Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is your Heart in it?

A young friend of mine, Ashwini from Canada, suggested I try painting the same thing repeatedly. I have not done that before. But I try that this time. I have painted 3 trays of Thambulam. What I did was to paint the betel leaves in all pages and then the fruits in all the pages and so on. The basket and the silver thali came last of all.
And yes Ashwini, I think your technique helped me learn.

As a lady from south India, for me this tambula tray evokes happy feelings. A feeling of bounty and wellbeing. The chatter of women, the perfume of fresh flowers, and the rustle of silk .... yes, I feel them all.

Every region has its own time of custom gifting. As we become more global we begin to see the material waste generated. No one else in the world does this so why do we? This question rises again and again.

And suddenly this custom generated gift industry catering to local customs is perceived as very out of place. When the custom gifting no longer serves the purpose of spreading joy, it comes to a natural halt. And other customs take its place.


The bottom line is, Is your heart in it?


Friday, November 26, 2010

Unread Messages

About solicited mails and a custom

I subcribed to updates from some sites out of curiosity or short lived interest. I still keep getting mails from them. Well they are just doing their job.
They actually also have a link that says click here if you wish to unsubscribe.
But I don't unsubscribe. I hover over that line for a second. 'Feel I am somehow betraying them. and I don't click!

When I get a mail from them, I raise my eyebrows and say, Not this one again!
I dont read the mail.

This reminds me of the arshina-kunkuma visits. Down south, ladies are invited to neighbouring houses on festive days. This is a short non-eating happy cultural meet. Ladies dress up in finery. Sit around for some time. Sing a song if possible. Then the host offers haldi kumkum and flowers and a tambula. The done thing is to give coconuts as tambula. Coconuts have become too expensive and they have been replaced by the rolling mosambi. You go to your neighbour's house. Sit there for a short time. They give you kumkum and tambula with a mosambi. So you go to the next house and you think, not a mosambi again!!!

You bring them fruits home and they roll around on the dining table. They might even move to a bowl on the fridge. No one wants to peel them. No one wants to have them. Yet when its your turn to give, you look at the prohibitive cost of the coconuts and resort to the mundane rolling fruits!

I just need to unsubscribe.

What would you unsubscribe?

tambula - watercolour

This is a traditional thambula.
Tambula - betel leaves with betel nut and fruit. This is generally given with dakshina ie; a coin or a note


What do you think about expressing opinions?
 Do read this one: Want an Icecream?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Watching it live

It is much easier to watch a cricket match, a CWG opening, a Wimbledon or a Sonu Nigam night on TV.

It is free. You sit back with a packet of chips. The chair is comfortable. You avoid the noise and the shoving. To top it all, you get a much better view.

Yet lots of people go out there and buy tickets to watch the shows live.

When you watch it there, live, breathing in the atmosphere do you get something more than the mere game-song-event?

  • The thrill, the hope, the energy of live performance?
  • The fun of being the first to see a little something go wrong way?
  • Is it all about… been there, done that?
  • About having a story to tell?
  • Or about …
  • Warm looks passed around on stage?
  • A mistake corrected cleverly?

What makes you buy that expensive ticket to watch it live?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to Peel Mosambi

About how to peel a mosambi among other things

It was one of those days when I got up feeling low. That doesn’t usually happen. But then…that was a day I got up feeling low.

Oh! I already told you that.
My English teacher had told me never repeat words. She would mark the guilty phrases in red. I can see her looking sternly…
Anyway, I got up feeling low and


I felt “no one cares for me”, “out of sight out of mind”, etc etc
All not true …. Yella sullu
I know that
But the mind has a movement of its own. And that day I felt as helpless as my neighbour’s daughter who ‘takes’ her black Labrador for a ‘walk’.

But the Universe has a way of telling you, hold on! Let me show you… And that day
I received five phone calls, two visits, two letters (one containing a check), and a large parcel.
A parcel! Now who would send me a parcel?
I tear it open and I smile.
A PG Wodehouse! Specially a Jeeves……..aah! This is the ultimate ……. a book I can curl up and laugh with.
And to top it all I find in the book a hand made card from Ashwini, my fine niece in Bangalore.

