LOST – Ten Years Later

lost3September 22, 2004 marked the debut of a TV show that became a phenomenon. It’s 10 years later. REALLY? Where did those ten years go? Ten years have passed since we sat glued to the TV trying to predict what would happen next on the show or what something  meant. The show made its mark not only for the memorable characters that it depicted, but because it was spiritual and philosophical and the writing was so damn intellectual. It was an unforgettable experience and even today we are mourning the end of a show that kept us on the edge of our seats and guessing, always guessing!

The end of the series was interesting only because it left people sometimes more confused than enlightened. I suppose the writers kept it just so to let us know that life is full of mysteries and not everything has answers. Were the passengers really dead the whole time and we were just getting a glimpse into their past lives before their death? Was the island a metaphor for purgatory ? (That was my theory)

The writers have claimed that the survivors truly did live on the island but at the end when they showed all of them at the church they were truly dead. But why is it that after 10 years we can’t forget the show. It’s because of the cast and what they stood for. They became our family every week. We saw Locke’s and Jack’s persistent desire to lead with controversial ways of leading. We saw the love triangle of Jack-Kate-Sawyer and kept on trying to figure out who would end up with whom when it ended in a twist. Sawyer and Juliet? NO WAY!!! No one thought of that… but love comes as a surprise just as life takes us by surprise too. Sometimes love, lust, obsession sweeps us away like the black smoke monster and makes us do things we normally would not. The good, the bad, the ugly, it’s all there on the island and we need to work through it. We felt for Charlie when he died because he paid such a high price for his vulnerabilities. We mourned the death of Jin, because in the end he had made such effort to be the kind of husband Sun would be happy and content with. We felt that Kate had grown on the island and somewhere along the way managed to find some peace and reconcile some of her guilt. Ecko was so incredibly powerful and spiritual, but had a short lived role to my greatest regret. But my favorite was Desmond. Somehow there was such an incredible strength and resilience to Desmond. The one who sacrificed so much to keep entering “4 8 15 16 23 42” in the hatch because he felt he had to do it for some higher purpose. And the symbolism of the hatch? Faith…that if you do the right thing it would turn out fine until you stopped doing the right thing because you either lost faith or you just got plain tired of believing. I also got such a kick out of Sawyer and all that he said. His nicknames were hilarious and sometimes he would be irritating, but oh so handsome and funny in an irritating way.

It was one show you knew the characters had faults, problems and issues and all of them did in reality have some terrible secret or demon he/she was trying to conquer. However, you saw a little of yourself in one or more of the characters and they became human and real. They became our friends in a mysterious island where the only thing you had were each other in the end. It’s symbolism for conquering the demons that we all have inside of us. We have the potential to do good, but with equal weight we also have the potential to be swept away by the smoke monster and do something we may not be proud of, something dark and potentially evil. The island stands for that, life and its eternal mysteries and being able to survive and conquer our demons. That’s my whole analysis of the show. Stay tuned for the next preview where I discuss some of the philosophy of the show based on the character names.

Remember the Beloved

spirits

Let not the dust settle on the memories of souls that departed on particles of scattered debris. The lost souls wander in unrest at the cruel senselessness of untimely death. They have not departed but walk on this land in confusion and unrest. Their spirits roam aimlessly searching for retribution and looking for their loved ones as their loved ones search for embers of their spirits eternally in the little corners of this earth. Never forget the beloved.

 

“I is Kind, I is Smart, I is Important”

yin yang

I was watching “The Help” today again for the second time and appreciated the movie/book all over again as I heard the little girl in the movie say the words “I is Kind, I is Smart, I is Important” which she learns from her African American nanny. The beautiful little baby  girl does not see her nanny’s dark skin color, but loves her for who she is. It’s a quote that all of us should repeat like a mantra to give us reinforcement of our worth. Sometimes we forget our worth. It’s funny how little kids do not see color and discriminate against that because they are pure of heart. They do not judge us if we are fat, not as attractive, if our hair looks bad one day they do not make derogatory comments, or if we have acne they do not tell us to use expensive skin care products. If we do not wear designer clothes it doesn’t matter one iota or if we just look plain run down or have circles under our eyes, little children do not see all that. The little ones see inside of us, they see our spirit within.  They are the ones who see our true worth.

