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Amarnath in the times of article 370

Even after thinking about doing something daily, one ends up doing it, achieving it, finishing it only in the head. In the head is good, as it creates enough compound interest in head but it is not good enough.

I have had ups and downs, and have been away from home for some time. I was in Kashmir when article 370 was taken off. I was one of the last person to have trekked the majestic Amarnath ji this year. Without any plan or any inclination to have wanted to do it but surrendering to flow of life is such it takes you along on the paths, and you would enjoy. I fell in love with the harmony of the few people who walked along, some saints barefoot, and two without a leg who finished approximately sixty kilometres in as many days as I did. Food, sweets, tea, love and the name of shiva.

But the feeling was erratic even then. Tents, people were leaving a month before. And many had already left. The way was completely empty of any pilgrim coming from the other side. Probably that also made it count. It was quiet and you walked with your own self, slowly, quietly.

Phone lines and internet was called off a day after I arrived back home in Srinagar. I couldn’t get time to make any arrangements of leaving as it had become intense to stay over. It was a very vulnerable time in the valley and who knows what is going on even now. It took me nine more days to come out of the valley. I found a punjabi driver from Jammu early in the morning almost ready to leave. It was a beautiful morning over Dal. You could see clouds gathering over the ancient waters and over the Mahadev hill. The way back was as tense. We were stopped numerous times even before Banihal came, because on the other side, you would not imagine how many trucks, cadres, were filling in the valley. Testing time for a government who had just arrived three weeks ago and even before anyone could have blinked on something as mammoth an article as 370, which had probably made Kashmiri’s, laddakhis, Pandits, Punjabis as special and as vulnerable of their identity for all these decades after independence.

I had worked myself as a researcher and teacher in the border villages, in the most gruesome winters and thus have an idea of how the minds of local authorities work in contention and sometimes not in harmony with the army. How people can never almost challenge the claims and information that these authorities gather.

Things are bound to change.

I am sitting in a mud room in the outskirts of Laddakh. Writing after so long on my blog even though I wrote it daily in my head. I hope I present myself daily. Because this blog is not for me. This is for you. And if you are reading this right now, you may let me know.

Two weeks have passed. Two weeks are to come. The nights have become colder. Laddakh has been very kind. It’s the land of awakening. I came here in 2007 on my bike when rivers still went through roads. And somebody then had told me the full form of Leh that I took seriously then but I have never forgotten it. Life Ends Here. Or it starts again.

I am working on my first photo book here. On the work that I did in Cambodia. I will share more news soon but before all that comes out, I will be hitting the road again. May be to Zanskar, or may be to meet my children again to the village I taught 8 years ago.

Till then,

A very warm hello to you all again.

In Omni to Hanley

Starless night
winter
Old Donkey
barking
at the new comer

Scan156

To zojila, to Leh, to Hanle, to tso moreri, to i don’t know what pass that came after hundred’s of horses ran to take left, we took towards sky- a concrete river bed on top of a conical mountain which went all afternoon. Many called it a road. Through a broken bridge, through the ditches connecting another ditch on the Yoga day. While laughing at others. While laughing atourselves. While stopping before every loop to the mountain up. The dancing carrier. The nostalgia of the petrol fumes over six days. As every bicycle left us behind. Our omni made it across the Rohtang. But always carry two people to push it through. We needed many only once.

On the road with Omni | July 15.

When I Wrote My First Poem After Seeing the Sea in Odisha: A Visual Diary from Shri Jagannath Puri- The East Indian Coast

I am a north Indian Man. And seeing the sea myself was once like coming out of the shadow towards the the sunny side. Like etching a line on wood. Films were arriving as a means of profession and friends.

My earliest memory of train, freedom and words. With myself even, when few of us friends decided to attend a Film Festival in Odisha. Far away on the eastern Coast of India, in the temple town of Puri; that i had only heard in sanskrit verses then. But what those verses didn’t mention was the laid back beach and evening onwards to late night film screenings with winds coming from the Bay of Bengal and the unending background music that arrived from one wave and after.

It was a journey of a lifetime as the train took close to 3 days to reach Puri. Trains used to look and sound different. They looked shabby, sounded noisy and felt god forsaken as we can only feel now.

My friend on the journey reading through the endless wait.

Co-travellers I felt for many had mastered the art of looking into distance.

As I visit this folder from my archives, i experience a strange vibration passing through me. It happened just yesterday. I see an image of myself with others and press myself to feel I look the same, nothing really has changed. But of-course what has changed are the days, possibilities, hope and admission to reality from then and now.

The filmmakers meet, I think the second day after reaching Puri. And today, none amongst them is there in my phone contact list. I hope you recognise your Traveller host from the lot!

And strangely I don’t have many images of that time, I had thought otherwise of how well I remember my days in details. Rather It could be that others were making images of me and group; singing, dancing, swimming in the sea all day and sat by the beach as evening dawned and screens were lit with a timeline of films till late night. As numerous villagers and local families used to come with toddy, local liquor and even sat for some films that they connected to.

