A few people share their experiences and tell Pooja Bhula about their way of connecting with nature.
Addicted for life
I`ve been feeling a connect with nature since a long time. I was in the navy and spent a lot of time at sea; it taught me acceptance, calm and patientience. Ever since my retirement, around three years ago, I`ve been coming to Priyadarshani Park every morning because it gives me peace and helps me think clearly. Days that I don`t come here, I just don`t feel the same. I love the feel of the grass, the air and feel one with them. Recently I also went for Vipasana, I was all alone in a cell for 14 days and realised that we don`t need people everyday. The place just had a certain aura or vibe about it. It was very scenic.
Self in focus
For me spirituality is just about getting in touch with myself. That`s why I love travelling and even arrange my finances around it. Most often I do it solo; it can be difficult sometimes, but gives me a lot of freedom. When you`re thrown into unexpected situations, you`ll respond like your true self and discover how you handle situations when there`s no one else. When I went to Sikkim, I was alone and didn`t even have a train ticket. I found it tough back then, but it turned out to be a great experience and life lesson. In fact I even ended up dropping my phone when I standing at a bridge and was surprisingly glad that it happened; phones can be such a huge distraction sometimes, I was totally disconnected from everything after that. Even if I`m not taking a long trip, I`m out every other weekend. I can go on staring at the waves, watching them swell and crash. I`ve realised that city life is like a rat race and while things like money are important, there`s much more to life. Whereever I go I like to walk aimlessly, try the local food and am often intrigued by culture. At home in Pune, I wake up every morning and try to focus on myself, look inwards and meditate regularly in my garden. This is how I enjoy nature, this is spirituality.
It`s a lifestyle
I think somewhere my whole interaction with nature and even my love for travelling began with my parents. I was born on the Western Ghats and when it would rain sometimes my father would just drive us to Khandala to get wet. Then we lived in Goa for sometime, so beaches felt like home. The day I stepped into London, it started snowing. So I don`t have any particular preference. As I grew up I realised that nature gives me joy. There`s a feeling that I have when I am surrounded by its bounties, it makes me very happy from within. I like travelling, trekking, photography and mapping my own world. But for me being with nature and my spiritual connection with it is not only about going to far away places, I like experiencing it in my daily life. Therefore I can`t take it when people litter, how can you dump into the environment something that doesn`t belong there. I segregate my garbage on my own and use all the organic waste for compost. Nature is something that completes me, so for me it`s not just about enjoying it as a leisure activity when I am travelling, but it is also something I want to preserve. Rather than using the A/C I allow the natural breeze to flow in and play with my hair, it gives me a big high. It`s a crazy feeling. Stuff like that transforms who I am. I like it when the sun`s light flows in. It has become a lifestyle. I`m a management consultant, I go to office five days a week and work from home the other two days, I travel for many projects and manage to take trips 2-3 times a year. Whenever I`m in another city, I walk. Nothing beats walking. Every city has a soul and as you amble on its streets you absorb all it has to offer, including the unspoken. On nights when I am at home, I sometimes just like turning off everything, listening to the natural sounds and play my guitar. I like the acoustic ones and instruments like drums and bongo more than the electronic ones. Some mornings, I go Lodhi gardens and just lie on the grass. One such day, after sometime, I was surrounded by birds, they were doing their thing, singing away and weren`t afraid of me. They didn`t fly away because of my presence and it made me so happy.