Twilight Karma

Because truth is stranger than fiction

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Nothing Good Gets Away

Nothing Good will Get Away

Depression era writer John Steinbeck received a letter from his oldest son in 1958. The letter claimed that Steinbeck’s eldest son Thom had fallen in love with a girl named Susan, who he had met in boarding school.

Steinbeck replied to Thom the same day, in a heartfelt and wonderful letter, which serves as a wonderful tribute to love. It can be found in Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. Steinbeck,…

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Filed under advice Boarding School father first love infatuation John Steinbeck letters Love son Thomas Steinbeck writers

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Do Scientists Pray? Einstein on Knowledge, and Higher Authorities

Do Scientists Pray? Einstein on Knowledge, and Higher Authorities

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

As one of the world’s most celebrated scientists, Albert Einstein was regularly questioned about his views on religion. His most famous words on the topic derive from a letter to Eric Gutland in 1954.

The latter was the author of a novel Einstein…

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Filed under Albert Einstein God human nature inspiration letters Miracles Order prayer science scientists Supernatural USA

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What I Wish I Knew at 18

Montmartre at night

Montmartre in the twilight

Speak up. Speak up often. Don’t be scared about what your contemporaries are thinking because most of the time, they are not. And if they are, they probably do have periods of self doubt.

It really does not matter what you study as long as you are passionate about what you do.

Take your college classes very seriously.

Do as many extracurricular things as you can while…

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Filed under adulthood advice Ageing Birthdays Education Friendship Life Lessons longevity Love Milestones Travel

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The Blue Dog Phenomenon


Spring Adds Color to my Life

“This blue dog came in my mind and changed everything. And then it hit a rocket ship, and then bang,” says artist Rodrigue about his phenomenal creation, the blue dog.

Struggling Cajun artist George Rodrigue catapulted into fame with his novel idea of the blue dog, which now sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars worldwide, and appears on paraphernalia,…

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Filed under 9/11 American art Artists Blue Dog Cajun charity George Rodrigue idea inspiration Katrina Red Cross

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The Spice Market, or as it is known in Turkey, Mısır Çarşısı (meaning Egyptian Market) in Istanbul greets you before you greet it. Tossing aside that my first association of Turkish delight came from the White Witch bewtiching Edmund, one of the Narnian children, with the candy in C. S. Lewis’s fantasy fiction, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

In fact, I was musing about how my connection at a young age with Turkey could be attributed to the delectable and curious descriptions in the book of a sweet, and that too, the part of the book which was set in a fictional land. I was particularly addled by the fact that even Narnia subscribes to real life notions of where sweets could be manufactured from, I was stopped in my tracks by the Spice Market.

You see, there is something about Turkey which is well hidden by cart vendors attempting to sell you kebab around Sultanehmet and Taksim. In the Spice Market, the magic doesn’t need to be pointed out to you- it exists simply by being. Huge gates lead into large awnings and wide ceilings, and endless rows of colorful sweets, powders, turkish delights, ground pistachios in one corner and rose petals titled as love tea in others. The intricacies of scents are followed by a whirlwind of people aiming to attract your attention to their wares.

Seventeen hours into Istanbul, I was mesmerized by the transformation in landscapes, just by crossing an hour away from the flight I had taken in the night before from Athens. The layover was unforeseen, but upon finding that a college friend who was getting her MA in Geneva at the same time I was in Budapest, was spending her spring break in Istanbul, and that a quick twist of itineraries made an inevitable research trip I had to take to India equally affordable when layovers in both Greece and Turkey were added to the mix, I chose excessive, instead of limiting choices.

And I’m so very glad I did. Built in 1660 from the revenues of the Egyptian Ottoman elayet, this wonderful space brings to alive a cultural understanding of food which is both palatable and mesmerizing. After the hustle and bustle of the touristy spots of Sultanehmet, as mesmerizing as they may be, even the walk to the spice bazaar provides a wonderful journey through the various influences of a city that has stood at the crossroads of it all, with Byzantine buildings and structures crisscrossing comfortably with minarets and tiny crowded alleyways and vendors selling pomegranate juice. The vendors are friendly and you can try wares and be delighted, because this is where delight is defined.

