Prisoners of the free world

This image was taken at the Alcatraz prison, which is just 1.5 miles away by sea from San Francisco city. Walking through the matchbox sized cells with rusty metal bars, it made me wonder how the lives of the inmates of this prison would’ve been like. The prisoners had this beautiful view of the Golden gate bridge on one side and the SF skyline lurking on the other.

The tour guide told us, that the smell of chocolate from the famous Ghirardelli factory nearby, used to spread across the island. The irony for the prisoners here was that they could’ve had everything that one could wish for, just 1.5 miles away. And yet, because of the burden of their crimes, this small distance kept them away from the real world.

Alcatraz Island, California

I also happened to stumble upon a prisoner’s cell (above image) who’s art made me stop and wonder that, if he was out here in the real world, he would’ve definitely made it as an artist! Such a waste of talent. When I come to think of it, we as humans, sometimes imprison ourselves in this crazy web of life, that we forget about the beauty that lies underneath. I mean, this one life, wouldn’t you want to make it big?

This guy, he was stuck in one place and yet, he tried to make something out of literally nowhere! And here we are, free as birds, yet caged by these shackles of a monotonous life, societal pressures and procrastination. One of these days, I hope you break free from these chains and paint a beautiful picture in real life as well!

Friendships lost and found

Isla and me decided to meet at Pebble beach. She always loved the beach. Probably because her name itself meant an island in Spanish – Isla. I faintly remembered our beach getaways during college days. It had been 10 years since our last rendezous at the beach. Since the Californian winds blew quietly that day, we decided to directly head down to the beach.

For the longest time we just sat quietly on the sand, staring at the deep blue ocean in front of us. The sound of the crashing waves being the only sound amidst the awkward silence. I suddenly remembered, this place was called “Pebble beach” and I saw all these pebbles lying around. I grabbed some pebbles from around and started stacking them one above the other. Isla joined in too. We both got engrossed in placing the pebbles on top of each other, trying to maintain their balance. While we were at it, I said, “You know, people stack these stones to make a..”. “Wish! I know”, she said and smiled. I smiled as well, amused at how she remembered this random thing I once told her.

Just like that, here we were, 10 years later, skeptical if we had lost our connection and wondering if our friendship could ever make sense again. Yet, we were back to being those same two kids who used to run off to the beach, where we would stack some pebbles together, wishing for future adventures together.

I didn’t wish for anything that day and I know she didn’t as well. Maybe, one of our wishes from the past did come true. Because here we were, reunited as the best friends we always thought we were.

Pressed flowers in a book

Let’s collect flowers and save them in a book
Pressed amidst random pages, where no one would look
From the days when we wished for the time to stop
So that our good times would run in an endless loop

Let these flowers you pick from the ground
Remind you of days that made you forget time
And how happy you were in your own little world
Oblivious to everything happening around you

And each time you come across a dried little flower
I hope the faint scent and its imprints on the pages
Remind you of a time when this flower was in full bloom
But right now, it’s a cherished memory, an invaluable heirloom

– Ashwini

P.S: We found these cherry blossom trees in the Japanese Tea Garden located in the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Eagerly waiting for the cherry blossoms to arrive again this Spring!

The flowers that bloom

If you ever wonder what you’re made of,
Think about the flowers that bloom through branches and thorns alike
Their purpose is to grow into these beautiful flowers
That makes walkers stop by to adore and smell
Or make people carry a fresh bunch home
To remind them how beautiful this world actually is
How even a single stem can brighten up your day
And how an entire bunch fills your entire room with fragrance

Let these flowers remind you
That you too, are meant to grow into something beautiful
Sometimes you need to just let yourself be
Maybe a sunflower, maybe an orchid, maybe a tulip
You don’t need to be a part of the same bunch

Choose whatever you want to be and sow the seeds today
Slowly growing roots and expanding your stems
Even if the world looks at you just as a bud today,
There will be a time when you too, will be in full bloom. 🌸

Ashwini

P.S: Came across these lovely flowers while taking a walk in New York City. Loving the spring vibes all around!

The waterfall..

They say, she tells a story without any words
All you have to do is pause and simply watch her flourish
Through the long branches of trees old and new
How she cuts through massive rocks that try to block her way
And flows over the tiny pebbles that people once threw

She doesn’t seem to care how they view her or judge her criss-cross path
For all she knew was to flourish through it all
Changing courses when the obstacles didn’t let her slide through
For one way or the other she was meant to endlessly flow

She moved seamlessly, being her unapologetic self
That grew and outgrew everything that came under her way
Roaring through the wild forests, “I am born this way and this is what I am meant to do”,
She gathered all of her forces and incessantly she moved

Leaving the world to see the marvel that she was
A natural beauty, creating magic wherever she falls ✨

Ashwini

P.S: This picture was taken at the Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina and was shot on my good old iPhone 8. Always fun to try something new in photography! Also, happy weekend!

