Am I The Ugly Duckling ?

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Its 1 o clock , in the wee hours of night and I am crumpled in the tiniest room of a hostel, watching videos made by beautiful girls on YouTube. Videos about how to wear a make up, about how to dress up fashionably, about everything and anything you can imagine.
Girls, those beautiful princesses you find at the big screens, those born with a silver spoon kinda women, the ones who look like straight from a fashion show, not a hair astray … those who are toppers in schools and colleges and yet manage all this so well.
The perfect eye makeup, the perfect long beautiful hair, the perfect dresses and the perfect smile.
I wonder …
I haven’t been a topper in my school , college days . I haven’t been some sports freak . Neither a super studious chap. I was just this average person. No big proposals from a guy. No topper tags. No showering compliments from people. Not even a single head turned while I walked. But yes they did turn when I spoke.

I don’t want anyone telling me I am beautiful in my own way. Of course I know that. I ain’t a Damn school going teenager. I know and I have embraced myself including my flaws well.

But then why …. Why am I watching these videos late into the night , trying to imagine and wanting myself to be like them. All perfect . And then every morning getting dressed up like I usually do. Buying stuff that I never have the confidence of wearing… those loud earrings, those glittering bangles , those heels, those dresses … All reminiscences n reminders of my incapacities, my hidden, secret wishes but wishes that I don’t dare to fulfil for the fear of the unknown, for the fear of being mocked at ?
Then why when the man I love drags me into a store asking me to buy anything for myself, why do I run like a shy lil kid trying to avoid the gaze of his teacher ?
Why do I do that ??

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Conversations With Our Dream Catcher

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On a walk with a friend I realised and learnt, people are not perfect , they aren’t meant to be. Their flaws are their identity as yours are. Their beauty comes in lil packages .
In those eyes that look at you apologetically when they know they have hurt you,
in the hands that catch you back when you get angry and run away from them ,
in the fingers that wipe away your tears when you act like a crazy insane wrecked person,
in the smile and the laughter that you break into when they imitate you,
in the chocolate cakes that they lick out of your fingers ,
In the dreams that they catches for you,
In the turns you take to open the silly doors,
In their agreeing for your never ending photographic pose,
In the way you hide behind them when a pack of horses scare you,
In the smoke you share over a sunlit boulder,
In all these million little things,
In all the cracked, tunes we sing,
In there, that’s where
I learnt
People are not perfect … Only their love is
Relationships are not perfect … only the wish to make it is !
-Athena
2.27 am
20 Jan 2016

Are There Such Men?

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Fuck you,” she said with a happy, cute annoyance.
“Really? Right now ?,”he blurted out
In Front of His Friend

It wasn’t intentional, but it hurt
A hurt enough to make one think,
The realisation of a man’s world ,
Not the men , novel and movies are made of ,
But real men ,
Joking and fucking everything and everyone that comes their way ,
Since when has this instinct been prevalent in them ,
Since when were they taught that they were men before humans,

Are there such men ?
Men with gentle gazes , men with subtle smiles ,
Men who are proud to love,
A love they express in verses, music n pictures
Even in extravagant romantic gestures ,
Men who are beyond the reaction that a female has on their body…

Are there such men ?
Men who think of a woman,
Not just a girlfriend, a wife , a crush …
But just as a beautiful soul,
Men for whom there is a woman they love ,
A woman strong in her beliefs and character,
A woman with dreams n labour,
A woman who trusts them ,
Not with her honour and respect ,
But with the sanctity and dignity of the relationship they share ,
A woman who is their pride , the perfect soul mate …
A woman who depicts what and who he is …

Are there such men ?
Who can love a woman like this ,
In the warmth of the bed,
Or in the big world instead,
In the privacy of their lives ,
Or in the open thriving jives,
In the secret cozy kisses and snuggles,
Or amidst a crowd that giggles

Are there such men ??

-Athena Ambika

Spirit of Kasol

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The ardent need to chronicle my life, a need so burning that whatever isn’t jotted down seems to be lost, only to be remembered someday as a hazy anecdote.

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Geographically what might seem to many as a valley., it struck me as a seed in the cold womb of the hills that surround it. That’s where we were heading towards. The magical Parvati valley … the magical Kasol.
The nearest stop for all the buses being Bhuntar. Buses easily accesible from Delhi with destination to Manali.The bus dropped us at morning 6 o clock.Even at that dark hour one can easily find cabs which will cost you 900 bucks till Kasol in an hours time. Good idea if you are a group. Otherwise take up a bus which will take approx 2 hours to Kasol.

