Showing posts tagged thoughts

“The mind has more projections than there are dust motes in a sunbeam”- Milrepa

image(Leo who died last year, NYC)

One year ago I lost a dear friend of mine to an accident in NYC. Earlier this year I lost another friend in another accident in India. Two young, talented, beautiful men whose time came to soon. I had not spoken to either of them in a long time so the reality hit me very hard. They were gone just like that. Both these deaths shook me to the core. It made me question almost everything about my life: the choices I was making, the way I was living, how I was treating the people I loved and was close to….everything! Was I taking this life for granted? Was I being overly selfish in making life choices that only made me happy without taking into consideration other people? My time on this planet just like everyone’s is limited and was I living it in total awareness of all my actions not only of body but also speech and mind?
I was in a state of suffering and I was trying to be my own psychologist, trying to unravel all the causes to my despair. What was the root of it all? And the deeper I got into trying to figure it out, the more I examined the numerous factors that were causing me to feel like shit, the more I started to see the magnitude of layers and factors. It could be due to karma, hormonal imbalance, culture, diet, my stars and planets, genetic reasons etc .
There are all these dimensions and realities that were causing me to feel /act/think/ behave in a certain way and the mind is just an overload of these influences. (Well in essence the mind is clear if you just let it settle like water with dirt.) So maybe the sadness was just a constant movement of all these layers and factors and some present reasons as well. Oh how complicated I am.  And the more I “thought” about this, the more I realized that the primary cause of my unhappiness might not really be the situation but my thoughts on it! Oh it just gets more complex.

But coming back to the topic of death and I am confronted again with impermanence which has been my focus topic of 2013 since I have had to deal with it constantly.  So if impermanence is really a principle of reality than if I could just stop struggling against it I would be in alignment with reality a bit more?

Camera Less

I am on the road for the past month almost and this time without a camera… camera is kaput and I haven´t been able to fix it or make the decision to buy a new one.

its strange to be without a camera but I seem to be taking note of things alot more than before . there have been many times when I have reached into my bag wanting to pull out my camera and capture a moment and I cant. So I have decided instead to be fully present in the moment and try to enjoy it with all my senses and make a photo of it in my mind..its not always easy but I am trying.

Sorry about this guys..but until I sort of out my camera, I will have to keep taking these memory photos.

Big hugs from India

I am …..

Dear Firangi,
(Firangi: Indian slang for a foreigner.)  

Hope this finds you well unless you are suffering from a serious case of Delhi belly or other stomach issues common while traveling in India. 

I am so glad you decided to come and travel in this incredible ,one of a kind country- and I am sure you have discovered how amazing it is, apart from discovering your amazing self as well. *wink wink*

When you had some free time from finding yourself and the peace within I am sure you went out to see the real India and meet some real Indians like me. I have been traveling around my beloved country for many years now and I have come across many of you amazing people! It has been such a pleasure. But many of you find me strange….not a “real” Indian…So I am going to try and clear your confusion and tell you there is not one real Indian…it is not the image you have conjured of a dhoti clad swami floating in mid air with a snake coiled around his neck, smoking a chillum.” SURPRISE SURPRISE”

So next time you meet me please don’t ask me if I am “REALLY” an Indian and try to fit me into a box full of labels of who you think a real Indian is.

-I am Indian, even if I speak English with my family and friends.

 -I am Indian, even though I don’t know all the yoga poses.

-I am Indian, even if I have never heard of Malana and Parvati valley.

- I am Indian even if I have not taken a dip in the holy Ganga.

-I am Indian even though I don’t wear a sari everyday.

-I am Indian even though I can’t make my own fire with cowdung and make perfect round chapatis.

-I am Indian even though I am not Hindu and don’t know much about Shiva and his chillum power.

- I am Indian, even though I don’t meditate everyday.

- I am Indian even if I dont wobble my  head around while speaking.

- I am Indian even if I eat at McDonalds or KFC.

- I am Indian even though I don’t know any shlokas/mantras by heart.

- I am Indian even if I speak to unknown men.

- I am Indian even if I can talk about sex, drugs and rock n roll openly.

