Saturday, 20 December 2014

Playtime!!!

As the dense fog melts
And clouds part way for the Sun

It's playtime in Lawn!!


Friday, 19 December 2014

If Not You... Then What

It was she who wanted to get rid of him. It was she who deliberately shooed his memories away.

And when he was finally gone, she felt a strange numbness. Vacuum spread within her. She felt as if all the colors have vanished and she started questioning the purpose of her existence.

There were no thoughts to make her smile or cringe. There were no one to clutch onto and no love to give.

There was nothing…

No dreams to see or no figure to idolize… No shoulders to rest and no eyes to dive deep… There was no smile that looked innocent… And no sunlight to spread warmth…

There was nothing which used to be an integral part of her life… There was no fantasy… No child-like and illogical love. There was nothing that used to be a part of her identity…

There was nothing to think about or write about, delve deep into or cry eyes out… There was no one to miss or no one to expect… There was no stories to make with a happily-ever-after…

Most importantly, there was no love to share…
There was no one in her life…

She felt strangely alone…
There was no one to understand and no words to make others understand…
How to deal with it, she didn’t know…

Will his presence make things better?

NO…!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Srinagar it is!

A childhood friend was studying in Srinagar.
His vivid description brought the place alive in my mind.

And, this painting was born




Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Melbourne Memories

I still remember how I came to know about Melbourne. It was two decades ago when I was still a child learning to read. It was when Hariharan sang and Kamal Hassan enacted the lyrics of Vairamuthu in the movie Indian – Melbourne Malarpoal Melliya Magalaa”.

Since then, my association with the place is further strengthened by more and more Indian movies. Being a movie buff myself, this is no wonder. Thanks to the innumerous movies shot in Melbourne. I could recall those exotic places where the hero and heroine would romantically sway to melodious tunes…

When Preity Zinda chirpily announced, “Good Morning, Melbourne”, in Salaam Namaste (she played the role of part-time RJ), I heard her. When the Chak De India girls jogged along the roads of Melbourne, I tailed them too.

In fact, most of the places in Melbourne bring the strongest feelings of déjà vu. When I think about it, I realize that I know so much about the city.

So, let’s see how much I know about the city…

Melbourne cricket ground - A ground which brings Indians together and make them bite fingers in anxiety! The ground has seen Indian cricket team win! It has seen them cheer with glee… It has also seen those times when they lost… I want to go to that ground. I want to feel the gush of patriotism flow within me… I want to feel the air which has smelled both success and failure… A stark reality of life... That nothing could be permanent; ups and downs are a part and parcel of life. Oh… How I wish that I could watch a live match there. Such an enthralling experience that would be - an experience that I can share with generations that follow.



A splendid long walk with bare feet on the Great Ocean walk and Mt Martha would be amazing. It would be more enchanting if a loved one is there to hold hands. The waves and colors of ocean… The blend of sky with the Ocean would be delight to eyes… Sweet breeze would hit us and adds to the romantic aura… And… A few snaps of me with the picture perfect place as the background would be a possession that I can carry back to home… A possession that I can hold with pride!

I am not very fond of going to zoos. I keep saying that tiger and peacock looks the same everywhere. I have visited so many zoos that the thought of going to on such place again bores me. But, Penguins!! I have never seen them… There is something so charming about them… The way they walk… I wish to see the way little penguins waddle across the beach to their sand dune borrows. And Philip Island is the right place for that!

Being a coffee addict Melbourne would be a perfect stop - The coffee capital of Australia! So an evening at Federation Square…. Sipping a cup of coffee… Drinking not just the coffee, but also the scenic beauty of Victoria… People belonging to varied culture…  Under the orange shades…. And saffron Sun… Crimson sky and yellow light… Oh! A palate of color that would never fail to cast a spell…

Queen Victoria Market!!! I can’t wait more to go there… The shopaholic in me is whining…  A lengthy window shopping coupled with some serious shopping… And a few souvenirs for family and friends…

No… I certainly don’t have fear of heights… And the height of divinity can be felt by reaching the heights…Literally! I want to go to Eureka Sky Deck 88… I wish to enclose myself in that glass cube… I want to see the panoramic view… The skies… The landscape… The miniature version of the majestic World... That would be so overwhelming… I am eager to treat my eyes!


The best way to get the essence of any place is to travel by way of their public conveyance… And Tram is the best available option… I would buy a ticket from the start station to the designati0n station… I wish to sit back and catch the local air of the place… That would be an experience that I can hold to myself… A gift to me; I don’t want to share that with anyone... Come on, I don’t have to be generous, do I? Wink!

