Death before death

Tonight,  on the 28th of April, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are going to face death penalty in Indonesia.

They are two young educated and very talented Australians who were accused in 2005, of being members of the Bali Nine heroin smuggling ring. Inside the prison, Myuran spent time creating haunting paintings.

Indonesia has a very strict legal system. Somebody has to pay, they say. But is death penalty the only solution? Isn’t it too harsh a verdict for the crime of drug trafficking?
These two had gone through enough penalties before they will finally be put away.

Tonight, on Tuesday the 28th April they are expected to be killed by a firing squad at midnight.  Their families are horrified. Seeing loved ones die a gruesome death is not easy.

Death, scary and horrid
Like the life-less life ‘lived’ by those
held captive by the terrorists

Captive Jordanian pilot being burnt alive.  Pic source: SMH,

I wrote the above Haiku poem two months ago in February, when captive Jordanian pilot was held hostage and burnt alive (in the pic). That was in the hands of terrorists.  Here’s the news.

Pic source: SMH

My previous similar poem Ode to the…well…it’s now scary to use the word….


Deep Wall of China

The Great Wall of China depicts depth in all possible forms.  And of course it is a brick wall so long that it tells a story about ancient times, about the people of China.


The Great Wall of China runs far and wide across a large sprawling mountainous terrain, and so the pictures taken by us depict depth in all its facets. There is linear as well as horizontal depth in all these pictures.

Firstly, any mountain region has its own vertical depth. Then this wall seems to go deep and deep into the mountain horizontally. Moreover this depth varies with the rise and fall of the wall.

The fog adds to the depth as it makes us sense that there is something yonder…beyond the horizon…not visible but definitely there.

Life is also ‘deep’ and meandering like that. And like in life, communities from all over the world converge and connect here with each other and with nature.


The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Depth and Converge.  I have also added this to Photo Challenge Wall and Connected

Alka Girdhar.
© All rights reserved 2015

Delightful Chains

 Brooding monkey..expressing herself via solemn gestures
express myself through my pictures, poems and words

Dancing Monkey

Dancer Monkey

She’s all posed up for her next public dance
Just waiting for her master’s next command
Her life is in chains, now the chains she enjoys
Because no other life she has ever known 

I encountered this monkey many years ago in my native country.

Monkey Dance Shows are almost banned now, thanks to animals rights activists. But having closely observed their gestures, the way these monkeys obediently follow their master’s  instructions and keep everyone, including themselves, amused…a thought came into my mind as I replied to this photo challenge.

That we all are like these monkeys…enslaved by other humans like us. Whether it is too much love for other humans that makes us weak…or it is our bias or contempt for anyone who is not one of ‘us’…both strong emotions bind and chain our hearts rather than liberating us for higher goals in life.

We are also slaves of our own bad habits – totally controlled by our addictions, laziness, lying, arrogance and what not.  A simple tea addiction often ruins my day.

Thirdly, we all have circumstances and environment beyond our control that restrict us, and define our behaviour and our personalities for so long that we lose our real identity…and we ourselves start believing in, even appreciating this half-life we are living.

So yes…in all the above three cases, we are unable to break off the shackles created by forces outside or inside us, and as a result we do not live the life we were supposed to live.
We can’t break the barriers as we are afraid of something…we don’t know what will happen if….say…we step out of our comfort zone.

Therefore, we are no different from monkeys dancing to the tune of others…

Like this monkey we too have been chained by one of the above factors for so long that we haven’t known any other life…so we pretend to be happy in our situation. It suits us to consider it a delightful chain…

Now that was a lot of sermonising for a photo challenge.
Relax!!!  Breathe in…

Let God be the only master, who makes us dance to His/Her tune.
For when He decides we can’t avoid….that’s for sure.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Express Yourself.”

© All rights reserved 2015

Gifted by Nature


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Reward is… after a tiring day coming home to be greeted by a vista of Stunning Indigo Sky  Indigo Sunset –  all photographs taken by me from my own backyard – on the same day. “Hold on to your divine … Continue reading

Bonfire vs Bushfire

My earlier response to the PhotoChallenge  “Warmth.”  was about all-consuming destructive bush-fires in Australia.

But the same fire becomes a boon if it provides right amount of warmth in extremely cold weather, as it does during Lohri festival of north India.
Today, on the 9th of January, it is Lohri festival dedicated to fire and sun god.

lohri-2 (1)

Bonfire during Lohri festival in India

People gather around a bonfire, sing and dance to vibrant drum-beats and there are all sorts of warming sweets and special delicacies.

Lohri represents fire in its warm (not hot) celebratory form.



Over -shadowed

malana girls

Pic source: Self-clicked

The older girl knows that she has to look after her baby sister.  However, her own childhood seems to have been over-shadowed  and strained by her duties as an older sibling

(This sweet picture was taken long time back by my family when trekking near Malana village in Kulu Valley, Himachal Pradesh India.  The village is remote and isolated, with a very distinct culture and values.   I wanted to know more about the village now so did google search and indeed the village is unique in many ways)

 Alka Girdhar
© All rights reserved 2015

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Shadowed.”

A Moment in Time

Hot as can be: Inferno

For:  One Word Photo Challenge  ‘Hot’ and Wildfire

Bush Fire in Melbourne Hellish warmth

Bush Fire in Melbourne
Hellish warmth

Fire provides warmth…
We are composed of fire
Life force is fire
Love is fire
Food’s rendered edible with fire

But in its extreme form
This fire is torturous hell
An wild inferno… 

These two pictures were taken during Australian Bush fires – Melbourne, in 2009. These are the only pictures that I did not click but I’m sending for a Word Press photo challenge. But these are the ultimate in natural disaster, also extreme in something hellish ‘hot’ so I am posting them.

Bush fires are common during Australian summers. They engulf precious lives and burn down thousands of homes in no time.


Previously posted in response to The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: “Warmth.”

Illuminated pathways…enlightened minds!!!

Illuminated pathways…enlightened minds!!!

???????????????????????????????Schools, colleges and universities are places of enlightenment for those who have it in them.
The first (above) picture was taken by my son at University of New South Wales (Sydney) walking from one department to the other.  Superb reflection of light heightens the reflective academic mood.
The lamps and their reflections and the shrubs on both side – what perfect symmetry!!   

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Symmetry

The above and below pictures were also sent for previous photo challenge: Twinkle, where we had to share photos of twinkling light…to find a light source and a reflective surface in order to capture a twinkle.


The second (below) picture was clicked by my family at Shanghai Airport. These are droopy pensive lightened up figurines.

Airports too are the illuminated corridors/pathways that lead to some great journeys which are capable of enlightening our minds…and broadening our horizons.