O mangiar questa minestra o saltar questa finestra

There’s no word that can express the feeling when our train reached at the shore. It’s amazing how one can travel via road, rail and through water.
We reached and took the tickets for the ferry to come so we can reach our hotel in Venice.
It was happiness across as I have this childhood connection with Venice through this bollywood song from the movie The Great Gambler, where there are lyrics in Italian expresses love for his lover and very beautifully this song is composed and in my mind every minute this song was playing.
Don’t they say always keep a song in heart? I was happy in my own way inside me.
Going around places, and watching every bit of it as everything has a connection… And the Venice Grand Canal was the one which took my heart, the bridge of sighs, St. Mark’s square, Doges palace… If I don’t share that song here then this post is incomplete.
Listen to this song and feel what’s Venice is about through my eyes…https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=waeAGdCvJd8
And for those who don’t understand the lyrics, believe me love doesn’t need a language, you will get it…!
We were guided by Andre who received us from the port and walked us to the hotel room, explained everything but we were not listening to him completely as we just got distracted with our room, the windows showing the narrow streets and the close neighborhood, all this brought happiness and we just said addio to Andre as he left.
Everyone took a shower and changed to go for a dinner. We realized it was 8 pm and some of the shops closes at 10 or 11 and so we started going around to see where we can eat. It was interesting as one wants to eat but at the same time look for more options of restaurants and time was something that was running too.
We finally decided to check in to one which was going to be closed in 30 minutes and when we checked they welcomed us. We all were really feeling very comfortable and happy at Venice. You really don’t need much to be happy it’s all in your mind.
After a delicious dinner we started walking around… My Moon was blooming with love and I couldn’t stop gazing at him until we decided it’s late, let’s go to our room.
The interesting part was that these streets are like a maze, you get lost easily and what I heard from others also is that they all had experienced once getting lost in this maze.
Finally we figured out but learnt a lesson, specially me who made sure the address is well captured on Google maps and thanks to my phone that helped all the time to reach places no matter what.
Next day we planned for the gandola ride and we had decided we will take in the evening when the sun is calmer and still up. During the day we went around the palace, and it was so hot that we didn’t feel any guilt in having gelatos every now and then.
And when in the evening we sat on the boat which you might have seen in the song above, exactly those moments were lived and mesmerized!
I think no matter how many pictures we took and how many times I looked around, I always felt it’s less! I also sang that movie song, because that’s how much it’s in my system. You only need music, and love that too if people can appreciate and enjoy in that moment.
Sailing in the boat, the boatman gave us the tour of places and showed us the house where Marco Polo lived and how that later got converted to an auditorium… And the market place where entire town comes to purchase their daily groceries… I talked to him about the bollywood movie and before I could say much he said I know that movie and have watched 300 times because that’s the only movie that has Venice for so long… I am sure the song shows the Venice and the boatman which he always relates to himself probably and he said he loved the jazz music… There you go another one who got connected due to music even though he doesn’t understand the language… We reached the shore as we were ending our ride and with a group picture we said addio to him!
As we were walking by at the St. Mark square my 12 year old felt like giving me a rose. It’s amazing how kids as they are growing what all goes into their mind which tells that they are growing and how they are coping with the changes…! It was a sweet gesture and I will remember this life long. Don’t they say a boy’s first lover, friend and mentor is his mother 💕! Anyway I cherished that moment and captured in my heart and camera 😊.
We had our dinner at Marco Polo restaurant, it was interesting and cozy small place and what caught my eye was that people visited from all around and they left a currency with their names on it with them which was displayed on the ceiling…
I kinda liked that gesture… With a satisfying dinner we came back to room and packed as next morning we were supposed to leave though our flight from Marco Polo airport to Frankfurt was around 7:30 pm.
We woke up easy and had late breakfast and went to see the bridges of sighs and spent little time and planned to catch the ferry to Marco Polo airport. It was an hour to reach but the ride was like a roller coaster ride with bumpy ride ..
but at the same time leaving this place was  somewhere making me a bit sad, I guess it’s always a bitter sweet experience when you love a place and you’re leaving because you were only a visitor here!
Senza tentazioni, senza onore!
~ Dawn
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Oh venvia!

After a hectic time in Rome with 90+ degrees, we planned to come to Florence via train. It was interesting as early morning we got ready and went in a taxi which was sent to us via some friends that we met in Rome. Social media doesn’t only create chaos and hatred but it also brings people together.