Melbourne is indeed a colorful place…
With so many places to visits… So many moments to cherish…

Now my dear readers, tell me..
"Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?"
(The best answer chosen by me on every valid entry will win a gift voucher. The contest on my blog ends by 4th Jan 2015)


Written as a part of a contest hosted by IndiBlogger in association with Tourism Victoria

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Soul Sante December 2014

T
his weekend, I had an opportunity to visit the famous “Soul Sante”. For those who don’t know about it, it is a flea bazaar where handmade products will be sold. Little stalls will be put up and it connects the buyers and sellers.

I read a lot about Soul Sante and was curious to experience it myself. “Sante” (pronounced as “San-thay”) means Market. It is also a place where there is fun, food and festivities. You name it, there was a stall for it. Clothes… Slippers… Bags… Shawls… Jewellery … Stationery… Decorative items… Quirky mobile phone covers and pouches… Paintings… And so on…The food varieties varied from Goan to Mexican… Mumbai-walla to Punjanbi…

The crowd was amazing too. There were several fashionistas wearing branded clothes, boots and bags. (Yes, Boots). People carried a Kingfisher beer can and drank openly… Pet doggies roamed around freely… Thick nicotine from cigarettes filled the air… Live music was on. Mostly English though. In short, it was so-not-like Bangalore. It felt like a different land!

There were so many different items… Sharing my evening at Soul Sante which I captured through my camera’s lenses…

The Soul Sante Map...

This is how huge it was!!!


Little Plants in Tiny Terracota Tea Cups...

Stole My Heart!


Beads.... 


Dolls made out of paper...

Cutie Pies...!!!


Believe me... These are made of papers!!!


Clothes...

Funky Colors... Quirky Designs...


Look at the Roosters behind!!!


Are you sleeping or thinking?


Brilliant Paintings!


Hand Painted these are!


My craze for bikes made me fall in love with this red bike!


Vibrant Bags!


The Stage...

Live Performances by Different Bands...


The Lights that Enlightened the Soul


Shops and Crowd at a Glance...

These are made of Buttons... 

Yes, Really!!!


And, I bought these… From left to right

A Kathakali printed stole… Wooden Fridge Magnets… Neckpiece made out of clothes!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Your Memories Gone

Ah! I try to think
But my mind goes blank; thoughts blur
Your memories gone!


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Fear of Unknown

T
he fear of unknown is the biggest fear we all are born with. We always prefer to be within our comfort zones. Known people, surroundings, language and so on...

Until a decade before, I was no different. In spite of several relocations due to my father’s job demands, fear of surrounding, language, etc. never really struck me. Because I was always surrounded with the people I knew – my parents.

But, that particular trip was unusual. I had to go to Chennai as a part of my professional aspirations. And, I had to make my first overnight journey in a train all alone. I was freaking within. What if I don’t wake up on time? What if someone steals my belongings? What if people sense my fear and take advantage of it? And so on…

When I reached Chennai, I was scared again. My cousin who was supposed to pick me up was not picking my call. Then, it began again. What if he doesn’t come? What if he has met with some misfortune and so on… Then, when he came and explained that he was working all through the night and has to go back to office. I thanked the stars that he could take the time off. And I started feeling better again. The fear of unknown vanished because I was with my cousin.

“Satya, can I leave you at the bus depot? You will get all the buses from there. Your institute is in one end and my office in another. It is all because of the contingency. Else, I would have really come!” he said.

I wore my brave-heart’s cloak valiantly and said, “Its ok. I will manage”. Then, the flurry of thoughts followed. What if I get into the wrong bus? What if i get stranded? What if I get robbed? Worst, raped?! And so on…

My cousin left me in the bus depot. I thanked heavens because can read, write and talk Tamil fluently. At least, I was not linguistically challenged! I quashed my fears. I told myself that strangers are not robbers or killers. I convinced myself that I should fight my fears now or never. Being all alone and independent is a lifelong ritual. I cannot expect someone to be with me all the time. It is impossible.

I prayed and thought about my parents. A strange bravery crept through me. It could be because there is no other way out but be brave. I read the bus routes, found the right one. I waited for the conductor to reach me to buy tickets. He didn’t. I observed that unlike other cities, in Chennai, the conductor waits in one end and passengers pass money and buy tickets. I read the hoardings and kept me track of where I am heading.

