The art of gardening and decorating has always had a special place in my heart. I I remember a journey that intensified and deepened my zeal, a trip to a quaint hill station in Kerala called Peermade. A place where the mountains rose high, creating a barrier between the regions of Travancore and Madurai in ancient Tamilakam. I was staying in a guest house, a two-storied cottage, with my family and my brother helped to find this cottage. The family who owned the cottage lived on the lower floor and the guests on the top floor. Little did I know that my perspective about decor and integrating plants would be forever changed by the experience I had there.
The family’s love for plants and gardening was a sight to behold. The proprietors of the cottage, a family with a deep-seated passion for horticulture, left a lasting impression on me. Their abode was a veritable jungle of flora, with an imaginative use of pots, cans, glass jars, and even repurposed waste containers to cultivate an astonishing diversity of plants. The cottage was filled with an abundance of greenery, and the owners would go around with a green plastic plant mister, talking to the plants and showering them with love. That stay opened my eyes to the possibility of making our surroundings beautiful and leaving our signature on them, no matter where we are.
Upon coming back to the UAE after my vacation, I sought out methods to bring greenery into both my home and work cabin. The capability for growth and knowledge housed within a seed never fails to stun me. Dreaming and planting a garden, born from imagination, symbolizes a declaration of autonomy of the soul. It is within these unique areas and touches that we can discover innovative ways to reconcile our sense of beauty with our living spaces.
Gardening is not just about creating beauty, but also about embracing the imperfections and limitations of life. It’s about finding joy in the simple things. Embracing the art of gardening and decorating, enables to leave our mark with a space that speaks of our soul.
This is a memory from a travel to Georgia in 2017. As I embarked upon my journey through the Gudauri snow mountains in Georgia, I was filled with a sense of excitement and wonder. It was my first experience with snow, and I could not wait to immerse myself in its frosty embrace.
The journey itself was a revelation. As our vehicle wound its way through the winding mountain roads, I was struck by the breathtaking beauty of the landscape. The snow-capped peaks loomed above us, a majestic testament to the power of nature.
And when we arrived at our destination, I was awestruck by the sheer majesty of the snow-covered slopes. The crisp, clean air invigorated my senses, and I felt a sense of pure joy and bliss as I took my first tentative steps onto the powdery white surface.
As I glided down the mountain, the wind rushing through my hair and the sun shining down upon me, I knew that this was a moment I would always treasure. The Gudauri snow mountains had given me a gift, one that I would carry with me always – the memory of my first, magical encounter with snow.
Had an interesting trail in Khorfakkan and in the vicinity of Hajar mountains. Planning to craft a video soon on this endevaour.
..“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”
― John Muir
My First Summer in the Sierra
“Did I live? The human world is like a vast musical instrument on which we play our individual parts while simultaneously listening to the compositions of others in an effort to contribute to the whole. We don't choose whether to engage, only how to; we either harmonize or create dissonance. Our words, our deeds, our very presence create and leave impressions in the minds of others just as a writer makes impressions with their words. Who you are is an unfolding narrative. You came from nothing and will return there eventually. Instead of taking ourselves so seriously all the time, we can discover the playful irony of a story that has never been told in quite this way before.― Stephen Batchelor
“You read and write and sing and experience, thinking that one day these things will build the character you admire to live as. You love and lose and bleed best you can, to the extreme, hoping that one day the world will read you like the poem you want to be.”
Sunrise, beach, clear skies. They’re a perfect alchemy of yearning.
“With a bound, the sun of a molten fiery red cam above the horizon, and immediately thousands of little birds sang out for joy, and a soft chorus of mysterious, glad murmurs came forth from the earth; the low whispering wind left its hiding-place among the clefts and hollows of the hills, and wandered among the rustling herbs and trees, waking the flower-buds to the life of another day.”
“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.” ― Roman Payne, The Wanderess
One of my long time read is the beautiful blog Notes from the Road. It’s written by Erik Gauger and it is an excellent road travel writing blog. I love the aesthetics and the overall way in which content is articulated on this page. Not sure if this would change in the future, but it looks stunning! What I like the most is his philosophy of travel writing at the core. If we read online, pure travel writing is a treasure to find out. My dad was a forest officer and may be due to the opportunities that I had with him to visit some of the most remote hill stations in South India, I am very much enticed by travel narratives when done well. Erik has done a wonderful job in narrating his travels and as he himself writes on his website,
“At Notes from the Road, I try to stay grounded in my original vision for what travel blogging can be: independent, visual, personal. Travel writing has never been about hotels and reviews. It is, and always has been, about ideas, people, and faraway places.” – Erik Gauger , author of Notes from the Road
Another example of how beautiful things can get when somebody puts his heart and soul into what he does.
This is a photograph from a couple of years ago that’s really close to my heart. When I had traveled to Netta’s place during the initial years, I was not familiar with that place. Neither am I now. After an afternoon tea with family, me and Netta went to the town aimlessly and I was looking for a beach nearby and on a random search, I got to know about Payyoli beach which was so close to their home but the fun part was that she hadn’t been there before. What welcomed us when we aimlessly drove in there was a very wide, serene beach with not a single soul in the premise feeding in the vibe of a private beach. (No, those were not Corona days. I’m speaking of sometime in 2017, on a guess). There were fishing boats parked there and we had witnessed a blissful sunset together sitting on a boat. That moment in time is captured by this shot. So you see, every frame has a story weaved within it. Even if I’m put in a dungeon with a handful of photographs, I can sit with them with a cup of tea and write story after story behind each of them for weeks 😀
The legendary photographer Ansel Adams kills it with his timeless quotes. He once famously said, “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
I took this photograph from a place called Kuttikanam, a hill station in Idukki district of Kerala, Southern India. That’s my brother having a phone call gazing at that splendid view in front. Right in front of the place we stayed, there was a bridge damaged by heavy torrential rains and landslide, and the only road in the front was damaged. We stayed on the top of a cottage run by a family and there was a homely feel to this place. This place is special because the experience of meeting the family owning this place kindled in me the love for indoor plants and curating them. What I saw in their home was that they put plants in literally anything you could imagine. Damaged cans, throwaway bottles, coconut shells, wall mounts, iron cases, you name it and they’d have a plant inside. After returning from this place and reaching back home, I thought of setting up indoor plants and that’s how we started our moneyplant adventures. I’d be trying to write in detail on this Kuttikanam story. Stay tuned friends : ) Thanks for all the love on the previous writings and feedback. Looking forward to your thoughts. Write to me.