Spicing it Up in Istanbul The Spice Market, or as it is known in Turkey, Mısır Çarşısı (meaning Egyptian Market) in Istanbul greets you before you greet it.

Filed under buildings Food inspiration Istanbul Love love tea Mısır Çarşısı souks spice bazaar sweets Tea Travel Turkey turkish delights

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Vienna is a city worth visiting over and over, whether you are spellbound by the grandiose nature of the tall buildings, the coffeehouses that serve delicious hazelnut chocolates to complement your morning drinks, or of course, if you’re interested in castles, for which the Hapsburg palaces provide an impressive insight into the city’s rich history as the seat of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

1262797_648248053876_1057857789_o (1)I was enchanted with the very cliches that Vienna has come to occupy in the minds of tourists and travelers during my first visit to the city. In between museums and weaving through alleyways to finding ourselves at Mozart’s house, on my second trip to Vienna, I came to see the city in a completely new light. The crux of the discovery, of course, was with Hundertwasser Haus.

Hundertwasser’s architectural wonders are unique in not only combining a Hansel and Gretel-esque depiction of what modern day accommodation can look like, but in a city which can sometimes be overwhelming, simply because of the multitude of directions you can go, Hundertwasser Haus provides an enchanting reprieve into the world of magic meets reality.

Located just a short tram and subway ride from the city center, the house is also easily accessible by foot, creating a distinctive juxtaposition to those around it, and easily viewable, hence.  Of his own work, the architect Friednsreich Hundertwasser noted in 1986:

“Dieses Haus ist meine Seele!”

“This house is my soul!”

The house was built between 1983 and 1986, and is actually partly residential, with about 54 private apartments. It features uneven floors, a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows.

Hundertwasser was so pleased with his work that he took no payment for the design of the house, declaring that it was worth it, to prevent something ugly from going up in its place. Another fun factoid is that although Hundertwasser is credited as being a painter, it is this house, in the third district of Vienna, which has been considered one of his masterpieces. The artist was born in Vienna in 1928 and lived until 2000, in Vienna, New Zealand, Venice and Normandy. His international break-through came at the Biennale in Venice in 1962. Hundertwasser advocated a form of architecture which takes into account human needs and natural phenomena, which is clearly visible in this gorgeous gem of a house.

Here’s a collection of some details of the house itself, including the uneven floors, the tiled mosaics, and the fantastic pillars.

Enjoyed this post? Read about the time I almost got shot in the Austrian Alps in Innsbruck. 

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Hundertwasser’s Magical Architecture in Vienna Vienna is a city worth visiting over and over, whether you are spellbound by the grandiose nature of the tall buildings, the coffeehouses that serve delicious hazelnut chocolates to complement your morning drinks, or of course, if you’re interested in castles, for which the Hapsburg palaces provide an impressive insight into the city’s rich history as the seat of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Filed under Austria buildings Hundertwasser Hundertwasser Haus magical Tourism Travel Vienna

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Embracing Silence to Bolster Creativity

audre_lorde-1One of the most important speeches that I have read about creative processes was delivered by Audre Lorde, American poet and writer extraordinaire. At the Modern Language Association’s “Lesbian and Literature Panel,” in Chicago on December 28, 1977, Lorde spoke at length about the repercussions of silencing our inner voices, instead of embracing our unique personal experiences, as a crucial…

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Filed under art Audre Lorde Change Creativity Fear knowledge Language oppression poets productivity silence writers writing

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Pack up the Moon and Dismantle the Sun

There are apparently four stages of grief, elucidated upon by poets and writers, artists and filmmakers throughout the ages: denial, anger, guilt, acceptance. During a time of acute heartbreak after someone close to me was murdered in an act of “passion”- I was left to reassemble the meanings of what humanity actually means, how we handle grief, and how we wake up in the morning and go about our…

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Filed under Auden cosmos Death dismantle the sun grief hubris Loss Pack up the moon pathetic fallacy poetry Stars

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Early in the morning in Leamtong Bay in North Koh Phi Phi, I said goodbye to friends who were leaving at the 7 AM ferryboat transfer to Phuket.

