Best Drawing / Ink Set For Begineers

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On board the ship, midst the hectic schedule of tiring and sweaty work, everyone manages to find few minutes for himself, away from displeasing noise of the engine and splosh of the waves. People in majority would tend to try their hand on something which they find pleasure in. I have seen many seafarers trying to learn musical instruments or getting themselves engrossed into writing or reading.

But I was always drawn towards expressing my thoughts through sketching. Initially, I started with crayons and slowly moved towards pencils. I liked drawing Portraits more than anything else. I used to draw people’s portrait and send them across on their birthday’s as a surprise gift. Though for a beginner it wasn’t perfect but they liked my effort.

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For portrait sketching, I use Bianyo Pencils. Its one of the best quality pencils at an affordable price.  Its must for people who try to breathe life through their drawings. Its lead is smooth and the pencils are sturdy. One of the best pro’s is its smudging and blending abilities. Like Steadler and Mitsubishi brands, even this pencils has its range of hardness printed on all four sides on its top for easy selection. The former pencil brands are quite expensive for beginners. You can check them out from below –

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Mitsubhishi  Hi-uni Art pencils are one of the finest pencils on earth for sketching for professionals. It’s a bit expensive but holds a promising result. One of my shipmates had it and the feel of the pencil was mind-blowing. The leads don’t break while sharpening which is a bit common in other brands of pencils. This comes with 22 degree of tones and thus gives the user its variety over sketching.

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But this winter, I intend to try my hand over Ink and after searching online for the finest pen for amateur, I found Sakura Manga Comic Kit. Its simply awesome.buy                                                                   http://amzn.to/2luDq5F

It comes with five pens which includes one brush pen and one graphic pen. It has additional one 0.7mm lead pencil. Its ink is waterproof, fade and chemical resistant. It doesn’t bleed through most papers. If you are into graphic art, illustration, cartooning etc, it’s the best stop to look for. I tried few of my sketches in the last few months and the result is fascinating. You can check it below and that’s my first try with those pens. What do you say ?

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I suggest for every art lover, to try their hands on it. You wont be disappointed for sure. Just makes sure, you don’t put too much pressure on its nib as they are really delicate. Rest, enjoy drawing.

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Always And Forever !!!

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It was twilight. The canvas of the sky was smeared with strings of orange and red hues, which transmogrified the entire sheet of the blue with its arms. The grey clouds above parted and drifted in the direction of the wind. The ambiance was filled with chirping of birds, which flew back to their nests and humming of dragonflies which hovered all over the ground. The air was dense and the afternoon heat was replaced with cool breeze which swayed intermittently.

The sun tardily dipped behind the horizons and midst the fading scenery, two souls were so engrossed in each other that they were completely oblivious to their immediate surroundings. With their ankles crossed, they were seated an inch away, on one of the benches placed aesthetically. They gazed at the sun as it sank leaving behind a swirl of colors and, slowly the sounds of the birds ceased followed by a pure silence.

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He sat on her left, quietly shuffling his legs beneath. After having spent three days with her, he knew the time which had remained still and static this long, had started ticking finally.  Though he had just met her now, he had imagined this moment thousand times before in his head. He still had many things to say to her, his thoughts, his fears, his feelings… but he couldn’t muster enough courage to form sentences into a soulful speech. Instead, he glanced at her clandestinely.

A sudden gust of air ruffled and tousled her silky hair, which caressed her neck and flew in wild directions. Plying her long strands of hair gently with her slender fingers, she glimpsed at the moon which had just arrived, shining on her, paving way for a silvery face for him to gaze at. She looked lovely in her attire as her soft skin glowed in the moonlight. His eyes were transfixed on her thick eyelashes, which fluttered up and down whenever she blinked. It breathed life in her warm eyes, which were twinkling behind the square framed spectacles. Her eyes were sunk deep in a bundle of thoughts, yet to be divulged.
At that instant, she caught his eye. Before he could hide away his shyness, she forced a smile and touched his fingers. Their hands entwined the next second. He stared at her intensely. She looked prettier than his virtual image of hers, which he carried carefully for the past few months. She was just an ordinary girl but there was something in her eyes, mild and warm, which made him feel secure. He was at peace finally for having found the moon, while counting the stars. His quest for the treasure ended right there and now it was time for him to nurture it for eternity.

“‘Love hurts’ is the strongest misconception. What really hurts is betrayal which nobody sees it. Love instead, fills the gap and heals your wounds. Love is indestructible. Invisible, yet present everywhere. It isn’t an emotion which could be confined and locked in a box. It would definitely snap out as it’s boundless. Love lies within oneself. Never let it crumble with the weight of apprehensions. It’s something beautiful to be shared with others, by giving it a new meaning.”

This wisdom is what, radiated through her actions all these months. She gave a new definition to his life and today, love for her was flowing freely through his veins unrestricted.

She glimpsed at him and managed to look into his eye. But he gazed away. He had traveled all this far, just to be with her, but things didn’t turn out the way they had planned. She was disappointed of herself for letting him down. She wondered his quietness. Her telepathic communication failed to work this moment. She wanted him to say something, before he bid her farewell. Her grip on his hand grew even more firm. Her touch was sending a twirl of her emotions, trying to reach his heart. He could feel it, as it pierced through his palm, and commingled with the love for her running through his body, forming a strong bond which he longed for. His body shivered and he felt jitters down his spine.  He let go of her hand immediately and held the bench instead.

Surprised by his action, she asked him tensely, ‘Are you okay?’

He replied politely, ‘Sitting beside a girl who considers me as her world, why wouldn’t I?’

She just blinked and asked him, ‘Don’t you have anything to say after that?’

Her voice rumbled in the wind and the grasses behind hissed in response. She had to repeat what she asked. He didn’t know where to start and now, she looked at him profoundly, hoping for him to say something. He had numerous stuffs running in his head yet; he was stuck in his maze of thoughts and locked up in his own emotions.

He tilted his head to his right and said, ‘Baby, I had been imagining this moment for days with innumerable scenarios. I even formulated a speech and practiced my lines in front of a mirror hundred times, for all the things to be shared with you. I had been pondering over that repeatedly but it isn’t working. My mind is engulfed with myriad of sentences. Hence pardon my randomness.

