Offering an extremely thrilling skiing experience in high-altitude powder, Gulmarg is rightly the dream winter sports destination in India. The town is encircled by snow-capped peaks, the most impressive of which is Mt Affarwat, accessible via the precipitous Gulmarg Gondola — the second highest cable car ride in the world.
Adventurous folks can take a detour and trek another hour from the summit to the spectacular frozen Alpather Lake. The historic Gulmarg Golf Course occupies a significant chunk of the valley meadow. Enthralling, historical Jaipur, is the gateway to Rajasthan. Explore the colonial-era architecture, visit Buddhist monastries and spot snow leopards in the nearby zoo, all, of course, once you are done gazing open-mouthed at the magnificent Khangchendzonga.
The adventurous can arrange a trek to Singalila Ridge or hire a mountain bike for a guided ride around the hilltops. When energies start to flag, a good, steaming Darjeeling brew is never far away. Nestled amid evergreen hills that line the southernmost edge of Karnataka is the luscious Kodagu Coorg region, gifted with emerald landscapes and hectares of plantations. A major centre for coffee and spice production, this is also home to the Kodava people.
The uneven terrain and cool climate make it a fantastic area for trekking, birdwatching or lazily ambling down little-trodden paths winding around carpeted hills. Comprising a string of 36 palm-covered, white-sand- skirted coral islands km off the coast of Kerala, Lakshadweep is as stunning as it is isolated. The real attraction of the islands lies under the water: When the mist clears, views of the green Doon Valley and the distant white-capped Himalayan peaks are superb. Walk down the narrow and wide lanes of the town and relish the gift of life with your dear ones. Christmas celebrations are incomplete without relishing the special delicacies.
Dig your teeth into all these special dishes prepared during this festive season for an authentic experience. It is the season of merry-making after all. Goa has always been associated with merriment. Filming, taping and photographing meant he could possess people without risk: In this, as in so many things, he was the herald of our own era. His attachment prefigures our rapturous, narcissistic fixation with phones and computers; the enormous devolution of our emotional and practical lives to technological apparatuses of one kind or another.
Lonely in Gorgeous
I understood exactly why he called his tape recorder his wife. I would have been lost without my MacBook, which promised to bring connection and in the meantime filled the vacuum left by love. Loneliness can wed people to machines, and it can also drive them away from the world. The lonely disappear in plain sight, retreating into their apartments because of sickness or bereavement, mental illness or the persistent, unbearable burden of shyness, of not knowing how to impress themselves into society.
For decades Darger lived alone in a boarding house room crammed with hoarded rubbish. In he became ill and was moved unwillingly to a Catholic mission.
When his room was cleared, it was discovered to contain hundreds of paintings, of almost supernatural radiance. These baffling, beautiful collages were populated by soldiers and naked little girls with penises. Some had charming, fairytale elements: Others showed exquisitely staged and coloured scenes of mass torture, complete with delicately painted pools of scarlet blood. Together, they described a coherent otherworld: Since his death, theories about Darger have proliferated, put forward by an impassioned chorus of art historians, academics and psychologists. These voices are by no means convergent, but speaking they have established Darger as an outsider artist nonpareil: But what this pathologising elides is the damage wreaked on individuals like Darger by society: His mother died when he was four.
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His father was too ill to care for him, and so he was sent to the Illinois Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children, where extreme violence was common. Intelligent and talented, he was deprived of both love and an education, and in his entire life had only one friend.
How art helped me see the beauty in loneliness | Books | The Guardian
He built the world of the Realms out of almost nothing, against extraordinary odds. I realised this most forcibly when I visited the recreation of his room in a Chicago museum. It was packed with art materials: Why did he spend his life creating a universe of such violence and beauty?
There is a theory that loneliness stems from a profound sense of disintegration, caused by just the kind of broken childhood Darger suffered. You can show what loneliness looks like, and you can also take up arms against it, making things that serve explicitly as communication devices against censorship and alienation. This was the driving motivation of David Wojnarowicz, a still under-known American artist and writer, whose courageous, extraordinary body of work did more than anything to release me from the feeling that in my solitude I was shamefully alone.
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Like Darger, Wojnarowicz had a brutal childhood. As a small boy in the s, he and his two siblings were kidnapped by their father, an abusive alcoholic who took them to live in the suburbs of New Jersey. The Universe of the Neatly Clipped Lawn, David called it — a place where physical and psychic violence against women and children could be carried out without repercussions. He almost starved during his homeless years. Sometimes he was raped or drugged by the men who offered him money; sometimes he stayed in welfare hotels and derelict buildings, or with a group of transvestites by the Hudson River.
In , he prised himself off the streets, though the legacy of shame and isolation never fully dispersed. He came out as gay, and felt immediately lighter, albeit acutely aware of the weight of antagonism stacked against him, the hatred lurking everywhere for a man who loved men and was not ashamed of the fact. It was in this period that he began to make art. Photographs of a man in a paper mask of Arthur Rimbaud, wandering the meat markets and bus stations of New York. Lurid, intricate paintings that look like maps of some mythic realm. A film of a drag queen walking slowly into a lake; graffiti of burning houses and choking cows.
What happened to him?
In he was diagnosed with Aids, then a death sentence. His first reaction was intense loneliness, combined with absolute rage against the bigoted politicians who blocked funding and education, the public figures who called for people with Aids to be tattooed with their infection status or quarantined on islands.
Stigmatisation is yet another driver of loneliness, reducing a person from a human being to the bearer of something polluting or repulsive.
In the plague years, he became involved with Act Up, a direct action group that fused art and resistance into an astonishingly potent force. Aids confirmed his suspicions. As he put it in his searing memoir, Close to the Knives: He died in , at the age of 37, leaving behind a body of work of radical honesty. That statement summed up precisely what his art meant to me. How had he responded to the sources of isolation in his own life? By speaking the truth, by making art, by building community, by engaging in political action, by refusing to be invisible.
The artists I encountered in the lonely city helped me not just to understand loneliness, but also to see the potential beauty in it, the way it drives creativity of all kinds. Amid the glossiness of late capitalism, we are fed the notion that all difficult feelings — depression, anxiety, loneliness, rage — are simply a consequence of unsettled chemistry, a problem to be fixed, rather than a response to structural injustice or, on the other hand, to the native texture of embodiment, of doing time, as David Wojnarowicz memorably put it, in a rented body, with all the attendant grief and frustration that entails.
- Glory Glory (Bukkake Swallowing Erotic Adventure).
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- Trio Sonata in A Major, Op. 3 No. 5 (Flute/Oboe/Violin 2 Part);
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So much of the pain of loneliness is to do with concealment, with being compelled to hide vulnerability, to tuck ugliness away, to cover up wounds as if they are literally repulsive. Why this need constantly to inhabit peak states, or to be comfortably sealed inside a unit of two, turned inward from the world at large? I have been lonely, and no doubt I will be lonely again.