An Astounding Plan

Study Abroad

A fresh watery afternoon. After the long meeting I walk to one corner of the office. I stand leaning against the big glass windows and watch the rain. Then I think if I can take a break from work and go somewhere far to a beautiful place like the fairy land in a story book to do something different from the routine life and enjoy.”The thought of going abroad makes my heart leaps.” Charles Summer. I gasp as a wonderful idea flashes in my mind. Joy flashes into my heart and lights it up. I give a tinkling laugh. I have a few purposes- not quiet specific. But hopes are high. I walk swiftly to my office room to the left side of the big hall.

I close the office room door from inside and sit comfortably on a chair,  put my arms on the armrests and  tilt my head slightly. I have been thinking to apply to the Psychology program in the famous Glasgow university. Glasgow university in Glasgow city in Scotland, by the bank of the river Clyde.It has produced so many great persons; The White-bread prize winner William Boyd, William McIlvanney, poet  Laureate Edwin Morgan and some Noble Laureates too. I will be proud to be in this famous university. I want to go back to school and finish my M Phil in Psychology.  I am confident that my husband and both my children will like my idea of going back to school and my mother will be thrilled. She always insists me to finish my M.Phill. Her response will be ‘ Really! I am thrilled. Go for it. Do not  think about your whole family and the responsibilities, just do something for your self’. O’ I love my mom. Scotland is the motherland of great Scottish poets as Robert Burns, Thomas Cambell  Sir Walter Scott.The wonderful castles, the natural beauties of Scotland  always stand out.

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I have to plan out to stay there for a year. In some week ends after my class, I will volunteer in the Fight Against Poverty program and in the Three Eyes project. In the Three Eyes program I can help the disabled older people.

There is an animal sanctuary in Aberdeenshire where I can help the rescued animals. Also there I can learn more about the horses and the therapy program that they use on horses. I close my eyes and think that it will be so wonderful to spend my whole life in helping others,it will be a fulfilled life.

I remember reading in one of  the magazine about the wonderful museum in the west end of Glasgow which has 22 themed galleries full of 8000 artistic delights and the ‘The House of Art lovers’.

I will try to  make some new friends with same interests so that we can enjoy hiking around the famous Loch Ness lake.It is over 20 miles long, a mile wide and 700 feet at its deepest, the largest lake in Scotland. I have read in the travel magazine that the surrounding area is filled with historic attractions and natural wonders.The scenic, dazzling mountain valley in Bennevis, the beautiful collection of high mountain peaks, ridges, rushing rivers, water falls which create a magical and mystical land in Glencoe, the soaring mountain of Cullin hills. Hopefully my family can take off sometime and join me there, I think. Wow! now I am totally love with my brilliant ideas. 

I walk around and try to remember of reading  a brief description of the Galloway forest. It is in the Southern Scotland boasts tranquil valleys, encompasses by heather clad hills, majestic slopes, forest and varieties of wildlife. This park has been awarded as  a Dark Sky Park where it will be a feast for the eyes to watch spectacular twinkling stars studded sky in the night. Also I can not wait to see the fascinating aurora borealis in the winter sky.

I lean back more to the soft cushion of the leather chair and try to remember the other beautiful things to see. I always in love with the photos of castles so I must make time to visit them during my stay. Now I am too excited. I think about the visit to the beautiful Glamis Castle in the village of Glamis in Angus, Scotland. It has the legendary setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth. The next will be the picturesque Craigievar castle carved with Scot’s baronial style of architecture, the 800 years old  Dunvegan Castle on a rocky outcrop, the 13th century fortress Braemar castle which boasts with the beautiful winding spiral staircase  and the Sterling castle perches high on a volcanic rock. I can not miss the famous Edinberg Castle which was built by king David on a 700 million years old volcano.

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My expression softens into pleasure. I tuck the stray hair behind my ear, stretch out my legs and smile; a really rich smile.


A Sublime Feeling


When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?