When I realized that I have reached “Aaykar Bhawan” I felt awesome. I climbed down and walked briskly towards the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. I walked as if I have been walking through those lanes every day. I looked around and I didn’t feel afraid anymore. People around me seemed to be busy in their own lives, works and thoughts. So was I! It implied to me that nobody is different from me. All of us carry those fears within. Yet, believe in goodness and move on in life.

That evening, I went to Railway station all by myself. I told my cousin that I can go there myself. That night, I slept peacefully in the train. I was not scared of robbery anymore. When my destination reached, I got down from the train. That journey transformed me.


“Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up”
Veronica Roth, Divergent

That small incident laid an important foundation to what I am today!

Written as a part of IndiBlogger Happy Hours – Rise Above Fear!

https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia.

Drifting away from you

Yes, I am leaving
Sometimes love is not enough
It needs so much more!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Little Joys

Dear Sun was setting to rise in another part of the world.
Slowly, darkness was enveloping.

I looked around and saw several young couples walking hand in hand and, many old couples walking with a comfortable silence. There were families with naughty kids and, a few loners like me.

I wished that there was someone with me.

Then, my gaze rested on the two kids who were trying to make the perfect sand castle. Their innocence was so contagious that I forgot my loneliness.


May be I should be happy with the little joys that life throws, I concluded.

Friday, 12 December 2014

திசைக்காட்டி

திசைக்காட்டியைப்போல
நானும்
உன் திசை நோக்கியே நடக்கின்றேன்
காட்சி அளிப்பாய?
நாடி நில்கிறேன்.
***
Translation

Like a compass
I am also
Walking towards your direction.
Will you appear in front of me?
I am waiting eagerly.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Die in Sleep

I have only one wish
To die in sleep
When I am still dreaming about you.



Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Karthikai Kolam 2014


Last Saturday, we delightfully lit little lights on our courtyards…
It was Karthikai Vilakku after all…

And, I made a huge dotted kolam with my signature designs ariund…
The output flabbergasted me!

It looked perfect… And, I was pleased with myself…
It took an hour to make it and I felt proud at the end!



PS: Because many people asked me what a Kolam is…
Kolam refers to intricate patterns drawn both free handedly and by joining dots. These can be widely seen in the Southern part of India. Women draw this early morning, preferably before Sunrise after cleaning the courtyard. Earlier rice powder was used – it was a means to feed ants and small insects. However, these days, stone powder and even chalk is used. If such powders are used, it is called Pudi Kolam. Sometimes, brick powder will be used as outline on auspicious days, Tuesdays and Fridays. If rice powder is mixed in water and similar patterns are drawn, it is called Maavu/Maa Kolam. In West Bengal, it is called Alpona. In North India, people used rice/stone powders for the outline and fill the patterns with colors. This is called Rangoli.

It is believed that Kolam brings prosperity. It is drawn for almost all the auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals. When someone dies in the household, the family don’t draw any kolam for a year.  

Children in small towns learn the art of making kolam at a very young age. In fact, a girl who knows to draw impeccable and intricate kolam is a pride for the entire family and the village she stays. However, owing to modernization, city life and apartment culture, this art is soon dying.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Fiery Politics

It was like any other sunny afternoon until a crowd rushed into our small lane. They started burning vehicles and attacking people.

I immediately closed the shutter of my old book shop. The smell of old papers surrounded me; bookworms crawled along the floor.

I almost jumped out of panic when my mobile phone rang.

“Some political leader is arrested for some scam. The party people are protesting against it. It’s all over the news. Please………….,” my wife announced.

I could not respond as the carbon dioxide from the fire suffocated me.


My shop was ablaze too, I realized.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Food for Education

A
s a child, we all would have memorized: “Food, water and shelter are the basic necessities of life” assuming that Oxygen is available in abundance! We must have been 5 or 6 years old then. At that time, how many of us really understood what it really implies? Most of us would have hailed from a family who had enough money, if not lots, so that we didn’t starve. We would have got our daily dose of healthy meals which contained vegetables and fruits, grains and cereals, milk and what not! We must have even had the luxury of choosing between Boost and Complan. And, we would never have grown up without knowing how a chocolate, ice cream or cake would taste like.

I was no different too. I didn’t know that there were children who went to work instead of schools so that they could earn something for their family. I didn’t know that parents preferred to send their children to work than to school. That many people believed that school education is a waste which only snatches the first fifteen years of a person’s life; which could otherwise be used to support the family.

I frankly didn’t know this until I was old enough to understand that there is something called “money” and that it is instrumental in shaping one’s future.