India, and a state like Odisha was amongst the poorest, even today it is but modest and soft drugs like afeem and bhaang were provided on state ration shops. That may still be happening. But it was a news and completely overwhelming.

Amongst all that buzz, i remember my first walk on the Puri beach, on any beach as it was here my soul experienced the vastness of the sea against the minuscule self. The salt and sand, newer smells, language unlike any north Indian, food, clothes yet us being



Every time,
I find crabs a a little ahead of me
Crawling, hiding like playing
In their beach houses beneath the sand
Sometimes under water
But I sense they know by the pace of my walk
is not to be feared from
Rather it was me
freaking from their presence

But they seem negating,
while doing their usual chore
On the beach of the burghal
where the Juggernaut temple resides

Behind the pink house, where I lay
I see boats
Placed like a set in a cinema scene
Clumsily
Just for service or just to be photographed, beside.
I see a huge turtle,
Deformed, dead.
Dead fishes, drying.
And a black dog, dead too.

Sound of the sea overpowering any human one
Froth full waves, shells and Salt.
When in between the already calmed wave
and the upcoming one,
The silence of that one second
keeps swelling somewhere deep within.

When us of north are waiting for Holi
On the Eastern Ghats 
Winters are almost bye-ing
In hand their sandals
And in other your probable spouse
I imagine in here we come
Not to talk
But just to compose the past
To pillar the now
And to walk just right here
Where your wet feet satiates your lonely soul
Moments we live for


This Puri beach is also the longest golden beach known in India. I enjoyed walking for hours sitting, lying at times, walking for hours making Images sometimes asking people to pose in a certain way, many a times candid and those times when friends turned happy.

But another life goes on just a few kilometres away from the noisy sea; this continuous brewing of life happening in the city of Puri which is known for Shri Jagannath Temple; one of the holiest of the Holy places in India to visit out of four dhamas is Puri. I was certainly less aware of the magnanimity of the temple and and this beautiful Holy city that I gravitated towards pilgrims seeking the lords sight. On the streets outside as they passed by the temple, almost no one I saw went not bowing. Probably elderly knew how to be simply humble.


There is one secret that I remember a priest told me when I asked him even though I didn’t experience it myself but could be reasonable with anyone finding any information about this ancient place, that in the case of Jagannath Temple, the sound of sea waves seem to go soundless as soon as one steps inside the premises from the Singha Dwara entrance. There is no sound of the waves at all. As soon as one comes out of the temple, the waves can be heard. Again, there is no scientific explanation for this, but its a pretty mysterious fact.

And so is life, Enigmatic, Mystical, Inexplicable.


: ँ :


Thank you.


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste


: ँ :


I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, will take you through the Ten Lessons I learnt from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.

Also read: Top 9 Most Read Posts of 2022


: ँ :


You might also like to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday, that you must, you will be heartily welcome here

If you would like to contribute to my travels, you can please do so here


: ँ :

If you have anything to share, or feel like saying a hello, please feel free to write to me at nara@road-to-nara.com

To visit other long-term photographic works, please visit here.


To follow my walks through the rural Indian Subcontinent, find me at 
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter


: ँ :

30 Moments that I was Grateful for in 2022: Last Visual Notes of the Year

January of 2023 is going to get over today.

And for once I wanted to take out time to examine my last year’s archives before new year starts finding ways to create new journeys, i desired to assemble together those times; Journeys, though only handful they were, to keep them safe, here and create a reason to keep coming back, whenever needed to smile, over and over.

Hence for one last time before we leave it all to memory and ongoing Life:

One memory which will roam for long is going to be the death of my grandmother, and the times spent in the village along the river Ganges

Mother posing on the roof of an Ashram, on the banks of Ganga in Haridwar was a memorable time.



THE JOURNEY TO KASAR TEMPLE – ALMORA

The first assignment came to document the sacred Kasar Devi Temple in Almora and finding a new home there like my own family, where we took a detour to visit a remarkable museum dedicated to Govind Ballabh Pant in Almora City and above learning unlearning about the famous infamous Crank’s Ridge and about all the masters who visited this sacred land.



WALKING ALONG THE RIVER PARVATI

Parvati River flowing ferociously through the Himalayas

This village arrived after we passed the Parvati Stream on our way to a two day trek to Kheer Ganga in Himachal Pradesh



THE MOTERCYCLE DAYS With Pluto

Here we helped plant some 4 lac Plum, Orange and other forest plants at various sites in the upper Himalayas near Gopeshwar

A beautiful view of River Alaknanda flowing through the valley, as seen from a village called Bajeli.

This was a blessed time with my Old poet friend Sumanto, who had been practising Permaculture for last four years in the Himalayas. And was the same friend with whom I had trekked for days in search of the Magical Brahma Kamal Flower with last year. It just happened that we somehow found the key to the bike which was not ours, and which stood without an owner there at that time.