These friends suggested this taxi and the taxi guy was a nice guy and as part of his 20 years being in Rome he had some advice to give it to us while we travel in train.
After listening to his stories and alerts, I literally felt how can one travel peacefully if all the time you have to keep an eye on people as anyone can come push up, snatch your bag and run away…! As a mother of a 12 year I was more worried for my son as he is a carefree person and moreover he believes everyone is good and there’s no one in this world who is bad guy because bad guys are only in movies according to him.
Somehow, we reached station and said addio to the driver and checked for our train timings and decided to quickly grab breakfast as we had sometime before catching our train to Florence.
After breakfast, it was kind of relief when we sat in our seats. The main question that was bothering for all of us was about the room… How will this one be?

We reached Florence, a small beautiful and tidy city. You can feel the ancientness as you walk around… The roads made out of stone, the narrow buildings with huge wooden doors and when you open that door you will find many families living inside that door in different apartments. Amazing way, it reminded me of houses in Punjab villages. Anyhow, we had time to check in hence we kept our luggage at the office and walked around the city with the map. It was amazing how there were churches, cathedrals and monuments all around the city with restaurant and gifts shops and I see cops all around.
One thing I loved about this place is that they didn’t change anything about their city, yet they have all the brand name clothing and fashion designer shops for everything you can think of. This city has not lost its authenticity with shopping malls and I think that’s a blessing!
It was amazing that we were welcomed with a band that was marching with everyone in their costume and getting into the cathedral, I loved it but only worried for them with costumes in this heat…!
We had gelatos and went around the cathedral and the Duomo. Everywhere it’s long lines and here we decided not to get in. I think the most we walked around in Florence and that was 6.9 miles. When you’re tired the food tastes good and you’re ready to eat big meal too..! One thing I have to admit that Pasta, Pizza all tastes so good as compared to US.

We happened to meet someone from India and as we discussed how they came here and what work they do, all that discussion brought us close enough that the person came with us to show places and because of them we were able to use the public transportation as well.

Florence, we had a full day and next day till 5 pm as we had plans to leave for Venice.
It was a long walk, talk and hopping on the bus until we figured the last stop was the Michelangelo’s hill.

It was like a festival there, people gather there to see the entire town of Florence with live music on one side and shopkeepers on the other with duplicate brand name leather bags, art related things for selling… And the main attraction being Michelangelo’s statue itself where people have queued up to take pictures.
We had our time too and enjoyed the view and the music!

Finally we decided to return back when we were invited for dinner and guess what the food was traditional Kerala food, it was beyond amazing! We were satisfied fully with their hospitality and love.
It was an amazing night that turned into next day already when we left for our room. All night I was thinking about the person as how they came to Italy from India, what work they were doing, helping and doing all kinds of jobs and then now as home nurse, taking care of some big shot Grandma who’s alone and is suffering from Alzheimer, but Govt appointed them to take care of the Grandma…! All these put me in thoughts about Grandma and her life and then this new person we met his life…! It’s really strange where you’re born and where you end up when you grow up and whom you take care of in old age..? Nothing is planned for anyone, it’s destiny!

All this and next day we got up to see Leaning Tower of Pisa. This was an amazing train ride watching the sunflower farming land and the houses which one cannot differentiate between India and Italy…! It was interesting when we were going in the train there were seats in such a way that we split sitting two each on different areas and suddenly a gentleman who was sitting alone in a section of four asking us to take that seat so we four can sit together. It was really a nice gesture, because one doesn’t have to… But then he said Namaste and nicely moved to opposite side of the seat!

The Pisa tower was amazing as once you read the history about it and how due to its unstable foundation the tilt happened then you’ll only say thank God for the gravity that they fixed so it didn’t fall…! It was scroching heat and yet like everyone we also tried pictures that would show as if we’re touching the tower or correcting it!!!😅

Return from Pisa was and then a satisfying lunch gave us our energy back as we had enough time to catch our train to Venice.

I was ready to say addio to Florence a beautiful city just like it’s meaning, like a flower🌺.
Beautiful memories with beautiful people, don’t know when I will come next but carrying all the love and gratitude in my heart 💕🙏!

~ Dawn

Crepi lupo!

Paris fever was not down yet when we landed in Rome. It’s hot, when I say that it means it’s hot as if you’re in the oven and yet you’re dripping wet with sweat.

Our experience with bed and breakfast was way different than what I had experienced long back in 2000 when I did the UK trip. It’s an apartment and each room is given to individuals. There’s no breakfast by the way, it’s just that you get beds to sleep and common bathroom to use. Now this comes interesting if you were not told about this, obviously one wouldn’t book if that was known earlier. Something to be aware for next time.
When the bed and breakfast was like this, the view on Rome or rather I should say Italy was way different because now mind is trapped with judgement. Anyway I even went as far as thinking about Sonia Gandhi, the former Congress President of India, as it was her place and this is how she must have lived and what not.

