Monday, April 27, 2009

Stars know it all...

It is often believed that stars know it all. Many people swear by sun signs and moon signs. Astrology is, in fact, a field of study that is becoming quite popular these days. There are astrologists, psychics, palmists, numerologists etc. who help and guide people find their real paths in life. One aspect of astrology is the element of a sun sign. These elements are the natural elements namely fire, earth, air and water.

Fire. The element of fire is associated with the sun signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. As the name suggests, this element makes people born under this scene a fiery lot. These signs, thanks to the element of fire, are known to be quite enthusiastic. This element is also linked with creativity. Those born under this element tend to be creative and unique. Fire also symbolizes courage and a lively spirit. These signs are generally self-sufficient and spontaneous. They are also quite good at the game of love! They can also be an inspiration to others as they have solid morals and are quite religious, sometimes even philosophical. On the negative side, at times they can be quite egoistical, bossy and selfish due to the ‘fire’ in them. They might also be short-tempered which maybe blamed on their fiery nature. Aries is symbolized by the Ram. This sign is quite bold and impatient and an absolute leader. Leo is symbolized by the Lion. They are famous for being quite dramatic and stubborn. They are the creative ones and can make good actors.
Sagittarius, on the other hand, is symbolized by the Archer. They are the philosophers of the Zodiac and love to travel to find answers and solve the mysteries of life.
All in all, they are quite fun to be with but one has to be careful when they get too hot to touch!

Earth. This element is associated with the signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. These are a grounded lot with their feet planted firmly on the ground. These people are supposed to be quite practical and dependable. They do not like risks much and prefer surety in life. Earth symbolizes solidity and that is exactly what these signs do. They represent all that is solid around us. They like worldly possessions which, in turn, might make them greedy and materialistic. They are also quite conservative and cautious. They are also logical and critical in their approach. Sometimes they tend to get so caught up in their own goals that they end up overlooking the feelings of people around them. Taurus is symbolized by the Bull. They can be stubborn but also dependable. They are the sensualists and expect nothing but the best. Virgo is symbolized by the Virgin. They are known to be quite practical and critical and are quite the perfectionists. Capricorn, on the other hand, is the Goat. They are quite determined by nature. They are very career oriented and are exceedingly ambitious but a little conservative.
The signs falling under this element are dependable but though they have their feet firm on the ground, they still aim quite high!

Air. The element of air is linked with the signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. They are the intellectuals of the Zodiac. They think smart and fast. In fact, they sometimes tend to think too much as they love to analyze and probe in depth. These people are ever so curious and can perceive quite well. Their communication skills are usually very good. Air symbolizes balance so the signs falling under this element are likely to be quite level headed and balanced in their approach. They are quite the idealists and usually hold no prejudices. They are fair, co-operative and clever and they know exactly what empathy stands for. Gemini is symbolized by the Twins. Due to this they are often pulled in two directions and find it difficult to make a decision. They love a friendly debate and are excessively intelligent. Librans are the Scales. They absolutely detest imbalance and they love to be in love. Aquarius is the Water Bearer. They have a number of friends and are quite the rebels. They have the gift of stepping into another’s shoes.
Air can be hot and cold so they can be like the cool breeze or the howling wind!

Water. This element represents the signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. The words calm and peace come to mind when thinking of these signs. They are an understanding lot and what others feel matters a lot to them. Water signs are known for their intuitive powers. Like how water is necessary for a seed to germinate, these signs too have nurturing traits. This element symbolizes compassion and sensitivity. The signs under this element are just made for giving and helping other people. Unless they are doing just that, they become like the stagnant, still water. They have a penchant for aesthetic beauty and are quite the dreamers. On the flipside, they tend to brood. They can set off to their own fantasy world and have terrible mood swings. Cancer is the Crab. They are the family lovers and can draw back into their protective shell if things get too intense around them. Scorpio is symbolized by the Scorpion. They are intense and crave for emotional intimacy. They are known to be mysterious and do not have a very forgiving soul. Pisceans are the Fish. They are known to believe in their own instincts more than logic.
They are quite laid back and love to day dream.
This element makes these signs emotional, receptive and psychic. But at times, they can be both-like the calm ocean or the raging sea!

The natural elements help us know and understand a sun sign better. Each sun-sign has its own unique traits and the elements contribute a lot to these traits. Who knows how much a star can tell. There are both, believers and non-believers. It is up to you to make your choice.