As a student of Psychology Emma understands the importance of positive affirmations. It gives a very vibrant feeling and acts as a multiplier effect  on brain.To reward the children and to motivate them for their hard work, like any other parents Emma always says “I am so proud of you” or “awesome” to both her son and daughter. Emma walks to the living room and stands close to the big wooden shelves and looks proudly at all the children’s ribbons, trophies. She smiles remembering the days when her kids used to run home after school and show her  their achievements from Science fair projects, debate competitions,tennis matches, concert master/mistress positions in school orchestras, dance competitions, and scouting.

Emma walks into the study room, pulls a chair, adjusts the cushion and sits. “positive affirmation is important for adults too”, she says. Emma never expects anybody to tell her about how great she is in job or a great mom or a wonderful wife or a nice sister-in-law. she does not care a lot but then it always works like a magic.Someday she gets praise from her boss, or her children’s class teacher, from her children, but she never pays attention. Emma walks through the living room to one corner close to the hall, stands by the beautiful  picture of  Santa Fe on the wall. She closes her eyes ,tries to prop her chin on the hand. A wonderful memory flashes in her head. Emma smiles. On a particular occasion  Emma clearly heard and felt the real meaning of a positive affirmation.

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It was a Christmas break, in December. Emma’s daughter came back to home from the college in a break. Instead of staying at home , they decided to take a hiking trip  to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Emma loves outdoor activities and mostly the nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico, 4th largest city,founded in the early 17th century and sits 7000 feet above the sea level. Atalaya is the ridge that rises just east of Santa Fe. Emma’s family decided to hike in the Atalaya trail in Atalaya mountain. That year there was not much snow in Santa Fe. They parked their car in the St. John’s college visitor parking lot. As they got down from the car Emma turned her head and stood still looking at the beautiful snow-covered mountain in-front of her. She zipped her grey jacket, wrapped her neck with a grey and white stripe scarf, and started walking towards the trail with lots of excitement,  feeling as a small kid in a candy aisle or in the toy section of a store. She was climbing and looking around the beautiful tall Juniper, ponderosa,and Douglas fir trees sugar-coated with the snow, then suddenly overheard her daughter telling her husband that the mountain is 9121 ft high and it may take total 6 and half hours for the total hiking, and some parts are real steep. Then Emma  craned her neck and looked up at the mountain and hmm, she thought, this is my first time hiking, it may be hard and scary, but I am determined to make it, well after thirteen hours drive! I have to make to the top.

Then they started the steep hike. Some parts on the trail were really icy and it was hard to climb. They hiked for almost three and half hours to the top. Emma was pushing her limits. But she was enjoying each bend in the path which unfolded beautiful scenes as she climbed up. She was glad that she took her daughter’s advice to carry water bottles and energy bars, which was a wonderful idea and a life saver.


As they were climbing up towards the peak they saw more of the pine trees and some white firs. Then Emma noticed that the  trail  was getting more treacherous, with steep and sharp turns (switchbacks). Her feet started to slipped more on the ice. Suddenly she turned her head to the back, then looked down, her heart started pounding. She wiped her forehead, blinked one more time, then looked down again. Emma remembered that she is scared of heights and by her own choice she was close to 8000 feet high. From nowhere the image of a Bollywood movie flashed into her head, where the heroine slips, falls from a high mountain, loses her memory and finds herself in a strange place and nobody ever rescues her. Emma could not see her daughter or husband as they climbed ahead of her. She was scared and nervous. She said, ‘ I did not want to be like that heroine from the movie, it is even hard to adapt  to new places or people and I love my family so much’. Her heart squeezed momentarily with anxiety. Emma found herself hugging a small pine tree so tight that the tree was feeling suffocated. So slowly she loosened her hold, adjusted her gloves, wrapped the scarf tightly and started climbing. She could hear her daughter screaming, “You can make it mom, try harder, only a few feet to go!” As she took the last step to the top her daughter came, hugged her and both her husband and daughter said “we are proud of you! you made it!”

 Emma could not hold her tear any more. She was overwhelmed with the adventurous hiking,overcoming her fears, achieving a glorious success, and at the same time seeing the breathtaking view from 9000 feet up on the mountain.