It was an evasive and such an involved time that I couldn’t dare myself to write about such an immersive journey in the divine land. But I must Soon.



THE JOURNEY BACK HOME: Migration of Two Dogs of Pluto

The abode: A place which must be residing within the heart of every Indian. Here, at Devprayag Alaknanda meeting Bhagirathi to make the mother who we call Ganga.

Passengers of the Migration.

The mighty Ganges taking a U-turn.

Migration of the two dogs of Pluto.

Sometimes I contemplate in awe of our engineers who work at Border Road Organisation for making roads at an insane altitude and sustaining it against all nature odds. Here stopped to look at the marvellous beauty this scape provided.

This last image of the big trees that surrounded this space was my way to bid goodbye to my coach, not of basketball.



THE SCHOOL PICNIC

This year also came alive as we started having Kids back at school, even though at a price but to be able to sustain a dwindling School Project, and to be able to bring them all to Picnic after 3 years of Corona was another memorable experience.



SOLAN TO CHAIL

Undoubtedly, the most important place to visit in Chail and if you are in Shimla, Mother Kali’s Temple in Chail.


But a year, Life is much more than constricting it in mere Photos. Just as Marco Polo once stated “I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed.”

: ँ :


Thank you.


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste


: ँ :


I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, will take you through the Ten Lessons I learnt from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.

Also read: Top 9 Most Read Posts of 2022


: ँ :


You might also like to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday, that you must, you will be heartily welcome here

If you would like to contribute to my travels, you can please do so here


: ँ :

If you have anything to share, or feel like saying a hello, please feel free to write to me at nara@road-to-nara.com

To visit other long-term photographic works, please visit here.


To follow my walks through the rural Indian Subcontinent, find me at 
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter


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Lost In Yellow: Visual Notes of Evenings Spent Wandering Along River Yamuna and Old Delhi

Much like Lost in Translation I had been wandering, walking for a Research Project in Delhi; One of the great historic cities of the world and spans some 10 centuries of its past. Understanding, observing Delhi is both exciting and challenging.

Delhi has had a rich urban past, and what is particularly interesting is the fact that at different points of time several different sites were chosen by various powers/dynasties to found new settlements or cities. Most of them are in ruins but what is important to learn about it is that all even today are accessible. One of them is yesteryears Shahjahanabad, today’s Old Delhi.

Shahjahanabad has been subsumed under the gigantic sprawl of metropolitan Delhi. Yet it has an identity that is distinct from any other. Popularly known as Chandni Chowk or Old Delhi, its name conjures up romantic narrow streets named after almost every thing on earth; maze like with a variety of street food and exotic markets.

But my exploration is not completely about Delhi, its heritage or food but it is on the most ancient living entity that there is, the source itself perhaps; because of which Delhi came into being- the river Yamuna. I shall be talking about it soon in the coming future posts. But Since last fortnight this exploration, research recce before anything starts shaping, I had been walking, floating almost above this sea of a crowd in Old Delhi. This space is so vibrant that it is perpetually under a state of drama everywhere, all the time. Its like romancing with my own city that is a living museum of illusion, more so when nights turn the alchemy on.

Sharing some images of my time in Shahjahanabad and of the river Yamuna.

This place is also called Peeli Kothi i.e. Yellow Palace. As I stood waiting for the sky to turn bluer, this woman arrived and stood like a log in front of my camera. Yet I was able to take a few steps back and see this as a part of the whole.

Its been a record breaking winter past month in Delhi. Temperatures have touched newer lows as I managed to sneak out in extreme cold and fog. Here, near the Wazirabad bridge on Yamuna.

A woman coming from a temple after finishing evening prayers on the Yamuna bank.

A child selling soft candies.

A team during a tea break.

A slum kid posing as a Goddess.

Lokesh Jain at the Yamuna Bank near Nigambodh Ghat

A girl child at Hanuman Mandir, in Old Delhi

Saumyananda Sahi with Lokesh Jain and his team

A portrait of a pandit and his wife sitting near the Yamuna Banks

A street actor transforming into Shiva, as crew looks over.

Bhajan Kitran during Lohri Festival

Gautam Laughing

Women beggars playing mysterious games.

Local labourers singing regional songs on Lohri in Delhi

A young Rikshaw Puller

Children preparing Diyas for the evening prayers at Yamuna Ghat


As I walk in Delhi, I shall be sharing images and texts from various corners and subjects of meaning and importance. Do share how do you like to see this series or have any Questions. Please write in comment or in my mailbox.

: ँ :

Thank you.


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste

If you enjoyed this post, please Comment, Subscribe and Share this blog. It will support and encourage me to write better and share more.

If you have any suggestions, please write in the comment box or feel free to write to me at narayankaudinya@gmail.com


: ँ :

I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, my Ten Learnings from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.