Left to my own devices on the day that I was to meet up with a friend who was unable to make the trip due to expiring passports, I found myself looking up and around, mesmerized by the rising sun at six, peeking through the fronds of coconut trees. Inspired by the suggestions of a friend from the day before, I went on a walk along the waters, looking for shells and armed with a bottle of water. Two young boys collected shells in a white plastic bag on one end, but once I had rounded the corner, because of the low tide, I could cross over into an entirely private second beach, where only craggy black rocks strewn with white stripes greeted me. 

The encounter with the smooth spirals of shells, and the swing on which I sat on the second beach for over half an hour, reminded me of the joyful and whimsical adoration of nature in Jelaluddin Rumi poem, “Quatrains,” a short poem which can be found in “Unseen Rain,” translated by Coleman Barks. The Sufi poet wrote in extended metaphors about the ecstasy felt by being outdoors, and I find this poem to be the perfect way of describing the need to channel the divine inside ourselves by finding wonder in the external world.

In Rumi’s own words:

For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

Sunrise over Leamtong Bay, Koh Phi Phi

Sunrise over Leamtong Bay, Koh Phi Phi

The Breeze at Dawn Has Secrets to Tell You Early in the morning in Leamtong Bay in North Koh Phi Phi, I said goodbye to friends who were leaving at the 7 AM ferryboat transfer to Phuket.

Filed under Beauty Koh Phi Phi Don Leamtong Bay poetry pursuit of happiness Rumi shells Sunrise Wonder

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Pixar’s Films Are Released Unfinished

Pixar’s Films are Released Unfinished

A while ago, I read somewhere that great art is never finished, only abandoned. Hence when I came across a beautiful letter written in 2008 by a young man named Adam to Pete Docter, the award-winning director of Monsters, Inc. and, more recently, Up, I was impressed by Doctor’s acknowledgment of this very fact. In the letter Adam spoke of his admiration for Doctor. As an amateur filmmaker and…

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Filed under abandonment animation art autograph creative processes Creativity directors fan mail letters Pete Doctor Pixar

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Fantastic Response to Hate Mail

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Fantastic Response to Hate Mail

Shortly after the publication of his first novel in 1920 titled This Side of Paradise, young F. Scott Fitzgerald, received a scathing letter from a critic. The author, who would later enthrall the world with his sociopolitical commentaries through works such as The Great Gatsby, was unperturbed by this hate mail.

In a fantastic and fiesty reply, found in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters,…

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Filed under critic criticism letters social responsibility society superficial culture writers writing

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Capturing Beautiful People, the Donny Miller Way

Donny Miller

“Remember, you can have anything. You just have to think it.
Just kidding, life isn’t that simple.”-Donny Miller

Donny Miller’s artwork intuitively collapses the boundaries between tradition, pop, and art, but this humorous artist brings more than quirky wisdom into his work. Best known for his book Beautiful People with Beautiful Feelings (2006)

Miller has sculpted a nose resembling pop…

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Filed under art Artists Donny Miller graphic design inspiration Satire

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Paris versus New York

la façade

When artist Vahram Muratyam began his online travel journal documenting his observations on two of the most famous cities on earth, he did not expect that his blog would receive over 1.5 million hits in just a few months, garnering international critical acclaim worldwide.

Muratyam pairs visually striking images with wonderful tag lines, witty and concise in his delivery. “Paris versus…

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Filed under art Artists beautiful graphic design inspiration New York Paris travel philosophy

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A masterpiece from the satirical cartoon and movie that many of us were fortunate to see in the late 1980s, but if we haven’t, there’s no such time as rectifying the situation.

A word on what is normal though. Is it waking up in the morning of your child’s birthday and getting to wish him in person, or is it being deliberately kept away from the celebrations? Is it worth going into the…

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Filed under addams family Death inspiration morbidity Mortica Addams thoughts

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In a Child’s Body

In a Child’s Body

In a Child's Body

Through the cliches

Love at first sight


Like a grown up

in a child’s body.

Whilst looking through the back of my Moleskine in Thailand, I saw that I still had some of the bits and pieces which had allowed me to put together a series of collages in December 2013.

Hence, I started to put together this little piece. It’s made up of two separate pictures, a CD cover, and some golden foil…

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Filed under art Collage creative process Diary found art found poetry inspiration Journal Love mural Philosophy poem Real Love Thailand Travel wanderlust