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.

Human cages

Looking back at this picture, it reminds me of the beautiful world we live in. Last year, particularly hindered all our travel plans. However, this particular shot makes me think about how we, as humans, build some fences all around us, restricting our own growth and reach. How often do we wonder about what’s stopping us from doing the things we’ve always wanted to do?

Sometimes we are restricted by external factors whereas, sometimes, we unknowingly build a cage around ourselves and keep running in circles. A lot of things we worry about are just in our heads. If we don’t even try to wander beyond the usual, letting go of the insecurities, self-doubt and risk of failure, we might never get rid of the cages we’ve put ourselves in.

Pebble beach, California

The above picture is a gentle reminder of how free we truly are, to be anywhere in this big, beautiful world and become the person we really want to be. It’s all about the perspective. 

P.S: This is one of the lookout spots from the iconic 17-mile drive along the Pacific coast in California.

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!

Old habits die hard

They say, old habits die hard
When I look at you every time you walk into the room, I understand why
They also say, it takes 21 days to create a new habit
I don’t know which is worse, the 21 days of not looking at you
Or the 21 days of replacing you with a new habit
Because time for me has come to a standstill since the day I saw you
Maybe you weren’t just a habit
But a reminder of the love I have carried for you since then
So I take this love and let it walk away with you
Coz it’s always been yours to keep
Realizing that you don’t have to give up on some habits,
But gradually learn to just let them go
I simply walk out of the room, into the bright new world
Like a man with a heart full of dreams
Knowing there are things and places meant for me
Now, all I need is to form a habit that takes me one step closer towards my dreams

Ashwini

P.S: I took this picture while riding on a two-wheeler with my friend in Gainesville, Florida. Loved how the Spanish moss growing on these trees gives them a dramatic effect.

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!

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!

About friendships that were lost

“Friends forever” were the words we sketched under our desks
For we never even thought our lives will ever be a mess
My partner in crime and my friend in need,
Me for you and you for me, that was our world indeed

We didn’t live for tomorrow, coz our present itself felt like a beautiful dream
We laughed our hearts out and celebrated each other’s wins
Holding hands, we ran with the wild winds, stuck with each other like glue
Look at us now, jumping into the phases of life without any clue

They say heartbreaks are tough but what about friendships that were lost
None of us can put a value on the pain they cost
For love may come and go, but true friendship is one of its kind
Which comes with an unsaid promise, to be together through space and time

To my dear friend, even though we may have drifted apart
You and our friendship had a happy place in my heart
And if I ever come across a picture of us, your hand on my shoulder and us smiling together
I’ll cherish the memories and pray that you don’t lose that smile, it’s all that matters!

– Ashwini

Being a woman

Being a woman,
She is expected to put on various masks
And sacrifice herself doing everything that they ask

For she was never told, that she could even say no
Always taught to keep her voice low

So she did put on her masks this time, but only to let the world know
That she is the woman who can do anything and make the whole world bow
For a woman’s strength, grit and love
Can lift you from the ground and thrust you up above.

Ashwini

Happy International Women’s Day!

I feel blessed everyday to be born as a woman because despite all the hardships we women go through (just because we aren’t born as men), we fight through it all and choose to make this world a better place for us and our girl tribe. A huge chunk of my life is surrounded by some spectacular women who inspire me everyday. We believe in a world where women uplift other women. It’s too easy to become cold in this harsh world, but it takes great amount of bravery to fight everyday for the things you want, places you want to be, careers you want to have.

Also a huge shoutout to the men who realize the need for an equal world for women. It’s convenient to step into a patriarchal world just because it’s been happening through ages, but change begins with at least one voice that would stand against it. Being a woman doesn’t have to mean that she’s secondary to a man. In an equal world, let the focus be on being partners.

To all the lovely ladies out there, here’s a reminder, you are so much more than your physical appearances and what the “society” says. You are what you choose to be. In this one life, don’t let others define you, you show them how you are meant to be defined. The power lies within you. All you have to do is unleash it.🔥👸🏻

P.S: This picture was taken at Wynwood Walls, Miami in Dec 2020. Hats off to the artist!

Her little book of dreams

When she was just a innocent little girl
She dreamt and wrote about things she would achieve in this world
She giggled and danced her way through adolescence
Always carrying her little book of dreams in her tiny hands

But the realities of the unjust world put her in a cage
Started tearing down her dreams page-by-page
People kept telling her how she should be holding a pan and a ladle
Or she was simply born to swing her baby’s cradle

She gathered all the tattered pieces of her broken dreams
And stuck them back together, a beautiful mosaic it seemed
She clutched the book even more closer to her heart
And stood up for all the girls whose dreams were torn apart

Ashwini

Epilogue:

All over the world, a girl’s education is deemed optional for her growth. Because according to some, a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not in a classroom or a workplace. Historically, this has been happening since centuries. But with changing times, even the society needs to evolve.

Women have the strength and power to run a household as well as a workplace. What they need is support and encouragement. Mostly importantly, we need to remember, when you educate a girl, you are educating a child. Let’s work on that! 👸🏻