Moonlit

As the sun bids adieu to all earthlings,
And Lady night spreads out her magnificent shawl
Sequin like stars stud the deep dark sky
And they twinkle mischievously from afar.
Then quite suddenly above the horizon,
One senses the arrival of yet another captivist 
Rising majestically, glowing brighter and brighter
The moon makes his grand entry
At times a full opaline white beauty, 
At times a delicate small crescent 
However he might be it's always his presence that,
Marks the entire night's crescendo.
Bathing the city in his pearly moonlight,
Right from a small baby to an old man,
Enchanting each one of it's onlookers,
The moon creates a bond, 
He awakens an emotion so powerful. 
As he gracefully flaunts his centre stage position,
My mind can't help but wonder why 
He seems so near but yet is afar,
Why he's universal, yet feels like our own.
I think of the moon from each one's view,
Right from a poet's perspective 
To a space walker's eye
But the deeper I delve, the more that I ponder 
My mind just can't figure out so as to 
Why is every feeling connected to the moon so paradoxical?

-Mugdha Deshpande

Fireflies

Writing a long poem after a long time feels so good! This time I have used a different style, rather I’ve written this poem as a combination of the narrative as well as metaphorical style of writing. The girl in the poem symbolises each one of us and highlights how it is in human nature to get confused when you encounter an out-of-the-blue problem. But ultimately, what matters the most is not how befuddled you are, but how you overcome your problem by having faith, hope and the will to rise above the barrier. The quote ‘May the fireflies follow you where the butterflies do not’ inspired me to write this poem. So, read on!

Blue skies above her,
Springy grass beneath her toes,
Butterflies playing around, 
Surrounded by lush green meadows.
 
Her heart grinning broadly, 
No trace of any turmoil,
Sunshine kissing her beautiful face, 
As she trode on the soft soil.
 
With butterflies leading her way, 
And fluffy clouds overhead,
What could possibly go wrong?
Was all that her heart said.
 
But as she savoured her Dreamland, 
The sun started sinking down, 
And the smile that played on her lips, 
Was suddenly replaced by a frown.
 
Gone were the butterflies, 
Each rushed back to its home,
And this young, confused girl,
Was stranded all alone.

As the last rays of the sun,
Bid the earth adieu,
She was caught up in a frenzy,
Now what could she do?

Not a soul to guide her,
Pitch darkness all around,
But then quite suddenly, out of the blue
Her ears picked up a familiar sound.

Cautiously and carefully,
Yet stumbling all along,
She led herself in the darkness,
In pursuit of the song.

The spectacle in front of her eyes,
Made her cry aloud with happiness,
For she saw fireflies a hundred,
Who could guide her out of this mess.

With those small, alluring creatures,
The path ahead was bright,
All that she had to do,
Was to follow the light.

Slowly and steadily,
She figured her way out,
Her trust in those lights of hope,
Left no place for any doubt.

And then at a long last,
Her home drew near,
Her heart could have sang loudly,
Gone was all her fear.

How she marveled at the beauty,
Of these tiny, little beings,
But this escapade of hers,
Had taught her countless small things.

She learnt that life
Couldn’t be all about sunshine,
But however dark the night may be,
Things were bound to be fine.

She learnt the importance of
Being hopeful in life,
And so, she learnt one million lessons,
From those enchanting fireflies.

                                          -Mugdha Deshpande


Himachal Diaries

Travelling to new places gives that kind of pleasure that makes you want to go after it again and again. It’s always my idea of an ideal break- a perfect hit refresh button. It had been quite a long time since we had travelled to any far off destination- something that the wanderlust inside me truly missed. And so finally in the month of May 2022, we headed towards the much coveted destination for a mountain lover- Himachal Pradesh. 

    We arrived in Chandigarh and visited the much famed Rock Garden and Pinjore Garden. Then we proceeded to the queen of hills, Shimla. There was a drastic change in the scenery from the bustling city of Chandigarh to the tranquil hills and the difference in the flora and fauna was unmistakable.

