This year I had some interesting walks.
Three regions where I walked were –Rishikesh-Landour region of Garhwal in spring, in Toronto-Niagara region in Fall and in Istanbul-Konya region in beginning of winter.
SPRING…ALONG THE GANGA
Walks along the river Ganga have been part of a family tradition. Walking beyond the suspension bridges of Laxman Jhula, Ram Jhula, returning to attend the evening aarti at Sri Paramarth Ashram was a different experience from the walks in Fall which I would take later in the year. Writing to a friend now in Malta, got a cherished letter in which he remembered such trips to the Ganga as a child. Walks around Rajaji national park region make for many intimate memories, our family having been associated with this area for several decades.
The Mussoorie-Landour area have a distinct difference in culture, and the feel of the Raj days, stories of the haunted Savoy, or walks in Landour to the Kellog Memorial church(established 1903) gave a different flavor of the mountains.
FALL..GARDEN SOCIETIES OF TORONTO
Many lovely hours spent in Weston family library of Toronto Botanical Gardens , located in Edwards gardens made me familiar with evolution of thoughts concerning the garden societies.
The Burra charter of 1999 – groups and individuals with associations with a place as well as those involved in its management should be provided with the opportunity to contribute to and participate in understanding the cultural significance of the place.
The difference between the manicured Edwards gardens and the adjoining Wilket Creek park which preserves the natural contours is an illustration of different approaches to conservation.
READINGS IN PARKS
Till the weather allowed, spent long hours reading in the gardens. Nadine Gordimer’s –Burger’s daughter, read in Betty Sutherland trail, sifting through the nuances of the struggle against apartheid. Can a white man have an ideology which will make him the supporter of the black cause? The personality of Lionel Burger came through in different ways, through the experiences of his daughter. Loosely based on the life-family of Bram Fischer the novel is described as the most moving and political of Gordimer’s works.
Before submitting the manuscript to her publisher, Gordimer gave it to Fischer’s daughter, Ilse Wilson (née Fischer) to read, saying that, because of connections people might make to her family, she wanted her to see it first. When Wilson returned the manuscript to Gordimer, she told the writer, “You have captured the life that was ours.”
After Gordimer’s death in July 2014, Wilson wrote that Gordimer “had the extraordinary ability to describe a situation and capture the lives of people she was not necessarily a part of”. (Wikipedia)
The tombs of Jalaludin Rumi, Shams of Tibriz in Konya, Anatolia, Turkey were a place for pilgrimage in the early winter months. The association of Rumi and Shams is one of the most fascinating in spirituality. Walked through the city of Konya, in night (having missed the train at Pendlik-Istanbul, only to catch the next one-3 hours later) and in the day time, going through the different museums and dioramas created by the museum curators.
Seeing the traditional musical instruments brought back memories of similar performers in Balkans. The history and culture of Anatolia and Balkans is intricately linked with many connections through the generations.
The trips also made me further the concept of Retreat. Dividing themes into three lines-personal, family, professional, one can try to see indepth some aspect of one’s life. Caught in the day-to-day routine, one does not get this chance. Association with persons like Rumi encourage one to keep a spiritual diary. Thinking through concepts of aesthetics, education, and spirituality, in the context of scholars like Rumi, made me think of the non-profits which have become a very big employer in the advanced world. (will elaborate on this concept further –based on readings of Peter Drucker and Bob Buford)
Taking walks, reading in parks, trips, and maintaining journals based on these have enriched my life in many ways. Looking back on 2014, I remember these fondly.
Other blogs of interest
2008 Theater Manoel
2009 Museum Imaging
2010..Walks in Malta Again
2011 Year end diary
Writing workshops with Mayank
Walks by Alaknanda
What is Satsang
2012..Father’s day walk
Remembering George Eliot