – it is also comprised of the volumes of knowledge that are written on the human heart, chiselled on the human soul, and engraved on the human psyche. ”

― Michael Jackson

a coffee parable.

It’s philosophy time. I read this interesting exemplum recently. It’s the example of a coffee as outlined below. If we extend it to a broader realm, experiences work the same way. They can either catalyse us towards growth and improvement. They can also wear us down. It’s about channeling them and trying to cultivate a balanced frame of mind. God bless friends.

..“It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”

― Malcolm X

organic eminence

Organic Eminence

Like me, you should also be remembering instances and encounters from your life where you were blown away by the quality or passion with which you’d find a person would work regardless of the field they’re into. It can be a CEO, a laundry guy, an engineer, a programmer, a person running a grocery, the person delivers food to you, a farmer, anyone! I’ve read somewhere that monetary income is a deceptive way of seeing a man’s true worth. I’m trying to share some of my short memories from over the years that’s pouring into my mind right now as I think about it. The one thing that I can tell you with certainty, at least on what I have seen is that when a person is truly passionate and enthusiastic about what he does or the service he delivers, he or she wouldn’t be overly money minded. Of course, everybody would require money for their needs. But you get what I mean, it’s that their prime intention is to deliver excellence in what they do or giving the best service and the monetary aspect is secondary. There’s a tremendous difference if the primary intention is monetary benefits as opposed to “being best”, “delivering excellence’ etc.

I very distinctively remember an online cab driver who came to drop me and Netta at the bus station on our journey from Chennai to Pondichery. He was a very old man, and when we spoke to him, we learned that he has retired from his primary work and is working as a cab driver. We fondly remember his politeness and the way he served us during that short ride. When we were about to reach the bus station, for our convenience, we asked him whether he could do a Uturn and drop on the other side of the road. His response with a cheerful grin was ” Of course, This is your car ” That left a smile on my face. See how he made us happy with his service.

The guy from the laundry service that I rely on during our stay in Sharjah is a very smart young man Uttam from Nepal. He is very good at what he does, is very well mannered and leaves us happy.

Similarly, since I’ve been living in the same town in Sharjah for almost a decade now, I have been almost visiting the same salon for many years now. My favorite one among the barbers there is a guy named Sulayman, who absolutely loves what he does. Unlike some other barbers who’re in a hurry with no focus or attention on what they do, Sulayman does it slowly ensuring perfection on the cuts and I always leave the place with a smile.

To the point that I’ve been speaking of, all of us can make our best efforts to do what the best in whatever we engage in. It uplifts us and would fill us with fulfillment. Not everyone in this world is blessed to be in a job that they’re in love with. But even then, with a positive frame of mind, we can align it as an opportunity of learning and excelling in what we do. The quality of what we do, even if we don’t try to show it off or advertise it, would be perceived. The reason I quoted some examples from my life is that I find it almost very universal that it’ll be a pleasure to be around with people ingrained with such a frame of mind. As we might have read, when we try to chase the world, it goes away, and if we despise it, the world would be behind us. From what I’ve read, it would take a lifetime of experiences to convince us of this truth and it’s tough to remember it when we are going through tough times.

As Oprah Winfrey famously said, “Let excellence be your brand… When you are excellent, you become unforgettable. Doing the right thing, even when nobody knows you’re doing the right thing will always bring the right thing to you.”

appendage

Some of my previous essays that I’d like to put in here:
Quality | indelible objectivity
Small Business – Lines of thought

vibe tribes

Do what you love to discover your tribe

The theme behind this poster graphics is a reflection to have our own vibes to find our tribes. Be it photography, art, writing, engineering, philosophy, sociology, you name it, the tribes of your liking would find you if you really do with lots of love what chimes well with your passion. These need not be always troves of social media following rallying behind you. It can be a small group of good friends in your realm or space who loves what you do and shares the same sense of aesthetics that you effuse or in the mental space, you are in. I’ve always felt that the size of the audience does not matter in any art. Quantification or monetary value has never been and never would be a measure of self-worth and fulfillment. Although not always possible for all of us, to the best, let’s try doing what we love. Rest apprised, we live in a world where even the next minute or next hour or the next day is not guaranteed for us. We only have this moment.

mango choc – Ep6

freshly squeezed mango juice with a liberal (you know what) sprinkle of white chocolate

Yes, that’s right. A weird combo of fresh mango juice sprinkled with white chocolate. Let’s file this into ‘Culinary Experiences , a series of visual stories that we started on our website for journaling some of our best ambrosial culinary experiences, be it the finest cordon bleu delights of a master chef or a cheesy experimental simmer at our little kitchen. We are trying to scribe it humbly here. This is not intended to be a recipe archive or a cookery show in case if you wondered. We’re only sharing the experience of trying.

Ep 5 – Dum Biriyani
Ep 4 – 32 – Netta’s First Cake
Ep 3 – Armenian Herbal Tea
Ep 2 – Nthree – Kuwaiti delicacies
Ep 1 –  A Piece of Happiness