Monday, November 21, 2016

... And Therefore I Blog: 7th Blogging Anniversary of My Yatra Diary...

The resting place of the mind is the heart.
The only thing the mind hears all day
is clanging bells and noise and argument,
and all it wants is quietude.
The only place the mind will ever find peace
is inside the silence of the heart.
That's where you need to go.
― Elizabeth Gilbert.

7  years back, sometime during this particular day… I had excitedly plonked myself near the computer to type the words I had written in my diary and hit the publish button.

Yes, 7 years back on this day, that’s 2557 days. As contrived as this may sound, but I can’t believe that I have lived (and survived) so many years in this wonderful space. It’s a feeling that undoubtedly feels gracious and blessed but the magnanimity of it all just refuses to sink in as I sit down to pen down my thoughts today. But then, maybe it’s not that magnanimous as I am making it to be at all!

Looking back at this journey of mine, I feel that God has been very kind to His child to have opened new horizons and paved fresh paths in ways that were not even remotely imaginable for her. Writing, creating, expressing on the canvas of a blank paper has since been a thing of joy that is difficult to be described in words. Especially for a raw writer like me.

What is blogging for me?

It’s been such a great privilege to engage in something that benefits both me and the world at large. To be able to write freely, to share the necessary information on my travels, to sit down with my emotions about a particular place and go deeper into them and perhaps embrace them in the process… I am not sure if I can call My Yatra Diary… just a blog today.  She has been there as a true confidante and a friend who has given me the space to live my life my way and empowered me to dive deeper into issues that matter to me and channel my mind in a way that serves right for me.

When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.
- Robert Mapplethorpe.

They say work is worship, and I feel grateful to be living this phrase. Blogging for me is my sweetest communion with God, my purest form of self expression where I look forward to pick up my pen, look within and enter a cavernous soft silent space as if delicately unwrapping a gift I have got from the Supreme Almighty and offering it back in His feet in my own unique way.

What and how much do I earn from blogging?

Oddly enough though, as work and success today is often perceived in the society, for me, my blog has never been about fame, followers, popularity or money (though I do earn from it). It’s always been something I have derived joy from and a better and intimate understanding into myself.

Though the money earned is substantial but the real fulfilment has been in the decision of giving back to the society whatever I had as a pure gift through this blog.

Open your eyes, look within.
Are you satisfied with
the life you’re living?
 – Bob Marley.

After 7 years of blogging, I may not have many huge achievements to brag about but I can certainly say that I feel like I have changed for the better with shift in perspectives and values of living. There are riches of the heart to be accounted for that are much more valuable and priceless than any material treasures, not always visible to the naked human eye.

... And Therefore I Blog.

I am so happy for, through this journey of mine, my faith in The Father (both heavenly and earthly) has grown over the years in the most beautiful way. Though I confess I haven’t had the courage to really be open to many people outside my little circle and a bit lazy also when it comes to socialising especially in the recent years but I take solace in the fact that I always try my best.

Where my blog was a new entrant in my life at one point of time, I realise it’s a sacred part of me now. She is my identity, my voice, my experiences, my hope and my freedom – the start of a long journey whose destination is unclear and uncertain. And yet, I am excited to be walking the way.

All I can do is be me, whoever that is. 
- Bob Dylan.

Having a glimpse of 'who you are' is priceless and there really can be no grasping value attached to it. The derived feeling of content, ecstasy and happiness after creating something on my own is my strength and my motivating factor to continue doing what I do here.

Thank you for coming along, your company matters to me!

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed in my journey to have come across some wonderful people along the way who have loved me for who I am and what I do without any preconceived judgements or philosophies.

Thank you for listening to all that I have had to say, for reading my posts on my blog, taking the time to comment on them, promoting them on Indivine, and liking them on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram. I thank you for subscribing to my blog and following my stories by being such a support everywhere that you can be. Thank you for sharing all the inspirational content that you share and for making this virtual world alive for me. Nothing would have been possible without you.

I just want to say that your good wishes are the blessings that string the pages of this little diary together. Your comments are my autographs from people that I lovingly cherish and admire in my heart. Thank you for coming along, My Yatra Diary... is so much more happier with all of you.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Places to visit / Teerthas in Rameshwaram: Villoondi Teertham.

Cyclonic seas at Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram

And once the storm is over,
you won’t remember how you made it through,
how you managed to survive.
You won’t even be sure,
whether the storm is really over.
But one thing is certain.
When you come out of the storm,
you won’t be the same person who walked in.
That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami.