Yippee! My mood is back to rocking.
Now I am good and ready to help those in distress….
Let me show you how to peel a musambi
No tearing, no messing. Three simple steps

Step one – Slice off the two ends of the mosambi

Step two – Cut mosambi into quarters

Step three – Peel off the skin

Now run it in the mixer for 2 minutes with a spoon of sugar, a dash of salt and half a glass of water. Strain and enjoy a cooling glass of mosambi juice.


But just read about what happened the other day
He Crouched in the Shadows


Thursday, November 18, 2010


About the advantages of fruit juices

A refreshing summer drink, Shikanji is the Hindi name for lemonade (ie. lemon juice) spiced with a dash of crushed ginger. But Shikanji is welcome at any time of the year, except perhaps when winter is at its shivering best.

I wish other fruit juices had such interesting names too. I have heard people referring to cider, but is that a term used for a fermented apple juice? Not sure, must ask Jeeves.

During Ramanavami in Karnataka belada hannu panaka is served with kosambari. Panaka is a special juice made with the fruit called belada hannu (that’s wood apple or bel fruit) mixed with jaggery and tamarind pulp and water. Since making panaka from belada hannu is tedious, nimbe-panaka or lemon juice flavoured with kesari and ginger is the more favoured option. Kosambari is a spicy salad made from soaked moong dal. Come to think of it, kosambari which has dal, coconut, raw cucumber and spices when served with lemon panaka makes a complete balanced diet.

Pardon me, I wander. I want to talk about fruit juices. To remove the toxins which I received as parting gift from Chikan Guniya I was advised to have a lot of fruit juice. My dear husband went a little overboard. I now have 4 tall glasses of juice a day, one glass of fresh juice with every meal.
  • Light shikanji with breakfast
  • Watermelon juice, sometimes spiked with mint during lunch
  • A bottled pink guava drink from Natural or Safal instead of tea with biscuits
  • Orange juice freshly squeezed or freshly poured from a carton during supper
Pomogranate, Sweetlime and Musk melon add more variety. Of these the pink guava drink and the watermelon juice are my favourites. I have seriously decided to invest in a food processor and continue the drinking habit!

 The juice diet has
  • Reduced my craving for chocolates
  • Regulated my system
  • Made me feel more positive and happy
  • Removed much of the tiredness
 I strongly recommend two glasses of fresh fruit juice as a daily habit……. Chikan Guniya or not.

Would you like to read that one about friends and family?

Monday, November 15, 2010

From Darkness to Light

Deepavali is a festival celebrating the movement of man from darkness to light.
This is the month of Kritika or Kartikai. We light two munnina deepas which my grandma used to call hanathey at the doorstep to invite goddess Lakshmi into the house to lead us from darkness to light. A hanathey is a small mud lamp into which you pour a spoon of oil and place a thread or cotton wick. The lamps are placed on either side of the door. But I like to keep two porcelain lamps in a silver tray in a special place inside the house too...

We were sitting around minding our business when suddenly the lights went off . There was a power cut (thanks perhaps to CWG). With the harsh brightness of the tube lights and incandescent bulbs switched off the oil wick lamps spread a soft glow.

I brought out a few more lamps and candles and we sat in that semi darkness.
That moment when darkness suddenly envelopes you. You know that everything around you is the same. You are infact in your own home, familiar room. Still you hurry to light candles and bring in assuring light.
That moment of darkness is a moment of faith?
A moment when your sense of trust is uppermost?
Then the candles are lit, and an illusion of familiarity is created.

In India power cut is the time for families to gather round the lamps and play games and sing songs. To groan over How Much there is to study while secretly enjoying the break! To open a packet of potato chips. To tease. To say things that would not be possible in harsh light.

But….we just took some photographs.

from darkness to light...........

Friday, November 12, 2010

Is That You?


You do little things to bring on a grin.
You buy a gift – for no rhyme or reason.
Your hug is healing. Your smile has meaning.