Also read: Top 9 Most Read Posts of 2022


: ँ :

Also, You will be happy to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday that you must, you will be heartily welcomed here

: ँ :

To visit other long-term photographic works, please visit here.

Follow my works and walks as I document Rural Indian Subcontinent on 

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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Two Days To Many : Few Days to the Angkor Wat Photo Festival in Cambodia

The newest feeling when you arrive in a new country, and not really to visit or to travel but you are invited. You are a fellow finding a story for a prestigious organisation. So active and pumped up i was that I had been walking everywhere for last two days in Siem Reap. But did not really reach anywhere. Concurrently It took me two days to understand that there are parallel roads running together through the Siem Reap central market, they looked very much alike. As it took me two days to understand two important Khmer words like Susrai/hello and okun/thank you, even though i am better with languages.

I finally decided to rent a cycle with city tyres i.e. thicker than ususal as it was the best option I found then. And lord, it gave me wings. Today, I spent all day roaming around the outskirts of Siem Reap. Touching rural parts, unpaved roads, fields, seeing houses and realising the difference or the similarity with the huts there are in my country villages. Meeting with the water buffalo herd was strangely calming. I roamed around the lake, sat and observed them for hours and found their broad horns mesmerising, almost other-worldly as was the landscape, the longish pond. And then by the time it was evening sometime i reached an urban rural area, where I practised Khmer with some drunken foreigners who were interested in photography themselves.

There are still days left when i will be meeting my mentors for the workshop, but all this roaming is only to embrace as much information on varied subjects so as to present to the teachers what I will be working on as a project, dedicated to Cambodian people, at least that is how i thought i would like to work.

I am feeling so happy and so free in this country as my own that i want to work on something that makes and showcases Cambodia in a light true to her nature and history. Well i still have no idea and until i earn any idea i will only make sure to peddle as much in different directions. We have limited time and thus every day is valuable.

During the first two days, I found out about a school for the underprivileged in a village on the outskirts of Siem Reap. I met Frank, while he was on his walk to the school where he teaches English. I didn’t understand why he would joke about himself not abusing boys like everyone else in school. He is here in Cambodia for forty years now. He welcomed me and provided with his number and somebody else’s who’s school it was.

Later I met prom at his place after I had finished playing table tennis, where I defeated the best guy in the first match comprehensively, which woke every drunken player up who defeated me in every game with a smirky vengeance as if every match was a pride matter to them. In days coming, it were these people with whom i spent my late nights playing Table Tennis and learning about the underground culture of Cambodia.

Also, with prom I was understating the culture and history of this country which had been one of the least talked about subject for the locals themselves, may be because they don’t want tot remember what happened! And it truly was the most sensitive subject, to what had happened in their living Cambodian history. And now about the government and the corruption. About youngsters interested in learning Mandarin day in and day out rather than learning English. But in the middle of it all he started crying. Tears came out flowing from his eyes. He just stood, wrote me a number, and said “Brother you ask many questions”, she will answer everything. And there is another number i am writing. Tell her i sent you. I know you haven’t been eating well. She will feed you good Indian food. She lived in Buddha place for many years in India. You are good. So you need good food. Now go, let me drink!

Back at hotel other Photographer friends went for an outing at an Art school, some wandered along the Siem Reap River.

It hasn’t been great week in terms of food though. I had been going to the vegetable market and buying fruits and some vegetables. I hope Prom’s help will give my stomach and mind some Veggie Cambodian tastes.




To see what came out of this beautiful time in Cambodia, My Project – a dedication to Cambodia and her beautiful People : SINGSONG

: ँ :

Thank you.


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste



If you have any suggestions, please write in the comment box or feel free to write to me at narayankaudinya@gmail.com


: ँ :

I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, my Ten Learnings from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.


Also read: Top 9 Most Read Posts of 2022

: ँ :

Also, You will be happy to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday that you must, you will be heartily welcomed here

: ँ :

To visit other long-term photographic works, please visit here.

Follow my works and walks as I document Rural Indian Subcontinent on 

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

: ँ : 

7 Strange Truths I have Accepted About Myself to Find Peace in Life


I guess as one grows older, there is a part that gradually starts accepting oneself. And if you have a mindset towards movement, you also start enjoying your company. But growing up, Parents, colleagues, compeers mostly found me strange because even in college I mostly opted for peace over party.


And it didn’t take me long before finding out that I really don’t have to have a company outside of my own. And then the whole game turned towards becoming the best company to myself. My camera in early days not just assisted but became my voice and so happened with my pen. Yet Life is a journey long enough to give you kicks and tastes while in my case keeping me grounded.

And lately, at the turn of the year, I thought of penning down some changes that I experience now after all these years. I hope these points help anyone who is on a journey unto oneself;


1. I have started staring at the top of Trees, often towards skies, Buildings, Birds and Animals, Walls or anywhere distracting myself to look away from People.


