Ledge to blue

Can life ever be a straight line? We’re born. We die. And in between, we walk the line. Tell me about that line.”

Ledge to blue

This photograph was taken on the heavenly islands of the Maldives. Sitting on the shore, surrounded by expanding shades of blue and turquoise, there was nothing but the sound of the wind brushing the sand.

Serenity at its best.

In the midst of the comfort of tranquility and uniformity, I spotted this ledge. It jutted out from the scene – an invitation of sorts to the clear shallow waters.

It was deserted.

It was old.

It was broken, and it broke the simplicity of the scene. It seemed out of place.

Who would place a ledge there? And for what purpose?

Was this a different scene altogether from many years ago? Perhaps the water was not so level with the land then, as it is now. Perhaps this ledge was part of something bigger, and now it was all that remained of a buried history. Had it been witness to trials and tribulations? Had it lived a life rich with adventure of people that had traversed its surface? Or had it simply been recently put together haphazardly and placed there just to give this scene some disorder?

It was hard to tell. My thoughts wandered, yet it still felt like it had stories to tell if it could speak. A scene like this, screaming at me to be captured, usually means that in my heart, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Maybe not so immediately. And so, I trusted my instincts and took it away with me, waiting for the reason to reveal itself to me in time.

I think of our ups and downs. Our turning points. The experiences that break us and make us. The people whom we meet. The people we become in the end.

We are works in progress. Right until the very end. And there is always a million stories within us, from the moment that we are born, until the day that we move on. Every moment tells a story, for every single one of us.

Turbulence comes with the ticket to life. There is no straight line.

This ledge was symbolic to me. It created a sense of uneasiness.

Who would choose to walk this ledge to get to the calm of the blue when you could sink your feet in the sand, abundant all around, in a more pleasurable route to the water?

Yet some of us do. Our motivations may differ. Boredom. Curiosity. Circumstances. Self-discovery. Adventure. Pick one or add your own to the list.

We choose the road less travelled. We choose the hard way. We choose to challenge the status quo. We want to see and discover. We seek to learn. The destination may be the same, but we always learn something new along the way.

And so, when I look at this scene, I am reminded that sometimes, to truly appreciate the fresh, crisp, thrist-quenching water, we have to have the courage to walk the line. The unsteady, wavering and sometimes shaky line. We know the cliché that it’s the journey that counts, not the destination. It just makes the destination all that more meaningful.

What do you see when you look at this scene?

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Bursting with colour


There it was in the middle of a blanket of green, bursting with colour. 

Bursting with possibility, opportunity and life. 

A small bud that would very soon bloom into a gorgeous flower. The beginning of a journey of a short life nevertheless, the beginning was passionately colourful in sight and character. 

This shot made me think of all the opportunities that present themselves to us within a short time. When time is tight and the potential is huge, how good are we at making the most of what we are able to do within that time. 

When time is short and the end is certain, does that mean that it’s not worth exploring, creating and achieving? Do we end up doing a half-hearted job, not giving it our all, maybe not doing at all. Sitting back and waiting or maybe just wasting the minutes away with mindlessness and empty promises of tomorrow. 

I may be guilty of all of this. Yet this bud invited me to contemplate on its existence. 

A sharp contrast of yellow in a common overarching green. Its personality shining through already. A promise that it would be the best it could and that it is already on that path. A raw energy of positive ambition that it would be, that it would see the light and shine with beauty as it was designed to do. 

I could see, lying subtly within, what would become the filaments of the flower. I could see the bundled-up petals that would soon unfurl into delicate shades and hues. I likened it to a baby or a child, full of hidden talents, developing as it grows, flourishing and blooming into a beautiful adult. Revealing its magic at every stage. Thriving and bringing happiness, beauty and hope to the world, just like this bud, that stood strong, satisfied and solo. 

What do you see when you look at this scene?

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Left Behind

Left Behind

There are two ways of looking at this photo. Look at it for a moment and let your mind wander. Where do you find yourself? 

The scene was deliberately choreographed. The blur was intentional. The monotone was effectual. 

It’s a bit like that social experiment of whether you think that a glass of water is half-filled or half-empty, isn’t it. Even the title of this photo can be a little misleading. It could go either way. 

Do you see – feel – solitude and desertion? Or do you feel the exhilaration of adventure and hope? 

I’ll tell you the story from both angles and I’ll leave you to decide which one you want to go with today. No matter which one you choose, it’s a fact of life that sadness and happiness, together make a full circle. 

These slippers belong to two people you may have known, who are no longer with us. They might have left unexpectedly, without warning, in a hurry. Deserted the scene. Abandoned life altogether. All we have left of them is the memory of their footprints. The marks that they left in our hearts and souls. It’s only then that we tend to truly appreciate their value and what they honestly meant to us. It’s part of human nature that we constantly struggle to overcome, to appreciate what we have at hand and not take anything or anyone for granted. Life is short, often unexpectedly short, especially to those who mean so much to us. We have a persistent snapshot in our minds of our time with them. And we keep recalling them, fixating on them over and over again, fearful that the blur in the snapshot takes over and we lose sight of their value, their connection, them altogether. Left behind. That’s what we leave behind. The mark we make, the memories we shared and the feelings we evoked. 

