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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Beauty Lies beyond Fear




















Whether it is the fear of addressing a large crowd or the fear of looking down/jumping from heights or even something as common as the feeling of being stuck forever within a small space (also known as claustrophobia), each one of us has a personal Goliath that we would like to conquer. It keeps us from reaching greater heights and often doing things that we would love to do. Dragging us down into a vortex of self-doubt and ignominy, it makes life miserable till we decide to overcome it with sheer grit or will-power.

One of my personal fears was getting into water. Obviously not the crystal-clear aqua blue sort of waters that one finds along the beaches of Thailand or Maldives but the dark murky waters that make one fathom what lies beneath those. To my virile imagination they seem to hold a great many secrets in those churning waves and I only keep wondering about how many lives/boats they would have swallowed. That fear kept me from exploring places that I would have given a hand and a leg to visit.

It had to be overcome if I had to realize a long standing dream of exploring the beautiful Chilika Lake, the largest brackish water lagoon of India. Spread out over an area of 1100 square kms , it covers the Puri, Khorda and Ganjam districts of Odisha. It host a large number of migratory birds in the winter months and offers a whole plethora of scenic spots within the body of the lagoon. One such spot is the famed temple of Maa Kalee Jaee, the reigning deity of the lake. Legend attributes the birth of the Goddess to the appearance of the spirit of a young woman who drowned while traversing the lake to reach her husband's home situated on the other side of the lake. While her life was tragically cut short by the cruel waters of the lake during a storm which suddenly engulfed the boat, she decided to save others from a similar fate. To this very day, people offer their prayers to the Goddess while boarding a boat on this very lake.

This time however I decided to put my fears to rest and take that boat ride to visit the Goddess and enjoy the beauty of that lone island during the sunset hours. Most of the boats that ferry people to that island are old fashioned ones which lack even basic amenities like life jackets and a light. And my resolve almost gave away the moment I stepped into the boat and it started to sway wildly. But I held on amidst the growing nervousness as the boat moved away from the shore and the likeness of any civilization grew increasingly smaller. After around thirty minutes we reached a point where we were completely surrounded by water and there was no sight of any shore. This was the point where I was so taken by the glorious beauty of nature that I completely shed any lingering fear and started to truly enjoy the sights.

The sea fowl serenely sailing along the waters, a few birds swooping down to catch fish, some kind of crane/ergot standing on one leg on a protruding piece of rock and flocks of birds flying very low over the waters and the golden rays of the setting sun which had colored the lake in beautiful hues of green, blue and red were some of the rewards that I received in lieu of conquering my fears and making the journey. We reached the island just as the evening prayers (or 'aarti') was about to begin. My mind was at peace as the Goddess had already answered my prayers and freed my mind of fear. I made the return journey in a great state of mind and survived to share this wonderful experience with my readers.

This post is written for Mountain Dew . Check out their awesome video -




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