2. I love my world of Imagination. It could also be procrastination or perhaps I am at the edge of it. But I feel immense Joy when I specifically take out time for a long walk, to talk to myself.


3. I struggle a lot in my work. And it has come to a point that I find peace in this struggle more often than not.


4. I leave any group if I find myself incompatible with the thinking of the people in it. I no more drag. I take decisions fast.


5. I cannot compromise on self-respect.


6. I still find it uncomfortable to follow the Rules. Rather It is I who make them.


7. In Silence, I am always Happy and in Peace. I need nothing else.



These were some simple truths, as I’m a simple man. I don’t need much. I think that success is having fun. And when I’m having fun with words, images and bit of travelling, I’m happy. And If I can make a little money on the side doing it, I’m really happy.

: ँ :

Thank you.


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste

If you have any suggestions, please write in the comment box or feel free to write to me at narayankaudinya@gmail.com


: ँ :

I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, my Ten Learnings from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.


Also read: Top 9 Most Read Posts of 2022

: ँ :

Also, You will be happy to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday that you must, you will be heartily welcomed here

: ँ :

To visit other long-term photographic works, please visit here.

Follow my works and walks as I document Rural Indian Subcontinent on 

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

: ँ : 


Top 9 Blog Posts That Changed My Course of 2022; A Summary and A Start of a New Chapter

Well, this is it. Another year is done and we are looking to the clouds how and where it all went. But nature is no cheat. There is no lapse of a day, of a moment or even a blink. We live it. We are aware of it. We breathe each breath full.


One thing that I learnt while I was living 2022 was that even though I enjoy writing, it cannot be my end all. I take joy in walking more, in seeing and being at a place that urges me to contemplate, to talk to it. Somewhere that pushes me to dive deeper in aspects that i wasn’t aware of before. I love movement and I love challenging myself around those movements.


So I have decided I am not going to make resolutions anymore because somewhere deep within we know what is required of us at what time. Where are we needed the most. I may prioritise it but life has always taken the better route, or has checkmated me most of the time. So what I wish for myself, for this year is to try start living really, in the world that goes on ‘today’. Or I at least should start practising it. I have always dreamt and I may still do but I haven’t really, seriously worked on today and now I want to. Opening of eyes and doing what comes the moment later. Planning will keep happening as it always has. But tomorrow’s sunrise onwards I will give my best today and i will desist any long term plan.


But, yes there are some select quantifiable goals that I had shared here but even they don’t matter nearly as much as you my co-travellers, friends and loved ones in my life. Love is what gives meaning to everything. And so my only resolve from here onwards would be to ask from the nature forces to give me that capacity to receive love and share it with utmost humility each passing moment. And that could be my prarabdha or the predestined nature.


Even though my Karma is Writing, And would like to see myself writing each passing day of my Life. As this year was one of those bricks that helped me build upon my wall of memory.


Memory.


Such a word, just like 2022 is now, a year in memory. An important year; here we all lived it together while sharing what we did. I am grateful to each one of my co-travellers who was here with me, with each passing post; smiling, feeling, writing and making us two better together.

Thank you.

So, it felt important as It was quite hard to leave some major and even influential posts out of nearly 50 that I wrote this Year.



At number 9 is an Essay on the man whom I love to love to hate

Why Do I Like Gandhi ?

At number 8 is

10 hard truths that a student must know for life

At number 7 is a tale from the dream land Kashmir :

About Kashmir, A tale of keepers and Rowing a Shikara to a
Wedding in Dal


At number 6 is a very interesting Project that I have been working on at School.

What Children Dream ?

At number 5 is a journey that arrived this year unexpectedly from my village in Uttar Pradesh, India :

The Last Journey to Ganga and Scenes from My Ancestral Village



At number 4 is

The Story of India in 75 Years



At number 3 is an instance that shook me right after we opened our school after Pandemic :

How Pandemic Changed the Reality of Children



At number 2 is a post that will take us closer to the nature and our understanding of it once we read this :

Nature and What We Humans can Learn From Inner Life of Trees



At number 1 is an introductory post of Life in an Indian Village :

Silent Poems From My Ancestral Village. A Photographic Tribute


And the TOP post that took me to the meaning of Sacredness and kept my whole centred around that state of Meditation :

The pond of Saraswati and Meeting With the Brahma Kamal






The Final Say



So yes, these were some jewels that I could give back to the world this year.

I hope you spend the rest of tonight with the ones you want to see first thing with the rising Sun. But even if you find the Sun to be your only company, there is nothing better!

I still feel that feeling is a gift, that empathy is a boon and humility is the door to your destiny.

With hope that I will be able to create great new works, projects and courses that can bring more value, meaning, many followers and revenue along the way; so I can keep giving as much I want.


A Very Happy New Year My co-Travellers

: ँ :

Thank you.


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste

If you have any suggestions, please write in the comment box or feel free to write to me at narayankaudinya@gmail.com


: ँ :

I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, my Ten Learnings from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.

