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Calendar Recap 2017… And Welcoming 2018 With A Giveaway!


So, I close my eyes to old ends
and open my heart to new beginnings.
~ Nick Frederickson.


The last day of 2017 is upon us… As the sun sets down on yet another year, the time has come to draw the curtains on the year that was and close my eyes to everything old but not before turning a few pages of my dear diary, not before taking some time to pause and reflect on the moments that made the year, the year that was… Be it through an encounter with a not-so-perfect flower or a village girl with deep soulful eyes or a simple door rich in character or some contemplative moments by the Marine drive – these were moments that I remember where the more intensely I was able to pour of myself, the more I was able to draw from them enriching my gift of experiences in its wake.

Most of these posts were infused with my reflections from my yatras that justify the fact that travel indeed opens the heart in a myriad of ways that are sometimes difficult to fathom for the restricted confines of our mind thus making us more optimistic and aware of our own self in relation to the surroundings around us. Spiraled below is the calendar recap for My Yatra Diary… 2017 with one of my favorite posts picked up from each month along with an accompanying snippet and a picture. Looking back at all these posts today warmed my heart and reminded me to keep it open to new beginnings as I prepared to close my eyes on old ends. As you’ll read them, I hope they’d do the same for you.
Also, to commemorate the New Year full of promise for a beautiful, healthy, happy and successful life – I have a giveaway organized at the end as my token of gratitude for all your love that you have continued to share generously on me and my diary, so make sure to scroll through the end and gift yourself a chance to win goodies worth Rs. 4000 in cash (or an equivalent $60 Amazon voucher). Happy New Year Everyone!
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J A N U A R Y
SILENCE
It’s eloquent, powerful, beautiful, even dangerous.
To slow down, reflect and ponder
on how connected you are with life,
your own self, is priority here.

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F E B R U A R Y
As I roll my hands onto the engraved walls, I feel a strange sense of kinship with the people in these stories. Be it the epic war from the Mahabharata or the deceptive Sita haran (kidnapping of Sita by Ravana) – it seems like every stone here has an anecdote to share. There are sculptures of Hindu Gods seated in meditative pose and dancing apsaras with dhols making music – all in the richly pillared House of Lord Shiva. Sitting in the center, diagonally opposite the sanctum sanctorum is the majestic Nandi Bull closely guarding His Master.

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M A R C H

… Love …
as childlike, playful and pure as Radha and Krishna
Shaded in a feeling rich and wholesome,
A flight as gentle as a dove



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A P R I L

It is not the camera then that I believe but this attitude, this nonstop chattering in our mind, which says – I am going there with my camera; I want to capture this, I want to bring that back – which is the real barrier.

And therein lies the handicap, the real barrier that is asking to be crossed.

This leads me to a whole new perspective to the debate and one which resonates with me (the reason why I have still not ditched my camera) – How if we were to carry the camera without the greed, the urge to capture or hunt but just to see, to simply see?
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M A Y
As the sun’s light dimmed with each passing moment and the intensity of the night increased, I was overwhelmed with a profusion of balming serenity and a comforting guidance never experienced before. Even the setting sun became the veil, the aanchal,which she was drawing over all of her children present there, including me, to shield us from the noisy and frightening world outside.
In her arms, I felt safe.
I felt one with Mother, my own nature.
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J U N E

O, traveller:
Here time ticks as a blessing
The earth joins in the caressing.
All the wounds open and heal
The Noor glows —
beyond all the lurking shadows
the essence of His presence flows.
Our truth, this joy —
no one can steal



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J U L Y

I inhale a slice of the stillness as my vision is arrested by a 360 degree panoramic view of the endless amounts of space stretching seamlessly across my field of vision. A space where dreams are rooted in the waking world… where lines between the real and the surreal blur, where all the great worries wash away, where life acquires a new meaning, the magic of living in the moment comes alive, also the space every breath becomes a connect to the vibrant energy flowing through the Source from where we come and whence we will be gone.




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A U G U S T
… Bend down to whisper …
some words unspoken,
a few dreams cherished,
a prayer, conversations of the heart
In His eyes,
love is never absent
In His court,
no one is ever alone or forgotten ~

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S E P T E M B E R

Not one, not two but the light of a thousand souls jumped out from her gaze, adding another layer of beauty to her slightly demure character. We spoke nothing and yet, I felt everything…

What kind of world lay beneath her veil of precious lovely eyes?
What dreams did they harbour?
Had they been dyed in the sweet play of innocence
or had they been shrouded in the silent shoulder of responsibility?
Were those depths inked in wells of laughter
or were they resonant in pain and sorrow?



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O C T O B E R


I folded my hands in prayer and closed my eyes, breathing in the spectacular gift of light that was drenching every inch of my being in new hopes and vibrant possibilities wiping away any and all the clutter of darkness. Silence glided into my soul while the chatter of the world died down in the ethereal glow of the rising sun. Time came to a staggering halt in the rhythmic melody of the ripples, breaking on the river bank, whispering a murmuring song as a mellifluous and joyful Gomti kept building, going somewhere, sanctifying the shores of the holy land… also the confines of my heart within.



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N O V E M B E R

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It is only by some divine design that my blog sprang to life 8 years ago despite my incompetence in the arena and that I continue to feel empowered to fill the pages of my dear diary despite the rapidfire changes in the industry. Looking back at all these fragments today, I cannot help but wonder at the richness of life that has come to me by the grace of God. The confidence to embrace my vulnerability, to be sincere and authentic in my words that bind our hearts together, the joy of learning and to share my perspective and voice without apprehension has undoubtedly been some of my biggest achievements of my blogging journey.



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D E C E M B E R
December being a month synonymous with gifts and goodies (yes, I am the one enchanted by the idea of Santa!), I decided to skip picking up a post for this month and instead continue the spirit of giving and joy by organizing a little giveaway for all my readers, friends and well wishers. The giveaway is a small token of my gratitude for all the love, support and blessings received throughout the year.
WHAT TO DO TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY?
1. Read the posts in the calendar recap of My Yatra Diary above and leave a relevant comment* on any one (or more if you like) of your favorite posts.
2. Come back to this post and leave a comment here so that I know you are in. Even a simple comment like ‘Count me in’ will do.
* In case you have already commented on the post before, just let me know the name of the post in the comment section below and you’re done.
For additional brownie points, follow me and share the post on Twitter / FaceBook / Instagram or any other social media and let me know you did.
WHAT ARE THE GIFTS?
TWO lucky winners will receive cash of Rs. 2000 each and in case the winner is not residing in India,  the winner will receive $30 Amazon voucher.
The giveaway is open internationally and ends on the 20th of January 2018 midnight IST. Winners will be announced here itself on the 22nd of January, in this post.
That’s all you got to do besides keeping your fingers crossed, who knows you could just be stepping in 2018 with some extra cash in your pockets to help you fund your travels.
All the best!

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Written by Arti

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