We got out to walk around and eat, it was good. This place looked like India. My kids were surprised as they even kept saying it smells like India…! Well what do you think of Europe? It’s not all that heaven. But I truly feel that we are spoiled in North America and probably our expectations around the world too. May be that’s why people don’t like North Americans unless you’re from Canada!
One thing we figured out Rome is for Romans, the believers. It was good to go on the guided tours to understand the history of Rome, and that rivalry, slavery, women as second or third class category, it all make sense that we have not changed even though a lot has changed for people from then to today!
I wish it was a bit cooler and less crowded, but at this time it’s only a wish.

People didn’t seem all that friendly and I felt may be that’s because of certain place that I stayed or people don’t smile at tourists? In bocca Al lupa!
Three nights we spent here and we visited Colesseum, couple of churches, Vatican museum. In fact I walked through those 14 steps on my knees where Jesus Christ walked when he was crucified on the cross.
We had an amazing experience of meeting a malayali family who invited us to their home, rather the person’s brother came all the way to escort us knowing we are new in town.
This trip also helped understanding how people migrate to Italy, in what conditions and circumstances, what kind of jobs they do and how they survive at one place with multiple families living together to save money and look forward for a better future.
Some still have that pride of living in Roman Catholics country and struggle for that sake is not a big issue.

We had the opportunity to eat Indian Kerala food and the hospitality indeed was touching to the heart. You go places and meet some people and you connect in today’s world virtually as well that’s today’s era!
It was very obvious by now that we were there to see some places and leave when it’s time to leave!
Evening we went out when the Sun set and Moon showed up for dinner. Since it was very hot we decided to eat light and simple nearby. The first restaurant that showed up we went in, it was a Chinese food and believe me it was incredible. The food was tasty and spicy and it was not pricey at all.

As they say all thats well ends well… We took the morning train to Venice with new hope and new adventure… Until then it’s in bocca al lupo to us until we reach home safely!

~ Dawn

Bonjour to Paris and Hello to All…!

I have seen Paris in pictures, in story books and through different people’s eyes… And thus you create a picture in your mind.
I also had one and to tell you the truth today I have a picture of my own about Paris.
When we landed in Paris, first nothing is that makes you feel that you’re in a foreign land believe me!
Except the french language, it reminds you of home. For me it was the Pune that I grew up as a kid holding my Dad’s hand and walking around those streets which were familiar to my Dad but new to me.
Every corner, every smell of the street reminded of a place that I have known closely or lived in one.

When we came to our hotel room, it was a surprise because of its size and how a small is being utilized to it’s fullest. This reminds you of Bombay city… Where rich or poor, everyone lives in a small place, apartment except what’s in the place may differ… And here I am not talking about any millionaires like Ambanis or Bollywood stars… I am talking about common people who live everyday, every air and every minute of their life is an achievement.
Quickly, we adjusted to the space as it was small and sweet with colorful curtains and wallpapers… Yet with an old style cooler to keep us all cool in this hot weather of Paris.
Enough room for everything and nothing extravagant. Isn’t that we all need? Actually that’s all one need to survive, place to stay safe, food to eat and clothes to wear so we can be warm when we need to and be cool when it’s too hot!

When we talk about Paris, Eiffel tower and the monuments that comes to mind because that’s what I have seen so far but there’s more than that, it’s the people that make this place beautiful, lovable and livable.
The bolt drivers, the hotel receptionist, the restaurant folks and the people that you find on the road while walking around… I was able to see people, the humans and artists because that’s what this city showed me and that’s what I could see.
This was not the case when I was taking the flight to Paris, as mostly I heard about is that, be careful, there are thief’s, pick pocketers and what not and all this made me cautious, be reserved and always look people with suspicion… I think after my first day in Paris all that got washed away with the rain.
You go anywhere in the world there are survivors all around and there’s nothing different here in Paris.
My request to people who visit Paris is that please don’t spoil the name of this beautiful city with your bad decisions, bad judgements and experiences because with that no matter which part of the world you visit it will be the same for you.

Some of the school memories also made this city close to my heart as I got to revisit on French revolution from my history class and the visits to the  Palace of Versailles, the paintings and the story that it tells was a revision. Along with that the visit to Montparnasse cemetery to see Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir… Great humanist and feminist but what else I saw there was people buried there after they have left this mean world they are stored here in these places and there are people who are alive yet may be some still with no place to live? Why do we need these cemetery? To remember such great people can be through many different ways, plant a tree in their name so people know and remember and visit them… Some were like a store room space and it really made me think about it for the ones who are still alive on this Earth.
Same with Voltaire and Marie Curie and other French dignitaries…! We care for the gones and not for the ones who needs to be cared!
Life always comes with a perspective.