: ँ :

Also, You will be happy to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday that you must, you will be heartily welcomed here

: ँ :

To visit other long-term photographic works, please visit here.

Follow my works and walks as I document Rural Indian Subcontinent at 
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

: ँ : 

7 Simple Life Ways To Become the Change You Want to See    



I write for my travellers here who are on this Road To Nara with me, but I also write for my students at school who at one point in time are going to grow and find their teacher online on the road.

This is for all of us, going in another year, like getting up from sleep again, who are going to get another morning, another opportunity, one more day of possibilites.

And it is for anyone who ever in future is going to land on this page, who is curiously questioning, finding a way to grow in value and meaning, who has arrived at the crossroads and perhaps is waiting for that possible kick.


1. De-clutter

In today’s age, we are consuming everything possible. Moving, still, visuals, all kinds of trash, text, and even that screen light that keeps glaring on our retinas like never before. In ancient times Yogis were asked to imagine sun between their eyes to grow light and heat in the system. But today the screen we use has replaced that focal light which we used to practice for inner-growth. We are carrying enormous amount of impressions, records, annotations, understandings, knowledge that might never be used. One may learn by reading, but wisdom can only arrive by living.

Cut most things out. De-clutter anything that is turning out to be a weight for you. Anything that has taken so much time that it is pressing you against the wall.

I do believe that nothing can be taken away from you for what is yours. But one has to work to create that situation. Think fresh and delete all that is heavy and is tasting like chemical.


2. Know your Lows


Learn and this is important. Know what has been the most obstructive, destructive, difficult thing, habit, person has been for you that has taken so much of your time.

Your lows can also get triggered from excessive eating or wrong type of food, timing of eating, sleeping cycle or as simple as getting too comfortable staying under low light. It may start from anything but it can keep you for as long as you will not fight.

As they say, mind knows everything. Body gives signals and warnings. Be aware. Start listening. Find it, and start fighting it.



3. Re-wire

We are our thoughts. What, how and where we are today in life, it is because we thought thus. We became thus. And if this doesn’t make us feel great then we have to rewire how we are putting ourselves out in life. We have to rewire how we engage with people, a place, thing and above all our inner selves.

From the moment we open our eyes, we must bring in habits that is good for growth. The first things we think to the last before we call it a day, if you can make a note, do. It might reveal our future. Everything is connected.

Re-connect. Re-wire.



4. Become like a Coconut


It is a key that I want to practice myself. And may be in first place, I know it too well to talk about it. About being Kind. My parents are teachers, and somewhere so am I. On a day to day basis I have worked with enormous expanse of people, from rich to poor, from parents to my hosts, during stays and long travels across Indian subcontinent. And I have involuntarily practised kindness in every aspect of life. To an extent the attitude showing and showering kindness starts backfiring when met with anyone shrewd.

Kindness brings in complacency if you are not strong.

If I am my own example here, I have lost opportunities of learning by being too kind. In my over three decades of life on Earth, in my travels, with teaching children- talking to every kind of parent I have been too patient and too kind. It has widen that crack which asks me to be gentle, even compassionate that there have been times when I have failed to remember where kindness must end. Many a times I have not argued when I should have stood firm. Or stopped myself from saying things thinking the other will feel bad. Over years it has lead me to become complacent. I melt easily with the words of kindness I am familiar with but certainly world doesn’t work well for the kind of us.

I really like how coconut is. And it is the finest example. One has to really penetrate to get the good and that is how karma works. We need to put the hard work to get results. Learn from the Coconut and Practice being like it.



5. No Mercy


I love these two words like the Boxers do. And if we can practice them separately and have the wisdom enough to discern, when needed together. 

No and Mercy teaches us to learn about life both ways. Practice saying no. And have mercy and apt humility for others. And know when to have no mercy on yourself.

I remember some days that arrived with my wrestling coach would bulldoze me over on exact those days when my body was aching from last yesterday’s training. Or when timing, mood, or something was not right. Somehow it were those days when coach gave the hardest lessons in making us push until our body dropped. But the miracle was the body pushed, and pushed even more beyond we could have ever imagined.

Its better to have less to no mercy on yourself. We don’t know how much we can do till situation arises. Its better to always be ready, always be prepared.



6. Run as Slow as you Can  


I think artists, be it of any expression develops an ability to transcend above average ideas about good or bad, religion, gender, status, caste and any ill that the society has propagated for them. They could see things afresh and give solutions that others seldom thought.

And it is not difficult to perceive! We are nature and nature is also wild. It believes in change. It is most happy when we push. When we opt for work over comfort. Sweat. A walk during rains. Even Sitting still under sun. When we start appreciating. When we put our minds, bodies under the pressure of divine rather natural high.

