Snapshots In My Mind's Eye

“For oft when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills

And dances with the daffodils”


How brilliantly evocative. I don’t think anyone could have put it better than William Wordsworth. Perhaps it was this poem in my subconscious that did it. There are these snapshots through the years of travel that come into my mind’s eye, unbidden and silent, whenever I need the “bliss of solitude”. I am happy to share them with you.

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Image Courtesy

Lightning and a Cloud

I am driving by myself in my old Ambassador car. The journey from Nagpur to Jabalpur has taken over four hours and I can see the lights of the town twinkling in the dusk. Jabalpur is a town near the geographical heart of India, famous mainly for the Marble Rocks on its outskirts. I stop the car and as is my wont, gaze skywards. Beautiful and clear late evening. A few stars are out but it isn't dark enough to make out the constellations just yet. I see a lone cloud. Fluffy and white. Suddenly there is a flash of lightning within the cloud. Followed by another. And another. I am filled with wonderment. There isn't another cloud to be seen. Just this single one. Surrounded by a darkening sky. One cloud with an ongoing, silent fireworks display. Was I ever so happy I stopped. Never seen one since. Doubt that I ever will. Never will forget it either.

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Image Courtesy

Tribal Women Bathing in a Hot Spring

Driving one morning on a family picnic. The Nayar family and the Singh family. Maybe 50 km out of Jabalpur. I see a small, nondescript sign saying “Hot Springs”. Hot Springs here? Unheard of. Slam go the brakes. Forcing Sudhir’s driver Raghu to go down hard on his brakes too. The families wait while Raghu and I kind of speed walk down the dirt track to investigate. Some 50 metres below, I see a smallish, natural pool. On closer examination, two young women are discernible. Not wearing anything visible to the naked eye. Both of us race back to the cars to collect towels. Before anyone can realize, we are down to our underwear and in the little pool. With two pretty, young tribal women, giggling at this intrusion into their beautiful, natural, unspoilt world. That’s where the memory is and that’s where it stays.

Woman on the Road from Bailadilla

Ketan and I are returning in his jeep after a business visit to the iron ore rich country of Bailadilla. The scenery in the Bastar District is absolutely stunning. Huge Sal forests in different shades of green, fresh clean air, an open road and the occasional group of women going about their daily chores, topless in their wraparounds. This is as natural and beautiful a countryside as you will find anywhere in India. A stream runs alongside the road. Suddenly I see a beautiful young woman. She is naked and her youthful beauty is quite unbelievable. She is just getting out of the water and gazes soulfully at me, I think, as we go past. If I wasn't already married, I would have perhaps, just kissed my existing world goodbye for that lovely apparition.

Early morning near Malanjkhand

 Leaving Malanjkhand early, the countryside is incredibly fresh and green. It has rained a little while ago and there is a rainbow across virtually the entire sky. With a fainter double. The road is deserted and some tillers of the land wave as I drive past. I wave back unable to decide who is the luckier – they or me?

Women in the Sea at Goa

It is uncommon to see topless women in India. Even if it is Goa and the women are foreigners. The monsoon is already on us so the women cannot go too far out to sea. I am pushing a motorcycle through the sandy beach after the engine stalled. Dark, threatening clouds are gathering over the ocean. My eyes are drawn suddenly to two foreign women, splashing around in the water near the shore. Close enough to make out their bikini tops are far away from their precious cargo. I take a break and drink in the unexpected reward, my heart thumping more from the sight than from pushing the motorcycle.

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Comments 17 comments

dianacharles profile image

dianacharles 7 years ago from India

I can see you have a lot of errrrr...nostalgic memories there. :P

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thanks for reading dianacharles. Yes I do have a lot of nostalgic memories. Just hope it makes interesting reading

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thanks for reading dianacharles. Yes I do have a lot of nostalgic memories. Just hope it makes interesting reading

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Trust you Sabu LOL!!

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Haha too Shalini. Great memories. Thanks so much for taking the trouble of reading. Long time since we had a post from you

Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India

Sabu..what do I say? do have some great ahem..memories!LOL!

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Laila truth will out they say. But yes, these are happy memories that don't fade. especially the cloud with lightning. Seems like yesterday

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

So glad amnesia didn't obliterate these memories! :P The description of the cloud is quite lyrical!

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

That is a good one FP. Thanks

raj saran varma 7 years ago

Women on Sabu's mind as always. As it was once said, "What's on a man's mind--Woe- men

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thanks for reading again Raj. Thank God for Women - what would this world have been without them? What say you?

Doc Snow profile image

Doc Snow 7 years ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

It was 1980, I think. Mid-summer. My wife and I--we'd been married less than two years--were heading west on Highway 17, along the north shore of Lake Superior, the ruggedly beautiful and still quite wild 700 km. stretch from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay. We were travelling in two vehicles, she driving the old Chrysler Newport I'd bought from my mother, I driving the old school bus we'd converted to a camper, and we'd picked up a couple of kids, who, we discovered, were fresh out of juvenile detention. One was engaged, as we made our way west, in teaching the other to read.

"How do you get through Grade 10 without being able to read?" I asked.

"You cheat," came the matter-of-fact response. Well, that made sense.

It was getting on toward evening, and we needed a place to camp. An inconspicuous sign, somewhere past Hurkett, Ontario, pointed left off the highway and down an unpaved road to a recreation area. A quick conference, and we decided to give it a try.

A cautious mile or so--I'd already learned from experience that turning around a 40-foot school bus on a two-lane dirt road is a task better avoided--brought us to a beautiful beach on the shore of Black Bay. It was quite deserted; the water reflected back the fading light glowing champagne pink on the eastern shore, across the bay; and the beach sand gleamed purple with amethyst crystals, creating a strange dusk light that I've never experienced since. It was quite unexpected--almost unearthly. How was it that this spot was so unpeopled?

We spoke only quietly as the evening fell, the boys pitched their tent, and we pooled provisions and shared a common meal. Nothing quite broke the hush. The light, the sense of seclusion, the fragile trust between the two groups, all conspired somehow to create a sense almost of the sacred.

We dropped the boys off in Thunder Bay in the morning, never to see them again; my wife and I started on the next leg of our adventure. We were to share a good many more before we came to our own parting, years later. But no moment ever created for me a more special "snapshot in the mind's eye."

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Brilliant Doc. Thank you so much for sharing this special memory. I would be happy to read others which you undoubtedly have.

monica 7 years ago

beautiful and inspiring. thank you for sharing.

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you for reading Monica

DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 7 years ago

It is really something special when you can share an experience with so many other people and we all get the same result.Breath taking and wonderful.I will enjoy reading more.

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sabu singh 7 years ago Author

Thank you for your kind comments Dream On. I am glad you enjoyed reading this Hub.

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