Central Park looked like a big beautiful canvas as I strolled through it to the American Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side. Dried leaves glowed in vivid tones of gold and russet. Old men read books on benches which tell stories through those small plaques. You might take a seat on one but oh do leave some space for the couple’s dog who loved hanging out there too. They are all long gone… what remains is the warmth of the thought that you share the bench with souls that might have dissolved in ether, but they too savoured the solitude, as much as you do now. Beneath those flaming bowers, bright-eyed squirrels scurried up and down wire fences, a man stooped to gather a bunch of leaves in his arms, to throw them in the air, let them rain upon him in a shower of gold as his partner waited to capture it on her camera with a bashful grin, an old man rowed his boat serenely by.

Then I found my way to the pink granite largesse of the Natural History Museum where the suggested amount for entry is $23 – but you can shell out what you want to enter it. I wanted to pay a buck and see what their reaction might be (just to be perverse) but then I rose above that notion. Those mighty quotes of Ted Roosevelt staring back at you — exalted thoughts and words, they make sure that any pettiness is put to shame. Right after, I lost my mind — to the beauty of animals carefully preserved by an American taxidermist towards the late part of the 19th century, reproductions of dinosaurs from fossils, the Mayan gods, paraphernalia from the Silk Route, hunting apparatus of the Amazon Indians, strange shrunken heads that looked like tiny balls with hair flowing from the heads, sewed up lips and head because the South American people such as the Shuar counteract violent death and the need of the soul for revenge by keeping the spirit trapped inside the heads.

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The ultra tall Barosaurus defends its young from the Allosaurus up front. An encounter that might have taken place in the western part of the US about 140 million years ago.
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An alarmed African elephant

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Early copy of the Koran retrieved from somewhere in Africa.
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Golden wares of Samarkand where caravan roads converged, bringing in exotic goods from China, India, Armenia, Persia and the Near East.
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A Mayan god
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Colossal Olmec stone head from Southern Verz Cruz and Tabasco in Mexico

Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

81 thoughts on “Vignettes

  1. The fall colors so amazing , snow animation makes it look even better, no place like central park for capturing these!! oh my the ultra tall Barosaurus , dinosaur statue is super! interesting photos , well done! Dippy

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  2. The beautiful fall colors giving way to the dead of winter. Such a wonder for this southern California person to see the four seasons changing in your blog posts. I will look forward to seeing and reading more. The exhibits at the Natural History Museum remind me of the film, “Night at the Museum”! – All ready to spring to life once everyone has left for the day (Robin Williams did play Teddy Roosevelt didn’t he?) πŸ˜› – Neek

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    1. Tee hee oh yes! He did. That man was the real deal. Night at the Museum kinda sights indeed. Though if any of them did come to life, I would be fast tracking my way out of the museum on roller skates (even though I cannot skate to save my life).
      Thank you Neek! The seasons have indeed been so pronounced. I have enjoyed the transition periods here thoroughly πŸ™‚ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your shot of the elephant, and of the stone head at the end. Really cool angle! I was wondering if I could ask for some advice. You’re one of my favorite bloggers, and I get a lot of inspiration for my own blog from your posts. When I first started blogging the advice I got was: WRITE EVERY DAY, but I have found that my favorite blogs focus on quality instead of quantity, like yours. I also love how solid a network of followers you have, and I have found many really good quality, interesting blogs by clicking on the links of your followers. Again, following advice when I first started blogging I followed, and spent a lot of time on many blogs with huge numbers of followers that barely had any activity (comments, likes, etc,) on their website. Almost all of your followers that I have started following myself visit my site, and often comment or follow me. I guess what I’m wondering is how did you build your network of readers? I have followed a lot of poor advice while trying to market my blog, and would really appreciate the input!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is heartening to hear, my girl. I did not imagine that my blog could be inspiring but if it is, it gives me immense satisfaction and a massive dose of confidence. Sometimes you question your worth, right, and it can be soul deadening?

      I think it is good advice you have there. Write every day. But the thing is, I think, that it implies dedicated time. Not something that is dashed off just for the heck of it. When I read my blog years later, I want to feel happy that I wrote stuff that meant much to me instead of writing something just for the heck of it.