     The town of Shimla is unique in many aspects. The Mall Road is a favourite place for tourists from afar. Next day we had an adrenaline-rushing experience at the adventure park in Kufri. As the sun set, we feasted our eyes on the night city of Shimla, something which literally personified a sequined shawl.

 But the highlight of the entire trip was the town of Manali – the most sought after place of Himachal and one of the places that had been on my travel bucket list for quite some time. The journey to Manali was something that I look back upon as a long one full of laughter, photos and songs. It was dusk when we reached, and hence the town of old Manali was alit with market lights shimmering like diamonds. Our hotel too was situated in old Manali and it was just a perfect welcome to us after a long journey. The woody interior, perfectly manicured roses of every shade, and the warmth of the pahadi people was something that gave the place an alluring vibe. 

    The next day began even before cock-crow as we headed towards Rohtang Pass- a few hours from Manali. As the sun rose, I fully became aware of the scenery that surrounded me. The tops of the Himalayas were gently kissed by the early morning sun, as the pure rays spread a gleam of fiery orange on the opaline white snow. It was a dream to wake up to this view, to this enthralling spectacle that has been captured and etched firmly in my mind. The road to Rohtang pass was an ethereal one. With green sloping conifers on one side and the Himalayas towering in their majesty on the other, we ventured further, staring agog at the unparalleled wilderness surrounding us. 

    Many times it is the ride from one place to another that gives you something to think about. It’s a relaxing experience to endlessly admire the world from your window, contemplate about the things that you like and enjoy the sudden burst of phrases describing the sight that just pop into your mind as the car turns from one bend to another. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and as we gained altitude, the road bore noticeable signs of fresh, untouched snow. Looking down at the hairpin bend roads from atop made me realize the height at which we were and the terrain through which we had just traversed. The mountains which we had looked at from below had become our next-door neighbours. Looking at the snow on them suddenly gave me the mad desire to squeal with joy, like a small girl, excited at the sight of snow. Once we were above 10,000 feet, the layers of jackets and snow gear wrapping me had a definite increase. Climbing yet above, we reached Rohtang pass at an altitude of approximately 14,000 feet above the sea level. The pass was glittering white from the recent snowfall that had taken place at dawn and this was the moment that made it worth getting up at 4 am that day. There were ranges and ranges of snowy mountains everywhere one’s eyes could travel and standing amidst them gave me the goosebumps of the am-I-on-Earth type feeling. Sitting there made me realise the gravity of the oblivion in which we live. I became aware, more clearer than ever, of the fact that we are just tiny bits of a vast puzzle. It felt so good to be a part of this stunning creation and a sense of happiness washed over me. After playing in the snow to our heart’s content and clicking away some million photos, we finally headed back to our bus. We crossed the Rohtang pass descended down and from the recently built Atal tunnel returned back to Manali. We also took the ropeway ride at Solang valley which was a mesmerizing experience of seeing the snow-clad glaciers from above. After this, we returned back to our hotel and called it a day. The next two days passed in a flurry, visiting local places of Manali. And before we knew, it was time to say goodbye. We returned to Chandigarh from where we boarded the flight to Pune. As the plane took off, I watched the city of Chandigarh below, recollecting all the amazing moments that had made our trip one of the best experiences ever had. And I would like to tell you this. The Himalayas are a gift to India, a place that compels each one to introspect on the varied opportunities life has to offer as well as get away from the busy city life whenever one needs a break. To me, the Himalayas are not just a range of mountains, but a plethora of emotions that propel me to be grounded and stand tall. I literally feel that they withhold something magical, a force that cannot be put into words but can surely be felt from within. The call of the Himalayas is such that it’s hard to ignore. Once you go there, they call you again. And hence raising a toast to this heaven of travellers, to the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh, tucked peacefully in one of the mightiest mountains of the world. 

~Mugdha Deshpande

Enclosing some photos we clicked!

