Wing Haven


Google pics

Most of my adventures are not initiated by me but by Ani. I grow up on them and get surprised that I actually follow them with more passion!

One Sunday afternoon, Ani decided that we would be going for a bird watch trip in a private garden in upscale Charlotte, namely Myers Park. This trip was basically meant for our 3 year old , so that he can have some outdoor time with trees, birds, squirrels and butterflies. Once back home, I dug out the history of this house and its garden and found that it had a fascinating story to tell.Perhaps, I became more interested in the gardener than the garden!

This is about a passionate story of a young couple who got to know each other while in college and the decided to get married in the year 1927.

Elizabeth Barnhill told Eddie Clarkson on their first date in Boston, where he was working and where she was attending the New England Conservatory of Music, how she and her mother had raised white-winged doves.  After five years of courtship in seven states and one foreign country, Eddie and Elizabeth became engaged. Eddie’s father urged, “Don’t let that pretty, little auburn-haired girl get away.” Eddie proposed and drove his Essex auto to Uvalde, Texas in 1925 to give her an engagement ring. 

Excerpts from;  A Bird in the House; The Story Of Wing Haven Gardens

By Mary Norton Kratt



Edwin purchased a house on a small lot on the Myers Park, Charlotte, before he driving down to Texas to propose Elizabeth. Edwin would add 8 more of adjoining lots in the next 10 years. The 10th lot was purchased in 1956 by Eddie and 11th lot was purchased by Wing Haven foundation in 1990.

Google pics

The garden was conceived by the two lovebirds, who met in Boston in the early 1920s. Edwin Clarkson was a real estate developer from a prominent Charlotte family. Elizabeth Barnhill was a passionate gardener from Uvalde, Texas, who was in Boston to attend the New England Conservatory of Music to become a concert pianist.

Elizabeth’s childhood years in Texas were spent in watching her mother prune roses and scatter larkspur and poppy seeds on the roadsides. She had raised white doves, squirrels, a raccoon and a pig. No matter where her musical career would take her, Elizabeth knew she would always have a garden at home.

In the months before exchanging vows, Elizabeth mailed letter after letter to Edwin, each containing detailed sketches and building instructions for their house. It would be a two-story house with a raised brick terrace off the living room so she could move the piano outside for garden parties. The rooms would have large windows, to draw the outdoors in.

The wedding took place in 1927, and when the Clarksons arrived in Charlotte after honeymooning, Elizabeth insisted on going straight to the home she’d only seen in her mind’s eye. As they pulled up, she was amazed to find the house surrounded by a red clay lot with no greenery except for a few pine saplings and a scrawny willow oak. The house had met her expectations, but she was sad to not to see the garden of her imagination around it.

Google Pics

The very next day, she began digging, tilling, and planting. Hence the garden-work started in 1927. Like the house, Elizabeth designed the garden herself. She laid it out around a cross of intersecting paths that run the entire property, each one ending at a fountain or statue.

But in 1930, when she was bedridden with for a long time as she gazed out of her bedroom window, she became fascinated with the various birds flitting about in the garden. She ,then made the decision to dedicate the garden to them, prompting the addition of birdbaths, feeders and fruit plants, for birds to feed on.



Life-The Amish Way

As I read more and more about Amish, the fascination and intrigue kept growing. Last week , finally I had a chance to travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania the Amish county to see the real people.

I had lots of information about Amish before I started my journey, a journey I never thought would come my way but life often gives surprises! So on a beautiful summer day in June,2017, I took Interstate 95 from New Jersey. As soon as the city ended, the beautiful green forests crept up by the highway. We had entered Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the landscape reminded me of my place, full of green foliage. The drive was about 2 and a half hours, needless to say, I didnt realize how the hours went by.