      I usually follow bloggers I can relate to, Lingyun. Those whose posts I would like to read. It is that simple. Go with your gut? It is the best way to grow your blog. And yes, I do love the bloggers I follow. Everyone adds in some way to my life including you πŸ™‚ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As much as I’m enjoying summer, you’re making me miss the colours of fall πŸ˜€ That being said, I would love to visit the Natural History Museum! We don’t really have anything of that scale down here, and all those exhibits look amazing! I love the giant Barosaurus!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Come right over missy! Stay with us and we can go gape at them together πŸ™‚ It was enthralling – though by the end of it my head was buzzing. We humans are fascinating with the kind of things we are capable of, including shrinking heads somewhere in the south of the Americas…shiver. Come during fall. You will love it. My first fall here has been grand πŸ™‚ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Central park is lovely. There was a bench with a plaque that said: “I wake up every day torn between the desire to save the world… or savour the world?”…
    That museum is fab too. Didn’t remember the fee though. There is such a perfume of adventure inside. The pictures of Martin and Osa Johnson to name but a few. Alas, I lost all those photos in a computer mishap…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would tilt towards ‘savour the world’. One lifetime’s too short to save it.
      The museum was fab except that bits of it stuck more in the mind. I love the way you put it…’the perfume of adventure’ inside its portals. I would like to read Osa’s book ‘I Married Adventure’. What a title!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, she did. Marry adventure. Imagine a woman, in the 30’s, setting out to explore and film the world with Hubby. Quite shocking at that time. I’m sure the book must be available on-line.
        And as for saving the world… I leave that to the younger generations, as we have failed miserably. (And the ones before and before and before) In our defense, it is probably impossible to save… πŸ˜‰

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      2. I was about to say the same, about it being impossible to save, but I bit my tongue at the thought of sounding like a pessimist (though realist).
        She had a grand life full of stories and strange tales to tell, I bet. Indeed in the ’30s she would have raised eyebrows with admiration and envy too. The kind of adventurer who shall remain an inspiration for the ages to come.

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      3. I just read today about a mother telling her daughter that 500 years had passed between their two birthdates. Let us be realistic, the world is beyond salvation, yet… Yet. A century ago, only 12% of the world population could rad, and now supposedly, 86% can. A century ago, women worldwide could not do… 5% of what women can now do. (In most parts). So there is some progress. πŸ™‚

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  6. Wonderful stuff. So much history, exoticism and adventure. I just googled Osa Johnson – I have never heard of her – and would love to read ‘I married Adventure’ – must be worth it simply for the title alone! Imagine living in a world where there was so much still to be discovered.

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  7. More of those wonderful fall photos. Sadly, we just don’t get those colours here, too many evergreens.

    Museum looked interesting, it’s on my places to visit for my next trip to NY. We usually go at the end of November for a Dental Meeting but sadly not this year :-((

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry to hear that your trip did not work out this year, Sheree. But yes, end of November seems to be the time to see the colours in Central Park. Maybe it varies from year to year.
      The museum was fascinating and I did not even go for the space show or half the things on display because I figured I would have to revisit it for my brains not to plop out of the skull. xx


  8. You have bought back great memories my friend. It was a few years ago now, but I remember like it was yesterday. Such a great day we shared with my husband’s cousin who showed us around the AMNH with her two young children and afterwards walked through central park together, enjoying the day and each others company. Thank you for sparking this memory with your beautiful post. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Lorelle, that is indeed a lovely memory. Sounds like a capsule of happiness. The children would have made the visit to the museum even more special with their wonder at everything and Central Park the perfect amuse-bouche to your day. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Heading to Manhattan this coming weekend. Won’t have time to visit any museums unfortunately, but thanks to your post, feel as though I was just at one of my favourite New York spots ? So happy to have found your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mia…I am happy that you did find your way to my blog too. May your weekend in Manhattan be gorgeous and it does not matter if you do not get to burrow yourself inside the museums. The Christmas markets and displays are too good to miss out πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful writing.. it really conveys the mood of the place πŸ™‚ And I love the photos as well. I missed this place when I was in NY, but hoping to visit someday soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dee. If you are in NYC next time, Central Park is a soothing prospect. The museum is something that requires some time at hand and headspace but can be rewarding. Cheers.


  11. Ah so nice. Your post reminded me of the trip we had to central park and the 2 two museums but I lost the sd card and couldnt remember what’s inside the museums anymore. But I blame it more on the epidural than the lack of souvenir pictures hehe. So thanks for posting great pictures here. I’ll show them to my hubby later, see if he can remember…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An epidural, a lost sd card and two museums in a day sounds like a lot going on at a go, Amor. It would be rather easy to get brain fade in such circumstances. But if the post does revive memories, why I would only be too chuffed. xx


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