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Archive for June, 2008

It’s no news that gas prices are skyrocketing in the U.S. The average in my area is around $4.20 per regular unleaded gallon lately, and I see the numbers climbing not falling in the near future. Most people seem to consider this an abomination, the worst thing that has happened to humankind, unfair, obscene, you name it. I don’t enjoy paying more for gas myself, but, pause for a moment. Have you considered the positives of these high gas prices?

Americans are also driving less directly as a result of these prices. ABC News published an article on June 16, 2008 titled “Record-High Pain at the Pump Leads More Motorists to Park it / Over Half of Americans Cut Back on Driving Thanks to Soaring Gas Prices”. Isn’t this a good thing? Americans are notorious for over-driving, polluting the environment and clogging up roads.

Public transportation is up in many corners as well due to these gas prices. Read this recent article on OutsideTheBeltway.

And then here’s an article that reveals that carpooling is up thanks to gas prices also.

How can all this be a bad thing?

In my personal life, we have been talking about upgrading one of our cars (my husband’s ’97 honda civic) to a newer model; we considered a BMW Z4, a hybrid SUV, an Outback, but you know what we settled on finally? We decided to keep the Civic, and get a 150-cc scooter instead that’s drivable on the freeway also. The gas prices were definitely one of the reasons for our decision – along with the fun to be had on a Vespa!

I drive less nowadays, think before I take a trip, and combine my errands much more often.

Public transportation isn’t easy in my neighborhood, the closest bus stop is over 2 miles away. If it was more convenient, I’d definitely take the bus more often. I do hope to start driving to the nearest park and ride and take the local train more often.

Next week, I’m taking a little vacation with family, and instead of renting a car to drive from New York to Washington, DC, we’ve decided to either take a train or a bus. Part of the reason had to do with not wanting to pay a lot for gas.

I’m seeing real, measurable changes in my life and lifestyle due to the increase in gas prices, and they are all good ones.

It’s high time Americans realized that cars aren’t meant for 1 person to ride in most of the time, and there are other better, smarter ways to get around too.

Hooray for high gas prices!

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Billoo is my love, my sweetie, my guddu, my baby, my darling. I miss her dearly, her soft paws, her meows which were more like a baby’s wail, how she’d wake me up in the morning, that first night when she pulled my hand with her paw and pressed it against her belly to show me how she liked it at night-time, how she’d curl up between the two of us on our bed and claim the space as her own (“waaiiyy-ing if we accidentally brushed her), her curiousity and intelligence. I say “is” because she isn’t here in her body anymore, but that energy transformed itself into another life, her energy is still here in this Universe. Miss you, gudda.

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A deep quiet has taken over me, not an overwhelming melancholy, but a deep quietness. This poem was written by Gulzar-ji, and sung by Hemant-da, and picturized on Tanuja. I have translated it the way I have perceived the words. There’s a sense of loneliness in these lyrics, a desire, a longing, a regret.

Bas ek chup sii lagii hai

A quietness has taken over

Nahii.n udaas nahii.n

No, not sadness

kahii.n pe saa.Ns rukii hai, nahii.n udaas nahii.n

Somewhere, my breath is trapped, no, not sadness

bas ek chup sii lagii hai

A quietness has taken over

Ko_ii anokhii nahii.n aisii zi.ndagii lekin

Not extraordinary, but a life that

khuub na ho

is not splendid

mili jo –

the one that I have found

khuub milii hai.