Amish are of Swiss-German ancestry who emigrated to Pennsylvania in early 18th century. They are known for simple living, plain dressing and do not use modern technology including electricity, automobiles and telephones. They value rural life, manual labor and humility, what they believe to be God’s word.They have their own one-room schools and discontinue formal education after 8th grade, at age 13 or 14. Until the children turn 16, they have vocational training from their parents, community, and the school teacher. Because they believe, education until 8th grade is enough to do what they do for a living i.e .farming, carpentry, household work and other related works within their community. The population (which doubles every 20 years) of Amish as of 2016 was 308,030.
I got to see some breathtaking views of the place , mostly Lancaster county. Taking a guided tour of a place called ,’The Amish Village’ where they have tried to show a glimpse of Amish life was amazing. Then we went into the country side entering into some of the real villages and watching Amish work in their daily routine like in the farms or just riding their bicycles to run errands. The people I saw wore their traditional dresses with women in white bonnets and men in black or straw hats. Then I visited some of the tourist shops to get some souvenirs, the place has been marketed for tourism from 20th century and I guess, it has also become a source of income for the Amish and other locals. The beauty and the integrity of the place and the people has been intact and we get to see how these people have managed to live life without the modern day technological advantages.

I enjoyed the whole day in nature’s lap and promised myself to return someday…

Here are some of the memorable pics from the Amish County.


Baby no- 2

Dear Daddy...

Dear Daddy…

Just when I thought, I was done with making babies in this lifetime, I had to rethink ! As next 2 years of my life fast forwarded in front of my eyes, I could not help smiling, watching this beautiful Coke ad. Life will be chaos just once again. Messier, crazier and sillier….nonetheless I’m enjoying the smile I see on hubby’s face every now and then. Riaan does not know yet about his threatened position in the house…but I’m sure he will learn to be a good big brother soon!

Meanwhile, enjoy this lovely ad from Coke. They always make them awesome !

F for FAN- The Movie


Two things to watch out for- One, the crazy support parents give us for our insane wishes/demands. Second- Shahrukh being honest in showing his real self.
Audaciously playing a stubborn and unapologetic star who rejects a fan’s request to give him just 5 minutes of his life, he also lets everyone know that he has no qualms about dancing in billionaires’ weddings.Goes on to show the world how even more rich and powerful men treat him as they do. Clearly, when status and money gets into heads, you lose humility.
After many years, Shahrukh as Gaurav is quite fresh. There are times in the movies when logic is defied but I remind myself, its the closest Shahrukh has gotten onto doing real life stuff after Chak De, so just don’t think much. The regular, monotonous Shahrukh peeps in every once a while in the movie nonetheless, the younger, fresher himself keeps the thrill alive. A 3/5 for me.

PS- I aint a Shahrukh Khan fan because he refuses to acknowledge his responsibility for the society as a celebrity. But then he lives his life and I oughta live mine, as he says in the movie.  So who cares!

Fresh face to watch out for: Sachin’s daughter- Shreya Pilgaonkar


D for deja Vu


Its that eerie feeling you get where you know, you’ve lived that moment before, but logic defies you…!

Déjà Vu is an expression derived from the French, meaning “already seen”. When it occurs, it reminds us of a place, person or an activity we have already experienced before. At times, it feels as if its a moment from our past life and at others as if we have already seen that sequence in our dreams before. None of these theories have any backing though.


To first understand how déjà vu might have something to do with our memory, we need to understand how our memory works.

I have read that our brain is thought to have two memory systems- Short term memory and Long term Memory. The former has a limited capacity and processes incoming sensory information from surroundings. Information in Short term memory is erased fast unless transferred to Long term memory for storage.


Our new experiences are processed by Short-term memory and transferred into Long-term memory depending upon its importance and impact on our heart and mind. So it seems that our Long term memory has an infinite capacity for information and is used to store knowledge of events that shape our lives and can be recalled in detail later.


Though not fully proven, it is believed that déjà vu is down to a communication issue between Short term and Long term memory, like a circuit break. This theory indicates that the mismatch between knowing an event is new, but it feeling familiar, is because of sensory surrounding information is going straight into long term memory.This explains why a new experience can feel familiar, but not as substantial as a fully recalled memory.

To me this theory seems most logical and puts an end to the bizarre feeling I get, while being deja vu’ed!