I would rather request each one who is reading to take time off from anything one is does during the two sandhyas i.e. during the two meetings. The becoming of the morning. And the coming of the night. The magic of both meeting hours is the most beautiful moments to reflect, to percieve, to be present daily and practice receiving with our own eyes i.e. Run, even if its slow while Devouring anything and everything that is in front.
 


7. Learn from Elements. Make them a part of your life.


We live in the times of possibilities. Never before a time on earth has arrived so comfortable and so complete that many of us don’t have to think to collect wood for our food, to light our place or even to keep us warm. Rather we worry more if our gadgets are running out of energy.

But away from gadgets If ones goal is to only be happy, then learn anything and everything you can about the five elements of life. Five elements that you yourself are made of. Body recognizes it.

Who doesn’t like to open ones window to let in the fresh air in. Or walk on wet grass, drinking fresh water, sitting near fire for warmth or children playing in mud. Travellers know it too well.

Elements give us necessary intuition, they shape us to become worthier vessels. And they give us contentment.

It are these ways that can make our days, cycles that may feel like entering in a new phase, a new Life.

May you all celebrate in joy, and be together in prayers for all who left us this year.


Merry Christmas to all my Travellers.


: ँ :

Thank you.

If you have any suggestions, please write in the comment box or feel free to write to me at narayankaudinya@gmail.com

If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste


: ँ :

I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, my Ten Learnings from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.

: ँ :

Also, You will be happy to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday that you must, you will be heartily welcomed here

: ँ :

To visit other long-term photographic works, please visit here.

Follow my works and walks as I document Rural Indian Subcontinent at 
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

: ँ : 


About Kashmir, A Tale of Keepers and Rowing a Shikara to a Friend’s Wedding in Lake Dal Srinagar

Learning how to row was the most profound, useful as much as useless, but one hypnotic skill that arrived at one point in my life. I was living with the Huns, a houseboat community in Dal Lake. The boat in general is called Shikara in Kashmiri. And Rowers were called Keepers, an English word. And perhaps it was this word that lured me to become one; a keeper. The one who keeps.


Kashmir; the most beautiful valley on Earth. Not because it is pretty but perhaps the most complex. Also, the most militarised one, around that time. The aura of violence and terror was ever present in everyday Kashmiri life. When the valley was going through its longest curfew of their existence, I was there, walking, documenting the flatlands of Srinagar and hiking up the Harvan Mountains, even finding my way to the Mahadev Rock in the Pir Panjals while also finding myself bathing in the waters of the river Lidder, formerly Lambodarini and the mighty Indus. I was learning to live with the birds and had gradually started rowing, following all sizes of moon. Peripherying the colony of once occupied houseboats on many majestic nights of Dal. A time like this seldom arrives in a traveller’s life when where he is wandering, there is water and there is violence and you are rowing through the two.

Many a nights, as the sounds of the gunshots echoed in the valley far, I slept questioning my space, tossing-turning on my wooden floor while it creaked every time I moved but instead thought of the fate of those fishes too that moved or slept right under my boat. I used to think that it had to be something more if I was there to experience all this. I still don’t know but may be I was the one chosen to carry these memories through. From teaching in the foothills of Siachin Glacier to having a houseboat as a home in Lake Dal with the company of the birdman himself- the best keeper you can learn from. And it arrived at a time when life was shaping my consciousness as I kept collecting people’s lives in thought and language- I was practicing keeping memories, carrying them like a portable study bank; of a land, whose existence had water in its very name; Kashmir- literally meaning a bowl of Water. Having all the fresh water coming down the mountains forming many a lakes throughout the region. And each connected with the other. There were tales of people talking about reaching any part from anywhere by water, Rasool would say that he in his younger days had rowed upstream from the mighty river Jhelum to Lake Dal. But it’s not possible today. They have put gates. They have cut water from between. Time and corruption in last half a century has eaten Kashmir inside out. And anyways, after the last devastating floods of 2013 there is actually nothing left to keep; left ones are only the keepers with their tales of Kashmir and memories of floating on water.

But it was not Rasool who taught me how to row; it was a boy of four whose boat I first navigated to reach the back lanes of Dal. I had started to collect the dreams of houseboat owners while photographing their beautiful rooms inside houseboats. It is like living in a mother’s womb consciously- on water, one told me of his understanding living on a houseboat. It is like you are always moving he said and only sometimes that awareness arrives, what’s only missing were my mother’s lullabys.


The Keeper sits at the nook end of the boat looking over, keeping everything still, and directing the journey towards its destination. One can only imagine how in the olden times the keepers had the time to only observe the nature’s elements in its richness without once looking at the phone while moving through the waters, observing the winds, its density. The waves and the depth of water. Keepers know how to see and metaphorically for me they know how to keep. Now more than any other time in history of Kashmir because Kashmiris have lost too much- Relations, trust, love, parents, sisters, children, life and above all for many their own land. So I would imagine they know what keeping is. Because while living there I was learning just that. Learning to keep ones memories, collecting them in my mind from which i could transcend. Living in Dal with birds and boats I was practicing transcending from life and to a living dream because living like that cannot be real. More so for someone from the Capital of India, a city super hyper in its being.