Who would believe, what started as a virtual correspondence, would turn out to be something so amorous and divine. Your face had been a perfect virtual treat, which I had painted on the canvas of my conscious mind. I had longed to see you. I wanted to know if you were the same person who talked to me and wrote to me.  Lately, I had been thinking about you all the time. You had effectively camped your base in my brain (cerebellum or cerebrum or whatever) and I had lost complete control of myself. I wanted to see you in blood and flesh. I wanted to smell you, feel you and watch your lips say my name. I wanted to hear your voice..your laugh for real, which usually sent butterflies in my stomach. 

If you can, please put yourself in my shoes. You will realize how blessed I am.  These days with you was bliss. Though we hardly saw each other, I would still cherish the moments we shared. Few months back, I was content with my life. And then you stride in from nowhere. Being honest, I haven’t had such an intense emotional exchange with anyone before. Love usually overwhelms logic and your intrusion proved it right. I am sure you didn’t plan on falling for me hard. But I fell for you even harder. It was as if God himself wanted us to meet. We fell in love, despite our indelible differences.

I thank you for everything. I know our future is bleak. Your world is impenetrable but I still desire to conquer it. I came this far not to accept pity defeat. Baby, I want to grow old with you as I have seen a future quite beautiful by your side. Just don’t give up on me.’

His voice chocked and his eyes were rheumy by then. She was having mixed emotions. She tried to wipe away his tears but he avoided her touch. She took his hands and held it tight.

She said, ‘Please don’t thank me. Instead, I should thank you for accepting me without any bias.  You pulled me out of the drains and took me under your care. If I intend to speak out my heart, I would be talking forever. I don’t mind being ostentatious to myself saying no matter what, you won’t abandon me ever. When I look into your eyes, I feel as though I am home. That’s the surety you give. You made me realize what being in love truly is. I can lose myself from me but not you. Believe me; I just love you too much to think a future without you. I wish I could prove you through my actions and not just words.

Baby, I had fallen for you hard, well before you did. I had fallen for your contagious laugh, for your smile, for our midnight talks and for our jokes. I craved for your presence. You filled the void in my life with your kindness and support. Your love had seeped through my skin and diffused completely in the core of my bones. I had waited so long for you to come back and tell me that you love me.

Even knowing my flaws, you were there for me. You listened to my grievance, my anxieties and provided reasonable solutions. You handled my childishness, my anger and still never gave up on me. Even If I had a bad day, I was certain you would be there in the night to make me feel better. Distance means so little when two souls are half’s of a whole. You just amaze me every day and I know my love for you would always grow. I want it to bloom with the sunshine of your love.

Baby, I will never leave your side. I don’t see myself with anyone else, except you. In future, circumstances might break us many times, but always remember we will be together.’

Her inside churned and she felt her stomach lurch within. Her voice became heavy as she spoke further.

She continued, ‘Baby, when you leave tomorrow, please don’t cry. Miss me…. but don’t cry.  I really really really love you…… Always and forever……’

She broke down the next instant. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. He reached for her face and kissed her forehead. He washed away her tears and pulled her towards his chest. He hugged her tight until she sank down.

Softly, he whispered in her ears, ‘I love you too……Always and forever.’

She yanked and he looked into her tear stained face. Before he could say something, she placed her fingers on his lips. She pulled him closer and, angled her head to her side and kissed him softly. His legs trembled. Their hearts fluttered inside their chests. They could hear just one heartbeat. They opened up their lips more and their tongues mingled. They snogged as if it was their last and later walked all the way back home, with their hands entwined. Finally they knew, their bond was sealed for eternity.

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P.S. I don’t claim the rights for the photos used above. Acclaim goes to the rightful owners.

Two States !!!

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A dull music was playing from an old rickety television set, lying at the corner of a rectangular room. In addition to that, the noise of the creaky fan resounded midst the four walls. But that didn’t provoke or displease him. Instead, he gazed pensively at the ceiling fan, completely lost in thought. He was oblivious to his immediate surroundings.  He was engrossed into something which mattered even more.

Deep down, he was quite certain he would face her someday. But he never expected, it would be much sooner. They had been corresponding for several months through electronic mails. Being from different states, internet seemed to be a perfect solution. A perfect visual path.  And today, they were going to face each other in person for real, for the very first time. For the past hour, he had been ruminating how to go ahead with the meeting. He had never been out with a girl in a decade.  That itself freaked him out. He had already ticked all the boxes in his imaginary checklist. But still the fear of screwing up things in the last minute surfaced above all the other thoughts. This wasn’t a date. He was aware of that.

Just then, his phone rang. It was her.  He answered the call as she said politely,‘Where are you? I am already here.’ Her voice was quite soothing to his ears.
He replied instantly, ‘Sorry, will be there in a minute.’

In a hurry, he did his final check in the mirror and headed for the street. He felt his feet heavier with every step he took. He was anxious. His self-confidence took a sudden jolt, when another set of questions popped in his head. How to greet her? A gesture of ‘Hi’ or a proper handshake? But the latter involved a physical touch. He knew he was thinking too much. He thought of giving her the lead into this.

As he reached the spot, his eyes wandered for her presence. It wasn’t hard for either of them to identify each other, as they had already exchanged photos. He knew she was a pioneer when it came to clothes, but he longed to see her in Indian attire. And there she was, standing at a distance, smiling at him, dressed as he desired.  She looked perfect. She was taller than he imagined. As he neared her, she reached out her hand for a handshake and he did the same. As their hands met, his awkwardness ended right there.  Her first touch swoon him completely. He no longer felt his foot heavy. Instead, he imagined himself walking against the force of gravity in his own surreal world.

He couldn’t see her face properly as the traffic was building up on the street. She called for him and they boarded an auto rickshaw. He made sure he sat at a distance from her; even a few inches would be sufficed.  She gave directions to the driver and every word she uttered made his ambiance tranquil. He never understood what she said but that’s a different thing. She looked on to the street and he surreptitiously glanced at her.  There were more ditches in the city than the craters on the moon. Every time, the driver passed over a trench, he moved an inch closer to her. He had to readjust his position frequently, to make sure he didn’t make her feel uncomfortable.