So folks enjoy the glitch in the Matrix of our brains…

After all its just a short circuit and not anything paranormal 🙂


Lunch on an August Noon


“Why don’t you come over for a cup of Coffee?” he asked.
“May be sometime later…” she had said. She had been avoiding this rendezvous for more than a month now.He was new and alone in the city and had been looking for a friend to talk and spend sometimes. She too, was lonely in her life.They hadbeen talking on phone  all this while and he seemed to be a kind person to her.They would generally talk about their work, hobbies and life in general.
It was a Friday morning and she had been in a rather traumatic state of mind,thanks to an early morning fight with her husband.As he called her on work, he had quietly listened to her sobs and imagined the nasty weekend she was going to have.
He asked again, ” Come over for a cup of coffee, you will feel better”. This time, she had said yes to him. Around noon, she took a bus to meet him at his place. He kept calling her to ensure she does not lose her way. She got out of the station and called him on his cell phone. They could not find each other for about 10 minutes. She wondered if it was too good to be true. But then she saw him waiting under a tree just outside the station with an umbrella. It was a hot August afternoon and as they walked down ,he kept the umbrella up over her through the entire way.

She looked up at him and wondered what took him so long. He looked at her smiling and asked,”What will you have for lunch?”


Those 7 years

A New Dawn

A New Dawn

He had pursued her for seven longs years and it was a fairy tale marriage. They were married in three different ceremonies and they believed to have found ultimate happiness.The trouble started brewing in the first year of marriage itself. Tempers ran high at the drop of a hat.There was no room for patience and respect, now that they were married. “Please”, “Sorry” and “I love you” were long forgotten words.

Her attitude, ego and immaturity turned every issue into arguments. More often than not,arguments turned into nasty fights. He seemed to have lost his most prized virtue , patience. Sometimes, he would not come back home and sleep at a friend’s place. To him, home never felt like a home at all. She would rage back to her parents after every little fight. The frustrations took over the fantasies of a happy life.
It seemed , the love had flown out of the window…literally. She stopped waiting for him and he started working extra hours.
Then one day he picked up his stuff and left for another city. She would not join him citing her studies.

Distances made them grow even more apart. She lived in denial of their failing marriage for next 2 years.
Meanwhile, he met another woman. One quiet lunch brought them together. Subsequent dates healed them to a great extent. She was bruised, abused and frail but her soul was alive. With her, he gained his hopes ,dreams and his life once again.

She promised to never take him for granted.
He promised to nurture her back with his love.

And they lived happily ever after.

Trip to Yosemite

With this another item in the bucket list was ticked off!!

This was in the pipeline for more than a year. But with the baby arriving, it always seemed next to impossible. Six months  later hubby decided , enough is enough….it was time to start our hikes and treks with the baby in the bag!

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We started on a warm Friday evening at 3 pm and drove to Fresno where our hotel room was booked. Munchkin behaved like a good boy and enjoyed the drive. Fresno was warmer than where we stay but I looked forward to the hilly terrain of Sierra Nevada and hoped for a pleasant weather next day morning. We always like to start at day-break but somehow with munchkin along , it took us a couple of more hours before we could be on the road. A very pleasant morning breeze welcomed us into the foothills of Sierras and off we started for Yosemite.

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With dreams and pictures of scenic sierra hilltops, I was with all my photo catching gears looking out of the window. I love to take pictures of the highways, clouds, skies, and greens along the road, barns and farmhouses all make me go weak in knees. Sometime while taking pictures , I lose actual scene to my bare eyes. In those moments I wish if I could have a cam in my eyes…may be one day I would own a pair of Google glass!!

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Splendid rocky bottoms of Sierra were in front of my eyes to devour and I clicked pictures like crazy. Once we reached Wawona, we decided to take a tour bus for Glacier point because Munchkin was not looking very good with the car seat!! That was one good decision and we hopped into the bus. It took us to see the majestic half dome and several other mountain tops which were visual delights. Of course, I had never seen such beautiful mountains all my life. There were lots of people with kids in tow as it were vacation time for kids. Kids were enjoying the cooler weather in those extra beautiful hills and redwood trees all around the way.Munchkin too, enjoyed his first bus trip extensively!!

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We decided to drive through all other points in the car. All other points at the Yosemite Valley -Tunnel View, El Capitan,Yosemite falls,Nevada Falls loop,Tenaya Lake,Bridalveil Falls,Valley View,Pothole Dome seemed out of the world. There were people camping at the designated camp sites, youngsters hiking through the hills and jungles and people strolling by the river sides. Though we could not do all of it but we did manage a few short hikes and strolls. I wish to come back here for a weekend camping and barbecue trip when munchkin grows up and is able to go for fishing with his dad!

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With pristine memories etched in my mind forever , I promise myself to come back to these magnificent mountains very soon.

