Guiding Light of The Month

OH, let Light be poured on all the earth and Peace inhabit every heart. . . Almost all know only the material life heavy, inert, conservative, obscure; their vital forces are so tied to this physical form of existence that, even when left to themselves and outside the body, they are still solely occupied with these material contingencies that are yet so harassing and painful. . . - The Mother

Along the Way……Reflections on the October 2013 Morning Walk

The walk for the month of October 2013, was at a special place. It was to happen at Pulau Ubin, an island off Singapore. It was much looked forward to, as Pulau Ubin used to be one of the regular venues for the monthly walks a decade ago.  Hence, for the older members of the Society, this walk was especially nostalgic as it was one which brought back a lot of pleasant and fond memories from the past, of walks hosted by Mrs.Sonia Dyne, our past Chairperson.

We gathered at Changi Point Ferry Terminal Point at 7.45am. The weather was very pleasant, breezy and cool as a result of the heavy rain in Singapore the previous night. We got into the bumboats in batches. We were just on time to catch glimpses of the beautiful sun rays as they shone down from the sky, lighting up the waves of the ocean in a sparkling fashion, as we sailed by to the island. At Pulau Ubin, we gathered at the meeting point near the basketball court. There were about 50 of us who had gathered to form a huge circle for the warm-up exercises. After the warm-up session, we finished with the chanting of Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Gayatri Mantra’.

Our host for this walk was Uncle Kashyap, and his birthday was on that same day. We wished him all a very happy birthday and embarked on our walk. We were to walk to the Chek Jawa wetlands. The majority of the members walked while some of us got onto bicycles for another kind of exploration.

Pulau Ubin has a very rustic look and feel about it. From the muddy roads, the tiled roof houses with wooden fences, the tall coconut trees, the small lily ponds, the chirping of so many different kinds of birds, to the variety of flowers and fruits growing on the plants on the way, everything about this place is very different from the urban lifestyle in the rest of Singapore. The roads are not just muddy, they are also extremely steep and at a slope, thus making it very challenging for walkers and cyclists alike. As we walked towards Chek Jawa, we observed many different species of trees, and we did spot some mudskippers as well. The Chek Jawa wetlands are unique as several ecosystems can be observed in one area – rocky beaches, sandy beaches, sea-grass lagoon, mangroves and coastal forest.

Uncle Kashyap had arranged for a few vans for the benefit members who were walking. The return journey saw some of us back to the starting point in those vans in order to keep to the stipulated time of meeting back at out starting point.

When all had gathered where we started, we sat for meditation, in a sheltered area. Upon return to Changi Ferry Terminal, we walked over to the nearby Ramar Temple, where the brunch was to be hosted.

We were about 80 of us, probably a record attendance, at the beautiful Changi Ramar Temple, which was abuzz with activity from the devotees who were there for their worship. The deep sound from the temple bells, the smell of the incense sticks and flowers offered to the deities added to the beauty and charm of the temple. A very hearty and delicious brunch was lovingly served by Uncle Kashyap’s family members, after which there was a cake cutting session for

Uncle Kashyap on the occasion of his birthday. Kudos to Uncle Kashyap and his family for having taken the time and effort to meticulously plan out everything – from the venue, the refreshment packets handed out to us at the start of the walk, the vans arranged for the benefit of walking members, to the arrangement at the temple. The Pulau Ubin walk was an experience to cherish forever.
- Preethi Saroja

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