Is plenty.

nahii.n udaas nahii.n

No, not sadness

bas ek chup sii lagii hai …

A quietness has taken over

Sahar bhii ye raat bhii dopahar bhii milii lekin

I was given dawn, this night too, also the day, but

hamii.n ne shaam chunii

I am the one who chose the evening

hamii.n ne –

I am the one

shaam chunii hai

who chose evening

nahii.n udaas nahii.n

No, not sadness

bas ek chup sii lagii hai …

Just, a quietness has taken over

Vo daasataa.N jo hamane kahii bhii

That story that I spoke of,

hamane likhii

I wrote,

aaj vo –

Today, I

khud se sunii hai

heard it from myself

nahii.n udaas nahii.n

No, not sadness

Bas ek chup sii lagii hai

A quietness has taken over

Nahii.n udaas nahii.n

No, not sadness

kahii.n pe saa.Ns rukii hai, nahii.n udaas nahii.n

Somewhere, my breath is trapped, no, not sadness

bas ek chup sii lagii hai

A quietness has taken over

Ko_ii anokhii nahii.n aisii zi.ndagii lekin

Not extraordinary, but a life that

khuub na ho

is not splendid

mili jo –

the one that I have found

khuub milii hai.

Is plenty.

nahii.n udaas nahii.n

No, not sadness

bas ek chup sii lagii hai …

A quietness has taken over

Sahar bhii ye raat bhii dopahar bhii milii lekin

I was given dawn, this night too, also the day, but

hamii.n ne shaam chunii

I am the one who chose the evening

hamii.n ne –

I am the one

shaam chunii hai

who chose evening

nahii.n udaas nahii.n

No, not sadness

bas ek chup sii lagii hai …

Just, a quietness has taken over

Vo daasataa.N jo hamane kahii bhii

That story that I spoke of,

hamane likhii

and wrote too,

aaj vo –

Today, I

khud se sunii hai

heard it from myself

nahii.n udaas nahii.n

No, not sadness

Bas ek chup sii lagii hai

A quietness has taken over

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Can I have a cupful of Love?

Oh, and could you make that Unconditional please?

How much will that be?

Oh, you want me to be a responsible, normal, typical wife in return?

Earn a good living, have babies on time, love and respect your parents?

I will try to do that.

But don’t forget what I ordered!

You are out of Unconditional Love today?

What? You never had it on the menu to begin with?

But, I was promised.

Do you know who carries it?

Oh, you do have it?

Wait! This isn’t the way I ordered it!

It’s not Unconditional!

You may say it is, but it’s not!

I shall not pay for this, I refuse to give you what I promised in return.

Is there no way to re-do this order?

Fine.

I’ll look for it elsewhere.

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Purposeful dreaming

I made myself dream of you last night.

Does that make me a bad girl?

I wasn’t sleepy.

I lied down, closed my eyes, turned off all the lights and sounds.

I pictured you and me together, talking, smiling.

We held hands.

We laughed.

I know I was sleeping next to someone else.

Yet, I felt pure, my love for you is pure, honest, innocent.

Like fresh rain, like clouds, like a little animal’s love.

Now, tell me, can fresh rain ever be bad?

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I am sure it was synchronicity. A while back, Ajahn Brahm visited my city and I went to the dharma center to hear him talk. It was profound, yet simple. I stayed on past midnight, along with a few others, drinking in Ajahn’s words. This man, this monk – I feel pulled toward him into his field. I listen to his dharma talks online, I look to see where in the world he is and if by chance I may get to see him again. Some old karma of ours pulls me toward him. I feel in him a connection as though he’s my true teacher in this life.

(Ajahn Brahm is the abbott of a monastery in Australia. More information here http://www.bswa.org )

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Paddy paws

My baby is gone.

The dam is threatening to burst.

I build it higher and higher with any other distraction I can muster up.

Her touch, her eyes, her mischief, her baby meows, her soft paddy paws.

What is on the other side of the dam?

What is it holding back?

Maybe grief that will drown me in itself.

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Deepest desires

I want to touch you,

touch your skin, your hair, your hands, your lips,

and your soul.

This unseen desire found its way into your psyche.

You touched me.

I do not regret for the past.

Sometimes, I wish for a parallel universe, an alternate reality,

where you and I walked this road called life,

together,

hand in hand,

fingers and lives intertwining.

