Shifting Sands


Traveling through the primal lands of Western Australia where I didn’t expect to find much except desolation, I strangely came upon a site which linked directly to the title of this blog. The Shifting Sands themselves – in a pristine white, so soft to the touch. Their charm was enhanced against the backdrop of a beautiful Australian sky – stark blue streaked with a dreamy white. The wind softly carried the sand, just enough to keep the edges of the sand dunes blurry and illusive. Continue reading

Placelessness & Traveling

He watches, but what he sees isn’t real to him. Too much traveling and placelessness have put him outside everything, so that history happens elsewhere, it has nothing to do with him. He is only passing through. May be horror is felt more easily from home. This is both a redemption and an affliction, he doesn’t carry any abstract moral burdens, but their absence is represented for him by the succession of flyblown and featureless rooms he sleeps in, night after night, always changing but somehow always the same room.

-In a Strange Room, Damon Galgut

Why is it that words on travel, like these, make me yearn to leave home, and somehow still make me sad with loneliness.

The perfect end

This is one of the most heartbreaking, yet perfect endings in cinema. The ruin of a life, abandon and infinite pain.
I visited Angkorwat recently, and kept going back to this moment of acute melancholy and perfection in those ruins.

Questions of Travel

Recently read a beautiful poem by Elizabeth Bishop at Five Branch Tree. I share part of it here:

Is it right to be watching strangers in a play in this strangest of theatres?
What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life in our bodies, we
are determined to rush to see the sun the other way around?

The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?

To stare at some inexplicable old stonework, inexplicable and impenetrable, at any view, instantly seen and always, always delightful?

Oh, must we dream our dreams and have them, too?

And have we room for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?

But surely it would have been a pity not to have seen the trees along this road, really exaggerated in their beauty,

not to have seen them gesturing like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
–Not to have had to stop for gas and heard the sad, two-noted, wooden tune of
disparate wooden clogs carelessly clacking over a grease-stained filling-station

(In another country the clogs would all be tested. Each pair there would
have identical pitch.)

A pity not to have heard the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird who sings above the broken gasoline pump in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque: three towers, five silver crosses.

Yes, a pity not to have pondered, blurr’dly and inconclusively, on what connection can exist for centuries between the crudest wooden footwear and, careful and finicky, the whittled fantasies of wooden footwear and, careful and finicky, the whittled fantasies of wooden cages.
Never to have studied history in the weak calligraphy of songbirds’ cages.
And never to have had to listen to rain so much like politicians’ speeches: two hours of unrelenting oratory and then a sudden golden silence in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:

“Is it lack of imagination that makes us come to imagined places, not just stay at home? Or could Pascal have been not entirely right about just sitting quietly in one’s room?

Continent, city, country, society: the choice is never wide and never free. And here, or there . . . No. Should we have stayed at home, wherever that may be?”

The entire poem can be found here.
What is it that drives our wanderlust? Why do we rush from the sea of our city, to enjoy the waves of one 3000 miles away? Or gaze out to the horizon to wonder what lies at the other end? Or even enjoy to just drive out a 100 kilometer and feel respite. Is it simply fickleness? An inability to be part of a constant scheme?

Regal Walk

Spent a wild weekend at the Kanha National Park. This was my first trip to real wilderness, and it was a wonderful experience. Kanha is such a beautiful, varied place. And the tiger – it never looked so majestic in a zoo. (That’s the only place I have ever seen it before)

In Melbourne

Another trip to the land down under. Three more months of ‘Out of the box’ living 🙂 I am quite proud of my first day achievements: having found the closest library and becoming a member, AND issuing a few books which have been on my to-read list for a while.
It is an interesting city – I landed yesterday to a bright evening at 9 pm, with temperatures soaring to 32 degree even that late. And today, I was shivering through most of dinner! I am told it has four seasons in a day – that just might be true. Will leave the exploration to the weekend.


Last few days in Brisbane, and I am trying to tuck away everything. I really enjoyed my stay here, especially some time being alone and away from the overpowering weight of a routine.
The most beautiful evenings were spent listening to Eddie Vedder, walking on a wharf behind the story bridge. And some more spent with strangers stumbled upon.
I will miss this place.

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It is almost a week since I have been living in this city. It is a pretty city, and it helps that I am living in the downtown, in a nice hotel-apartment on 30th floor where I can look down at the city glittering in its lights. There are a few libraries, theatres and performing arts centers around, which I have yet to explore. Sometimes, especially when you are alone, there are wide swings between extreme determination to get out of doors and a complete laziness to even move an inch. I think I am more in the latter stage, and I hope to move out of it soon. May be the International Film Festival beginning on 31st will help.
To stay alone in a new city is an experience – a feeling of isolation and longing interspersed with an excitement of independence. I don’t know if I love it, but it is definitely worth going through once in a while. If only I did not have someone to miss at home 😦


At the end, originally uploaded by Shifting sands.

Had intended this weekend to be a reading and movies weekend after a long time, since next weekend will be again wasted in flying to Sydney.
However, it ended up being a weekend of traveling. Not that I am complaining. The drive to Murud was one of the best I have had in a long time, as a considerable stretch runs along a beautiful and virgin sea.