Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Republic Day lights

For Republic Day, the Rastrapati Bhavan, North and South Block are all lit up.
It's something I have wanted to see for some time now.

It was a beautiful sight.

Beating the Retreat

There's an annual event in Delhi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.  It's the closing ceremony of the Republic Day events, known as Beating the Retreat.

I have no pictures of my own because cameras--and anything else you might carry--are strictly not allowed (which is a story itself).

What I do have is a picture in my memory.
Imagine this...
The sun is setting behind Rashtrapati Bhavan with the silhouettes of the BSF soldiers and their camels standing at attention, while the chimes in the towers rang out 'Abide with me'. 
It was beautiful. 

Beating the Retreat is a leftover from British days.  It's a ceremony that marked the end of the day retreat of troops from the battlefield.  The Indian military today still takes great pride in making this ceremony their own, with the President as the guest of honor. 

Myself, I felt like a guest of honor to be let in at all.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sanctuary for the one winged

The Phoenix zoo has a one winged pelican.
He hangs out with the other pelicans, and since the rest of them have clipped wings and none of them truly fly, maybe he doesn't notice that he's different.

Maybe all the birds are a little 'off' in one way or another--just that few of their handicaps are as outwardly apparent as having only one wing.

In the natural world, a one winged pelican doesn't get much of a chance.  His hopes for survival would be pretty low.  I suppose it's right that the kindhearted and merciful zoo people offer the helpless this hope and sanctuary.

But I wonder:  do birds appreciate things like kindheartedness, mercy and hope?

I know that as a human with all my outward appendages in place, I don't often-enough think to appreciate these things.  Most days I'm probably a whole lot more like a one winged pelican, much more in need of mercy and kindness, than I recognize. And to remember that my future has any hope at all because of the mercy and kindness I've already received?--well that's a lot to remember.

In the natural world, I don't deserve all the mercy and hope that surrounds me.

Sometimes we're all in need of a little bit of sanctuary, where our broken wings don't matter.  Where we can rest in someone else's mercy and let hope grow once more within us.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bowling tradition

 My family likes to go bowling on New Year's day.
Some years there's a big group of us.  Some years it doesn't happen at all.
This year it did.
This year we had bumpers in the gutters, so my score was pretty good.
This year the most entertaining part was my 5 and 3 year old nephews.
As I sat in the black-lit bowling alley, listening to the sound of bowling balls on wooden floors and falling pins and smelling that bowling alley smell, an American flag hung over the lanes and I thought, "Yeah, this feels pretty American."

How nice for a bit of home.


Here's a little bit of Michigan skyline. Very different from the mega-metropolis of Delhi.