I was there at a time when terror was hiding like a snake in the lake- that lake which had been quiet after the defeating floods and cries of gun shots, encounters and cross counters but all these by then had become intrinsic to life of Kashmir. There I was, living and learning to row, archiving the stories of houseboat dwellers moving between restlessness and horror; interpreting their dreams and documenting their everyday family lives in the hidden, colourful rooms of the houseboats.

Also rowing brought a few remarkable changes. My arms became stronger, they found a shape very similar to other boatmen, you should have seen my triceps. My friends who visited started touching it, to feel it for themselves. My chest started coming in shape and my ribs showed like that of poster boys of any gym. Moreover being a vegetarian living with a Muslim family had me eating less and mostly only one full meal a day. And it is only now that I am thinking about it. It became a lifestyle of sorts. I was now trusted for faraway journeys that lasted several hours of the day. And these journeys were the real test of your skill and your body. It made my lungs feel super charged and healthy, high with Oxygen overdose and a running intuition that to transfer that much energy I either had to stretch my body or sit still meditating on my breath till it calmed down. I had lost much of my natural body weight may be due to excess walking and aimlessly rowing. Even In the nights after long days when Rasool wanted to smoke after dinner under stars and in silence, I rowed for him.


One day, we were coming back from Char Chinar, the farthest place named after four beautiful and life size chinar trees and back on our way to Nigeen Lake, the path had become harder, as I had to dodge the boat and apply twice the power to sail through the harmful weed grass that had been eating the lake like dandruff eats away hair. Those days everybody talked about the sewage and weed pollution in the lake and that it were alarming. As I dodged past that area, while taking a turn a man showed a hand from one of the houses. He wanted a lift. I went near and stopped the boat, placing it against the ramp in a way that could only be done by someone local rowing for years as placing a boat can arguably be the most difficult part and I had become skillful in it. “Wari choo?” with my elemental Kashmiri I welcomed the man but he in no time learnt that I was not from here and felt taken aback of course. It was not normal for a non-Kashmiri to be sitting in the keepers seat, leave offering a lift to a Kashmiri himself. As he started inquiring from Rasool about me, Rasool kept laughing, enjoying watching the new comers bewildered face. Noor was shy and his vulnerability made him likeable. He was a tour operator and to my luck many a trekkers who used to go trekking in Kashmir every month, used his services. He knew local agencies and many houseboat operators. Upon knowing what I was doing in Kashmir, he promised me to introduce his friends who would allow me to document their boats and that in time I started doing. He asked me to drop him to the Dal market ahead, as we closed in towards one tailor shop, Rasool suddenly stood, threw his cigarette, almost jumping from the boat on to the ramp, walked in the shop with his hands wide open reciting many a times the name of the tailor, his old-old friend, Bashir-Bashir-Bashir. They hugged each other like children hug parents. Noor was standing smiling watching all this. Bashir was the best tailor in Dal Lake who was famous for making shervani’s for weddings. Noor had come to collect his shervani as it was our turn to get surprised, Noor was getting married tomorrow.  

We all got excited and had kehwa, Noor invited us to be there whole day tomorrow. I was particularly happy as I was already looking to document a Kashmiri wedding for my long-term Rural Asian Wedding Project. And what more can I ask for than finding something to work on in the backyards of Lake Dal.


Rasool was very happy that day. He met his old time friend, and we got a party to attend to. And when the next day arrived, it was a colorful delight, I got introduced to the famous Kashmiri wazwan, the chefs and the royalty with which they cook their dishes, even though I couldn’t eat any of it but it was the wedding, the colors, clothes, walls, and the environment had their own story to tell.


Acknowledgment


“Apart from Rasool, all other names are changed.”


In last three months this was my fourth attempt at writing this essay. All the drafts that sat in front and left me without warning one after the other as my old computer saw one too many internal deaths. I thought some power didn’t want it to be written. Starting from September, I at last am publishing it today, in December.

In itself it is a big tick off my head. Even though I couldn’t carry the same feeling and prose that I had put in by my third attempt; It is still strange to learn about how differently I could write about my life, events and incidents in Kashmir. That life is soaked in my veins as food gets consumed in stomach. As much I write, various interpretations keep coming out and keep surprising me. Yet I feel there is something a lot deeper still to come of my time spent in Kashmir land. Only time will tell. Please enjoy the wedding.


: ँ :

Thank you.


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste

If you have any suggestions, please write in the comment box or feel free to write to me at narayankaudinya@gmail.com


: ँ :

I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, my Ten Learnings from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.

: ँ :

Also, You will be happy to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday that you must, you will be heartily welcomed here

: ँ :

To visit other long-term photographic works, please visit here.

Follow my works and walks as I document Rural Indian Subcontinent at 
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

: ँ :