Wildflower

While amidst nature, one derives inspiration from the smallest of things. They somehow compel you to introspect and you begin to find similarities between nature and human life. The more you delve, the more you realise that nature is an inseparable part of our life. In this poem, I’ve tried to use Metaphor to compare wildflowers to humans. It is based on the quote, ‘A flower never thinks of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.’ As William Blake rightly says, “To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour”, there are so many things to learn from even the minutest aspects of this universe. So read on and do let me know your thoughts about it in the comments section!

On a vast mossy stretch,
All around lush green,
A wildflower stood happy,
As if she was the queen.
In that huge sea of green,
Wildflowers all around,
Each one stood tall,
Yet embedded in the ground.
Here every flower bloomed,
In its own beautiful way,
Each of the pure souls,
Gathered every sunray.
Many as they might be,
None competed with the other,
Instead, thet found their way out,
By supporting one another.
No doubt they were tiny; but
They taught me something great:
To bloom, to grow and to smile,
Without worrying about fate.
Unparalleled was their beauty,
All danced with the breeze together,
And spellbound, I pondered upon;
What I’d learnt from a wildflower.

~Mugdha Deshpande

Chaha

Through this short story, I’ve tried to depict the life of a typical Indian working Mother and how she gets on with her busy day. This time, I’ve used a different style of writing- like the one I noticed while reading books written by authors whose writings portray Indian culture. You will find code mixing, that is the use of words in a different language to enhance the content. Read on and tell me what you feel about it!

She was woken up by the much too familiar call of the alarm clock. 6 am. Long before I woke up. The start of another day. How she craved to roll over for another snooze! Reminding herself that there were still four days left for the weekend, she got up. She smiled as she recalled how she had dozed off the moment her head had hit the pillow the previous night. Fresh and having had a good night’s sleep, she was charged up again.

Getting up, she did her usual morning chores, collected the milk and the newspaper and turned on the gas to make some chaha. As the milk boiled over the flame, she strolled out into the gallery to examine her garden, something that she enjoyed thoroughly. That was when I trudged sleepily into the gallery. As I looked at her, I saw that her face reflected the tenderness of her heart as she gently caressed the blooming roses. 

Her cup of chaha marked the start of her day. She then bustled about in the kitchen chopping veggies and setting up things. She was busy making breakfast when she realized that it was 8 am already. A soft groan escaped her as she dashed about the house, looking for her headphones and mobile. Then she logged in to Zoom and joined the meeting she was supposed to attend. 

No doubt she was an excellent multi tasker and as the veggies boiled in the kadhai, I heard her telling her team about some new project they had received recently. 

Breakfast was a quick thing for her with not much time at hand. By 10 am, she had completed her chores, made a delicious meal, had finished her bath and was dressed up in an ethnic cotton kurti, ready for work. 

‘The traffic seems as bad as yesterday,’ she thought as she steered her car on the road. But as she turned on the radio, all her thoughts vanished as she began enjoying the music on her favourite Radio Mirchi station. 

At work, it was a different story. Her day was lined up with meetings, client presentations, sync ups, and reports. She literally bolted down her lunch and didn’t even stop to think about how her new masala had enhanced the flavour of the bhaji she had cooked. As the day drew to a close, she packed her laptop and headed home. Trying to be patient with the evening traffic, she thought longingly of the cup of chaha that awaited her.

Once she was home, she microwaved her chaha to make it piping hot, just the way she liked. And grabbing her favourite Parle G biscuit, settled herself in an armchair in the gallery. When I returned home, I saw her sitting in the gallery.

She was so content and was blissfully enjoying her chaha. Birds twittered and the sun painted the sky with its crimson hues. This was the rare time she spent with herself and all of us made sure that she wasnt disturbed then. As I watched her, I wondered when I would be able to do so many things without getting tired. I wondered how come she never complained and worked really hard every single day. I recalled how she enjoyed doing little tasks and found immense happiness in small mundane things . ‘Maybe that is her fuel,’ I thought. 

