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Monday, 22 July 2013

At Garachico Port in Tenerife

Sunday.. a day of rest, a day to do something different, to break the bones of routine. Some spend the day lazing around, sleeping or watching sports on TV, some go shopping or movies and some go outdoors in the open air to high seas to sweet talk with fishes and trap them into their nets. .

This Sunday I spend an evening at ferry wharf to watch the time breeze through some moments of bliss...

First thing that caught my attention were the rows and rows of boats parked side by side at ferry wharf. Creatively painted with bright colors and designs, they were a welcomed distraction. Lovingly covered with cloth or plastic, silently they rested at the end of the day..

Sundays are the days when they are used by the natives to go for a ride out in the sea, to some remote island close by, to find a quiet spot where they park their boat and do some fishing.

The boats are a luxury possessions, as expensive as buying a car. There is parking space on the big concrete space too that surrounds the pocket beach.

There is also this vast open space for recreational activities. This is ample space to walk freely and to rest on the wooden benches to rest the knees. There are children with their pets, running and falling, young people skating from one end to another, people walking in groups, sharing their stories after their ride on the seas.

Although water looked calm and serene, it was a bit oily beneath, probably due to   motor used for the rides and the fishes that swam as far as the shore struggle to breathe.

Not all park their boats at the shore. There are some, who dismantle their boats, separating the machine from the body and towing away their boats in their car.

We wait till the sun reflects its bright golden rays on the hills facing the pocket of beaches. The hill blushes, bathing in different shades spreading its positive energies.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

People On The Hills

I would walk thousand miles to watch the wonders of the universe, if only I could. When tired of too much walk, I would knock on the door of the house on the hills and greet the strangers within. Who are those people inside those houses? What keeps them happy or sad? Do their heart shrink with desires, do they expect too much from life? Or are they content with little they have, happy to live side by side with nature? There is bountiful greenery around them, fresh fruits in their garden, a kitchen garden too perhaps. Sun sets every evening casting the red rays on their walls, filtering into their homes with warmer tones. They must be happy lot, they need to be, they cannot complain…or do they??

Monday, 15 July 2013

Visiting Home Away From Home

When we first moved to Buen Paso, a rural, hilly area of Tenerife, our house was in a remote place. There were very few houses around us, with natural scenery of Atlantic Ocean on one side and volcano Teide on the other side. The cold crisp wind from hills kept the temperature low at all times of the day. Every evening I watched the beautiful sunsets, either from my kitchen window or from my balcony or from my terrace. The colors and hues in the sky was a treat to the eyes, but how many sunsets to watch?

I wanted to go out to explore the city

Tenerife is a beautiful island with hundreds of beaches all along the coastline. It is a tourist paradise with clubs, water sports and many great places of interest. But my family stays far away from city in a small quiet town.

Going independently to town meant climbing four steep hills to reach the bus station. It was not worth it. I was confined to home because I cannot drive. Most of the time I passed reading books, making handicraft items, cooking or painting. 

Just below our balcony were open fields. A farmer would come everyday and tend to his vegetables, it was a hard work but I would watch him grow rows and rows of cabbage. Sometimes he would offer me his produce and it tasted so fresh and succulent. His field was evenly spaced out with proper drainage and water sprinklers at regular interval. There was a pretty house at a distance, a holiday home of some German family, which was active and lighted up during summer.

One summer, I spent my time in the balcony painting the scene outside my home. I am glad I did, because that scene is there no more.

Some five years ago, Government decided to build a hospital behind my house. The farmer was given enough funds to give up his land for redevelopment of this area. A big hospital stands now with a concrete motorway cutting across the field. There is a big parking area behind the highway but the house still stands and the ocean beyond.

There are row houses up across the pathway leading up the hill. Most of the people remain indoors so I don't meet any one even if I want to climb this path

The hills are till steep, there are beautiful sunsets and chilly breeze from the sea, but no more fresh cabbage for me.....

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Birthday Party With Special Children

This year, I celebrated my birthday at school with 14 mentally challenged students who share my birthday month of June.

All the children who were celebrating sat on a plastic chair in one row facing eighty more children who sat on the mat opposite them. Children had prepared a small poem/talk/word of appreciation/song, each according to his ability to express their happiness. There was cake cutting session, dance, music, snacks and laughter.

I sat on the far left side of the row and watched them enjoy. Not everybody smiled. Some had blank looks, deeply lost into their own world. Some had to be helped to walk and take their birthday gift. Some looked curiously at the gift for few minutes, then tossed them on floor and some just refused to take their gifts.

My eyes rested on Jesal who suffers from ‘Dandy Walkers Syndrome’. He celebrated his eleventh birthday. He sat curled, sunk in the chair; his head drooped due to poor muscular support. The handkerchief pinned to his shirt collar was wet, soaked in drool. When his turn came to be greeted by his friend, an assistant lifted his chin to make him look up, helped him receive the gift and shake his friend’s hand.

Birthday is the day when they are made to feel like a royalty. It is difficult to understand what thoughts are running in their mind. Are they feeling sorry for themselves? Are they feeling unloved? Or do they have no feelings at all?

Later in the evening I made a home visit to Jesal’s house.

Jesal has a very caring and doting family. His parents, grandparents and his twin sister are his universe. His twin sister sometimes wishes on a star to make her brother as normal and intelligent as she is. She wonders how different her life would be, had she to share a room with him? She would have loved to play with his toys and sometimes have a pillow fight with him.

Jesal lay curled up on a small bed in fetus position, playing with his fingers. There was no acknowledgement of my presence or my greeting. I sat down closer to him on a chair. I tried making conversation with him, but there was no response. While chatting with his mom, I stretched my hand and placed my finger on his palm. His finger curled tightly around my finger and the contact was made. I held his hand, took it up in the air and down again, repeating it several times. I returned my attention back to the conversation with his family. Jesal continued to play with my hands, gripping my fingers, rubbing my palm and lifting my hand.

Although he made no conversation, nor made any eye contact with me, I think I saw his teeny-Minnie smile from the corner of his mouth when I said goodbye.

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