Look again. 

This time, look differently. 

These slippers were left behind by two adventurers, who didn’t care less about taking the weight of the world with them. Their mantra – travel light, explore hard and learn from new experiences. Barefoot and carefree, diving (literally) into a new world. Seeing what others are afraid to see makes them grow in spirit and mind. Diving deep into the ocean, they experience a wonderful world of sea life. They are not gone for long, physically, but they are transported to another level metaphorically. When the mind is more concerned about expanding and growing, the material world becomes a blur. The slippers represent materialism, and to leave that behind, takes courage and a bold sense of adventure in order to survive. These slippers are testament to their sense of survival, surging through the road less travelled mindfully in order to leave a positive mark in this world. There is no sadness here, just elation in searching and finding true happiness in what life is really all about. Rising above all that weighs them down and prevents them from reaching their true potential.

Which story will you choose today?

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The contrast of colour in this shot is extraordinary. Loud, overarching and explosive red against a placid and subtle quiet of the almost colour-less sand. Yet the petals of the flower are gentle and captivating. The tiny specks of sand on some of the petals give a sense of connection and acceptance between them. 

This photo is an encapsulation of love. 

It can look and feel overpowering at first but once you get to look closer, the familiarity that reigns within a few seconds, tones down the madness. Contrasts and opposites live within love. 

A boldness in emotion and a gentleness in expression. A scary but comforting notion. 

Bewilderment that goes hand in hand with familiarity. 

Fast-paced and slow. 

Highs and lows. 

Excitement and monotony. 

Just think of any way that you would describe love, and instantly you will find that the opposite applies too. 

Petals sheltering sand granules. Protection and nurturing in the heart of nature. 

This photo expresses different types of love. Romantic passion. Parental nurturing. Familial protection. Friends connecting. Humanity. 

Then there are other loves. An outwardly greater love that goes beyond us. A love for notions and ideals. A love for the inanimate. A love for a good cause. And the greatest love of all, a love for God. 

Love is much deeper than just the romantic kind. 

We all have people (and animals for some of us) in our life who care about us and whom we care about in return, but there is also a much greater love. Think about that for a second. The joy in being able to experience happiness is love granted to us unconditionally. And with love comes gratitude which brings with it more love. It’s an endless beautiful cycle.

A deep velvet red that evokes warmth and harmony. A shade that can come across as bold and uncaring, in fact brings with it a sense of celebration and joy, against the soft and calming nature of the sand. The privilege in being able to experience and capture this shot in itself is an expression of love.

When you look at this photo which type of love do you see? 

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Red flower on sand


Bare bones

Bare Bones

Reunion (true story) – 

I glimpsed a stonewashed picture
of a once youthful you,
in my mind’s eye,
from very long ago,
trying to gather steady form,
to the soundtrack of my stable pace,
your image trying hard to subsist,
in full-form and all its detailed glory,
despite the prevailing buildings and cars speeding by –
distractions amiss. 

When there ahead of me,
with not another in sight,
your figure looming,
looking straight at me,
and me at you,
my pace slackening,
and your timeworn depiction –
now ageless momentarily –
came hurtling back at me,
in a sepia-transformed presence and
a tunnel-visioned reality of
a surreal melting of buildings and vehicles
our footsteps stop.
Our eyes lock.
Our paths meet.
And here we are once again. 

In a moment, things can change from vivid colour to clear-cut laser-focused black and white. It’s like having x-ray vision and you can see the bare bones of reality. The past merges into the present and a full, comprehensive picture is formed. Have you ever been in that situation? Compare a snapshot of a memory to something you encounter today, whether it be a person or a place. If you’re lucky it will feel like a new dimension suddenly appears before you. It gives depth and makes all the pieces to a puzzle come together. It all falls into place and makes sense. Most times, however, we’re not so fortunate.

But it’s like a magical momentous opportunity when it does happen. And it allows you to experience a surrealism that can’t be explained.

I met a very old friend recently whom I hadn’t seen from a lifetime ago. Think quarter of a century ago. Our reunion was exactly how I described at the start of this post. I was attending a work event to which I knew she was also going to be there but I hadn’t spoken or seen her since our university days long long ago. My friend was exactly how I remembered her. She hadn’t changed a bit. If nostalgia can be personified, this was it. Not only did it bring back pleasant memories of carefree days, it helped me remember how I was back then. It was an honest recollection of a trueness to me, which makes it all the more meaningful if the other person remembers you too as you were back then.

X-rays reveal another dimension to our existence. Our bones are essentially the mechanics that keep us going. We keep on moving and relying on these fascinating mechanisms that we take for granted. And in the midst of the multitudes of shades and shadows of colour and hues, its fitting that x-rays are in black and white, revealing our bare bones in all honesty and simplicity. Just like a reunion reveals it all in an instant. It either all makes pleasant sense with a familiarity that brings nostalgia and joy or else it ends up being an unnecessary confusion to an altered sense of reality.

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