It’s funny that as people get older they start discriminating. They become harsh and judgmental. The differences in people become a source of contempt rather than something they should enjoy and learn about and experience. The duality of life is quite impregnable. It’s hard to tell someone who firmly believes that you are not a great person that you are indeed worth something. If that person is convinced you are not beautiful or good, there’s no convincing him/her otherwise. On the other hand, to someone who loves you, it’s hard to make them see that you do have flaws and that you are indeed human. I am not religious, but I do believe that we find our gods and demons right here on earth.  I believe that we don’t have to wait for our heaven and hell when we die; it’s right in the here and now. Here on earth, there are those cruel enough to bring us down. They tell us we are not worth it; that we are not good enough, we are not smart, or beautiful or we should not be cherished because we are different. And then we meet the angels in this world, who constantly reinforce our self-worth and our virtues. They are our angels and they shine light on us and surround us with this surreal aura of beauty. This duality is in essence the duality of good and evil. It surrounds us and either lifts us or devaluates us. It’s really up to us how we choose to deal with the duality. Do we have the strength to resist that evil and not allow those decrepit, miserable souls to pull us down or do we move to those who constantly help us with their wisdom and kindness to achieve our greatest potential. It’s in our power to do choose. Our problem is that sometimes we do not see the demon who lurks behind a pretty face or we do not recognize the angels passing by. It’s up to us to recognize the duality and find a way to choose one over the other as they pass through our lives.

My Paradoxical Being

good witch bad witch

When the world becomes dark, who whispers to whom? Does the good witch save the bad witch from the dark quagmire, or does malevolence take over for the sake of survival? Dark is the flip side of light I believe. It’s so easy to crossover, it’s so easy to go from caring to not caring. It is so easy to be paradoxical…the dark side is never too far from the light. It’s perhaps the flip side. The sun and moon are there even when our eyes see dark and light. The paradoxical life remains in shadows and light, playing with each other. So who whispers to whom in the dark to keep the other sane and safe. Perhaps the dark shelters the light from the harsh winds and shoulders the rage and bitterness so the lighter one remains pure and bright. The burden is on the darkness to hide all that is difficult and harsh. The dark protects the light in this paradoxical world. Yet we only appreciate the light for what it shows us, but then the dark may keep secrets that if we were to behold we would run and scream in horror and pain. So be thankful for the dark for preserving the lightness of our beings.

Under the Iconic Skirts of Marilyn Monroe

For those of you who are in love with art, especially sculpture and paintings, Grounds for Sculpture nestled in Hamilton, NJ offers a treasure trove of lovely sculptures recreated based on the famous paintings by Monet, Manet, Matisse and others. Seward Johnson, age 83, is an American sculptor and philanthropist who has dedicated his career to public art is the founder of the Grounds for Sculpture which spans 42 acres of a beautiful park setting.  His life-like bronze and monumental figures are familiar sights throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. This park exhibit includes works from such notable artists as Clement Meadmore, Anthony Caro, Beverly Pepper, George Segal, and Isaac Witkin as well. 

The collections introduced in Grounds for Sculpture are unique in that Seward Johnson depicts not only every day scenes of life, but he places these figures in a pastoral and completely natural wooded setting. You wander into a scene unexpectedly as you walk through the 42 acre park. Some unknown couple may be found smooching on the ground or a nearby garden arch, a gentleman may be taking a summer siesta on a park bench or children may be scampering about in play or engaged in some activity. Then there are those pieces that are taken out from the scenes of famous paintings by Monet, such as “Terrace at Sainte Addresse” which I can’t get enough of each time I visit. You can place yourself in the setting and feel transported in time and be a part of Monet’s fabulous landscape. The scene has a couple cozily engaged in conversation with a boat in the background on a lazy river, while an elderly couple watches their romanctic interlude. Behind them all is an artist (possibly Monet) hiding behind some bushes painting the scene. Another one of Monet’s is a mixture of Monet’s “On Poppied Hill” and “Woman with a Parasol” combined in one sculpture. There is Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” recreated in sculpture. There is Manet’s “Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe” which you stumble onto while exploring a small path in the woods and it takes you by complete surprise as if you are intruding on a very intimate scene. Nothing is obvious except for Monet’s bridge and Lily pond recreated in a lovely garden setting next to their famous Rats upscale restaurant. A surprisingly large head floats on the water surrounded by lilies and mists with the bridge in the background.