To shine..

All I’ve ever know in my life
Is to shine
Amongst heads held high and hearts full of pride
Even through dark night skies
And peeking through skyscrapers so high
Anything that tries to dim my light
Only witnesses how bright I shine without putting up a fight
For I never learnt how to dull my sparkle even through time
Coz all I’ve ever know in my life
Is to shine. ✨

Ashwini

P.S : This picture was taken at the Bryant Park Winter Village in New York. It’s almost Spring in New York and I was surprised to see the Winter Village at Bryant Park still lit! Loved how glorious the Empire State building looks from here. Hope everyone’s excited about Spring!

Her beauty.

This time, she chose to be her own kind of beautiful

The beauty that goes beyond the color of her skin
And unveils the shades of her attractive soul

The beauty that surpasses the length of her hair
And uncovers the width of her smile

The beauty that isn’t measured by how fat or thin she is
But it adds up the weight of the love she carries

This time, she chose not to be just like them
But to be herself and that’s how she chose to be defined

– Ashwini

Epilogue: Women are constantly put into categories of being either too thin or too fat, too dark or not fair enough, there’s never a “perfect” woman. And these judgments are passed on by men and women both. Even if you say it in the most casual way, you don’t know how deeply it might affect the other person. Rather than classifying women based on their physical appearance, I hope we get to live in a world where men and women themselves recognize that life is so much more than just having a pretty face. It’s all about being a beautiful soul. 💫

Take a moment..

Take a moment from your walk back home
And walk into that cozy café that you see everyday
For once, just grab an empty table there
The one where you see groups of friends laughing
And the couples that sit on one of the corner tables
Where the fairy lights brighten up a dark winter evening
And the decor still reminds you of the holidays
Where a cup of cappuccino comes with a heart made out of cream
Don’t forget to smile at the small gesture
Instead of grabbing your phone, grab a nearby book or get one of your own
Or simply look around and see the world around you
The world that doesn’t just exist in your head
But is living and thriving with warmth and love
So instead of pouring out all your thoughts today
Ask the lovely waitress to pour you another cup of coffee
The one that comes with a heart
And take a moment to lean back and just live! ✨

– Ashwini

P.S: This picture was taken at one of my favorite cafes in Brooklyn, New York called Pasticceria Rocco. Have been a regular customer since last 5 years and I simply love this place!

Internal and external freedom

Few years ago, I saw the Broadway show, Aladdin, in New York City. It really is one of my favorite Broadway shows and it does leave you spellbound. There was a scene in this show, where Aladdin asks the Genie that what would he want if the Genie was granted a wish. To which, the Genie replies, “I want freedom”. “Not the riches of a palace or exotic food, just my freedom.” He could’ve asked for any lavish thing in the world or any crazy imaginable thing for that matter. But, all he wanted was his freedom! Freedom from being enclosed in a metal lamp and being answerable to no one.

This tells us how freedom varies from person to person. For some, it’s being able to live lavishly and not having to worry about spending a single penny, whereas for some, it’s about not depending on material things for their happiness. For some, these palace walls are everything that they could dream of, the riches of this world at your feet, not ever having to worry about what to eat and where to get the money for buying food and yet, for some, these same walls are merely pillars which they want to climb out of. Because being able to afford such luxuries also means guarding yourself from the evil world.

When they’re looking out of this window, maybe someone wishes to live in a place like this, amidst these high walls. And there are some, who peek through the window and adore the view, awestruck at how beautiful the city looks, wanting to explore its small lanes and tiny shops. And yet, these same high walls which guard them from intruders could also feel like a cage sometimes.

We all here, seek freedom from a place and some seek freedom from their thoughts. Our mind has this amazing capability to store even the minutest of details. Once we start overthinking, it boggles our minds and causes so much chaos that it feels like it is going to explode. We search and search, for an escape, running through the long passages of memories we shared and passing through the garden of secrets. Sometimes, all you have to do is climb out of that window and take a walk, let peace find you in the most unexpected places. Let the beauty of this world and its people make you find the magic you’re looking for.

Most importantly, believe in the magic that resides within you. Be your own Genie and fulfill your wish. ✨

A color for the sky!

Let’s choose a color with which you would want to paint the sky
How about the yellow that brings with it all the warmth and cheer?
The scorching orange ignites a fire, allowing to embrace my fierceness just how it spreads throughout the sky
Yet, the soft pink hues make you forget about everything and simply look up at the cotton candy world
The grey sometimes matches with the gloomy clouds of doubt, that later subside to make way for sunshine
And the dark black sky with its shining stars and the moon, reminds me of the universe where in we reside
I love how the blue sky brings out the different shades of the deep blue sea, almost feels like a cosmic love affair
So, how about we choose a sky that unfolds its own magic and we just sit and stare?