I was untouched by this ground reality till I was 9 years old. Till then, I was a part of elite group – those who studies in private schools. But, when we shifted to Kerala, I was admitted to a Government school. That’s when I understood what economic status means. My class had students belonging to different earning classes. I was also introduced to “BPL”. Until then, I thought that it was a company that pre-dominantly produces electronic appliances. However, I understood that BPL can also mean “Below Poverty Line”.

Until Tripura surpassed in 2013, Kerala was the Highly Literate State in India with about 94% literacy rate. When I think about it, I wonder if the free lunch given by the Kerala State Government is a major reason for the same. I still remember that some of my friends used to get bananas, boiled tapioca and rice porridge (Kanji). During Onam, they used to get rice as well, if I remember correctly. For poor families, one less person to feed is also a great blessing in disguise.

Having said that, today as I look back, I believe that like food, water and shelter, education is also a basic necessity.

·     First of all, the Government must set up more schools and revamp the existing ones. Apart from Kerala, I have not come across well-maintained Government schools in other parts of South India. And, I am clueless about how it is in North because I have never been there. But, having a product of Kerala Government School, I can very well vouch that they are awesome!

·      Government must provide poor children with free food if the parents send them to school. In that way, children will neither stay hungry nor foolish. Don’t they collect a good 3% (Education Cess @ 2% and Secondary Higher Education Cess @ 1%) from all the tax abiding citizens and corporate? It is a part of both direct and indirect taxes that they must be getting huge sums of money. Where does this money go? Come on, we all have the right to know. This is not unattainable!

·      The Companies Act has mandated the Corporate Social Responsibility. If the companies decide to sponsor food for poor children, get them enrolled in schools and provide them with stationery, it would make a big difference to the children and their families. They can also adopt children in a particular villages.

·      At a micro level, we can volunteer and sponsor the education of our maids, security guards, gardeners, etc. We can also make a deal with them – “Send them to school. Then, I shall send them food!”

A country is truly developed only when hunger is eradicated and all the children is granted the basic right to study!

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

PS: Really proud of BlogAdda for this initiative.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Wonderland

Walking hand in hand
Molding the steps in wet sand
Ah! In wonderland


Saturday, 6 December 2014

It Began Like this...

I was not even a teenager, when my friendship with colors began.
I don’t deny that it started because of my ammaji’s constant nagging and persuasion.
But, today, as I look back, I am glad that it began.
The best hobby I have.

Presenting my paintings to you…

In the order of their birth!







Friday, 5 December 2014

Last Note to First Love

The darkness of night had evaded the earth. Silence prevailed over except for the howls of street dogs. And she felt unusually peaceful when she wrote the last note to her first love…

“Finally, your memories are buried. I have let them to rest in peace. And I am feeling unusually free. Yes, I did go through a phase where I didn’t know how to manage your absence. I couldn’t fathom the fact that you are gone along with the child-like love I felt for you. I cried and complained. I hated myself for letting you go.

Then, I realized. Your memories will always be there. It’s just that it won’t progress and multiply over the years to come. You will always be cherished in my memories. After all, I can never forget or hate that innocent sixteen years old who was still gaining height and who was uncorrupted.

In my memories, you will never grow old up. You will remain as a teenager who evoked the first love within me. And I will cherish that forever!

I will always love you – The lanky teenager who stole my heart… “


And she drew the blanket closer for a peaceful sleep…

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Gift!!!

http://www.akshuwriteshere.blogspot.in/2014/12/a-gift-for-you.html?m=1

Thank You!!!


“The best gifts come from the heart, not the store.”
― Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key

And, when I got this gift… I was in cloud nine… Dancing and singing… Giggling and celebrating! All thanks to my dear blog friend, Akshitha. She gave me the “Versatile Blogger” tag!!!

With my birthday round the corner (This is the first gift for the year), I can’t ask for more….

Thanks Akshitha…
I am pleased to receive this from you…!!!
We know each other only recently.
But, we have connected to each other’s blogs at a very personal levels.
Thanks for the comments J
They have always motivated me to write more!

She asked a few interesting questions. Sharing my answers with you all!

1.       What do you like more? Kolam or mehendi design?
Kolam!

2.       What is the secret behind your blog posting time? (You usually post at 12:00am, koi secret)
Actually, I schedule most of my posts one month ahead (Thanks to my professional obligations!) So, I thought it would be great if a post is ready when a new day begins. (And, I have already scheduled half of the posts for January, 2015) I have to tell you that it was quite an observation!

3.       Your name is Satya… which means truth...so do u never speak lies?
I don’t lie when I say my name! :P
Well, I am very good with lies and I can say that convincingly.

