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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Religion of human is HUMANITY

When you stay in a country where most people follow one religion, you have the freedom and pleasure of harboring prejudices against people following other religions. According to me this is one of the major reasons of hatred and war across the globe. But when you have to mingle with people out in the world, trust me, it is a very difficult task to alienate people based on their religions. I had previously read that great people like Rabindranath Tagore always professed about one world without any divisions, but now I feel it more based on my personal experiences.
I am a born Hindu. Although I was never a big fan of any religious rituals, I had a liking for my religion. Though I have many good friends who were muslims specially my PHD junior, who is an amazing person, I sometimes had anti-secular feelings on listening to terrorist attacks majorly conducted by Islamic people. What I forgot is that it is the bad people who tarnish the name of the religion by justifying their evil deeds based on their understanding of the religious teachings.
When I shifted to San Diego, California, for my postdoctoral training, I was almost forced to shake away any preconceived ideas I had about other religions by the kindness and friendly behavior of my co-workers. Every time you move to a new place, you are a stranger and you try to adjust and fit-in. Then you meet new people who become your initial acquaintances who make you feel comfortable and not a stranger anymore. With time some of these acquaintances become your friends and transform the foreign place into your home. I also felt the same way when I first moved to San Diego, but the journey towards the growing familiarity towards the place has been both interesting and loving.
After a few months of living here, I now do not really understand the rationale of religious distinctions. My supervisor who is an eminent scientist and almost a father-figure is a Jew. My colleague and one of my very first friends who helped me a lot when it was most needed is a muslim. He helped me to move-in to my new apartment, guided me through all the new things in a foreign country which I would be clueless without him, and also took me to visit the nearby tourist spots taking time out of his busy schedule.  My immediate senior and co-worker is a Russian orthodox christian who gave me my first bed, my first coffee-maker and a thousand other things and has taken care of me almost like my mom to make it easy for me to settle down in the new circumstances. One day she brought me fresh grapes and I started eating them without washing. She had informed me that the grapes were unwashed, but I didn't listen to her and kept on eating them. Next day she actually washed the grapes for me to eat and ever since she always washes the fruits before offering me. I do not remember when I was pampered so much.
The lady whom I respect like my mother and love like my good friend is an American catholic christian. She works as a human resource personnel in my office. She has, without showing any feelings of displeasure, driven me to my office from my home and back everyday. She has taken me to shopping after work even when she takes an hour to reach her home. She has taken care of all my initial needs of banking, renting an apartment, my social security affiliation and several other things. She was the one who picked me up from the airport when I first landed here. I can never forget that day. I was very tired and my luggage wheels had broken and one of the luggage had not reached. She comforted me and took charge of the whole situation by going to the airport staff for filing the complaint against the late arrival and damage incurred to my suitcases. She also brought me food anticipating that I must me hungry which I was. Without her I would be baffled and would never have done things as efficiently as she did. That day and every day afterwards she was so polite and kind to me that I never felt I was away from my family.
I really believe with my heart and soul that being good and humane is the only religion people should follow. I am eternally indebted to all the people who have made my life easier and comfortable. To judge a person based on religion is a fallacy indeed.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

La Jolla cove

It was a cloudy sunday morning. I was in my veranda having my black coffee. I looked at the palm trees near my apartment swaying in the rhythm of the mild breeze. Generally San Diego has hot afternoons but the cool overcast morning suggested otherwise. I thought that today was definitely a day to go out to the beach. I called up my friend and we planned to go to the La Jolla cove.

The La Jolla cove is a small sheltered bay of the pacific ocean surrounded by cliffs at La Jolla, San Diego. When we reached there it had already started drizzling. We walked to the park near the cove. It was very relaxing as the breeze was cool and soothing. The view of the vast stretch of blue water with intermittent waves of green water from the cliffs was stunning. There were stairs down the cliff to reach the beach. The sand was damp and gritty with rocks scattered here and there. I had to remove my sandals as the rocks were slippery and I twisted my ankle more than once. The sand below my feet and the splashes of water from the waves hitting the rocks felt heavenly.
La Jolla Cove beach

Scripps park

Since it was sunday, many people had come to visit the area. It seemed to be a popular picnic spot as groups of teenage students and families could be seen in the Scripps park engrossed in joyful conversations and playful activities. Me and my friend were sitting on one of the rocks when I saw a father with two kids paying. One of the kids was on his shoulders and the other was holding his hand.

They were walking in and out of the water. Taking their example I too went into the water and stood their taking in the bliss of the sight. There was a huge rocky surface in the water where several cormorants were sitting. The father was pointing at the cormorants and telling the kids how these birds hunt fish from the ocean.
The cormorants

I sat down on one of the rocks and stretched my limbs in order to relax when my friend called out to me. I had not realized that it had started raining quite heavily by now. We ran back to the cliff and stood below one of the pine trees which was tilted and had been used to add to the aesthetics of the scripps park. Soon the rain stopped and we walked along the cove and reached the area where there were a few sea lions calling out and playing among themselves.
The tilted pine tree
Sea lions
I went down to take a few snapshots of the sea lions. I was trying hard to capture them in a selfie but alas couldn't do much justice to the photograph. A very nice gentleman who was observing the sea lions himself offered to click a picture of me with the sea lions. My friend had not come down to the shore as he was afraid of the high waves. Thanks to the kind person for a beautiful snapshot of me with the sea lions. That area was designated for various sea and water activities like snorkeling, kayaking etc. It was quite crowded there and the sea lions were calling out and jumping in and out of the water excitedly as if trying to please the spectators.
Right across the snorkeling area was another cliff where I could find many brown pelicans huddled together. Other than the cormorants and pelicans, there were also sea gulls visiting the shores. As a zoology graduate I had developed a taste for ornithology and La Jolla cove was certainly a treat.
Brown pelicans
I was very excited to observe the different birds when my eyes fell on the La Jolla caves.
Me and my friend went to the entrance of the La Jolla caves where there was a ticket counter for a trip to the caves. The water is calm and very safe for kayaking and other activities. However we did not go for any of the activities. There is an underwater park enriched with wildlife like the sea lions, seals and various varieties of fishes which is an important tourist attraction. The caves were unusual rocky formations inside the cliffs. They were quite huge and dark. and very different from the ones I had visited before. Kayaking inside the caves would definitely be quite adventurous.
La Jolla caves
Not only is the area abundant in natural beauty but at the same time the narrow streets along the cliffs beside the ocean is swarming with many small cafeterias and shops offering little delights. The streets are laid out of concrete blocks and looked very much like the small streets in many european cities.

It had stopped raining and we went inside a small cafe to have some hot drinks. It was cold and the breeze had chilled me to the bone. We had some hot chocolate which was delicious and went out to explore more. As we were walking down the street we found a national geographic gallery. After such a wonderful day the glimpse of beautiful pictures captured from various places on earth including some little explored regions was like icing on cake.
The next day one of my colleagues told me that La Jolla means 'the jewel' in spanish. I thought to myself that the name couldn't suit better.