20210622 By Vasanthi

This painting of hot air balloons by Dr. Beena is such a pleasure to admire and take a trip with. Her subtle use of earthy tones on a journey to explore freedom is so enchanting.

From childhood I had always wanted to feel the freedom of attaching wings to myself and viewing the world from way above. Tried singing R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly’ over and over again in the hope of spreading my wings and flying to freedom. The tune and chorus still lingers in moments where freedom is greatly desired. The opportunity came by in Bagan, Myanmar and taking a hot air balloon trip was like a dream come true. I dived into it after taking all the precautionary measures. It is lovely to feel the freedom from above but we do have to make sure that we don’t pay the cost of being foolhardy for we do not have wings like the birds. Balloons Over Bagan with experienced crew members certainly gave me the needed comfort. Exploring the amazing ancient temples and architecture of Old Bagan was as though the spirit was set free to roam the universe. Images remained forever.

In Dr. Beena’s painting of hot air balloons in St. John’s, Antigua, I can feel the light-hearted moments of being in a hot air balloon. The joy of looking below and admiring nature can only be compared to the adventure of reaching higher heights in an unofficial race with the other hot air balloons.  Somehow the enthusiasm in the race to reach higher heights slowly dies off with the wonderment of nature below. Watching the mountains, trees, people, buildings, roads, animals and everything else takes over the excitement as the journey on open air continue. Freedom and happiness transcends everything else. Antigua achieved independence from the English settlers in 1981. Being an island of around 10 miles by 10 miles in area, it would certainly be a wonder to be up above in a hot air balloon and marvel at the sight of a wonderful island below.

Memories of Bagan return. I remember wanting to take as many photographs as possible to capture the wonderment when I was way above in the hot air balloon. Those would be capturing precious moments that would certainly last longer than a lifetime. In all excitement, the smartphone was put to good use. Then a sudden fear crept into me. I am in a basket, lifted up by hot air balloons roaming miles above the earth. What if I lose grip of my precious handphone? Could I afford to lose all unsaved precious memories? That fear made me tread with caution and brought some sanity back into the euphoria.

Life has a lot to offer. Modern technology helps us achieve more with much simplicity. However, to be able to enjoy freedom in life, we have to be cautious as any minor slip can change our path forever.


  1. Hi Vasanthi

    Congratulations for the beautiful story on Bagan. Its a beautiful place as many places are in the world. We hope that the sense of freedom prevails in this world for peaceful living. We hope we can encourage more to write stories on their perception on any of the paintings. Every story teaches us something new. I always love to read so that I can broaden my horizon.

    Best wishes


  2. Such a wonderful story that well depicts the painting and Bagan! You lived my dream for me! Have been wanting to go on a hot air balloon for years but the time is yet to come ❣️

  3. Vasanthi’s description is so vivid that it made me feel the airborne experience without ever being on a balloon. It is now in my bucket list!

    The final message on being cautious is very apt especially during this pandemic – applies universally – enjoy experiences but with the utmost care.

    Overall a lovely write-up and it was a delight to the senses. Thank you very much for making it an almost real experience especially in these house-bound times.

  4. Vasanthi, your narrative sails through a kaleidoscope of emotions and catches well the magic of soaring in the skies! The promise of freedom is there!

    1. Thanks Kamala. Wish we could all take a trip up in a hot air balloon after the pandemic. Maybe in Capadocia next.

  5. Love your vivid Bagan flight Vasanthi.
    For me hot air balloon brings to mind Cappadocia. It was an unforgettable experience catching the sunrise and seeing the unique and spectacular landscape.
    What you said about the handphone was how I felt too!

    1. 🤣🤣🤣 thanks. Was so enthusiastically taking photos till realization set in. I’m sure the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia was spectacular too.

  6. Not been to Bagan nor rode a hot air balloon. But your vivid description makes me wanna pack my bag right away and board that plane. Alas, the pandemic. Patience, patience, patience…

    1. Hi Lay Peng

      There is no end to what one can imagine. Keep dreaming and post a story.

      Best wishes


  7. I have not been up in a hot air balloon. I would love to have the opportunity to do so one day. However, by looking at the painting, I can imagine the view from up high. And the air up in the sky…. Not only that, the feeling of freedom, free from the challenges of every day life, free from the worries etc. I think the picture really depicts the joy of being able to be alone and not alone while flying up high. There are friends and strangers up there with us. Our path may never cross, but we may have seen each other. That’s the wonder of being able to fly up high.

    1. Hi Susan

      You definitely have a vivid imagination. Would love to read your story too.

      Best wishes


  8. Yours truly hasn’t been on a hot air balloon as yet. Your write-up of being up there is as vivid as the painting itself. And you are right about feeling free when flying up there but fearing the fall. I liked it. Keep writing more.

    1. Thanks Nila. Hope you will write about Dr Beena’s paintings too. I know you have good story writing skills. Do think about it.

  9. Vivid and spectacular description, made me realise what I missed. Got this fear of heights, will shut my eyes tight up in the air, what more in a hot air balloon. You have given me a ride to remember! Beautiful, clear and simple. Keep on writing, I love it!

  10. Vivid and spectacular description. Never been on a hot air balloon before. This is a fantastic ride, must try one day if there is an opportunity. Your clear and beautiful story made me realise what I have missed! Just by reading your story, I actually feel as though I am in a hot air balloon.
    Good story. I like it, keep it coming. Would like to read more.

  11. Yes Sharon. There are very few words to describe the joy of floating on the air. You should certainly try out the experience painted by Dr Beena.

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