He realized that she was prettier than she looked in her pictures. Her perfume filled the space. It had a strange smell but was quite tantalizing. He wanted to ask her, ‘What perfume are you wearing?’ but he felt that would be inappropriate now. He couldn’t control himself being carried away in her aroma. Moreover, the wind swayed across her face and that ruffled her hair constantly in a similar fashion as of a wave making crest and trough in an ocean. She feebly tucked the loose strands of hair behind her ears, giving a full view to her face.  For a second, he was entranced by her. She was quite an eyeful.  He watched her long eyelashes on her soft eyelids; flip steadily in a reciprocating motion.  What lay behind it, were dark brown eyes which glittered in the morning sun. He could even see his reflection through corner of her eyes.  She was dressed simple with minimal makeup and that’s what he liked about her.

Having reached the place, she asked the driver to pull over. She quietly walked down the street followed by him on her side.  Things weren’t planned between them. So, they decided to go for a lunch and thereafter she would help him all around with the city. He was fine with her decision.

After a mere five hours, he knew the day was coming to an end. It was almost twilight. The clear sky in the morning was completely enveloped by dark grey clouds now.  They were seated in the park facing other couples. The only difference; they weren’t one among them.

He watched her as she looked into his eyes. She smiled at him and he noticed the laugh line at her corner of her eyes, forming a slight wrinkle.  It added an extra beauty to her face.  She blushed and avoided his stare.  Never in his dreams, had he imagined sitting next to her and feeling her presence.  He had traveled all the way just to meet her.  He was quite satisfied. He never knew if he would meet her again. He wished the time to freeze, the clocks to stop ticking. He wanted to take the best of this moment back home. For a second, the thought of them being a couple did cross his mind. He knew it was baseless. He didn’t know what was going through her mind.  Nevertheless, he wanted to feel her touch for the very last time. But how, was his question.

There was roar of thunder above.  In a few minutes, they knew it would be raining.
She asked him, ‘Don’t you think, we should leave?’
He floundered a bit and said, ‘Yeah, it would be raining soon.’
She looked above and said, ‘Can never predict the climate here. Isn’t it?’
He said, ‘I find everything strange here. You… Our meeting… And of course even the climate.’
She said, ‘May be it was in our destiny to meet.’
He instantly replied back, ‘Sometimes, one needs to write their own destiny.’
She eyed at him curiously but said nothing in response to his statement.  He too avoided her gaze.

It started to drizzle. She collected her things and they tried to find a shelter, before heading on their separate ways.  He moved behind her carefully, watching his distance, watching her pace and making sure nothing went wrong at the last minute. But, as they crossed the street, a car stopped unexpectedly and she jolted backwards towards him.

She clasped his hand tightly to prevent her fall. Their hands entwined. It started to thunder even more. His desire was finally fulfilled. He yearned for her touch and that made his stomach flutter. She looked into his eyes as he held her.  It was showering now.  He helped her cross the street, still clutching her hand firmly. Her shoulders rubbed against his as they walked ahead, battling the traffic. With every step he took, he felt the warmth.. the spark of her. He was afraid, that would set his soul on fire.

As they reached the other side, he knew he had to let her go. Deep down, he wanted to hold on to her forever.  He had a very little time. His heart was beating fast and he was confused of things happening to him. He never wanted to end this way. He had to say things and it had to be now.  He once again floundered; trying to find right words and framing right sentences back in his head. It didn’t work out.

Without wasting a minute, he said in a resonating voice, ‘I am not sure how you feel, but this was the memorable day of my life. Thanks for everything and I am going to miss you badly.’
She looked up as it was raining heavily and spoke loudly against the deafening thunder and growing traffic, ‘Same here and please don’t thank me. It was my duty as a Good Friend.’

He was still clutching her hands but the last two words of her sentence were crystal clear for him, to let her go.

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Those were the words which had broken many hearts before and had spoiled many friendships to transcend into beautiful relationships. Yet today, it showed its evil face and now it echoed inside his head like a hiss of a rattling snake.

She finally boarded an auto rickshaw and he quietly stood there drenched, staring at the clouds as the rain drops thumped the streets. He knew the whole universe was crying for him. Deep within, he squealed in pain and wanted to retaliate. He had felt this before and the present was replaying the games of the past. He swore he wouldn’t get carried away this time. He realized it was better to let go of things which weren’t his in the first place. He forced a smile and walked in the opposite direction and never looked back again.

Siddy – The No.27

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Months had passed and believe me; the days spent at sea have a similar fate as that of anything above a quicksand. It fades away in no time. But, I still remember it was late in the evening, when one of my crew gave me the worst panic attack. The ship was anchored in Sidi Kerir, a place near Egypt. Owing to the work pressure over the last few days, everybody was feeling a bit frazzled. Depleted of energy, I plodded my way to the engine control room and with the air still gushing out of my nostrils, I sprawled on the chair. The cool air breezed out of the ventilation duct above me, and I kept wiping the beads of sweat off my brows. I shifted the weight of my body at the edge of the chair and tardily closed my eyes. Just when I thought of having a few minutes for myself, I felt a flick on my shoulder, followed by a voice of one of my Filipino crew, ‘Ah, look what I found.’

I slowly rolled up my drooping eyelids but was instantly taken aback by the sight that lain inches from my face. I shoved my chair behind and snapped at him,What the f..?’, still moving away from him and whatever he was holding on to.

Seeing me in an alarmed state, he chuckled and said, Chill man, it’s just a crab.’

‘Where the hell did you find it? Is it still alive?’ I asked him as I looked at the crab warily from a distance.

‘Yes, pretty much. Found in the one of the filters,’ he said as he placed the crab on the desk.

He kept tampering its hard shell and I felt it quite annoying and asked him, ‘Will you just stop that. It might bite you.

‘No, it wouldn’t as long as you don’t touch its claws. Try it.’

I moved an inch forward and gazed at its straw-coloured sticky and glossy body. It was despicable and quite displeasing to my eyes. I tried to run my index finger over it but it kept moving sideways. After a few failed attempts, I finally got a hold of it. But it again managed to free itself from my clasp. That thing is hostile.

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‘So what do we do?’ I asked still gazing at it.

Planning to eat it,’ he replied instantly.

‘You must be freaking kidding me. It’s small and still breathing. How could you even think about that?’

‘It’s fresh and it would be better than the frozen ones in galley.’