- I am Indian even though I wasn’t taught the kamasutra at school.

- I am Indian even though I don’t speak Indian.

- I am Indian even if I don’t have an arranged marriage and actually fall in love and have a live in relationship.

- I am Indian even if I don’t work in the IT sector. 

- I am Indian even if I eat beef and am not vegetarian.

- I am still Indian even if I can’t eat raw green chilies and all the spice in the world.

- I am Indian even though I don’t pee on the street and throw trash around. 

- I am Indian even if I am still not used to the pollution and the garbage in my country.

- I am Indian even if I don’t think all cows are holy. 

 (this list is still under construction)

And please for the sake of the Holy Cow stop telling me about how hard the Indian tourist visa process has become. I don’t even want to start with what I  have to go through to get a European or American visa. If you with your dreadlocks, tattoos , piercings and non existent bank account can get a 3/6 month Indian visa- then that’s a pretty sweet easy deal. 

Love from the road,


I decide to paint a few days ago. I haven’t painted in ages. Color relaxes me somehow.I started muddling around with the water I was dipping my brush into..
Here is one of the images that appeared. Sea Horse anyone?

Thank you for the movies!

It is a wrap! Thank you Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2011.
But most of all thank you to all the amazing filmmakers who keep doing what they believe in. Without you I would not have a job and would never get to watch some of the most beautiful films that open my eyes to so much and more. Thank you!

My list of movies to check out this year:

Almost In Love
Bobby Fisher Against the World
Chicken with Plums
The City Dark
Eco Pirate : The story of Paul Watson
Fleurs du Mal (flowers of evil)
Les Hommes Libres (Free Men)
Girl Model
El Gusto
Kiseki (I Wish)
If a Tree Falls : A Story of Earth Liberation Front
Marathon Boy
Project Nim
Position Among The Stars
Historias Que So Existem Quando Lembradas (Stories only exist when remembered)
Deool(The Temple)
The Tiniest Place
We need to talk about Kevin
Taste the Waste
This Narrow Place
Hwang-Hae (The Yellow Sea)

How do you choose to see it?

I watched Revolutionary Road for the second time last night and there is this part in the film where DiCaprio asks Winslet if she wants out and she replies no I want in. I want into life and to live again.

This is just exactly what I told my manager in September 2009 when I quit my amazing job in NYC. I told him how much I loved my work and city and that I didn’t want out from it all but I wanted IN.  I wanted my life to have more meaning and not feel like a machine going to work during the week and meeting friends over the weekend and doing special things here and there.I wanted everyday to be special where I marveled at the sunrise, the sunset, the breath and my existence.
I wanted to find myself and the truth for myself and this was possible for me only by leaving behind all the commotion in my heart and head, leaving behind everything that was comfortable and known to me and going on this journey.
I had to let go of it all and just watch how life works by stepping outside the madness.

Yes it was hard..very hard ..I left behind my life, my friends, my love but now two years down the line I look back and it was totally worth it.

I am here now and I am IN!  I am living my life with all its imperfections yes but it is mine and it resembles me.

And I can assure you , its a very exciting place to be in.

Quality vs. Quantity

When I quit my job two years ago, I decided to travel the world and live as far away as possible from the corporate system. I wanted to travel to as many places and see as much as I could.

But then I realized it is not about the number of stamps on my passporte but more about the time I spent in each place to feel a part of the local life and its movement. It stopped to become a race to see as much as I could…..but a slow pace of enjoying the sights and sounds of each place and trying to be a part of it somehow.

I am lucky to have time on my side when it comes to travel. Doing things slowly means you really do them well and enjoy the process so much more…and this holds true for traveling as well.

When I started backpacking around South East Asia, the first country I went to was Vietnam.I was rushing around the country trying to see everything and be everywhere. It was insane and tiring on my body. In one month I was trying to cover way too much and I realized I was being a typical tourist who wants to see all the touristic spots but without getting a feel the country and its people. The pace completely changed when I arrived at a monastery in southern Vietnam. I ended up staying at the monastery for more than a week practicing meditation as
well as working. You could choose to work on the mulberry fields, in the garden or kitchen during your free time. It was amazing picking mulberries with nuns high up on the hills away from the noise and bustle of the cities. After this experience I just stayed in one place as long as it felt good without trying to see everything but trying more to understand the country I was visiting and its people. I have learnt to go with the flow and enjoy each day without rushing through it. Being present both mentally and physically in all I did became so essential.

