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27 Hopeful Photos From 2022 That Show Nature Defy Climate Change

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While no one can deny that the climate crisis is here, the nature leftover in the corners it is squeezed into is as real, extraordinary, and soul-warming as ever. Some of the animals, forests, and landscapes I saw this year while traveling within India and through Vietnam looked so ethereal, as if someone had painted those scenes. They were moving pieces of art. 

Every moment of my life I wonder how we are even here. The perfection of it all fills me with unprecedented joy. All the big events we plan, prepare, and wait for — graduation, foreign trips, marriages, potlucks, get-togethers, movie nights — happen soon and finish. After all the merriment, we are left with the loneliness of our being. But if we would look around, smell the air, and sit in the grass we would see life oozing out of every grain of soil, stuck to the bark of a tree, or finding its way inside through the little gaps left in the window. Once we are with nature, we are never alone. Once we are ready to be charmed by this wellspring of magic — and it is armed with enough to dazzle us — we would not be bored or think that life is ordinary ever again (this is only one of the life lessons 2022 taught me).

There is much to see, amaze at, and protect. I want to end the year with hope by sharing these photographs from 2022 that show nature defying climate change and not only surviving but also thriving in its own home. If we still let it be, it will recover all that is lost, with just a little consideration, help, and love from us.

Hoping to inspire that love.

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Meat-Free Fish Soup, Shoes, and Night Markets in Saigon

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Adventures in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

When I went to Vietnam in 2016, I found myself in a green paddy-filled country. Under the shadows of their bamboo hats, locals flitted between places unhindered by the large bamboo baskets they carried. Birds sang from their cages hung on balconies. Streets were lined with stalls selling soup, grilled meat skewers, rice paper rolls, and fruits.

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5 Years of On My Canvas: What I’ve Learned

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Thank you for coming along on this journey with me and supporting me always.  If I have learned one thing in these five years, it is that the joy of creating should be enough. When we work hard and persist, we arrive at the goal, destination, or prize we have our eyes on. The much-planned …

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When I Climbed Apple Trees in Himachal Pradesh [With Local Families]

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Plucking Apples in Himachal Pradesh With My Host Family

Our four-month Himachal road trip was more than halfway through. We were in the middle of July 2021. After living in small Shimla villages (such as Mehli, Fagu, and Mashobra), we had driven to Mandi district. There we explored Chindi village and surrounding hills, visited the historic Pangna, and hiked the daunting Shikari Devi and Kamru Nag mountains.  

I had seen so much in those two and a half months that I wanted to slow down a bit more and write (the start to our indefinite travel hadn’t been easy either). After the big hikes, we checked in to the government guest house (PWD) of Karsog village (in Mandi). Every morning in that PWD guest house was more about finding water to go to the toilet than staying sane. The dusty roads and poor guesthouses of Karsog didn’t tempt us to stay in that village longer (though we did buy shoes in Karsog).

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What Makes you Fly? – Klaus Nomi Singing My Heart Opens to Your Voice

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We are truly alone in the experience of being the human being we are.

 

“Can anyone truly understand the existence of another person’s internal world?” Correctly asks the author Olivia Laing in her book “the Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone”.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about loneliness. Perhaps because I’ve been lonely, like everyone else, a lot of times. (managing and understanding emotions)

At some lone moment a couple of months ago I picked up Olivia Laing’s book. I thought the title would explore a writer’s journey through the lonely city life — something I’m interested in because not only do I find loneliness in metropolitans but also in the countryside where local cultures can be alienating, unintentionally or intentionally (read my Spiti mountain journey to see how I felt isolated even amongst a local family). But I found that the book is much more than the singular experience of Laing.

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On Stuart Hill in Madikeri Coorg: Nothing To Do But So Much To Do

Living, Writing, and Traveling Slow on Stuart Hill in Madikeri Coorg, Karnataka

February 2021

We have been here in Stuart Hill in Madikeri town for almost two weeks. The popular Coorg viewpoint Raja’s seat is near Stuart Hill. I’m seated in the garden of our homestay to write.

I don’t know the origin of the name Stuart Hill. The place must have a story from British times. I could go to the Madikeri museum to get a glimpse of this town’s history. But on this trip, I’m not hungry to know. 

Even though we were here on our first wedding anniversary, we didn’t make any big adventurous plans. In the morning we walked down the path going in front of our house. That trail is fringed by jungly plants and trees on both sides. Few houses peek out of that path here and there.

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Van Gogh on Delving Deeply, Hardships, and Doing [In a Letter to Theo]

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Letters From Van Gogh The celebrated painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) regularly wrote to his brother Theo, his ardent supporter and friend.  Out of the hundreds of letters by Vincent van Gogh, the Vincent van Gogh organization has put about hundred on their website. The book Ever Yours: The Essential Letters contains a broad selection of …

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How to Sort Through the Mundane For Creative Living

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Creative Living Beyond the Constant Humdrum of the Daily Daily Distractions in Creative Living The Muse Why Do We Create and How to Persuade the Muse Perseverance First We Start By Being Unsatisfied Then We Fight the Distractions We Meditate We Focus on The Littlest of Details and Let Results Take Care of Themselves It …

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An Old Himalayan Woman’s Routine Showed Me How Hard Is Village Life in India – Lessons On Resilience and Repetition

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Village Life of India : An Old Himalayan Woman’s Life at a Glance. Notes From Gagal Village, Mashobra, Shimla

I woke up at 5. The host’s kitchen hut was filled with yellow light from the bulb. Smoke rose out of the hut’s chimney. Our homestay’s mother, whom we called aunty, was already up.

Aunty must’ve folded the mat on which she slept on the kitchen floor, had lit firewood in the chulha, and must’ve been preparing milky tea then (a common scene in village life of India). Though I never entered the kitchen —when I had asked  aunty if I could make chapatis on her chulha, she had said women couldn’t enter there — from outside I had seen her fluff chapatis on the woodfire and paste the floor with yet another fresh layer of mud and cow dung. Aunty was somewhere between 60 and 70.

(I don’t have any pictures of aunty neither would I want to post them online. So please bear with me while I add photos of everything else around her home.)

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