However, what should not be missed is Seward Johnson’s exhibition which opened on May 4, 2014 and remains at Grounds for Sculpture for a limited time till September 21, 2014. It is one of the largest exhibitions of sculpture which highlights the sculpture “Forever Marilyn” and is a treat to behold. She stands with a myriad of large trees behind her while everyone enjoys posing by her shapely legs and scandalously lovely pose baring her all too beautiful body. This sculpture of Marilyn Monroe which stands 26 ft high, weighs 34,000 pounds and is created out of painted stainless steel and aluminum stood in Chicago and Palm Springs for several years and is now moved to Grounds for Sculpture. She is the iconic Marilyn Monroe with her dress flowing upwards from the movie “The Seven Year Itch”. Standing under her dress in a wooded setting was an incredible feeling of awe. She is larger than life with a smile that is reflective of her fun nature. Other larger than life sculptures at Grounds for Sculpture are the massive ones of Seward Johnson’s cast bronze ‘Day Dream’ is inspired by Henri Matisse’s (1869 – 1954) famous painting, ‘Dance’ and the nude from Manet’s “Olympia” which cannot be appreciated unless seen in person. Lincoln stands with an ordinary passerby holding the Gettysburg Address in the “Return Visit” which must be as tall as “Forever Marilyn”.

In an enclosed area, we have several lovely sculptures of a smaller scale but all too familiar such as “The Nature of Obsession” based on Vermeer’s “Girl With the Pearl Earring”, “Mona Lisa” and “Unconditional Surrender”. All iconic images and all placed in a way that you can interact with them and be a part of their environment. If that is not enough to impress, I loved watching all the peacocks prancing about proudly on the grounds. They seem very comfortable with people around them and are not threatened by them or threatening. It is wonderful to see such beauty scattered throughout nature and to feel as if one can be a part of the art, not just looking at it from the outside as a viewer or spectator. I have shared some links for you to enjoy, but if you have any questions for me please feel free to contact me. Thanks for sharing in the beauty of this experience at Grounds for Sculpture at Hamilton, NJ.

http://sewardjohnson.com/collection.html

http://www.groundsforsculpture.org/

 

A Prayer of Forgiveness

tears

I have made many mistakes in my life; sometimes some cause more pain than others and leave deep wounds. I realized that I can only move forward when I find it in my heart to forgive myself. So, I opened up my diary to write my thoughts yesterday and this page opened up to the prayer of forgiveness. It was a forceful message for me.

I forgive the tears I was made to shed,

I forgive the pain and the disappointments,

I forgive the betrayals and the lies,

I forgive the slanders and intrigues,

I forgive the hatred and the persecution,

I forgive the blows that hurt me,

I forgive the wrecked dreams,

I forgive the stillborn hopes,

I forgive the hostility and jealousy,

I forgive the indifference and ill will,

I forgive the injustice carried out in the name of justice,

I forgive the anger and the cruelty,

I forgive the neglect and the contempt,

I forgive the world and all its evils

I also forgive myself.

May the misfortunes of the past no longer weigh on my heart.

Instead of pain and resentment, I choose understanding and compassion.

Instead of rebellion, I choose the music from my violin.

Instead of grief, I choose forgetting. Instead of vengeance, I choose victory.

I will be capable of loving, regardless of whether I am loved in return,

Of giving, even when I have nothing,

Of working happily, even in the midst of difficulties,

Of holding out my hand, even when utterly alone and abandoned,

Of drying  my tears, even while I weep,

Of believing, even when no one believes in me

—  Paulo Coelho, “Aleph”

An Indian Flash Mob

First of all let me define the term “flash mob” to those who are a bit confounded by this phrase. The “flash mob” concept was started in 2003 by a man named Bill Wasik who emailed the instructions for the first meet-up from an anonymous account, sending it to what he calls a “fairly representative cross section of hipsters”. In June of 2003, the first successful flash mob was presented at the Manhattan Macy’s department store. A group of 100 people received instructions to gather at the Macy’s rug department giving them directions  to tell the employees they lived together and were shopping for a “love rug.”

