Monday, October 29, 2012

A Picture on the Wall

There are a series of serious lectures by Virginia Woolf under the title A room of One's own wherein she says that that there are not more women writers for to write one needs a room and money..........
to my understanding ... Implying that women have less independence and more duties, to devote much time to creative writing.

A Room of her own by Chris Cassen Madden, is one of the books I have taken.  from the Lexington library. It has pictures of stuff I could drool over. Lovely arty collections, murals on walls, pottery. She says that every woman must claim a room or a space in a house as her own. She must decorate it with things she likes. That would give her peace, confidence and a perception of self-worth.

A large side table with an assortment of odd shaped urns and pebbles collected from river beds.
This here is a room corner boasting of cane stuff -2 chairs, a basket, a box, 4 containers, wall pieces, and a partition, all made of cane.
This over stuffed room has pictures, letters, cards, nest with eggs, horse-shoes, antique boxes, painted stones, a miniature chair and a sedate buddha!
This dainty pouch perches on the table tied with a string of beads .... oooh

I like the thought that a woman can claim a part of the house as her own. This thought is new to me.
Women in India are taught to be self-effacing.
Be strong within. Your beauty is within you.
You do not need material presence around you to make you happy or peaceful.
The entire house is yours. Why do you need a space for yourself?
This is what we grew up to believe.
In most Indian homes, the only space that one can really claim is a picture on the wall. Now nobody would bother to remove that picture!
Come to think of it... Perhaps the Indian woman claims the kitchen as her space. This is her claim to individuality and creation. And that is the cause of the perennial Saas-Bahu skirmish?

I am beginning to imagine. A space of my own.... to decorate and keep ... as goofy as I want it to be!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Library to learn from

My daughter dropped me at the local Eagle creek library, gave me her library card, and said enjoy. You can take up to 10 books at a time! Use the card and put them into my account. I will pick you again in 60 minutes. Kids will be in the car, I cannot leave them, so be ready in exactly 60 minutes from now.

Fine. I said. and walked into the heady aroma of books.

What an amazing place. The entrance is lined with colourful posters. Story-Reading, talk sessions, author visits, all planned library events.
There are rows and rows of audio and video CDs. Some can be taken for 3 days with no extra charge and some for 7. I choose carefully from the 7day section.
There are 15 laptops connected to internet that I can use. I do not use them.
Then there are BOOKs. A row of books with large print.  I think of my father, my uncle, my MIL. Book lovers who had/have to squint at small print books.
Mushy romance, wise self helps, colourful coffee tables' ... you name it. My arms wrap around the 6 books I have selected.

I walk smartly to the lady behind the counter, and we exchange some hi-how are you todays- and then she tells me blankly, use the check out counter over there.
Oops. clumsy me.
Now how the h--- do I use this thing?
A young help arrives, Florence Nightingale of the library, and guides me through the process. Its quite user friendly, swipe the library card
wait, let me fish it out of my purse
(patient silence)
That's good.... type in the password,
er ... I don't know the password
She suppresses a sigh
no problem, I can help you with that. Tell me some details about the card holder, (so we know you haven't stolen the card from her!)
OK, now we have the password, just swipe the card again, type the password...
Now scan the barcode pasted on the book.
No not that one, that is the price of the book printed by the publisher.
You've got to scan this one pasted on top of the book by the library...
Do that again for this book (...)
Would you like a printed receipt?
(I really dont know) well, OK. Yes please.
The receipt comes out here, on the side.
There you go. Press finish please.
ta-da you are ready to go.
I am thrilled at my success. And my Florence Nightingale throws a sweet smile and goes off (i think to have a reviving cup of coffee, au-latte)
The list of books you have taken comes to your email. and you get a reminder when limited time CD is due.
That Library is amazing
I want to use that self check out counter again.
ta da.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Which road are you on today?

My little grandson and I were playing with watercolours. This always ends in tears as his imagination is far superior to his skills in painting. What he paints leaves him feeling sad and inadequate.
So we played a game. 'Let us see what the brush wants to paint' - game.
Suddenly he was set free.
If the painting was bad, it was the brush that was being naughty!
He dipped the brush in bright crimson and started a thick line.
The line twisted and turned all over the page.
At the end of it he stood back and said 'hey! I have made an escalator! Look it goes all the way up ... and turns... and goes all the way up again .. and turns...'
We coloured many sheets after that.
and yes, sometimes the paint-brush was naughty and we could not guess what it wanted to draw.
at others we knew!
When we did know, we wrote our name on the page.
We made a car-on-car-on-car, we made a large sea shell, we made sponge-bob.

I see my life over the years. I see that when the paintbrush of Nature has been naughty leaving me confused I say not me. He did it. and I get angry.
When the paintings of life are good, I am happy to write my name on it. and say I did it!
But sometimes the paintings are bad and yet i say i did it........ that's when I feel really bad. That's when I weep.

Life is full of surprises and and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure-do it well, enjoy it-and then, not now, think about what comes next.
Condoleeza Rice


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An unknown island

Little water bodies are so well preserved here in this city of Lexington.
We drove to Keenland and neighbouring towns and I thoroughly enjoyed getting passing glimpses of crimson trees and vibrant islands.
My trip to an art and craft store helped me pick some art material.
I used watercolours to create this Autumn scene.

autumn colours
I have exaggerated the colours in the reflection. But to me, autumn is all about colour.


Fall colours in Kentucky

The small aircraft that brought me into Lexington from Chicago was barely full. The happy hostess sing songed Hi. How are you today? What can I serve you? and I chose coffee with sugar and cream please.
The captain soon interrupted with news that we were preparing to land.
As the airplane swirled a large loop in the sky and swooped down neatly into the runway I gasped.
What a vibrant carpet nature was planning to weave here.
The land was beginning to transform into a riot of oranges and reds and crimsons and yellows.

This is a season when suddenly OLD is good! The aging leaf is an enticing yellow or red or orange while the younger leaf is just boring green!

This is what every man wants
To age gracefully........and to hoard moments of glory when the end nears.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Maximus and fashion designing

Maximus has changed the way I dress!
I am as usual in a chiffon saree, the pallu flowing and the pleats gathered midway and tucked into the waist while I carry a bucket of water to the balcony to water plants.
and Maximus comes romping
wah he cool... a moving toy just waiting to be mouthed
and attacks my swaying pallu with gusto.
hey maxi I say, stop that...stop
and he promptly lets go
good boy Maxi
and before I can complete that he has rolled himself into the pleats of my saree
I bend low to free his paws from the thin chiffon material
and he is snapping at my long plait
hey Maxi ... stop that
and he looks at me with large liquid eyes
you have so many toys and you dont want me to play ... he says
and hides under his sofa
and sulks up at me from the corner of his eyes

so now chiffons are out and cottons are in
with the pallu tucked firmly into the waist
and the hair is in a staid knot.
all safe ...