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Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

About a house

How would you like your house to be?

Here’s a brief description of one that a colleague bought a couple of months ago:

  • 4000 sq ft spread across two levels and a basement
  • Large living room, a lounge next to the dining room, and a patio overlooking the backyard
  • A family den on the 2nd floor, an attic and three large bedrooms for the family
  • A home-theater in the basement with crawlspace next to it, and a three car garage
  • Lots of trendy furniture to fill the spaces in the various rooms

And here’s what I am thinking of:

  • A small log-cabin as close to the wilderness as you can get
  • A living room that’s also the family den
  • A couple of bedrooms, and a small kitchen
  • Preferably a stream flowing nearby
  • No empty spaces to worry about at all

What do you think?

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Tuesday morning

February 22, 2012 2 comments

“This is the H Line to 18th & California. Stand clear, the doors are closing.”

I held on to the handrail, and the train jerked into motion. As it turned under Colfax avenue, I was thrown slightly off  balance and held the handrail tighter. I did not fall, but my eyes opened in reflex. The train went on slowly, and came to a halt at the traffic light. Beyond the fence is the community college’s parking lot. Usually it is at least half-full of cars, but on this day it was strangely empty. Snow had covered most of the grass and walkways – it was a sea of white.

And right through the maze of parked cars and accumulated snow, a man was walking his dog. He was not an urban resident – he had a scruffy beard, and a backpack that towered a foot over his head. His back was bent under the weight, but his step was firm. As he reached the end of one parking aisle, he stopped, took off his backpack, and said something to his dog. His dog woofed, and the man smiled back.  As they spoke with each other, I noticed his clothes. He seemed to be wearing some grime-covered military surplus gear; his boots reached halfway up to his knees. The left leg of his trousers was neatly tucked inside, but the right  one was out. It didn’t bother him at all – perhaps he hadn’t even noticed.

After a while, he looked up to the sky for a moment, put on his backpack and started to walk again. This time, his shoulders were square, and he had a spring in his step. For a few moments, his dog had to trot to keep up with him. Then he turned, and disappeared behind a building.

I don’t think he was a homeless man. I would prefer to think that he was a man of the mountains, one who makes his living off the land.

Yes, it sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Living in the mountains in a small log cabin with just nature to give you company. Reading a book by a rustic fireplace, and foraging the forest for your own food.

But that’s what it is, really – just a romantic dream. In reality, none of us urbanites would survive even a week in a jungle.

But if you were given the chance to find out, dear reader, would you try it?

Emptiness

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

If you had one room for your own – one empty room to begin with – how would you decorate it?

A sofa set or a lounger? An LCD TV or a Home Theater system? Or both? A gathering place for friends, or a place to seek solitude?

Let me tell you how I would do it.

The room will have a muted color on the walls. If you peek out of the French windows, a small path will lead your eyes through a lush green lawn to the wooden fence. At the end of the fence will be a pool full of white lotuses, with a small bridge going from one side to the other – just wide enough for the little animals to use.

Inside the room, the atmosphere would be more spartan. In one corner would be a shelf with a small selection of books. By its side, a laptop with my favorite music and movies. And oh yes, a pair of headphones too. In another corner would be a French Press, a jar of fine Arabica and a set of coffee cups.

Finally, a small portable lamp in case you want to read when it’s dark outside.

Books, music and coffee – if that won’t get you satisfaction, nothing else will.

I hear footsteps…

September 6, 2011 1 comment

This summer has been fairly good to us – we were able to go out for picnics and hikes almost every weekend. And Denver being, well, Denver, we have been surrounded with greenery for the past few months. Of course, it’s monotonous greenery – not like the Sahyadris where you can feast your eyes upon millions of shades of green. But that’s another post.

Over the past couple of weeks, I noticed changes – subtle at first, but more pronounced as the days passed by. The days have become cooler, and the nights are chilly too. The weather forecast has started to show “Showers” in addition to “Thunderstorms”.

And yesterday, I saw the first hint of yellow in the trees around our apartment.

Make no mistake – old man winter is just around the corner. I can hear him coming – can you?

Rain, Rain (don’t) go away

July 11, 2011 1 comment

Heavy rains and thunderstorms were predicted for yesterday evening; we were at the temple when the sun hid behind the clouds. The temple is at an elevation, and if you stand outside, you get a splendid view of the mountains and the countryside. As we stood in the parking lot, clouds continued to gather, and the gentle breeze slowly turned into a gale. In the distance, thunder streaked across the sky- a beautiful yet frightening sight. We got into the car, and not too soon, for the rain started almost immediately. In the evening, the sun peered out for a few minutes and treated us to a magnificent double rainbow. The downpour eased back to a drizzle, but was still on when we retired to bed.

In the morning, I took my cup of coffee into the patio. The earth was dry, but the clouds were still out there. I reminded myself to carry an umbrella to office, and went back inside to get ready.

As predicted, light rain started around afternoon, and it was still raining when it was time to go home. The highway was packed full of slow moving traffic, and the lights reflected on the wet tarmac – red on one side of the divider, yellow on the other. The usual highway commute of 15 minutes took twice as long, but we were four of us in the car and spent the time chatting and joking.

Back at home, my wife was in a good mood too – rains after a hot spell always cheer us up. She brewed her special black coffee, and we spent a great evening.

The past two days had “Mumbai monsoons” written all over them. Sadly, we are in Denver right now. Next year, though, we will enjoy the Indian monsoon first hand.

A sensory experience

May 21, 2011 1 comment

Imagine… that you are in a dense forest, on a small trail. The heavy downpour of the past two hours has given way to just a small drizzle.

What do you feel? Let’s try and look at this question a bit analytically.

We all have five senses – touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste. What do each of these sense?

Touch: the brittle layer of leaves beneath your feet has turned soft and mushy now. If you touch any tree or leaf, you can feel the slime. And the trickles of water running down your face.

Smell: the fresh smell of wet earth, mixed with the smell of stuff starting to rot.

Sight: Millions of shades of green everywhere, interspersed with shades of brown and earth.

Hearing: the drip-drip-drip of water trickling down to the forest floor, and the sounds of small waterfalls here and there. The chirping of birds and sounds of the small animals noticeably absent.

Taste: crystal clear water in case it runs down your face into your mouth.

It’s so easy to think about these, isn’t it? But it’s really tough to incorporate these in a story. That’s where I’m struggling now; that’s why I’m unable to make any progress in my writing.

But it’s all right, I’ll keep trying.

Weekend Getaway

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

My in-laws are here with us – they wanted to spend time with their daughter & grand-daughter, and we wanted to spend time with them. Well – they are here and we have been having a rocking time!

Last weekend was the first time in many months when we went out for a real picnic. On Saturday we visited Fraser (Winter Park), and on Sunday we went to Colorado Springs – to see the Garden of the Gods and the Cave of the Winds. My father-in-law is a Geologist, and he enjoyed every moment.

While we did have a lot of fun in all the places, we enjoyed the journey too. The road to Fraser wound through snow-capped mountains, and the road to Colorado Springs showed us spectacular vistas of open plains with the Rockies in the background. On the way to the Cave of the winds, the road cut right through the mountains, exposing the red rocks inside.  Looking out of the car’s window, my wife said, “The US is beautiful after all.”

As far as I’m concerned – it’s nature that’s beautiful. And all countries that maintain their natural heritage will continue to stay beautiful.