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yooN zindagi ki raah meiN takra gaya koi
ik roshni andher mein bikhra gaya koi

wo haadsa wo pehli mulaaqaat kyaa kahoon
itni ajab thi soorat-e-haalat kya kahoon
wo kehar wo ghazab wo jafa muJko yaad hai
wo uski berukhi ki adaa muJhko yaad hai
mittha nahin hai zehan se yoon chaa gaya koi
yooN zindagi ki raah meiN takra gaya koi

Haadsa: Accident, Calamity, Episode, Misfortune, Occurrence, Tragedy
Mulaaqaat: Encounter, Interview, Meeting, Visit
Ajab: Amazing, Astonishing, Curious, Marvelous, Rare, Strange, Surprise, Wonder, Wonderful, Vanity
Soorat-e-Haalaat: Condition of the Face, Beauty
Kehar: Lion, In this context, Pride(?)
Ghazab: Rage, Tantrum, Wrath
Jafaa: Oppression, Unfaithful, Injustice, Injury, Violence
Berukhi: Aloofness Caused By Anger, Ignorance, Indifference
Zehan: Mind, Thought

pehle wo muJhko dekhkar barham si ho gayee
phir apne hi haseeN khayaloN meiN kho gayee
bechargi pe meri usse reham aa gaya
shaayad mere taDapne ka andaaz bhaa gaya
saansoN se bhi kareeb mere aa gaya koi
yooN zindagi ki raah meiN takra gaya koi

Barham: Anger, Upset
Khayaal: Care, Imagination, Judgement, Opinion, Respect, Remember, Thought, Whim
Bechaargi: Helplessness
Rahamat: Benevolence, Kindness
Andaaz: Genre, Manner, Mode, Type, Style, Way
Bhaana: To be approved (of), to be acceptable (to, -ko), be pleasing (to), to please; to be beloved, be held dear; to suit, fit, become; to seem good or befitting

yoon usne pyaar se meri baahOn ko choo liya
manzil ne jaise shaakh ke raahon ko choo liya
ik pal meiN dil pe kaise qayamat guzar gayi
rag rag mein uske husn ki khusboo bikhar gayi
zulfon ko mere shaan pe lehraa gaya koi
yooN zindagi ki raah meiN takra gaya koi

Shaakh: Branch, Bough, Dilemma, Difficulty, Objection, Offshoot, Province
Qayaamat: Flood, Deluge
Rag: Nerve, Vessele, Veins
Shaan: Dignity, Elegance, Eminence, Glory, Grandeur

ab is dil-e-tabaah ki haalat na poochiye
benaam aarzoo ki lazzat na poochiye
ik ajnabi tha rooh ka armaan ban gaya
ik haadsa tha pyaar ka unwaan ban gaya
manzil ka raasta muJhe dikhla gaya koi
yooN zindagi ki raah meiN takra gaya koi

Tabaah: Corrupt, Depraved, Destroy, Ruined, Spoiled, Wretched
Dil-e-Tabaah: Wretched heart
Lazaat: Taste, Deliciousness, Joy, Pleasurable Experience, Relish, PleasureEnjoyment, Flavour
Rooh: Soul, Spirit, Life, Essence, Divine Revelation
Armaan: Desire, Keenness, Longing, Yearning, Wish
Unwaan: Form, Headline, Label, Legend, Preface, Start Of Chapter, Title

*Translated words courtesy of http://ekfankaar.wordpress.com a wonderful, wonderful site of hindi/urdu ghazals & songs.

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by Cassandra BarneyI am anxiously awaiting my giclee of The Engagement by Cassandra Barney. Lately, I am fasinated with the color blue and red poppy flowers. All her paintings are a reflection of herself in some way, all self-portraits, yet us viewers can find ourselves in them too. There’s a melancholy in these faces, a darkness, a secret, a profound sadness. When I have met Cassandra for her art shows, she seems so content, satisfied, joyful, dare I say, happy. Her paintings though reveal something else. In public, she’s the one who probably carries around the most painted face, while her paintings cautiously speak of her true inner reality. The Engagement, to me, looks like this innocent happy bird sharing a bit of that happiness with this melancholy young woman, thus “engaging” her into life. If only I had the means, I would love to cover my walls with much more of her art than I can.

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