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What’s a morning when the first gleam of sunlight doesn’t greet you with huge snow clad hills that seem to engulf you in their welcoming embrace, when the peaks make you shiver merely by looking at them, when your eyes can’t get enough of the twisted turned roads that come with every step ahead. And then when you finally reach the place, it appears some sort of a treasure chest hidden in the arms of mother nature.

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Nothing extravagant about it on the surface , a mere establishment of people, people who no one talks about in the cities… people of far away lands, those about home your grandma told you stories about.       

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But then as you trod you realise hidden in the many stories that these people have, hidden in those tiny little cafes, in the Hebrew language scribbled across those Indian shops lies the tale of Kasol.
A mini Israel in the Himalayas.There are Israeli settlements in many countries because as a concept the Jewish settlement experience can be replicated anywhere. While Palestinians appreciate their land for what it is, Israelis crave an experience that they create. And wherever they go, they recreate it. The only difference is some people are more tolerant to these enclaves than others.
And of course the Marijuana is the chief and prime attraction for backpackers. While entering Kasol one can see the sign FREE KASOL. Well that’s what it stands for that’s what the people there believe in.

Stay in Kasol depends on the season. Off-season tariffs are cheap even at good hotels.
Apart from the scenic beauty , the Israeli population one thing that’s gonna make you go weak in the
knees in the exotic food.

Our breakfast began at Evergreen cafe Kasol.
Walking down the street tucked in an angled side of the road, lies an unusually green, mushy little gateway. A gateway that invites you to come and fill yourself with ecstasy and delight.

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Entering it you know what they say about the spirit if Kasol. A corner of seated pedestals, an ambience perfect to rest your senses, an open space
with just the perfect sunlight amidst a chorus of greens and some more greens. A space inside with people huddled together in small groups enough to make you believe in some serious discussion going on, worse still hatching a conspiracy. Lol . But a closer watch would make you see the strong of words, joyous words flowing through puffs of smoke, dancing, making images that put you in delight … a certain carefree delight.

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A perfect homage to the many images, idols of the mighty Shiva and the chants playing in the background. The music, the beats, the trance so well ensured by the owner, you can almost feel his intention to give you the spirit of Kasol, to take you away from wherever you have come, from whatever you do and just drown yourself in the rising and dropping beats of the music.

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There is in Kasol , the best food that would have ever had. Shakshouka is one of the mouth watering dishes of the place consisting of poached eggs dipped in tangy tomato curry served with hummus and pita bread. The mouth watering Israeli salad, the chicken schnitzel and even the basic burger in the restaurants is a relishing experience.

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While in Kasol don’t ever miss the Moon Dance Cafe and the adjoining German Bakery . Everyday without fail, we couldn’t stop ourselves from picking up the amazing delicacies of the German Bakery. The chocolate truffles, the lemon cake, the nutella brownies that will simply blow your mind away.

To be continued …

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Magical Kasol

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The roaring river … roar like the anguish of  a long lost love,
The pain of unrequited love so vibrant in its roars,
The cry so vibrant ,so shrieking as if calling the rest of its soul, gushing downstream… running, cutting across the so called stony sledges, wrecking them , burning there arrogance down over the years,
That’s the mighty river Parvati behind me…
Ironical it sounds … why they call it Parvati, its forgiveness us like Durga , the dark moonlight night makes it glow like Kali,
In the backdrop of this goddess we sit, huddled across in the chill of the valley, taking in what was so dear to parvati’s consort …
Shiva , another god that is as simple, as innocent as the child in you ,
Touching your deepest , purest corners of heart,
Oblivious to the hustle and bustle of the maddening crowd,
Two birds, to proclaim , no , reclaim their lost freedom ,
Spread their wings, melting the inhibitions, killing the selves, perpetuating oneness, offering their prayers on this magical land, to Shiva himself,
Far from the norms of right and wrong… the bird tells his other half
” far from the norms of right and Wrong,
Far from the clear lines of black and white,
Far from the crowds that know our faces but not our souls,
O my friend lets meet there,
Lets fly there,
Lets soar there,
Lets love there, ”

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– Athena