Last night, as I felt a part of me engulfed by sheer exhaustion, of the body as well as mind, I found myself inadvertently browsing through an old collection of photographs on the laptop. So momentous were the memories associated with these pictures that I felt goosebumps on my arms and a shiver down my spine. I was walking through visuals from a time of my life that was nothing if not life-changing. Those pictures were from the last few days before I gave birth to my second child – Sufiana (2.5 now). I realized that this is the first time I’m actually watching these pictures after clicking them for, I’d downloaded the pics on my hubby’s laptop, which I never use. Now, I’m using it as he got a new one and my old laptop is on its verge.
Within minutes of going through those photographs, my mind stopped racing; I wasn’t blinking as much; my breath felt less laboured. I felt love within me, for myself. I felt grateful that I was able to do all that I wanted to.
So, here’s the story and the visuals…
This series of photography I’m sharing with you today is from that nature trek that we did in South Goa – in a wildlife sanctuary in Canacona. It’s called the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. I was more than 40-weeks pregnant then. My midwife, who came with us, had laughed, “mamma, be prepared to welcome your baby in the paddy fields! We should be able to make space for you to squat or whatever in case the baby announces arrival”! I was, on my part, relaxed that my midwife was with me, just in case, for, we were traveling more than 60 kms away from home. To tell you the truth, I was even looking forward, in my heart of hearts, to be able to birth my baby in the middle of nowhere – in the heart of nature. To be fearful was not me – not at that time. Such supreme trust I had in my body and spirit. (I need to reclaim that!)
But then, my baby was in no hurry. She wanted me to enjoy this nature trek and some more. She wanted me to decorate the room where I planned to birth her. She wanted to see me making more art on leaves, about leaves, read some more Sufi poetry and go shop for that birth attire I wanted to wear when in surges of labour.
Those dense and deep forests with ancient trees that kissed the skies (reaching as high as 30-40 metres) energized me with their aura, the aroma and beauty. The woods were indeed “lovely, dark and deep”, as Mr. Robert Frost had noticed. But, unlike the busy poet (“but, I’ve promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep”), my baby chose to take time to enjoy them and not hurry. And, I’m ever so grateful for that.
“We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.”
I met my higher self – my most joyful, creative, mindful and peaceful self – during my second pregnancy. Not just during those nine months but much before that. Even before I conceived my second child, my spirit was getting into a space of wanting that child from deep within.
Months before conceiving, in my dreams at night and mostly early mornings, I saw my baby’s smiling face; I felt her touch, her softness and warmth. I could smell her body as I cuddled her and the smell lingered on my mind hours after I woke up. These early morning dreams used to be so real, I can still remember, more than four years later, what I’d seen in one such dream.
And, the nine months especially, I walked a path part subconscious, part chosen with awareness and deliberation. It was a journey strewn with signs, and I was able to recognize them because of the spiritual quality of my being at that time. I say ‘spiritual’ not because I had suddenly gained some divine power. No. Actually, that divine power is always within us. Isn’t it? It doesn’t come from some place else. Only, we are able to tap within it – into that age-old inner wisdom, into the divine feminine – when we are in an aware, fear-less, compassionate and joyful state of being, which I was – supremely vulnerable, intuitive, sensitive, child-like joyful and wildly creative.
Here’re some pictures from the wild (the Catigao Wildlife Reserve, Goa) on that wildly joyful, playful day.
I’ve learnt over the years that photography is all about the art of capturing light. How you play with light will make or mar your picture. You can lift an ordinary, mundane setting to inspiring heights by using light as the artist, as the paint and the brush. For me, natural sunlight it is all the way and back home! Nothing can beat it. I feel delighted seeing how sunlight dances on leaves and wild grass, peeps through the forest canopy, plays with a little girl’s open tresses and lights up the curtains in my living room.
The essence of being – thriving, and not merely surviving.
A heart that holds….
Dance of nature…
The wildness of the nature resonated with my own spirit during that time. I didn’t feel the intellectual need to know their IDs, to study their anatomy or understand their behaviour. I was basking in their colourful or intense green presence and the over flow of oxytocin was filling me up with magical joy!
Turkey, on heat (it was the mating/breeding season)
We’d stopped by at this chai shop looking for a place to eat. While the chap cooked rice and dal, this turkey entertained us with its queer behaviour – loud and shrill mating calls and agitated display and dance of wings. We were told it’s the breeding season.
Pregnancy is a rite-of-passage that will refine and redefine a woman’s whole being.
That phenomenal tree house (a watch tower), and that’s Pari up there. I didn’t climb all that way obviously. But, I’m wondering what a perspective it must be!
To stand in the aura of that ancient tree was mind-blowing as well as humbling. I couldn’t stop counting my blessings to be in such age-old company.
Look at that bulge, the roundness, the life within!
Do you also see a womb and a baby within, in this picture?!
Beautiful even when worn out
The network on the forest floor…
Flowing with the tide and yet holding on to its own…
Craft, chisel, paint, create. Show Up to a brand new creative morning
Young life, know thyself…
“Inhibitions are not for me”, so says this gorgeous wild thing!
How life finds its way and creates space…
With my mifwife, Jumana, and daughter, Pari. And, Sufiana ofcourse – within me – guiding me and enjoying with me all the while.