‘You know what… forget it. I am going to keep it for myself,’ I fought back.

‘What will you do? You are a lacto-vegan,’ he smirked.

‘I will have it as my pet,’ I responded bluntly.

‘What… a pet? Who on earth takes delight in keeping crab as their pet?’

‘Well.. we Indians do,’ I said with complete seriousness. I wondered how this little thing survived the pump impellers. Technically speaking, it should have been crushed by it. It had endured such a harsh environment and passed through all the hindrances for a reason. And definitely the reason wasn’t to be a victual for him.

‘Fine, have you ever thought how you would go ahead?? Do you have any aquarium? BTW, is that a male or female’ he asked.

That’s a tricky question,’ I replied as I ran my fingers over my chin. It was the first time I had a close encounter with a live crab in my life. I took a pen and tried to lift its claw. I wasn’t that familiar with the anatomy of a crustacean. But there were this pair of things (Thought to google it later on) behind its claws, which kept reciprocating vertically in a particular rhythm, and it reminded me the climax of the movie ‘Predator’ because both looked equally disgusting.

Though being a biology student, I couldn’t find anything familiar in its anterior. I thought of looking from its posterior end for any copulatory organ protruding outside. But I immediately changed my mind, when he asked me surprisingly, ‘Hey, are you looking for the thing, what I am thinking?

‘Probably yes,’ I replied casually, ‘Frankly speaking, in India that’s what everyone does to find the gender of a child. Look into the diaper and holla, suspense is disclosed instantly. How things go in your country?

He gave me a weird look and said, ‘Unlike yours, we ask the child’s parent directly.’

I didn’t want to be perceived as a pervert and so I continued, ‘What if parents aren’t around? Anyway, this crab is quite aggressive and it hates me. A perfect distinguishing quality of a woman. So, sighting all the physical attributes, we can conclude with firmness it’s feminine.’

He was about to retaliate my statement but didn’t want to. Instead he said, ‘Forget it…What you going to feed it? Vegetables, leaves…the food of yours? Where and how will you keep it? Will it survive on board the ship?’

His questions were getting on my nerves. I know he was mocking me for my madness. To him, he was just facing the other side of my sanity.
‘You leave that to me,’ I replied back sternly.

I always wanted a pet for myself but never had one before. Whenever I tried raising this topic to my parents, they would shush me away telling, ‘Who will look after it once you are at sea?’ Probably a good question but I had no answer. Though I despised sea animals as they stunk, I saw this as an opportunity to do what I desired. Being honest, I didn’t have a clue or a notion how to go ahead. No plans or a strategy whatsoever.

But, there it was sitting on my desk with its thing reciprocating at a faster rate. Probably, it was giving us signs of its discomfort and frustration in equal proportion. It was almost dinner time. I took an empty transparent bottle of Nescafe Coffee and filled it with seawater. I slowly slid the crab into the bottle and added few sea shells, ensuring a proper ambience for its survival. You see, I wanted my pet to have the best in the world.

I was tired of calling ‘the pet’, ‘my pet’, ‘it’…etc. I seriously needed a name for it. Plenty suggestions flew in. Initially, we thought of naming it as Sophie (Because our ship was inspected by Drug and Narcotics Department in South America and a dog named Sophie accompanied them). But, that name was commonly encountered these days and so we dropped it. As it was found in the sea of Sidi Kerir, we named it Siddy. It was cheesy and though it looked disgusting, its name sounded nice.

I desperately needed a place for Siddy to crash for tonight. I couldn’t keep her in the engine room as it was really noisy. I could not keep her in the galley even because I was sure that would scare the shit out of her, when she sees her cousins being cut, copped, fried, barbequed around her vicinity. So, that night, I took Siddy to my cabin.

I made arrangements similar to that off an actual aquarium. I used my fluorescent table light and focused the beam on the water surface. I added few more shells and little sea weeds (Found in the same filter). The only thing which I lacked was the equipment which supplied air. Instead, I decided to change the seawater every 12 hrs, so that she gets fresh dose of oxygen. Since, I didn’t know what she eats; I fed a few crumbs of bread to her. I expected she would at least move and head towards it. But there wasn’t any movement. Instead, she held on to one of the shells and kept moving around. It was like watching an animal rolling a huge ball in a circus. I added few more crumbs but still there wasn’t any response. But this time, she stopped moving and turned her back at me. I rotated the bottle so that I could see her face. On the contrary, she moved towards right and stepped on to one of the shells and showed her back again. This went on for a while until I gave up.

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‘What the hell is her problem?’ I questioned myself. ‘Do I look that bad? Definitely, she has some serious girl issues.’ It’s a well-known fact that, if you give too much importance to a woman, she takes you for granted. I decided to leave her alone. Let’s see how long she could do that. But I couldn’t sleep the whole night. Instead, I kept checking on her if she was still breathing. My goodness, these crustaceans never sleep. Every time I woke up, I found her eyes wide open and that thing kept reciprocating whenever I neared it. It was indeed a warning as though she was asking me to stay away from her. But I am man and I couldn’t help it.

Due to lack of sleep the previous night, the following day was terrible. Whenever I found time during breaks, I used to spend time with her. But still, she was adamant and never reciprocated any of my taunts. I was getting pissed off actually. So, I googled this… ‘Crustacean and what they love?’ I found what I needed.

I decided to keep her in some place where there was abundant air supply, sea water (so that I can frequently change the water), sunshine and no other human disturbances (I was an exception though). The only place which I found appropriate was near the swimming pool deck, which was quite dormant for a long time. Nobody used it as everyone found a new interest in playing darts and music. I placed the bottle in a comfortable position and this time I fed her few slices of tuna fish. That was the first time I touched a fish in my life. Believe me, she took a piece and minced it slowly. That’s it, this woman like’s food… her biggest weakness.

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I visited her thrice a day and changed the water, fed tuna and rice (though it ate very less) and played around. I know it might sound stupid, but we bonded. Every time I neared her, she would never turn her back at me anymore. It was cool that she was responding now. When I first took her under my care, I wondered if she could survive a day. Now, it’s already a week. Everyone used to ask me how Siddy was doing or what was she eating? All stuffs you know. In short, it became one of our biggest conversations during our break times. She was part of our marine life, not as a food but as a woman. There was a proud feeling. We started speaking about her rather than our machineries. It was the sounds of our laughs which reverberated through the engine control room rather than the sounds of our machinery. Siddy was behind that change. She made us realise the importance of smaller things in life. But on the seventh day, I let her go. I wanted her to go back to where she belonged, return back to her own natural habitat. Who are we to enchain her? Earlier her face looked disgusting but now it showed signs of remorse and that was pitiable.