Today using social media, email or any other digital medium a group is formed to come together for various purposes of entertainment or social causes to perform or enact a group event that is generally choreographed earlier and presented to unwittingly clueless audiences in an impromptu fashion. Most of the time it is a dance sequence. In this case, I went to Edison, NJ to support my dance group, Satrangi School of Fusion. The school had organized a flash mob dance sequence in the heart of the Edison’s, Oak Tree Rd. shopping district. The children’s age group ranging from about 6 to 20 something year olds performed dance numbers to popular Bollywood songs in front of clueless and awestruck shoppers in the shopping district of Oak Tree. As you can see, in a flash mob it starts with a few and then the number of dancers get added on to create more energy and excitement in a well choreographed dance sequence. It is one surprising experience to see not only the flash mob dance in front of a crowd of unsuspecting shoppers and audience, but also to see the spectator reaction in all this.

Ode to Robert Kincaid

In case any of you do not remember my fascination for Robert Kincaid, I will remind you that he’s the fictional character who was in love with Francesca in the book and movie “Bridges of Madison County”. Which woman has not lusted for him or found his character intriguing to say the least? In the last few days, the spirit of Robert Kincaid perhaps infused himself into me to such an extent that I was compelled to drive all over Bucks County in search of the 12 historical covered bridges with my partner in crime, Helen. I found 10 of them with her. One remains a mystery since we lost our way and just couldn’t find it. Helen was my human GPS and tirelessly helped me with my adventures, discovering these bridges in some very hard to find locations, flanked by charming towns amidst gurgling little brooks and streams. If it wasn’t for her I would have lost myself in parts unknown in Bucks County, PA under the charm of some historical covered bridge.

I share with you some of the romance of the covered bridges of Bucks County in a pictorial dialogue as I travel across this scenic landscape of rural Pennsylvania. Many of the bridges were originally built in the 1800s. Some were rebuilt due to fires or some sort of destruction caused to them. Bridges like the Schofield Ford Covered Bridge can be traversed by only foot or horseback. With others, you can drive through them in your car, sometimes one car at a time in an honor system. The South Perkasie one stands alone in a park setting devoid of any traffic, but boasts a very humorous line for anyone who may wish to cross it on foot. It reads: “$5 fine for any person riding or driving over this bridge faster than a walk or smoking segars on”. Most of them are red, but one or two are white or gray in color. I hope you find as much pleasure in them as I have found while the spirit of Robert Kincaid took over my mind, heart and soul in the last few days. NOTE: Please click on the smaller pictures to see a larger view of the bridges. Thank you for coming to visit me.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not the man less, but nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal. – Byron

All photos and content Copyrighted © 2014 by Gargi Seshadri

Bridges of Madison County Marathon

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It’s been a marathon couple of days submerging myself in the magic of the book and movie, “The Bridges of Madison County” written by Robert James Waller. I am not one to shed tears, but it’s been a ceaseless stream of tears and heartbreaking sobs as I revisit one of the most poignant tales of an Iowa housewife, Francesca Johnson, who falls in love with a wandering, handsome photographer,Robert Kincaid, within a matter of four days. Four days, you might wonder? Can people fall in love for a lifetime in four days? I say it might be possible if the stars are aligned just right and you have a heart that believes, truly believes in the magic of romance. For those that have not heard of this book, read it first before watching the movie. The book is a feast for your mind, with words that will tingle all parts of your body and set your heart afire with poignant messages. Then watch the movie and see the unexpected chemistry of Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.  NOTE: You will understand why I couldn’t leave out the image of the truck viewed from the rain washed windshield of the car in the above slideshow after watching the movie!