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In search of Love... Caught & Shot- A & R

In search of Love…
Caught & Shot- A & R

Being a man is a tough job. You are supposed to show everyone that you won’t break, you won’t falter and you won’t ditch.

Andy had to hide his emotions lest he is ridiculed or humiliated. He chose to be quiet during his one year ordeal and never missed a chance to stay out of the house. It was the most difficult year of his life. This was their first year of marriage which he had always looked forward to since last 7 years or say 5 years to be precise. Initial 2 years of their knowing each other he never thought of her as his future girl. The marriage, he thought would make things easier for them as a couple and let settle them down at one place. Since last 7 years of knowing each other, initial 5 years they had been living apart in different cities.

Now after 3 years of that eventful and fateful day of his life, he has forgotten the entire hullabaloo around it. After a chance meeting on an internet chat room, they had been in touch. Initially they chatted once in a week later it would become more frequent. Internet cafe was the only resource for their communication and it was tough going to one after the college classes were over. His other friends would have their share of girls and he would feel isolated and left alone at times. Chatting with her quite made up for it. After 2 years being in touch online he thought may be this was the girl. He was 24 , just out of Engineering college and off to a job in a state further north. he proposed , she point blank rejected. He was left shell-shocked, as through her chats she seemed to be enjoying his attention. Girls never know their mind and are always confused, he realized. It was a waste of time and energy, he concluded. He conveniently forgot her for next almost 2 years while he got busy at his first job. New people, new place, new surroundings and new friends made up for his free evenings. He enjoyed trying new cuisines and sometimes chatting with random people on internet.

Andy had almost forgot her when one fine day suddenly out of the blue he received a mail from her. She wanted to start the friendship again. “I thought over it and realized I too am in love with you and you are the one for me.” she had said. His mind was clouded with thoughts now. How can someone get back after 2 years of thinking, what has she been thinking….he wondered. Anyways he said okay and that he will give it a try. It was not long before that they started chatting and bonded again. Next three years of courtship were mostly through emails and chats and an occasional call on the weekend. After 2 years on the job Andy decide to do his MBA. Mumbai was his favorite city , he had spent his college days here.  Andy was back here in a prestigious campus of the country to finish his Masters. She was still in another city and had started working as she finished her studies.

After 3 years of online courtship and finishing his Masters, Andy took up a job in her city. It was a conscious decision on his part as the relationship was going no where due to long distance courtship and Andy wanted to give it as serious try.  Andy always believed in giving 100% in whatever he took up for himself. This time it was a relationship and he wanted to know if there was a lag from his side for not feeling fulfilled. As Andy  reached her city and joined his new work, he felt a certain relief.

Andy was not comfortable staying in a rented place as he had to share his house with room mates. That made him shift his house 3 times in a year and finally it was a good locality with public transport system to his workplace. They kept meeting on weekends to have dinners or coffee. Andy was getting to know her. She seemed to be an independent-minded spoilt brat who would hardly listen to what he had to say. She grew up doing her own things without knowing what it takes to be with another person especially in a relationship. To Andy she seemed like a totally different person than what she was on their email conversation in last 5 years. But Andy could not gather if he was wholly correct or was just making a hasty opinion. He thought to give the relationship some more time to grow lest he breaks it up by his hasty fore-sightedness.

2 more years flew by. She had informed her folks by now about him. He too had informed at his place. The parents seemed not to agree due to caste and religious differences but they decided to go ahead. After a while , Andy visited her place, her parents agreed to their only daughter’s demand. “him or no one” , she had said. Before they realized it was year 2009 and they had got married in a hurry. Andy had changed his job from her city to the same place where he worked in his first job. This place was better than her city, he had realized. After the marriage they continued staying apart in different cities until a few months when Andy joined back another job at Mumbai again. He asked her to join her there. They began by taking up a good 2 bedroom apartment on rent. Life was cozy for her as she had left her job and had become a full time homemaker. This was year beginning the year 2010.

Slowly and steadily the cracks in the relationship started to appear. Andy had a demanding job and he would not be back home before 11 pm. It stressed him out and he more often than not, took it out on her. She too got frustrated of loneliness and his bickering at the end of the day when he was back from work. The incompatibility started to show its ugly face. Andy would not get dinner as she would be too busy studying for some entrance exam or because she would be busy watching movies for her blog or meeting her friends. Every other day they would order food from outside and this made Andy even more unhappy. He always liked home made food and this was time after working in different cities, that he would want to eat home made food. Coming from a different cultural background, she would prepare some strange dishes every now and then and Andy would again have to resort to outside catering.