For a second, imagine earth inhabited with just humans and nothing. When I say nothing, I literally mean nothing else. Believe me; we humans would be bored to death. You would be annoyed of facing people similar to you, walking by your side on a daily basis. You would end up frustrated and lock yourself in a room.  Actually, we all humans have one common personal trait and we call that as ‘Curiosity’… a mere lust for gaining knowledge. This is what that keeps our life interesting and worth living. We are attracted towards things which we haven’t come across our lives and we become curious to know about it. In that whole process, we forget what we have already. We fail to appreciate what little nature has given us. We tend to repent only the day we lose it.

Let it be a leaf or a butterfly, let it be the wave which kisses your foot as you stand near the seashore or the cool breeze which wafts through your hair as it touches your skin, everything has an important role in our life. We just fail to acknowledge its beauty because we are living with it. There is so much happening around us and we let it pass. Just like that.

As of today, I complete my 8 months at sea. I haven’t seen land or went ashore. I had been surrounded by deep blue sea and even now as I write, I can still hear the waves sloshing on the ship side. That’s quite disturbing but that’s the fact. I had just faced humans and nothing else. Same faces, same scorns, same smiles and same old routines… for eight solid months. We are 26 people on board, who are alive in midst of the ocean.

And then the entry of another life, the entry of Siddy, made a huge difference. There was indeed something else living on board the ship other than us. It was no more 26… she was part of our family now. She was the No.27 on the muster list. You wouldn’t have a slightest idea how it feels within. The feeling is way similar to seeing a boat when you are stranded on an island all alone. I think there is one apt word for that feeling – Exuberant.

Though it was for just a week, it was god-gifted. I miss that ugly crustacean and so does everyone. Nobody admits that but I do. I am not sure if she’s alive now, but I hope she is still breathing and rolling a piece of shells somewhere deep down in the ocean.

P.S. I just hope, she is SHE and not HE.

Is Being Sober Really A Crime ?

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On the very first day, as I entered the officer’s lounge, I was astonished by the scene that lay ahead. The usual sullen and gloomy ambience on other ships, here was bustling with flurry of activities. The subdued lit lounge, was carpeted with a velvety and unseamed fabric. A comforting carmine couch rested on top of it, facing a plumping plasma television. The longue itself reverberated with a soft music, played in the background from the speakers, which were in conjunction with the home theatre and karaoke system. What really captivated me, was the shimmering disco light which kept blinkering on and off, revealing the imposingly fashionable bar at the corner, with modernistic swivel chairs around it. The counter manned by one of the officers, exposed an array of alcoholic beverages and fruit cocktails while the rack showcased, variety of glasses ranging from snifter to wineglass, which shined and glimmered in the fairy light. Each and every individual in the room held a drink in his hand. Be it beer, wine or whisky. You name it and they had it. A strong smell of alcohol permeated the whole room.

Being a non-alcoholic, I simpered and quietly headed to the counter for my pineapple virgin cocktail. But these days, my tongue has got a serious liking towards Sprite. They say Sprite eats away your tooth enamel. Don’t know how far it’s true. Anyway coming back to the plot, as I took my first sip, series of questions and comments flew right on my face. Some of them were quite perishing and infuriating. Here goes the awkward list –

1.      Being a mariner, you are non-alcoholic??? Seriously??

Whenever I have uttered these three words ‘I don’t drink’, I would be in the limelight for my entire contract on the ship. They would set everything aside and keep niggling me, giving godly advice on the advantages of drinking.
Please, even I read stuffs and I know what is good for me. At least, I know my organs aren’t dozed with hydrocarbon compounds for sure.

2.      Dude, not even beer?? You must be kidding.

Now, tell me where it is mentioned that beer is not alcoholic. And if it’s not then, why do an individual start stumbling after six or seven beers down his throat. Reason – alcohol. Debate closed!!!

3.      Your life sucks man. You seem to be anti-social.

This comment I often get from people even when I am onshore. Actually, my life is full of promises. I am having fun being a sober. I have my own way of seeing things. If my presence bothers you, I tend to walk out. It doesn’t mean, I am anti-social. It clears defines respecting ones privacy and feelings. At least, I don’t have any hangovers and my sight remains clear unlike you wherein it remains obliterated. I don’t regret doing anything stupid or saying anything absurd as I have complete control of my conscious mind. I pity on you wherein, it’s always me who takes care of you once you drag yourself into an oblivion state.

4.      At least you can have wine. Even girls drink that.

I am sober and if it contains a percentage of alcohol, it’s no to me. If girls have them, it’s their choice.  Women do other stuffs too, do you? I really don’t want to drop a cannon on you here.

5.      You are a disgrace to seafarer community

Bullshit!!! Tell me how; I swear I would quit shipping. In reality, people respect every seafarer on earth for his devoted service to the world without any bias. We are looked upon by the younger generation for our personality enveloped with loyalty and punctuality, for us cruising through rough seas, for our commitment towards work and for being away from our loved ones for the betterment of their living. Now, nobody is proud of us anymore. They live with a strong misconception that every mariner is an alcoholic. Thanks to you for having me linked to your clan of alcoholic seafarers without any fault of mine.  I can’t even justify them because I am completely exhausted in making them realize what the fact is. So in short, who is degrading the marine community??
And the list goes right on, till they lose their consciousness or feel exhausted after hours of carousing.

When it really comes to the alcoholics, they would never capitulate to the philosophy and beliefs of a sober. Instead, they would ask you to consult a psychiatrist. Who needs a doctor is quite an irony here. Sometimes, the convivial atmosphere would turn hostile in no time. That’s when you need to form a mental picture that the person has crossed his endurance limit.