I have never seen a more trite story become more visually enchanting through the words of Waller. The houswife, Francesca (played by Meryl Streep in the movie) has a midlife affair with our exotic, nomadic photographer Robert Kincaid (played by Clint Eastwood) for 4 days while her family is away at a fair. You may think, that’s all there is to the plot????? No other twists, turns, intricacies, plot surprises, suspense elements? A resounding “NO” follows, but oh how beautiful the story is and it remains in our hearts and minds long after the last words are uttered. There are so many quotable quotes and phrases and paragraphs that I had to place one whole page of them dedicated entirely to this book separately. The ending is bittersweet and I won’t give it away. What remains imprinted for me is how engrossed we get in the love of Francesca and Robert Kincaid. The story leaves us mesmerized with Robert Kincaid in a way that we truly want to believe that he existed in real life as a bona fide National Geographic photographer. Kincaid kept on referring to himself as the “last cowboy” and one of the best and most memorable quotes referring to his character was reflected in this : “I am the highway and the peregrine and all the sails that ever went to sea”. A peregrine has many meanings and Kincaid symbolized all of them; the nomadic drifter always wanting to feel the road beneath his feet.

One article actually claimed that Kincaid remained so vivid and so interesting a character that National Geographic had to continuously deny the existence of this fictitional and famed photographer’s existence. Not only that, many wanted to see the issue of National Geographic which portrayed the romantic images of the covered bridges of Madison County. I myself fell in love with the idea of covered bridges after reading the book and watching the movie.

The whole movie can be summed up in this one phrase uttered by Francesca: “They (her husband and children) came home. And with them, my life of details.” We all want to sometimes move away from the day to day routine which becomes humdrum. Our life becomes unexciting and mundane. We seek for the metaphor of an exotic stranger who will sweep us away to lands far from the ordinary, someone who will whisper secret mysteries into our ears and tell us we are the most beautiful things that walked the celestial heavens and earth. We want four days and nights of magic where we can be stunning, desirable and irreplaceable in the eyes of some handsome stranger. If we leave with the stranger to those far, exotic lands, that life we left behind will haunt us and we may leave behind more pain and sorrow from our own actions.

The beauty of the book lies in the visual effect from the play of words. You see everything so vividly and experience it with Francesca and Kincaid. You feel their love, their unbreakable, timeless connection in the four days and this says it all in the letter from Kincaid to Francesca:  “It’s clear to me now that I have been moving toward you and you toward me for a long time. Though neither of us was aware of the other before we met, there was a kind of mindless certainty bumming blithely along beneath our ignorance that ensured we would come together. Like two solitary birds flying the great prairies by celestial reckoning, all of these years and lifetimes we have been moving toward one another.”  

And in the end, this was something that Kincaid said that summed it all up for both of them. They had a love that endured, that was short lived, but felt throughout their lifetimes; a passionate yet secure kind of love that is rare. It’s the kind of love we all want to experience when Kincaid says : “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”  

Look Up and See What You Might be Missing

“I have 422 friends yet I am lonely…” I may not have 422 frends on facebook, but that is also a true statement for me as I type my blog post and reach out to a few, as I go on facebook to see what my friends are doing, as I text to see how my kids are and if I don’t text them I may not get an answer for quite a while. I feel lonely and empty sometimes in a world that is full of wanna-be-robots dictated and overpowered by technology. In a world that is submerged in social media, we have so many friends, but how many do we truly know well and how many know us well enough to be able to describe our inner most thoughts and identify us as a human being. How many of your friends really know you, the essence of you? If we do not look up from our texting, look out into the world, leave the bed and computer, chat rooms, and webcams, do we have a chance of finding out the beauty in a person’s expressions? Can we read when they are unhappy, jubilant, in need of company or emotional support or simply, can we read their struggles and learn to help them through all the internet channels, devices, and wired connections? Do we understand the warmth of holding someone’s hands or feel the pain when someone’s tears fall down his/her face? Or do we not even want to feel anymore? Are we incapable of knowing how to deal with emotions? Can we truly connect if we don’t look up and look into each others’ eyes and share what is deep within our souls? Perhaps we want instant gratification of answers and communication more than spending time in a world where we actually have to take time to meet someone and get to know someone. Watch this video and see how powerful a message it provides for all of us. Please make a little change in your life in communicating and trying to feel what someone else is feeling by looking at them, hugging them, interacting with them and reaching out to them in person and actually talking. This will separate us from robots in the world to come. I truly hope you see a bright and beautiful world filled with amazing people as you look up!

I am only Awake when I live life with the utmost passion. I am inspired by great writing, art, music, photography and all that awakens the senses in me.

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