One year had passed by and this was beginning of the year 2011, Andy was dissatisfied with her, the circumstances and overall the marriage. He knew he had made a wrong decision and that he should have listened to his heart years before when he had taken that new job at her place. She too was frustrated and made a couple of trips to her parents place to relieve herself of the agonies. In her absence Andy started making new friends on internet. He realized talking to strangers was a better option than talking to her. She was loud, quarrelsome and irritating most of times. She never took him seriously and did her own thing. Andy realised, this woman was not made to be in a relationship he concluded. It was a year and a half since they got married.

Andy looked out for a change his job one more time. This time he made sure he took up a travelling job which would make him travel all around the world. . Andy flew out of the country for good. Meanwhile, his wife took to complete her studies. This was a better option than to work, she thought. She could finish her doctorate in next three years while he keeps travelling. What she didn’t realize was that Andy had taken that final flight away from her and from his hopelessly passionless marriage. Andy started dating new people while he was on these trips abroad while she hopelessly tried to kept in touch. Initially Andy would call her from abroad and also before he landed but then he kept reducing all such communications with her. It became one odd call a week or just before touching down back again.

She seemed to be completely engrossed in planning her studies but she seemed to get an intuition that something was wrong somewhere. Several times she tried to ask him if he was okay . When she didn’t get any clues from his side, she chose to brush off her doubts and got back to her studies again. She faltered for the second time.

Andy changed his job again in year 2011 March. This time he got a lucrative offer in her city.  Back then when they were dating there ,he had even purchased a house there to make their life easier. This time the job was a high income one. This time Andy decided to live apart from her in his own house. She was not happy but she could not help it. It was one year into her fellowship program and she refused to leave it to join him. She faltered again.

Andy was sent to Singapore for a work assignment of 4 months. He came back and joined another assignment at another city. He consciously chose not to visit her and kept himself busy in work. They would meet only once or twice in that year 2011 at his parents place. Several times she would force herself into his hotel room without his consent. She also forced him to stay with her in their house once. he became even more averse to her once she tried to commit suicide by popping some odd pills.  She faltered one last time.

One month into this new project at this new city, Andy met a girl on a dating site. It was Aug 2011. The day they met,his life changed for better.

Cut back to present ….Its been 3 years and Andy is happily married to her. Andy does not remember his past. Nor does she lets him. But sometimes a stray thought comes onto his mind….he had wasted 7 years of his life for a good for nothing woman. How does one trust a relationship? There is no way except to live in together for sometime. That’s what they had done. They lived together day in and day out for last 3 years till they became inseparable!

Life is a gamble he thought, one time he lost and this time he has won the Power-ball!

His Girl Caught & Shot- Andy

His Girl
Caught & Shot- Andy

Its only fair, he knows.

Que Sera Sera


We can control our own destiny. I believe slowly but steadily when we make small day to day decisions….we are carving our fate.

The future is not set at any pint of time.

Fate is a course of events that happen that happens inevitable.Like some being born in a certain state of a certain country.On events like this no one has any control however in most of the aspect of our life we can make small or big decisions thereby choosing our fate. For example a person who smokes tobacco for a continued period of time is working towards his fate to die young as compared to a person who does not smoke.

We have a control over what happens to us in the future. Because there is nothing that will happen for sure. We determine our future from what we do now. We make our own future from our own actions, and nothing or no one else is responsible for it.


However natural catastrophe like hurricanes ,tornadoes or Tsunamis are location specific and cannot be avoided. We should still be prepared for the results even if we cannot stop them so that we can reduce the loss of life and other material things.

Sometimes we believe in our luck or rather bad luck. Luck is achieving a favorable or negative outcome by being on the positive side of a mathematical probability. It is the belief that all events are guided by random chance. It is a hundred times more likely that someone will get fatally struck by lightning than win a lottery. Since its all a matter of probabilities hence we should not blindly submit ourselves to this phenomena called luck.

Just because the odds are stacked against you, doesn’t mean you should quit.

Instead,ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

We are never prisoner of our own fate. Some things are beyond our power to change. But because life is full of options, we can use our resources to realize our objectives.





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