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Now, one has to be extra cautious around such people. The reason is quite obvious. When they are down by one or two drink, they consider themselves as an omniscient people in the room possessing knowledge regarding every subject under the sky.  In fact, the person they are talking to is always wrong and this clearly invites a huge argument to step in. Six to eight drinks down their throat; they push themselves into their illusory world wherein they have an intuition of being the best looking people around. They would dance on their own melodic tune because they think they possess the clock of invisibility. They would sing until their lungs explode and try pestering every individual in their vicinity. This literally provokes anger in the minds of the public. Adding to that, they might puke seldom disturbing the ambience, which would often encourage them to pick up fights with everyone. And when two people argue, whose minds are in irrepressible state, god knows what would be the repercussions.

Now, why I am citing this is, because that’s where people onboard who are sober interferes. They try to settle the dispute because that is the hardest and painful task. I really couldn’t contemplate the real reason behind their consumption of alcohol.  I had often asked them and the only possible response I got is, “Taste it and you will know it”

Sometimes, being among that group, they would often put you in a situation wherein you judge your own instincts and question your own set of beliefs and moral values which you had been clinging around ever since you stepped into this world. Parties and barbeque get-together looks quite impressive but for me, it’s a nightmare. It’s an open invitation to a place where I would be mocked for who am and tantalized for my own self-imposed thoughts. It’s a perennial problem I had been facing since the day I chose merchant navy as my career.
Powerless, I stand there as an accused in their eyes and I often question myself every time I face such rebukes

“Is Being A Sober Really A Crime?”

To be honest, I don’t get offended by them anymore. Now, whenever I face such criticism, the only solution which I found quite promising was :

“Smile And Ignore”

Believe me, it has worked wonders.

P.S. There are many seamen who are sober like me and I have written this post just to erase the misconception that every mariner at sea is an alcoholic.

An Avatar Of Expectation

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It crawled slowly to the heart from my mind,
Deep within it minced my flesh so unkind.
There was no sign of compassion in its eyes,
Since, it was a fiend in disguise.

It budged ahead with a wicked frown,
Sniggered and mangled as it tore down.
I felt a twinge in my body as a whole,
But it wont stop, till it pierced my soul.

I cried for help but found myself alone,
Where were all my Friends I had known.
Depressed and dejected I stood still,
Merciless as it prepared for its next set of thrill.

Was this all for real or my imagination,
As I laid there in complete desolation.
I knew things were wrong within me,
Trembling I faced the stinging bee.

I did recall the delightful past,
Just wondered if the present needed a recast.
Life was lively and filled with great expedition,
But had to sort out this sudden transition.

Had a throng of friends to rely upon,
Would lend me their shoulder right on.
Years had passed and bond lost its flavor,
Everything changed the day I became a sailor.

The devil gave its final strike,
Aghast, I brought it down with my expectations pike.
There it lay with its legs apart,
Lying still with its bleeding heart.

Finally, I gave a serious thought,
For all the things yet to be sought.
Many more would arise from my expectations end,
Beforehand , I have to learn the art to mend.

Feminism – Time To Redefine The Movement

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Thank you for having a look at this post. Unlike other entries of mine, this is not a figment of my imagination. This is something which didn’t just happen. It was a part of me and it had been clinging along, ever since I tried to understand women. Today, I wish to address the whole clan of women, who have always paired with men, in developing a nation as a whole. I am here, to exchange thoughts of every man who shares the same notion as mine with respect to the term Feminism, which is lurking in the irreconcilable minds of today’s younger generation of women. This message is solely directed towards the extremists groups who have radical thoughts regarding manhood. My message below is not intended to affront anyone or any women in particular.

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Respected SHE,

I really didn’t have any other channel or means to start a conversation with you. So, I had to opt for today’s modern communication to get hold of you and share my sentiments and beliefs in regards to your gender.  
Before I elucidate my point and introduce myself, I would like to express my gratitude, for your altruistic service for the development of the nation. You have always played a significant role in the life of a man and for which, I salute you. Who am I? Well, just another human being, who has his heart and brain at the right place.

Whenever I fan the pages of the newspaper every morning, I often find reports and columns explicating and citing violence’s on your kind. It varies from sexual assault, rape, molestation, domestic violence and child abuse. The list never ends.  The media statistics say that for every three minutes, at least one woman is sexually assaulted somewhere in the world. That’s quite outrageous and pitiable. I completely sympathize with my whole heart for you individuals.  I know nothing could be done to bring your life on track after being a victim in such atrocious and satanic incidents. The situation further worsens by the taunts of the society you dwell in. I would certainly run out of words in the effort of providing relief in your affliction. Because whatever I say, will always be short in comparison to the well of tears running down your faces.  The faces, whose souls are completely tattered and ruined to the core and whose eyes, reflect every signs of despair and pessimism. What still remains alive in you is your pumping heart, which is completely engulfed with aggressiveness and hostility. The hatred and detestation towards the men has been piling up one layer after another in every cell of your brain, such that what really echoes in the head of the present generation of your women is feminism.

But what is the term Feminism? Just ask any individual on the streets regarding this. They would give you mixed response, either a strange look or a blank stare. The reason being, nobody knows the real meaning behind it. They just visualize feminist as a group of aggressive women fighting for their rights. Is that really what it is? Maybe even you are confused??

Let me clarify and make it comprehensible for everyone. Back in the early 19th century, a group of educated women down in the west ran a campaign against the government for women suffrage, right for land and to bring reforms in both economic and political life. That what little started by the group of feminist, has completely changed the face of womanhood all over the world, be it politics or science or technology. But you have a different perception regarding the term feminism. Being frank, you people don’t understand the real phenomenon behind it.

Few people do believe feminism is good and should be supported. That includes me even. Yes, I am feminist because I believe in equality. Being egalitarian is being feminism by nature. I support equal rights for everyone and there shouldn’t be any bias based on sex gender.  This humanism is what feminism should be. I presume you would have read or listened to the speech of Emma Watson, the Britain girl, at the UN headquarters. She has been named as an ambassador for a campaign supporting feminism wherein, she clearly explained every bit of the present situation circling among men and women. If you haven’t listened, I kindly request you to do that in the first place. 

Back in elementary school, if a boy led a class, he is respected and everyone walks hand in hand with him. But, if a girl is asked to lead them, believe me that would raise many eyebrows. The boys consider this as a demotion and far below their dignity to even listen to her. Such sexism inculcates the seeds of feminism in the innocent minds of the girls. That’s where the feminism starts. That’s where gender equality is questioned. That’s where one has to fight against such ridicule. Sexism at the foundation level??… That’s quite miserable and unfortunate. Imagine this spreading at the global stance. I certainly fight for this cause and even you should fight for that.