Musings and Queues

It was a usual busy Tuesday outside the TC SBI ATM at 4 pm. There was a long queue outside the ATM so she decided to study the people around her. She was wearing a plain blue kurta with blue denims and a pair of chappals. The street was full of students. Some of them were strolling, some were just standing in a group chatting and laughing loudly, some were rushing to some place they had to be, and some were talking on their cell phones. A few localites could be seen walking by while some were standing outside shops and eating joints yawning or stretching. There was a group of local men near the paan shop, chatting with the paan shop owner. It was all usual activity. The street was full of normal street sounds of running autos, cars, buses, people talking, shouting…

Suddenly she saw a man sitting on a couple of stairs right next to the ATM. He seemed to be a localite. He must have been in his mid 30s. He was wearing a slightly dirty off-white shirt and a pair of grey trousers. His shirt was not tucked in and his socks could be seen which were brown in colour. She noticed his shoes, they were black formal shoes covered in dust. It looked like he had not shaved since the last couple of days. He was simply sitting there looking around with his hands resting on his legs. His face was expressionless. Suddenly he seemed a little surprised and felt his breast pocket for something and fished out a cell phone. His surprise turned into a slight confusion. He put the phone to his ear but did not say anything. After a couple of seconds he dialed something on his phone and put it back to his ear and suddenly broke into laughter.

Now there were about four people in front of her in the queue. She looked around to find a new subject. She turned and saw a boy and a girl standing right outside Dollops. The girl was wearing a white knee-length skirt and a pink top. She had long curly hair. The boy was clad in a pair of blue denims and a grey tee. They seemed to be having a very serious heated discussion. What they were saying could not be heard but their expressions spoke volumes. The girl was questioning him with her eyebrows raised and was moving her hands around in the air as if trying to explain her point. The boy kept running his hand through his hair and kept trying to speak but she didn’t let him. He had an expression of defeat and it seemed like nothing he could say would ever change anything. He suddenly grabbed her shoulders and shook her as if to calm her down. She did stop for a second and then suddenly turned and left, leaving him behind with his hands still in mid-air.

Now there were two people in front of her in the queue. She bit her lip and waited impatiently for her turn to come. She saw a group of giggling young girls pass by and she caught a few words of what they were talking about. She heard words like ‘party tonight’, ‘he is going to be there’. She smiled to herself at this.

Finally she was inside the ATM, she turned to see a long queue waiting behind her and a ghost of a smile appeared on her lips. She slid her card in, typed in her password and thought that her work was almost done but suddenly the machine said that it was unable to process the request at the moment and she looked heavenwards with a frustrated look on her face and clenched fists. She walked out with irritation written all over her face. The girl standing right behind her asked her if the machine was not working and she replied,’ is it ever!?’ and walked past without another glance at the ATM. She looked left and right and crossed the street to where the auto-stand was situated and hired an auto to take her to another ATM.

She got off in front of the KC SBI ATM and again stood in a queue of eight people ahead of her. On her left was the basketball court where five boys were throwing baskets. They were all wearing the sports gear. They all seemed to be teenagers. On her right was the caretaker’s office where a few girls were standing and looking in the direction of the office and grumbling. They seemed quite upset and annoyed. This reminded her of her own days in the quarters when she was a regular visitor of the office with some or the other complaint. Sometimes it was the mesh on the windows and suddenly she pictured her roommate and herself terrified due to the insects that would fly in anytime they wished, sometimes it was the broken down geezer and she thought about the number of mornings when they had gotten up feeling cold only to realize that they wouldn’t be getting any hot water that day while at times it was either the drinking water, being parched for days together at times, came to her mind or the absence of security guards which made her shiver slightly at the thought of those sleepless nights feeling unsafe and insecure. The memories brought a hopeless smile to her lips like some things never change.

She sighed and stood on her tip toes to see who was inside the ATM. She saw three giggling young girls and rolled her eyes. She took her cell phone out of her pocket and saw the time. It was four-thirty already. She started fidgeting with her cell phone, tapping it on the palm of one hand with the other one. Three more people to go and there were already people standing behind her in the queue. She turned to look at them and saw five students, two boys and three girls. One girl was talking over the phone with her hand covering her mouth. She turned back to look in front, covering a yawn, and saw one person coming out of the ATM. He looked unhappy and announced that the machine had reached the daily limit of withdrawal. All the students standing in the queue groaned and turned to leave and she stood there for two seconds longer and decided that it just wasn’t her day! She left, shaking her head.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Trek