They say that queens live in palaces and superwomen are found only in movies. They also say that role models are always big, famous people. Truth be told, I can’t disagree more.  

~Mugdha Deshpande 

Untangled

Have you ever experienced this feeling when there are a million thoughts in your head and you can’t figure out which ones to think about first? And then just when you are confused, some inspiration hits you suddenly and your thoughts start to fall in place one after the other? I have tried to put this feeling into words in this metaphorical poem in which I have compared ‘thoughts’ to a disarranged bundle of threads, first, and then later to a rich brocade fabric that consists of the earlier jumbled threads. So read on and do let me know what you feel about it!

In this little walnut of mine,

There’s a tangle of threads varied and fine,

Wrapped up together in one big bundle,

Each thread trying to make its way out of the jumble.

Vibrant as they might be, of every different shade,

Of blue and gold, silver and red,

Each one unique, no two are the same,

And yet they fit in the same beautiful frame.

Together the weave a fabric so rich,

All tangled threads fitting in without a hitch,

Forgotten long back are the confused heaps of thread,

As they fall magically in place into a brocade.

In this little walnut in our head,

These tangled threads are thoughts a hundred,

They stumble, they fall but get up nevertheless,

And in the end, they always fall in place.

The mind no longer remains a jumble of thoughts,

The coveted crystal clear clarity is finally sought.

~Mugdha Deshpande

Literary Worms and TSSN presents a Spotify podcast

Heyy guys! This month it’s something new and exciting that Literary Worms along with TSSN has come up with. Happy to bring to you a Spotify podcast on TSSN’s Spotify channel featuring a write up written by me. The Team translated it into Marathi and Hindi languages for the benefit of more people and then they recorded it!

The featurette is based on the topic – Paving pathways and shaping futures. In this, I have put forth my opinion about how the core subjects we learn in school, be it English, Maths, Science or History are catalytic for the all-round growth of a person and how they help us to become an all-encompassing entity. Even if these subjects do not find direct use in our work professions, they surely are the building blocks not only for one’s career but also for one’s personality development. So what are you waiting for! Tune in to Spotify and listen to the podcast! Do let me know your thoughts about it as always 🙂

Link for the podcast- Learn to Learn by TSSN https://open.spotify.com/episode/5P33lFMGkev26U5gZoSPUy?si=nvKyUdwnSd2keUp12gfTfA

Now let me tell you more about what TSSN is and what work do they do.

TSSN or The Student’s Speaker Nexus is a platform that- as they rightly call it connects- aspiring students with inspiring speakers. Founded by Akshita Badkundri, a school mate of mine, TSSN is a unique platform that is benefitting many students. Choosing career paths can be difficult for students due to the expansion of career opportunities today. TSSN helps students to explore their own potential by arranging a number of lecture series by distinguished speakers and eminent personalities. So far they have arranged lectures conducted by Dr. Anand Deshpande, Founder of Persistent Systems, Vahbiz Bharucha, Captain of India’s Women Rugby Team, Dr. Salil Kulkarni, and many more people who are successful in their fields. In addition to this, they have also conducted lectures by students who have excelled in exams like JEE, NEET, SAT, KVPY and even design entrance exams. In addition to this, they have a number of mini series like ‘How to memorize better’, ‘Tell me why’ which are basically tips and tricks for effective studies. This has been really beneficial to students like us and even I have been an attendee at these sessions. The thing that I really like about TSSN is their way to connect to students and help them in every possible way they can. Kudos to the entire team at TSSN, you guys are doing a wonderful job out there!

A big thank you to Tanvee Ambekar, Podcast team head at TSSN, and her team Sanika, Abhinya and Anushree for their hard work and efforts that helped turning my write-up into a podcast. Also, a huge thank you to Akshita who has been reading articles at Literary Worms and who thought of featuring my write up on their channel. Without her, I wouldn’t have got this opportunity to put forth my thoughts on such an amazing platform!

