Personal: The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I couldn’t travel both, and be one traveler, long I stood, and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.


I encountered this poem titled “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost for the first time while doing English Literature in High school and it has been my favourite ever since. When I prepared this post, I looked at the photograph and immediately thought this was the perfect accompaniment and wanted to share it with you.

The story behind this picture is a long and tedious one which involves us trying to look for the entrance to Hiraoka Park in Sapporo, Hokkaido, to catch the last of a festival of Plum Blooms in late May. The GPS kept sending us in circles around the park, redirecting us this way and that onto expressways which led away or onto quiet dirt roads, or to the wrong side of the park from which we could not enter. I thought it made sense to enter from the other direction, but the GPS kept debating with my instinct.

After being lost for over an hour and with each minute taking us closer to the end of the festival, I maintained a cheerful face but was increasingly frustrated as I saw my meticulous plans going awry. We eventually ignored the GPS and took a chance, and finally found the park’s entrance. I ran down the steps and went quickly on ahead to look for the festival, only to run into a group of five Japanese teenagers who responded to me in halting English that the festival had ended. We made it- only too late- but it helped me realise that sometimes your instinct may just be right. And although you can never be fully certain about most things in life, sometimes some things are worth taking a chance, and the “best” path is often not the straight, symmetrical, balanced-looking one.

When I finally emerge at the end of life’s journey, I would like to be able to say that two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

May 2014, Hiraoka Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

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

Poetry by Photography: Whispers on the Mountainside

I knelt to look at a tuft of white, leaning from the wind’s strong might. Parachuters airdropped from up above, sailing on their wings like doves.

And then- with sudden epiphany, I understood how the mountainside came to be. For every few who downward fell, rather more, flew up as well.

I looked on up to the summit top, which I hastened to reach without a stop. For I realised what might’ve seemed colossal at first, was nothing more than life’s tiny verse.

June 2014, Mt Moere covered in dandelions, Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

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

Personal: How deep is his love?

The perfect example for the word “depth” finally dawned upon me last Sunday, summed up beautifully in a Christian song by Stuart Townend.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss – the Father turns His gaze away, as wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many Sons to glory.

It was my sin that held Him there, until it was accomplished; His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished.

Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer; But this I know with all my heart – His wounds have paid my ransom.

September 2012, Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, Rome, Italy

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

Photography: Launch of the Lamborghini Huracán

2 months ago, I attended the launch of Lamborghini’s latest release, the Huracán, where the cars were to be test driven on the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, just outside of Kuala Lumpur.

The architectural detail on the lambo is just incredible; its sharp, clean lines and sweeping exterior. Taken together with the roar of the engines as they charged down the straight, I only have one word- breathtaking.

November 2014, Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia

In response to The Automotive Contest: http://pttmnn.com/2015/02/02/crushing-cars-the-automotive-photo-contest/

Prose by Photography: The Falcon sees

An unshaven Arab man approached us at the gate of the campsite after the end of our Dubai dessert tour. He was thin, had a red checkered head wrap, a thin moustache and one lazy eye. He smiled gently at us, his dark skinned wrinkling from too much time in the sun, stretched out his arm which wore an arm guard on which a falcon stood, and asked if we wanted to take a photograph with it.

The falcon is a majestic bird, and even more so, up close. I observed her as she fixed her gaze on the horizon where the sun was about to set, and I wondered what she could be thinking – did she want to soar again into the sky as she once used to? Did she resent the little chain around one of her feet which kept her from flying? Did she resent the man who had taken her freedom and yet sustained her? Or could she understand that now, as much as she relies on him, he relies on her too?

I noticed the large chip in the front of her beak and wondered how long ago that happened- and if the wound reminded her of things she wanted to forget- just like how our scars, visible or otherwise, sometimes inevitably remind us of a time of pain and suffering, no matter if we thought we’d moved on.

Yet she remained poised, her plume of chest feathers raised high, her gaze still fixed unwaveringly on the horizon, her brown eyes ignited into a shade of amber by the last light – She was chained yet undefeated, wounded yet not discouraged. And I wondered if a day might come that she might find freedom again.

March 2014, Desert, Dubai, UAE

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

Personal: The Diary of Scent

I was late to work this morning because I’d sat at my dresser a little too long. I’d lifted the cap and was captivated- yet again.

Three years ago when I was studying in Europe, I was looking for a special scent – one that I could call my signature scent. I never really knew what that meant because I’d never had one. All I knew, was that it was supposed to feel like you. A scent which somehow managed to describe you, epitomise you. I’d figured that out on my own because doing a google search on “What is a signature scent” yielded a million different answers and more questions from people as confused as I was.

I guess in a way it’s a bit like falling in love. You think you know what it is, but you don’t – at least not until you actually fall for someone. At least, that was how it was for me. I’d religiously gone to Sephora every few days to smell the various perfumes over and over again, enthusiastically priming my nose by smelling coffee beans in between. Once or twice I’d come close to buying one that I’d liked but not loved, simply because I thought there was something wrong with me in not being able to find a scent that I could truly feel for.

My first perfume purchase was Flora by Gucci. I wanted to like it – everyone was telling me how gorgeous it was, and even how lovely it looked sitting on the dresser with its sophisticated hexagonal bottle and little black bow. But then a few days later, I found myself back along the fragrance shelves at Sephora again.

The first time I inhaled the scent, I immediately knew that this was me. It was me through and through – and I didn’t even know why or how a scent could have that kind of an impact. It opened beautifully – a floral with spicy undertones. But what I found most intriguing was what lay beneath. There was- a certain mystery, a hint of something, dangerous- like a gaze held for a little too long, a gentle brush of an elbow against another, the sweeping of a strand of hair in the wind. There was a certain boldness in the scent which spoke volumes to me about adventure, courage, dreams and romance.

Three years on. Even the slightest whiff, I would still consider arresting – a stir in my heart, an excitement coursing through my veins. Even as I write this, I’d closed my eyes and breathed in to ignite the scent memory from deep within, and it sweeps me back to Paris- to the Eiffel Tower, to the Gardens of Versailles.

They say that true love is worth the wait. And if true love is this, then truly it is.

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

Poetry by Photography: The Ninth Army

Love, the Giver of life

Joy, the Bearer of light

Peace, the Prince of nobility

Patience, the Protector of faith

Kindness, the Deliverer of humanity

Goodness, the Messenger of gold

Faithfulness, the Knight of salvation

Gentleness, the Healer of old

Self-control, the Defender of the soul

March 2014, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

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