She woke up, picked up her watch from the left side of the pillow and saw the time, it was 7 o’ clock. She was to go for a trek with her parents today. They were in Dharamshala. She got up from her make-shift bed. It was a mattress on the floor with a sheet, blanket and a pillow. She saw her parents sitting on the bed, sipping tea and chatting. She stretched, smiled and said good morning. Two pairs of eyes turned towards her and smiled back in return.
Twenty minutes later, as per the reception clock that said 7:20, they were at the reception, leaving for the trek. The receptionist was a handsome young man who had a very smiling face. He was wearing a crisp white shirt with a black tie and a pair of black trousers. He was standing behind the brown reception desk and smiling as always. He wished them luck and called to the young guide who was to take them for the trek. The four of them left through the main door, out into the beautiful city. You could see the high peaks, covered in snow, in the distance, a sun glowing softly in the early morning sky, green grass on one side of the road and smiling people passing by.
The guide was wearing a blue coloured track suit with trekking shoes. She was wearing a track pant too, with a red tee and a white sweater. Her mother was wearing an orange kurta with white pants while her dad was clad in a grey track pant and a white tee. They were a young looking family.

It was a short trek so they did not carry any bag with water, food or anything that might be required on a trek. The guide was carrying a shoulder bag though. They walked on the road for a short while before cutting into the backyard of a house. Most of the houses were huge and beautifully constructed. They all had great exteriors. This particular house was a little bigger than the rest. It was off-white in colour with a big courtyard and a beautiful kitchen garden. The windows were brick in colour. They had to take a sharp right from the main road to cut into the kitchen garden of the house. There was a dog tied-up on the roof of the house that suddenly started barking. She turned to look at the dog and shivered slightly. They hurried past the garden and entered something that looked like another garden. The moment she stepped in and looked around her, she was spell-bound. It was a tea garden. She raised her right hand to her chest and held it there. It looked straight out of a fantasy land. Green tea leaves all around them. Her parents and the guide had walked a little ahead so she hastened her pace to catch up with them. The guide suggested they get a picture clicked against the gorgeous tea plantations, so the three of them stood against the tea bushes, she stood in between her parents and put her hand around her mother’s waist and her father put his hand around her shoulders. All three faces had happy smiles. When the guide clicked the picture, he held his thumb up to gesture to them that it was done and that it was a good picture. They all moved on. The guide was in front, a few steps behind him was her father and then were she and her mother. The sky was all shades of orange, pink, purple and blue when she had gotten up, now it was mostly light blue with scattered white clouds.

They cut through the tea plantantions and reached the other end of the garden from where they exited. They walked on the mountain roads for a good one and a half hour. They crossed small streams of muddy water that had planks of wood throw across them in order to let people cross them with ease, they crossed beautiful mini-forests with trees and bushes and wild flowers growing in abundance.
They felt exhausted and decided to stop at a tea stall that they saw on their way. They stopped there for a few minutes, had tea and biscuits. The guide suggested that they buy orange sweets because they give energy. She bought a small packet of orange candies and stuffed it in the right side pocket of her black tracks.

They set off again and suddenly found themselves facing a gorgeous, huge temple. The temple had a courtyard. They had to take their footwear off at one side of the courtyard next to the water cooler. After they removed their shoes, they washed their feet in the cool water from the water cooler. Dharamshala felt hot that day due to the trekking. They were all sweating slightly.
There were small rooms on three sides of the temple. The rooms had various idols of Gods and Goddesses and Gurus. They visited each room and stood outside with their heads bowed and hands joined together. After the last room, there was an opening in the stone wall and she could see a steep staircase. The guide informed them that there was a stream below and it was considered quite holy. So they all decided to go down. They left their footwear near the water cooler and one by one went down the steps.
It looked like the water had cut into a huge mountain because on either side of the stream there were giant walls of grey rock. The stream was littered with rocks as well as tiny pebbles and the water current was quite strong. The guide pointed towards the stream suggesting that they cross the stream and climb up on the rocks on the other side. Her parents sat down on the rocks and declined the offer to cross the stream with a shake of their heads. They looked a little tired and out of breath. She was standing on a rock with a hand on her waist, contemplating. She suddenly nodded and held the guide’s hand. She put one foot in the water and was almost taken away by the current but the guide held on. The pebbles under water were quite slippery and that is what made it a little more difficult to cross. She closed her eyes for a second, took a deep breath and with a smile on her face took the next step and then the next and finally crossed over to the other side like a proud victor!
They all sat there for about thirty minutes like that in peace and harmony with nature and its forces. She laid her head back on the rocks and closed her eyes with a contended smile.

They were sitting in a jeep and heading home and she raised her hand to see the time. Her watch showed 12 o’clock. It was noon and she was starving. At the thought of food her hand automatically went to her stomach and she strained her neck to see how far they were from their hotel.