On Roadside Wild Beauty

Texas heat index is rising steadily this summer. Kumar and I are trying to walk together at least a few times a week later in the evening instead of late afternoons.

As we were walking a couple of days ago, I spotted this road side beauty. Kumar did his usual rant-like-speech – “You better not stand there admiring that flower for next 10 minutes. I give you exactly 60 seconds. Admire it. Take a picture. Then, you are going to continue walking with me.”

I did just as Kumar instructed me to.

I don’t know what the name of this beautiful wild flower is.

It reminded me of a flower that Daddy used to bring from the market. It was called “vaada malli”. English name – Gomphrena globosa. Vaada malli had similar purple color, layered and spiky look.

This summer…pause wherever you are… at the beach, at the park, amongst the hills…or even alongside your own street… to take in a wild flower’s beauty.

Stay wild in your heart. And, go get ’em tiger.

Happy Summer.

National Bridges at Santa Cruz in California

Did you know that our beloved Earth appears like a blue (because of the water, which covers most parts of the Earth) marble with white swirls (clouds) from space?

Did you know there are more than 20 state beaches only at Santa Cruz in California

Every summer, I make it a point to take (at least once) the boys to the beach. I want them to experience and share my love for the ocean (and the mountains, peaks, plateaus…everything). During this lifetime, I won’t be able to visit all the gorgeous beaches on our planet. But, that is OK. I will try my best to dip my feet in every ocean, every river and every lake that I can take the family to.

The taste of the salt water.
The sound of the rushing waves.
The sight of the endless horizon.
The feel of the warm sand.
The smell of being at the beach!

Today, I was very fortunate to stand beside the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I had a blast at National Bridges (there’s only one natural bridge at Natural Bridges, a naturally formed sea arch) in Santa Cruz with family and friends.

We laughed. We chatted. We gossiped. We ate. We drank chai. All small moments. The small moments that are our beautiful life is composed of. Trust me. Life is about the small moments.

Please take some time out this summer. Go dip your feet in the ocean.

Put your hand in mine. No, I am not kidding. Seriously. Put your hand in mine. Now. Make a pact with me.

Say this with me : “Ambal, I live near the <fill in this blank> beach. I promise. I will take a weekend off this summer. I will gather my family and friends. I will go visit the beach. I will.I promise. Because, our life is about the small moments. Is it not?!”

Del Valle Camping Trip

There is something to be said about being outdoors on a camping trip.

It makes you realize how little you actually need to live and thrive. A tent, a sleeping bag and some basic food.

I just got back from a terrific camping trip to Del Valle with family and friends.

I clicked hundreds of pictures. This one is my favorite. Because, it marks the beautiful (and fleeting) nature of a child’s childhood moment.

Del Valle Camping Trip - 1 - Ambal Balakrishnan

Symmetry in Nature – What a Wonder?

Symmetry in nature – what a wonder?!

This little plant (in the front yard) caught my attention as I was rushing to pack the kids up in the car to take them to Tamil School today morning. I paused for a second to admire the symmetry and felt compelled to take a picture of it.

Adi gave me a stern look and said: “Amma, You have been nagging us all morning to get ready and get in the car. Now you stand there enjoying that silly little plant and then clicking pictures of it. Get in the car – NOW.”

The most general law in nature is equity-the principle of balance and symmetry which guides the growth of forms along the lines of the greatest structural efficiency. – Herbert Read

I got in the car and then proceeded to give the kids one of my long lectures. The topic was “stop & enjoy the little things in life”.

What little thing did you enjoy today? A leaf, a plant, a fruit, a conversation, a smile, a hug, some hot chai. What was it?

Aloha Hawaii. Mahalo Hawaii.

Aloha Hawaii!

In how many ways and how many little things can I count thy stunning beauty?

How can my lousy photo taking skills and my silly old camera do justice in capturing thy beauty?

Thy lush green gardens,

thy coconut and banana trees,

thy beautiful flowers,

thy jet black lava rocks,

thy numerous birds,

thy breath taking beaches.

Your sights and sounds will stay in my inner mind for ever.

Until we meet again…Mahalo Hawaii.

Aloha Hawaii - 2- Ambal Balakrishnan