Open Hand, Open Mind!

A hand that helps, they say, is holier than lips that pray.

The drivers of all human progress, our hands have been our most important tool right from the time someone rubbed two stones to create fire to this date when we use our hands on the keyboard and everything in between.

Hands, they also say, are the visible part of a person’s mind. Could that be a reason why you often get to know a lot about the other person by simply shaking hands? And could that be the reason why people shook hands as early as 5th Century BC when language was not so sophisticated?

A mother’s touch is instantly soothing. A friends touch quickly affirms. A beloved’s touch conveys warmth and love. Different expressions using the same tools – our hands.

“When the hand is at rest, the face is at rest; but a lively hand is the product of a lively mind.” – John Napier

These thoughts and more came to me when I visited the Open Hand Monument – a 26 meters tall structure with an open hand designed by French architect Le Corbusier who also designed the city of Chandigarh. It is believed that the open hand monument represents and open exchange of peace and reconciliation. Mountains in the backdrop, large open green space and surrounding wilderness made this a wonderful visit.

Located in the Capitol Complex, Open hand monument is an architectural wonder with beautiful landscaping and a very organic expression of one of the most powerful tools we possess – our hands. Talk about integrating the nature with architecture!

God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with. – Billy Graham

It was a gorgeous setting. Good design is powerful because it makes you think and I believe that the sole purpose of any art is to move us to a better place. My visit to this place left me mesmerized. Peacocks in the surrounding wilderness, bluish mountains at a distant, large green spaces and sun setting on the West. I couldn’t have asked for more.

I was trying to take a silhouette shot when the setting Sun said a hello from the open square in the structure. I quickly changed the camera settings to acknowledge and reciprocate.

I then proceeded to take the silhouette shot anyway.

“Success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pocket.” – Anon

It is with our hands that we weave our lives, relationships and possibly fill meaning in our lives. The meaning we weave depends on how much we use our hands to lift others up, offer help and graciously receive the help when we need it. Just like this open hand, we need to open our minds, be receptive of opportunities to make a difference and then, use our hands to make that difference.

“Only an open heart can catch a dream.”

To me, that is the message of the Open Hand Monument.

A Date with Butterflies

Last weekend, I spent two hours amidst wilderness of the Butterfly Park in Chandigarh.

Watching these beautiful winged creatures hover around, rest on the flowers and then swiftly move to wherever their heart takes them was a truly meditative experience.

Here are some pictures from the visit:

At 10:00 AM, I was the only visitor in the park.

Walking along the nature trail in the park is almost like walking in the jungle. Butterflies prefer wilderness and the park offer a perfect environment to them. Host plants for butterflies are carefully selected to ensure that a wide range of butterflies can live here.

I sat on the edge of the trail facing the plants for 2 hours and made friends with some of the most beautiful and delicate creatures on the earth.

To really experience the beauty of life, one has to embrace silence. I did just that and soon became a part of their world.

I watched butterflies for about a couple of hours and I did not want to leave the place. For those two hours, my world had shrunk and all the worries and anxieties just melted when I saw these butterflies happily hovering around me.

To me, butterflies are a sign of hope, belief and life itself. They start their life painfully, struggle to emerge from their cocoon and then blossom. A short and fleeting life span does not deter them from adding so much beauty to the world.

And finally, here is a short poem that I really loved.

Flutter by,
Floating flower
in the sky.
Kiss me with your
Petal wings—
Whisper secrets,
Tell of spring.

– Author Unknown