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!

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.

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!

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! 👸🏻

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. 💫

Choose yourself. Over and over.

We often talk about how we love a fictional character from a movie or a show. Have you ever wondered how easy it is to love every other thing in this world and yet, so difficult to love ourselves. We try to find meaning in the outside world, to search the light that will guide our way and give us a reason to live, something that will make us happy and feel good about ourselves. But, how often do we sit with ourselves and try to make sense of what we are.

You try to find the “good” side of all characters in movies, friendships and even relationships. And yet, you’re so cruel to yourself. To think that you’re unworthy of any good thing in this world. That you will never be as cool as the other person is. And yes, you can try to be that person, but you can’t escape who you are and what lies within you.

It takes a lot of strength to face your own demons – your insecurities, your weaknesses, your pain, your failures. And trust me, it takes an insane amount of courage to acknowledge all these things that make you vulnerable. If you can be kind to strangers and even stray animals, why not show some kindness to yourself? The first step to self love starts with accepting yourself. The good, the bad, all of it. These are the things that make you, YOU.

Accepting yourself empowers you to grow past your weaknesses. You need to tell yourself insane amount of times that “I am not just a product of my insecurities. Rather, these are just things that make me human”. What really matters is how you choose to get past it and focus on things that do bring the best out of you.

Honestly, the world is always going to have something to say about you – sometimes good, sometimes bad. Don’t let them define you or just blindly adhere to the world’s perception of you. You have the choice to live a life built on your own beliefs and choices. Just work on yourself. Believe in yourself. Choose yourself. Over and over. ✨

Do your thing.

“Just do your thing, girl!”, that’s what my best friend said to me today. And it got me thinking, how important it is to hear these words even when you think you are on the right path. This wasn’t some deep advise, but just some encouraging words to get you going. At times, our own judgement gets clouded because we get lost in the ongoing chaos around us. When we watch multiple things, listen to contradicting podcasts, talk to people with different views, we begin to wonder about our own life choices. Sometimes, we judge ourselves so much that we begin to doubt our entire purpose in life even when we have found it.

To me, a healthy debate is important. I like to listen to what other people have to say, it gives you a different perspective to life. But, we also need to be careful about how we are reacting to all this information that we consume. The most important part you need to realize is, these are the other person’s views. They choose to believe in these things because at some point they too, had a revelation. Maybe through another person or any other channel. Whereas you have to decide what knowledge to keep and what to discard. It’s okay, if you want different things from the world and realize that you think differently. These differences are what make you, YOU.

Honestly, I tell myself that I believe in me more than anyone else. Because I know I am willing to work hard for the things I really want. It took me a lot of years to finally accept the person that I am, with all the good and bad combined. And let me tell you, that has been the best part! Because now I know what I am, who I am and what am I built of. This has helped me to be myself, trust my own instincts and go after the things I really want.

So, keep the good parts from what you see and hear and altogether discard what is not helping you. If you believe in something with all your heart, why not give it a chance to come true. The world will be judging you no matter what, the good and the bad. So, why not give them something good to talk about. Choose yourself, just be you and do your own thing. And I bet the chaos of this world will vanish into thin air when you do so!

PS: I chose this picture because the sun always reminds me that it will rise and shine, no matter what!