Swan symphony

This gorgeous swan couple had me engaged for a long time while walking along this beautiful canal in Bruges, Belgium. Their fascination for each other was so evidently palpable in their gestures and movements, that I really wanted to capture a moment between the two that I could take along with me as a happy memory.

I waited for about 15 minutes in anticipation of a sync of their long, slender and beautiful, though extremely swiftly turning necks. And finally, for a fraction of a second, I got this one. If you watch closely, the swan on the left is facing her front, while the swan on the right has his head twisted behind to pair up with his partner. But the elegance is such that it makes the difference less noticeable!

I love the symphony of elements in the image – the harmonious blend of the green landscape with the sweet exhibit of affection. It subtly stirs up feelings of being in unison with one’s partner, having a common direction of vision, hope and love. The feelings of being at peace.

Via Photo Challenge : All-time favorites

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Sunrise in Cyprus

What an opportune time to be getting this photo challenge theme of sun rise/set! I am in this beautiful island country of Cyprus for the long Easter weekend, where watching sunrises and sunsets are nothing short of bestsellers on tourist attractions packages! While I’ve seen many a sundowns, my times to partake in the beauty of breaking dawns have been quite numbered. I had almost forgotten what immense peace this nature’s art can bring to the soul!

Here are a couple of clicks from those ephemeral golden glow moments during sunrise.

The decorative view the vast Mediterranean, the delightful sound of splashing waves, and the divine-like sight of this rising hope above the horizon made my experience truly wholesome.

Via Photo Challenge Rise/Set

I’d Rather Be…

This week’s photo challenge theme taps into the pure, happiness-oozing corners of the readers, rooted somewhere deep within, kindling with joy when they do something that they love! For me, penning down poetry compositions is what stirs up those hidden pancreas of delight. That’s the paradise I lose myself in.. That’s what I find the most satisfying and rewarding.. Do you still wonder how my blog came to be titled as ‘Pen and Paradise’? 🙂

Here’s a glimpse of a few lines that I composed for the ‘About my journey’ page of my blog, where I happily introduce my readers to the love I nurture for travelling around the world, collecting timeless memories as varied,  precious and rich as crystals from the ocean!

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I’d really like to be able to give more time to this love of my life.
I’d rather be.. composing..

via Photo Challenge: I’d Rather Be…

I’m so happy you chose to grace this page today. How about browsing through other Photo Challenge entries? You might like!
Out of This World
Silence
Indian Culture : Sweets for religious offerings (Photo Challenge: Sweet)

 

Out of This World

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I strolled around one of the islands in the Mediterranean during the early hours of sunset, when something in the far horizon caught my eye. It was small, and black, with a strange shape, sort of a rectangle dented in between. It protruded out of the vast expanse of waters. It didn’t look like a boat parked in the middle of the sea. Also it was hard to imagine a boat as stationary or fixated, as this one was. I could not unravel it’s true identity despite giving it a keen gaze, and in order to allow myself to move on further, I placidly told myself that it could be a natural rock, stemming from the ocean bed, with a part of its head surfacing above the waters. May be that’s what it just was.

No sooner had I begun to turn my eyes around, than I came across an orchestration, so stunning and powerful and sinister at the same time, that I felt transfixed. My vision followed a path up from ‘my rock’, to the softly streaming crepuscular rays of the downing golden sun, that appeared to be wanting to shine on the rock but with no success. And then slowly leading to the gigantic and ominous mass of dark black cloud, which due to its shape, appeared to be cradling the biggest fireball in the sky. It was so enormous that it had almost devoured all the glory that could have possibly reached the rock. The rock! yes! How was this gigantic cloud looming only over the rock? How did it bring itself to engulf the radiating light and keep it from falling only over the rock, while the rest of the sky beamed blue cloudless?

The eerie and evil-looking sight I witnessed in that moment, posed an out of this world energy, contriving to disturb the quietude of the place, threatening to wreak havoc in ‘our’ world.

via Photo Challenge : Out of This World

Indian Culture : Sweets for religious offerings (Photo Challenge: Sweet)

A visit to a place of worship in India, like a temple, is usually associated with making  offerings to the Gods in the form of sweets. The worshippers show their love, devotion and respect by offering freshly made pure sweets to their divine god idols, and seek their blessings. While some devotees prefer home-made sweets, it is also not uncommon to purchase them from any of the indigenous sweet shops. Common ingredients used in traditional Indian sweet-making are flour (wheat/gram/lentil/rice), condensed milk, clarified butter, sugar/sugar syrup, dry fruits like almonds, cashews and pistachio, coconut, cardamom powder, milk powder, rose water, and many more!

I recently travelled with my father to visit one of the famous Hindu temples in Northern India. Known as ‘Shri Bankey Bihari mandir’, this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, one of our most loved, worshipped and revered Gods. Owing to the temple’s popularity and the thousands of visitors it witnesses in a day, the area nearby has several sweet shops lined up in the narrow lanes leading to the temple’s entrance steps.

Almost all of the shops had such an impressive array of colorful sweets, made from many different ingredients, in all forms and sizes, appealing to more senses than just one. The round ones are generally called ‘laddoo’, and the ones in block pieces form are called ‘barfi’. 

In the pictures, not only can we see the anxious seller sitting in anticipation of customers, watching over his precious mouth-watering products, but also some placards displaying the different rates of similar looking sweets! May be he used a special form of butter for the more expensive ones 😉

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I’m not so sure about the Gods, but my taste buds were overjoyed with the extremely delectable ‘besan laddoos’ (round sweets made using gramflour) shown in the last picture.

Did you get a chance to try any of the Indian sweets? 🙂 Which one was your favourite?!

via Photo Challenge: Sweet

Silence

via Photo Challenge: Silence

I was revelling in the tranquil and mellow of the Highlands of Iceland, watching the blue skies and soft white clouds casting a mirror reflection in the still and silent waters of a meandering river. While being right at the verge of disappearing in oblivion, and becoming one with my peaceful thoughts, I got knocked back at the sight of my husband who was about to throw a stone into the river.

Of course he was unaware how I was in conversation with the solitude, drawing energy from nature’s growing calm.  But I couldn’t bring myself to call out and stop him.  I was just so drawn away. It was a moment when you know it’s going to be over soon, but it’s too late to do anything.

I felt the silence break, even before the stone plopped into water.

The splashes invaded the stillness, both of the waters and of the thoughts, and it was time to move to our next destination, quite merrily 🙂

Thanks to smartphones, it’s never too late to bring the camera alive!