Has this ever happened to you?

You recognise the point where you are standing and yet you feel lost. Alone. Aloof. Confused. There is darkness all around and it swells you up like there’s no tomorrow. You look towards nature for peace and comfort but the clouds weep and the waves roar. You look deeper, searching for that silver lining they all talk about but all you get is an angry lash by the breeze - it whips your face. So hard as if, the entire being is going to be cracked into two. You can’t figure out a thing, the road seems broken, you don’t know where it’s leading and where it’s taking you, it’s difficult to trust your own footsteps.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you do then amid all the chaos? How do you quench your thirst for peace?


This has happened to me.

Even before I read the board, I feel the landscape: The troubled waters of the blue green ocean, the complementing sky and an enduring horizon marked by a growling wind.

Sideways glance of Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Villondi Teertham beach, Rameshwaram
Rough seas at Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Can you feel the landscape?

A short curve from the main road to here had changed the scene from concrete to marine and it looked like I was finally at a place which I could call mine for some time at least. It was a good relief to have some respite from the rains so that wandering around would be easier.

A bike stares at Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Beach at the Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Welcome to Villoondi Teertham!

This is Villoondi Teertham, says the board in green, the same place where Lord Rama had shot an arrow to quench the thirst of His beloved, Goddess Sita with the sweet nectar that flowed. A well containing sweet water stands in the centre of a long bridge that takes you to the center of the ocean – as testimony to the token of His love.

Villondi Teertham Legend, Rameshwaram
A board tells the history of Villoondi Teertham.

Soon, I hear sweet music lingering from the ringing of temple bells. It distracts my attention. I turn around the board to see a quaint little temple standing by the edge of the sea cliff. Its walls are peeling; there is a Nandi bull seated outside. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is perhaps standing here since decades. It’s dark inside but right in front of the Nandi bull, I can see the ShivLingam in black stone. I bow my head in prayer; as I get a glimpse of the tiny yellow light of the diya swirling in ecstasy. It is time for the Lord’s afternoon arti.

Ancient Shiva Temple, Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Shiva temple at Villoondi Teertham at Rameshwaram.

The lilt of the arti hasn’t yet died down, but it’s getting fainter and fainter with each step that I take towards the mythical ‘well’ converging right in the heart of the ocean.

Way to the sweet water well at Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Villondi Teertham and the mythical well, Rameshwaram
This well is said to contain sweet water.

I gaze down through a wired maze into the well that has been here since the age of the Ramayana, born out of a sacred bow that was hit by Lord Rama. It’s deep; a pale of water dangles loosely above the surface of the calm placid water.

Sweet water well at Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Water... all still, contented and placid.

What strikes me is the contrasting natures of the water: inside and outside. Out in the big wild world, the waters look uncomfortable playing in the sea today.

Turbulent waters at Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Raging furious water of the sea.

The sky is broken in rapture and the seas are wild in rage. I take a few moments for myself, admiring the daunting beauty in the darkness all around, winds brush my hair.


I recognise the point where I am standing, this is Villoondi Teertham in Rameshwaram and yet, yet I feel lost. Why this storm, this maddening chaos all around that is gripping me, my mind, my body with every minute that it rises: It’s terribly cloudy day so there has to be a silver lining somewhere atleast as they say, I counter... but where?

Rough seas at Villondi Teertham, Rameshwaram
Where do you think is the silver lining in the storm?

For all the time I stood there, I searched and searched for the silver lining but found none. She was still elusive even as I tracked my steps back to my car. But deep within my heart, I knew, she is there. Somewhere. And that she will come. Maybe not now, but when she had to... maybe not today when I wanted to, but... in her own time and in her own way. Someday.

How to get there?

Address: Thangachi madam, Rameswaram - 623526, Tamilnadu, Thangachimadam, Tamil Nadu 623526.

Other Posts From Rameshwaram:

DAY 1: How to reach, where to stay in Rameshwaram | DAY 2: Ramnathaswamy Temple DarshanAgni TeerthamSunset boat ride | DAY 3: Places to see / Teerthas of Rameshwaram: Gandhamadana Parvatham (Rama Padam)Ghost Town: DhanushkodiRama TeerthamPanchmukhi Hanuman Temple, Lakshmana TeerthamEXTRAS: Rameshwaram Food GuideSweeping Healers of Rameshwaram Sea.