But in reality, what you project in the public is just misandry. Problems can only be solved by looking into all the options and sharing opinions with the government. Instead, you just rant and complain rather than actively bring the cause into effect. You tend to flaunt your aggressiveness and bluster your power among us. You unknowing or knowingly send an “Anti-Men” message to all the people. Because of you, the younger generation has listed Men as their biggest turn off. I sternly request you not to stereotype men. If a person is nice to you or pleases you, it doesn’t mean, he wants to have a glimpse of what lies underneath your skirt. It doesn’t mean, he wants to get into your pants at the end of the day. I don’t want to be hypocrite here. Yes, we men are quite intriguing sometimes. We are often attracted to things which we don’t possess. But, it doesn’t mean, we are desperate and dangerously violent. It doesn’t mean we are just alive to hit on you. We surely have better things to do rather than gaze at the bodily things which infants have access to. We are trying to rise in every aspect of our live coequally with you. We just need you to trust us. The movement of feminism was actually established to put an end to gender inequality. But I have seen many women degrading your own gender. So, tell me, seriously, how you could expect us to be feminist when you aren’t. 

I have met some feminist who led their group effectively solving issues of the today’s generation ranging from women social welfare, child care, reforms in laws and safety on streets etc. But there are few groups, who just targets men and pulverize the harmony prevailing in the society. Let’s assume, a woman had a consensual sex with her male colleague. After a certain rift at a workplace, they stopped speaking to each other. Adding to his dismay, she takes revenge on him and files a case in the court for molestation and rape against him. In majority, the verdict will always be in favor of the women because the court doesn’t take any risk of the repercussions that might follow in giving a wrong judgment. Clearly, I don’t see any justice in that. Even the law and order in the country seemed to be compromised. There are other examples similar to this, covering the cases of alimony after dissolution of a successful marriage. Your mere hate campaign has shadowed our existence. Today we walk in fear as well. Even we are sexually abused. But those things doesn’t find its way to the surface. We both have our own share of problems. We need to walk hand in hand and support each other rather than defaming and mortifying one another. You might find my above statement as illogical. But, if we don’t draw in proper conclusion… a mutual solution, problems will keep accreting and piling up on the desk, as a series of unsolved issues in someone’s office. 

So, I really want you to contemplate on this ongoing issue. You have to direct your group to accomplish something good for the world. I have found the difference and I kindly request you to instill the same thoughts and bring the change for the betterment of the future generation, right from the elementary school. Let’s not worry about the community who is restraining our movement and dampening our spirits. Let’s rise against them, together as a team. Let’s not support Patriarchy or Matriarchy, let’s believe in being egalitarian. I have written the above message in different states of mind. Yes, I am furious, dejected and I am in sorrow as I have lost someone really precious. But I have written this in complete conscience.

The whole debate ends up in one single question now. Are you ready to fight for the cause in each other’s company? Or you still want to be on the other side of the wall ranting about your problems. Standing at the edge,it’s finally on you to decide… either to put a full stop or a comma to all this menace.

Yours Sincerely,
HE.

Introversion

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Life is really difficult being alone,
But its quite easy to be unknown.
Walking on a path that leads nowhere,
Living on a corner in complete despair.

Curbing yourself in your own nut-shell,
Oh, it just feels like dwelling in a hell.
Avoiding everyone of your age,
Believe me, you should choose a squirrel cage.

Withdraw yourself from being reserve,
Thrash the bondage if you got a nerve.
Times running and before it chokes you,
Open up with others if you have to.

Learn the art of mingling around,
Before you find your ship aground.
Screw your thoughts and stop being shy,
Jump in the air and give a hi-five.

Stop being timid and an introvert,
Life is fresh in the world of an extrovert.
This is what I wanted to convey,
Life is lively if you think the other way.

P.S. I dont feel being an introvert is deplorable. But taking into consideration of my profession as a seafarer, it is. It may not be applicable to everyone else. I am no way near mortifying the clan of introverts because I am one among you guys.

The White Caps and Blue Stripes

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Few months back, on August 15, as everyone back in India were busy commemorating The Indian Independence, I along with my other fellow Indians were completely socked in sweat after a tight schedule in Galveston port in United States. But, as soon as we completed the loading of our oil cargo, we decided to celebrate the Indian Independence in a distinctive fashion (Yeah of course at sea). So post lunch, we had a small get-together (Filipino and Indonesian crew too joined us ). It was followed by hoisting of Indian-flag on the mast, and then sounding of the general alarm which reverberated with seven short and long blast across the seas. Soon the national anthem was played on the speakers. Though everyone dwelled from different countries, the pride with which they sung the song was quite admirable and pleasing. Later, we had a group shot of our team and I thought that’s it. But, there was a surprise party organized by the Galley Department which was preceded by a session for the cadets. They were asked to give a speech on the topic

Life Of A Seafarers

I still remember the day back at my college, when I was asked to give a power point presentation in a seminar, conducted by the Institute Of Marine Engineers on the eve of Independence Day. All the colleges from Chennai, India were asked to represent one candidate for the same. To be frank, that would be my first presentation in front of a huge gathering. My preparation was not best in any way, but I felt it was fair enough to compete. And when the day arrived, to my dismay, I was scheduled to the last spot in the group to present it. The presentation started with a female candidate. She was stunningly beautiful. I really wondered what made her join the seas. She was everyone’s attention for the whole 20 min. Even I was mesmerized by the way she spoke. Later, other presentation followed one by one. To my surprise, though the presentation had a common title to speak about, the same words were used again and again, but in a different sequence. Moreover my presentation was post lunch. I saw that the judges were losing interest and the audience were bored to the core. In the front seat, my college Principal kept gazing at me and asked if I could crack it. I was sure nervous, but I assured him I could handle the pressure. I knew if I give the presentation on what I had prepared, everyone would fall asleep including me. So I changed the whole content of my presentation at the last moment, but kept the slides of my power point same. And once I was on the podium and displayed this picture on the screen (the one below), all eyes widened. I knew I had got everyone’s attention and from that moment, there was no turning back. I started the speech clearly explaining my experience as a third year student, and added few funny incidents back at my college to provoke laughter, and kept the audience fresh and ecstatic. To my surprise, when I ended it,there was a huge applause and it was considered as the best closing presentation. My eyes welled up with tears but I managed to smile. The female candidate rose from her seat and appreciated me for stealing her show. Later my entire speech was featured in the “The Hindu” Indian newspaper. It was a moment of pride for my college, which was then considered as a small fish in the market. But after that, the whole scenario changed.