Love N Light

So Sana, what do you do?

Most of the time during a conversation I get asked , “So, what do you do?”
And I respond “I travel.”
It is normally followed by a quizzical look and I get asked again ” Yes, ok you travel but what do you do?”

And then I think…since when has the action of doing become related to a job? Why does it have to be something about work or a way you make money? Most of us work just like the same way we all breathe, eat, live, sleep, travel…its all doing right? So when you are asked “What do you do?” why is our instant reaction normally to do with a job?

Travel is to me, what going to work is to someone else. Its my regular life and when I come and work in Abu Dhabi for 11 weeks that is my vacation. To stay put in one place is for me a break from the constant movement. And the rest of the 9 months of my life I travel and live my regular normal life if there is such a thing.

(photo of me in Cambodia)


(sunset view from the office)

I am back in Abu Dhabi. Back at the film festival. Back at a desk.

This period - the 11 weeks of work every year is what lets me travel for the rest of the year.

But it also ends up being a very strange period of my life to transition into. A period that makes me question everything about myself. Have I become more strange than I was before? Have I become more socially inept because of all the months on the road alone? Are my ideas strange to everyone else? Why don’t I fit in any more? It is not easy because you are bursting with all these confusing emotions and trying to balance all the different realities in which you exist.

I thought since I had worked here last year it would be an easy transition to make but actually its harder this time and the mood swings are hitting me in full force.

Everything around me seems strange and this little voice in my head just cringes and whines and complains with all the changes and pressure. I wish it would stop because I am bloody lucky to have this job and this amazing life.

Abu Dhabi is not the easiest place to come to when you backpack and live around the world on $5-$10 a day as well. The opulence of it all is overwhelming. I also miss being in a city that allows me to walk around and explore the little back lanes and meet with locals.  And by the time I think I will be adjusted to it all , the festival will be over and I will be back on the road. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh

I know I need to be more patient, understanding and non judgmental. I need to be more kind and easy on myself as well. I know all of this but of course its easier said than done.

It’s a hard phase but like all it shall pass and I will stop whining…


I never thought……

I never thought I would miss living in dorms, tents and hostels…but I do so much. My hotel room has become lonely and depressing…I have tried to make it home since I am in it for 3 months but something is just not working…

And that big soft comfortable fluffy white bed…it is just oh soooo big for me! And too lonely….I need to stop whining, I know I know :but its one of those days..

Oh the road is calling me…..can’t wait…..few more weeks and Im back on it.

PS: The big big plus point is the job is going amazing….festival starts in 3 weeks..wahooo wahoooo…excitement all over.

Let the light in..

"….the original meaning of the word "photograph" is literally "light
drawing” - and still today the practice is often referred to as
drawing with light……”

Saigon Mania

Hot and sticky are the two words that come to mind instantly when I entered Saigon.

Arrived here at 5 am and the city was already buzzing!! Reminds me a bit of Bombay but with a thousand more scooters and cyclos and cars everywhere!!
Real Madness!!

Need to get out…..soon..

After spending 2 beautiful days in Dalat at the Truc Lam Monastery this is just too intense yet I am excited to experience the bustling city!


Vietnam horns

All the horns on the public transportation in Vietnam sound the same…its this poo pooo which decreases in tone…..its all over the place… funny!


Hanoi at 5am

I am in the lobby of my beloved Central Backpackers Hostel. It is five in the morning and I am listening to the bells of St. Josephs cathedral go off and the chickens being killed and cleaned! A very interesting combination.

Just got into Hanoi from freezing Sapa after a very strange bus journey where I had to take off my shoes before going into the bus and then they had mickey mouse blankets to use.
Left my sleeping bag in the bus….so far the first item to misplace on the journey..and its just been a week since I got on the road :)

Off to see the sunrise!!