You’re judgemental and spicy.
You’re opinionated and dicey.
Pure and delightful, gossipy and soulful,

Vigorous at work, daring, ambitious,
Spontaneous, planned, and copy book.
But at all times

Be sure, YOU are YOU.

Your dreams are important
Your hopes are valid
Imagine!!! We have only ONE OF YOU.

Bikes, Cars and Xbox are for guys
Ribbons, flowers and perfumes are for gals
Huh! Why be caught in ancient shackles?
Why conform when we can be different?
This for you………

and this to take

this too, for the lapel

 one for the road


Did you like this?
In a mood for a laugh? May be you can read  Engaging Accents.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dhanaulti, natural alpine forest reserve

I like to see this picture when I want to feel happy.
So I share it with you.
Some people, some places and some thoughts bring peace just by being what they are.
Radiating a sense of wellbeing and satisfaction.
This is one such place, the curve of the road, the dipping fence, the green grass and the pine trees.....  I took this picture at Dhanaulti.

Does it make you happy too?
  • Do you have your own set of happy pictures?
  • Pull them out.
  • Put them where you can see them.
  • Will you do that?
For some pictures of the Eiffel Tower click here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Signboards on the Road


Signboards are good. There were people, who looked at stars and at the length of shadows and or held a wet finger to the wind and decided upon the direction to move in.

Me, I like sign posts.
Signboards are loud and clear. No ambiguity. No guessing. A Sign post simply shows the way.
Signboards show you your options, allowing you to choose without ill feelings on either side.
Would life be simpler with signboards?
• This guy is only passing time…not really serious
• This share is already on the way down…do not invest
• The salad stinks, order for sandwich instead

Speaking Tree  in TOI tells us we have inbuilt signboards. Our inner mind does show the way. We have to stop cruising, read the signpost and heed its wordings.
Ofcourse it would not concern itself with stinky salads.....but that is besides the point.

But do we like signboards?
Do you think we would read such signboards even if they were actually staring us in the face?
Or would we say
Look I know better
You know what…..I think the signboard should face this way!

Believe me, we have done that with real, hard wood signboards on the road too.
'No need to peer at those dumb things
I have driven to Cafe Biswas so many times
I know you need to turn right here
after 20 minutes
I am sure Choomantar Street was somewhere here.........when did it shift?!'

Would you like to try another flight? How about this one?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Deepavali Wishes

The festival of lights - DEEPAVALI - is here.
May there be plenty of light in our lives. Like the gentle glow of the oil wick lamp that spreads warm light, may we be able to bring the warm glow of love and respect for those around us.
Let there be light always.

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous year ahead.

Monday, November 1, 2010

PAIN - mind it

It is 1971, I open my books, take out my pencil pouch, resign myself to the HSC guide. The HSC guides contain questions papers of the last ten years. No answers! I begin with problem one and the mike at the local puja pandal goes keeee kuu keee! Mere sapnon ki rani and Roop tera mastana blare into my mind (and soul) exactly when I am supposed to be studying for the HSC board exams. I am quite sure that is the reason why after a page full of calculations  I arrive at the father's age in problem 9 (I underline the answer with flourish) but it turns out that dad is 23 while the son is 21.
In the 70s the endless songs from puja pandals crept into your homes, occupied the chairs and filled every space inside the body too. But somehow the songs from the pandals never disturbed me, actually I couldn't even hear them, when I was reading an Agatha Christie or a Harold Robbins.
Pain is like that too.
Pain overpowers your thoughts and abducts your mind if you do not quickly take up something so interesting that thoughts of pain are pushed out.

  • A job, a passion, an urgent duty become handy tools to forget pain.
  • When you are too busy pain is a luxury.
  • When you are too free, pain is an occupation.
What do you call a visitor who leaves painful memories?

See the title of this post again. Did that remind you of Rajnikanth? Well it was supposed to. Only, ... Rajni Sir is all laughter ........ the only pain you get is by laughing! Want to know what happened when I met an actor? Click and read.