4.      Name a blogger of whom you’re jealous? Why?
There are many. But, to name just one… May be Red Handed - for the sheer number of comments she attracts. I am still get in numbers that can be counted with fingers!

5.       What is the color of your tooth brush?
Black

6.      Besides versatile tell me some other single word which describes you the best.
After blogging on a daily basis for three years, this blog has become a part of my identity too. So, Locomente” should be the word to describe me J

7.       When is your birthday?
8th December (Blog’s is 26th October)
And you gave me the first and perfect birthday gift!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Little Kolam

Today, I present a tiny kolam for you…




PS: Because many people asked me what a Kolam is…
Kolam refers to intricate patterns drawn both free handedly and by joining dots. These can be widely seen in the Southern part of India. Women draw this early morning, preferably before Sunrise after cleaning the courtyard. Earlier rice powder was used – it was a means to feed ants and small insects. However, these days, stone powder and even chalk is used. If such powders are used, it is called Pudi Kolam. Sometimes, brick powder will be used as outline on auspicious days, Tuesdays and Fridays. If rice powder is mixed in water and similar patterns are drawn, it is called Maavu/Maa Kolam. In West Bengal, it is called Alpona. In North India, people used rice/stone powders for the outline and fill the patterns with colors. This is called Rangoli.

It is believed that Kolam brings prosperity. It is drawn for almost all the auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals. When someone dies in the household, the family don’t draw any kolam for a year.  


Children in small towns learn the art of making kolam at a very young age. In fact, a girl who knows to draw impeccable and intricate kolam is a pride for the entire family and the village she stays. However, owing to modernization, city life and apartment culture, this art is soon dying.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

34 Bubblegums and Candies


From the book blurb
Sometimes you have to keep on chewing so that you can extract whatever you can out of it. At times, the bubble you blow bursts unexpectedly and you are left with a sticky mess. Sometimes you lick it slowly and relish it. When you greedily bite off more than you can chew or a hard boiled sugar candy slips down inadvertently, you bear the pain as it makes its way down the food pipe. At rare times, when you manage to strike just the right balance, a feeling of contentment reigns supreme. Life does not come with an instruction manual, but you can still convert it to 'Do it yourself' kit! It throws you surprises. When it trips you, you figure out that the best way to deal with it, is to just lie there and laugh, before bouncing right back.


Author
Preeti Shenoy, is among the best-selling authors in India (Source Nielsen scan) weaves magic with her words and pictures. An extremely talented and versatile individual, her Twitter bio reads:

“Best-selling Author, Artist specializing in pencil portraits, Poet, Yoga-Buff, Ex-basketball player, Blogger, Dobe-owner, Nature lover, Ted X speaker and a Mother.”

34 Bubble gums and Candies is her first. Life is What You Make it, The One You Cannot Have are among others!


What I think
To begin with, the cover page is interesting which has both bubble gums and candies. The book blurb crisply explains what can be expected from the book and the title complements the same.

The book is nicely divided into 34 chapters. Each chapter talks about author’s personal experience – Some funny and some others thought provoking. It contains author’s memories associated with her parents, children, husband, friends and neighbors.

The narrative flows with ease and it keeps the readers hooked. Some makes you nod, some laugh and some to ponder over. It is a tiny book with as less as 145pages. This is surely not a work of literature, but it connects to the readers at a very personal level.

I enjoyed chapters like “Phone Therapy” (I could not agree more), “Free Wheelie” (It was funny), “It happened One Night” (It made me laught), and “The Stranger” (It re-ensured that such people are still there).

OKAY. I was a little offended too (Kind of) when I read about CA’s in one of the chapters. I am a CA myself and, I felt weird to read that. Its not like professionals are not creative. It’s just that they are professionals too! (On a lighter note!)

I was super-happy when I finished the book. The last chapter nailed it all!


But...
The book is more like a few posts compiled together from the author’s personal blog. As an avid blogger myself, I felt like a printed copy of a few interesting blog posts. So, it feels more like a random musing than a serious book. 


Should you read it?
Having said that, the book is an assured page turner which demands a couple hours to finish the same. So, it will not bore you.

You can doubtlessly go for it!


Rating
3.5/5


Some words that stole my heart
©       Like most bloggers, I too think in terms of blog-posts.
©       Does anyone know blogaholic anonymous
©       Many of us have a friend who is more than just a friend. A relationship that cannot be defined or fitted into norms defined by society.
©       We all like to be needed.