Cited down below is my speech as I remember it.

The White Caps and Blue Stripes

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There was a sudden bang on my door ,and then followed the sound of whistle. And from somewhere a boisterous voice echoed in my ears.

Roll-call, Everyone muster in the parade ground. Fast”, howled the crooked warden.

I was still half –asleep but I got up very next instant when I heard the second thud on the door. I rushed towards the parade ground. The warden counted the heads with the aid of senior cadet captains and we were dispersed to continue for sports. I just strolled around, thinking about how I landed here in this academy midst different rules, norms and plenty of regulations. I just swayed my mind to recall when I was made a part of this cetacean family of sailors – “ The Great Mariners ”. I remembered a small incident, which took place in my childhood days.

During my kindergarten days in school, we used to sit on benches rather than tables and chairs. The front rows were occupied by boys and the rear ones by girls as we boys were considered to be scalawag. But I used to sit only in last row and get engrossed with girls when the teachers used to take classes regarding rhymes and poems. But I still do remember a segment of a well-known poem, which is stated as follows: –

“ Deep blue sea with rushing waves in it,
Deep blue sea with wandering ships in it,
Deep blue sea with tiny and big fishes in it,
Deep blue sea with seagulls flying above it,
Deep blue sea is a fabulous and admirable gift of god.”

There were many chapters briefing about the well-known navigators, explorers etc round the world. The best example is Columbus.

Initially, the sea was a mysterious element to me, to be watched from a distance, from the security of solid land under ones feet. City slickers might denigrate sea as “KALA PANI (Black Water)” but for those who love nature, there is plenty to admire. It was love for adventure and outside that drew me towards merchant navy.

I thought sailing was a pastime for business tycoons lazing around onboard luxurious yachts, but after joining the marine academy it was a real eye opener. For an introvert and shy person like me, pursuing this career was like being carried in a whirlwind. But I did join the academy with some anxiety and tension hoping the transition from civilian way of life to that of a marine engineer would be smooth one. But I was wrong from the beginning.

As a first year cadet, everything seemed to be complicated, awkward and yes sometimes amusing. Getting up early in the morning, running rounds and rounds around the parade ground wearing those half pieces of clothes provided by academy and what they call as P.T Rigs. If u skip, the crooked wardens would hound you. And finally follows the systematic routine provided by the management over here.

But as the days passed, the tough mountain became a tame hill. Many times I was homesick and unsteady. Recurring memory of my parents and family was too much to bear, but these words kept me strong. The words on the notice board in our academy read: –

When you have the attitude to excel,
Every race ends in victory.”

These words often helped me face the hardships of training, to keep myself motivated, when the odds were stacked against me or when the going got really tough, and only my will to succeed propelled me forward.

When I entered the third year, I slowly understood what is truth. The navy is an institution of learning. From the cadet’s time, till the day one hangs up ones uniform, the ever-changing nature of a seafarer’s life is an ongoing education in handling people and gaining knowledge in handling situations.
“ Men — the one with whom you sink or swim — who look to u for guidance in moments of crisis and whose actions or lack of action can spell difference between success or disaster at sea. It’s all about discipline — abiding to certain rules and norms of social life. Discipline is vital to a successful mariner. Without this even the army is reduced to a disorderly mob.

Many people join this field as handsome salaries allure them, but they never think about the tedious and rough conditions ahead. The mere result is —-ending up working onshore. They enter the field with great ecstasy, but as the time follows, they seemed to be lost. What I say is “don’t give up”. You need to steel your heart, and resolve to keep in touch with your fellow mariners, and cross all the hurdles and obstacles. This field helps in building up our courage, resilience and would most importantly the spirit of teamwork. This field also enables us close to the elements of nature. The path ahead is long and tough and you need miles to go to succeed and to become a good marine officer. Always keep in thought: –

“The sea looks lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
Miles to go before I sleep.”
(My sincere apologies to Robert Frost)

And from somewhere again the same old boisterous voice echoed in my ears and soon followed the sound of whistle.
Time for bath. Get ready for dinner. Fast”, howled the crooked warden.

My Debut Entry

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For past one hour, I had been gazing at my computer screen with my mind running in an idle mode with endless ideas regarding

“ What should be my first post? ”

Should it be something unique or just an article as usual. In order to save time, which I was indeed wasting it, I made small hints of my first entry in note pad of mine which I usually carry along with me. But to my dismay, nothing was working out for me. I just scrunched the paper of my pad into a ball and heaved it at the only dustbin lying in my room. I had been doing this repeatedly.

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But they say a successful writer needs to invent characters to make his story original and let the characters determine the other half of the story. But in my case, there was neither a story to scribble nor any characters to play the rest of the part. I knew I was getting to a dead-end.

I thought a small break would indeed help me out. I left everything and decided to take a walk.

After hours of strolling, I have decided to start my blog with a mere introduction of myself. How a book starts from a prologue and I wished my blog should start with an introduction to my readers.

So here it goes. My name is G Rahul Rathi. By profession I am a marine engineer, but I have landed my shoes in various fields including graphic designing. My parents each of them had some different plans for me. One had a desire to see me as a software engineer and the other a doctor. But I myself never knew what my goal was until I met one of my friend who guided me towards merchant navy.

Writing had been my favourite hobby all through my college days. I had been an introvert and I always preferred books as my closet friend as it neither complained nor argued and let anyone engulf in them completely without any bias, such that one forgets himself and his immediate surroundings.
I have planned to write on anything which pleases my mind. I hope you readers will definitely drop by in near future to see what’s happening on my side. I would really love to see your comments on my post and if am wrong at any part of my content, I would appreciate your help to give me corrective suggestions on the same.

Thank you for dropping by.

P.S. Will try my best to upload my original pictures rather than downloading it from online.