I have a sweet tooth and I loved my cafe visits in Paris… These cafes gives you a homely feel where fresh bread, croissants and pastries are baked and on the sides the coffee brewery just reminds of home. My first day morning wake up was with the smell of fresh and warm bread baked smell… I can still feel that and not only that it’s the joy that comes with it in your heart. You want to get up and go out to feel the smell, to taste those fresh ones and watch people.. Some are like us running around to go to work and some are like enjoying the moment.
I really enjoyed my mornings here with spending time at the cafe… I got to observe people around, see their beauty, their culture, their language and more when they speak the language and the way they speak because French being their first language… It’s an experience that makes you want to learn their language French.

The amazing thing that I loved about this city is the there’s no community or rather there’s only one community and that’s of being human.
You will see all kinds of people, of all ages, from all different places with different religion, language and what not but the beauty is that everyone speaks French and look and feel one!
Here people are not in hurry, doesn’t seem like they want money either because everyone is taking things at their own pace, no hurry, no race just live at it’s own way… Made me feel very relaxed. People party here on Saturday and Sunday nights, there’s no mourning moment that I see in US on a Sunday evening… Here life is full on living with fun and joy. One simple thing that today one needs to learn is you don’t need a hell lot of luxurious things to be happy. Simple things such as having an expresso outside of the cafe looking at the traffic, may be a smoke in hand, or some with a placard protesting the government for the raising gas price and yet wave at us asking, are you from India? Which part in India? Or someone in the car starts a political discussion about America and the Trump lovers and French government and their smartness in managing things without discrimination and thinking ahead of the game… All in a simple way you express and move on… Isn’t that anyway we do in other places too? But there we do with a bit of more stress, hatred, racism, guns and killings!

One should travel to discover the simple pleasures existing in small places around the world. If you travel you will not hold on to things too tight and that let’s you lose your ego, and your belongings so that you’re light and less stressed about anything and will make you live life and be happy as happiness doesn’t cost much in real!
As I say Au revoir to Paris, I say je t’aime Paris 💕, you have taken my heart to keep with you forever ❤️!

~ Dawn

Let’s be one with nature…

 

Give yourself to nature…
Let’s be one with nature…
Walk on the roads paved by…
You and me and mother nature…
Let yourself free in the arms of nature…
When we don’t remember to look around…
They come to us and remind us to live…
Beyond all the materialistic distractions…
Come to me …
Come to me … and let yourself free…
You come through me and so come to me…

“Creativity takes courage”

I was going to write today about my nostalgic feelings after watching the movie Rocketman as it brought back so many of my childhood memories. This man Elton John, who brought so much of happiness to people’s life through his music, was actually suffering and was never loved. It made me very sad and inside me I was sad and was reading every article and information that I could get on Elton John.

“The function of art is to struggle against obligation” 

There’s a period where you suffer through and then a period where you compose yourself and express it so its out of your system and today exactly that’s what my plan was, until!!!!

I read a post on my facebook which one of my friend posted it about another Kathakali artist whom I know as well. This friend is an artist besides a tech professional and often goes to India and within Bay Area to perform Kathakali, an art that originates from Kerala. Originates doesn’t mean that you own and no one else can learn and master it or be creative with an art.

The post that was shared was from 2016, however this friend shared it now and apparently I know the artist about whom they posted about is from northern India and loves Kathakali form of art and he learned and he performs all over the world. Part of his performance he has achieved lot of name and fame for his performances and he has got lot of rewards and one of them is from the Ministry of India as well.

“Art is not always about pretty things. It’s about Who we are, What happened to us, and How our lives are affected” ~ Elizabeth Broun 

When I read it was about this person getting the Ministry award and bunch of Kerala folks criticizing the artist and claiming that he is not doing Kathakali but something else.
I mean a form of art no matter where it originates, but if someone else masters it how can you get jealous? How can you not promote the artist for loving your art and appreciate his effort? Thats basic human instinct! But you being an artist yourself? How can you not support your fellow artists no matter whether you know them or not… they are artist and what I believe is true artist they always support other artists. Because they know the effort that one has to put in and in return they don’t get much other than appreciation.

“The job of an artist is to offer a sanctuary of beauty to an ugly world.” ~ Jeff Goins

I was really disappointed to see something like this shared in social media.
Why can’t we human be human and not be jealous and selfish?

Disappointing!

“Never speak from a place of hate, jealousy, anger, or insecurity. Evaluate your words before you let them leave your lips. Sometimes its best to keep quiet.”

~ Dawn

Adios to this day!

 

As the day is setting in,
So is the poetry month,
Been a ridiculously fun,
Yet a challenging turn in,
It was good to wind up here,
Than carrying it along inside,
Enjoyed the journey of poetry,
Thanks for supporting,
From Sun to Moon to the nature
Inspiring to keep up the game,
Sometimes it was for them and
Sometimes they were for me
A beautiful relation we live together,
Adios to this day with the hope,
For many more Dawns to come 😉
~ Dawn