I’m including links to TSSN’s website and Instagram channel. Do check it out and you can join the WhatsApp group for updates about their upcoming events. You’ll find the link to the group on their website.

Website http://www.tssn.in

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tssn.in/?hl=en

Other links for their social media handles https://linktr.ee/TSSN

The Ethereal

Remember those extracts from our English textbooks and readers where authors wrote about culture or about some tourist destination of India? Well, I have always been fascinated by the writing style of these authors. And so, here is a new thread of writing- travel destinations in India! The first spot on our list is Aru valley.

Aru valley is a beautiful place situated close to Pahalgam in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. So let’s go!

The first glimpse at the spectacle before my eyes literally left me open-mouthed for a few moments. Such was the sight in front of me, that I couldn’t find the right words to describe it. There was green foliage all around. Grass occupied every surface of the ground. Shades of green blended with the surrounding so majestically, that the effect produced was something to feast one’s eyes on. There were brown and white ponies, some grazing, some dozing in the sun. Tall conifer trees with sloping crowns stood as if they were neatly arranged into rows. And the mighty Himalayas, their tops glistening opaline white with the snow looked at me from. Every peak reflected the pure sun rays that caressed it. Every peak was carved in such a way that when they stood together, they blended in perfectly. There was a light breeze in the air and the gentle wind whipping on my face was just perfect.

The place looked as if something ethereal had descended down on the earth. As we walked further we reached a lush green bower. There were wildflowers peeping through the grass. A river gushed down in torrents, splashing the rocks beneath that had been shaped beautifully by the river. As I sat down, I felt the dewy grass and absent mindedly picked up a flower. For a moment I envied its life, for it lived so beautifully, in this paradise. All around there was such beauty that I wished that I had two more pairs of eyes to capture everything in them. After spending around an hour, we had to leave. After one last glance at this place, we were ready to go. As we trudged back, my mind was full of fresh mountain air. They say that the call of the mountains is such that they keep beckoning you again and again. And I truly felt this that day..

~Mugdha Deshpande

Life

Life is a melody of notes high and low,
Life is a symphony of happiness and sorrow.
Life is a book; each day is a new page,
Life is a story, that transitions with age.
Life is small, like a wild violet flower,
Life is vast, like a lush green bower.
Life is like a drive along the countryside,
Where every person has his own different ride.
At times, life is a dull rainy morn,
At times life makes you feel forlorn.
Sometimes life is bathed in dazzling sunshine,
Sometimes, life just needs some more time.
Life is the blood that gushes through veins,
Life is a horse having its own reins.
Life is a tree; leaves are shed and grown,
Life, it gives everyone a different crown.
Life is a river, where deep thoughts run,
Life is something that loves to have fun.
Life is an opportunity that has knocked your door,
Do make the most of it, right from your inner core.

~Mugdha Deshpande

Words.

Sometimes, you stumble upon a bunch of words and they somehow hit you differently. You feel an inexpressible rush of emotion because those words mean something different to you just because you can perfectly relate them to your life.  It’s like you find solace in those words, it’s like some long lost friend has finally returned. To others, those may be simple but to you, they have a meaning that no one, not even you can explain.
Isn’t this so beautiful? It’s like some thread that binds together minds of people through words. As it is said, words are definitely the most inexhaustible source of magic.
I often ponder upon the fact that how can a few short sentences have the power to influence your thinking process.  Its just that you feel so nice when you realise that people have similar thoughts, similar emotions. Maybe that is what connects the dots among people and maybe that is what makes the world a well knit fabric intertwined with different people.
When someone writes something, it does not belong to the author alone. It belongs more than anyone else to the readers who experience that it has somehow struck a chord with them. An invisible connection is created between millions of minds as the reader embarks upon the journey to venture through the inner heart of hearts of the author. I mean, daffodils were never given much attention before a poet like Wordsworth looked at them.
This speaks of the power which words possess. And at the end of the day, this is what you call wording the feeling.
~Mugdha Deshpande