Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Death. It has a way of creeping up on life, when you least expect it and it also has a creepy way of showing up inside your mind. Even the minds of little children.
My children were in bed yesterday. I had just finished the marathon story-reading sessions that we have, turned out the lights and was about to leave for my bedroom.
My 5 and half year old daughter’s voice rang out
“Mama, can I ask you something?” Usually these ‘somethings’ that are asked, are very amusing. So with Pavlovian anticipation of a good laugh inside my head, I said
“What will happen to both of us, if both, you and papa die?”
My mind worked at lightning speed, to give her a convincing answer.
“Well, you can call up Prem mam and he will come and pick you up”
Prem is my only sibling. We share a very close relationship. The children call him Prem-mam. He is their super hero. He is younger to me. He is a ‘big-man’ now .And I don’t mean just physically—He is 6’3”, fitness maniac, voracious reader, articulate, a very caring soul, witty, creative, loads of fun to be with. He is also the Vice president of a leading international advertising agency. To me, he is still my baby-brother. He is extremely fond of my children.
She thought for a minute and said “But I don’t know his phone number”
My 9 year old son piped in, “Mama, I know. All I have to do is scroll down the contacts in your cell phone and I’ll find it. Don’t worry.” He assured his sister.
I said “I don’t plan to die so soon. I plan to live for a very long time”
My kids were quick to respond. “How do you know mama? Your dad didn’t plan to die either”(I knew that was coming)
So I said, “I am a better fighter than your Grandpa. If death comes I’ll just tell him ‘ Buzz off you intruder. I aint done yet. Cant you see, my two children need me?” (in a deep dead pan Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, pretending to wield a weapon) That made them laugh.
Then I made them both memorize my brother’s cell phone number.
Just in case.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Good painting is like good cooking.It can be tasted but not explained. Therefore I am not even attempting to explain it.And I am not even sure it is good !(But yes, I like it) It is just an expression of my deep rooted emotions.
It is called Deeply rooted.
It is a mixed media collage-painting(again!) that I made today. Thanks to my friend Tyler Durden(again!) who continues to find new ways to inspire me.
And here are some quotes which say all that I want to, about paintings.
" Thirst will parch your tongue and your body will waste through lack of sleep ere you can describe in words that which painting instantly sets before the eye”
---Leonardo Da Vinci
" Eloquence is a painting of thoughts."
“For me, painting is a way to forget life.A cry in the night, a strangled laugh"
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Happiness makes up in height, what it lacks in length.To me, it is like a butterfly.Beautiful.Free.Yours to see, feel and enjoy.Never to possess.If you try to own it, you kill it.
I wrote this poem very recently.(On 22nd january 2007.)
Seeking to forget
Time ticks on
Now it’s here
Now it’s gone!
What does happiness mean to you?
Friday, January 26, 2007
Alas, that is not to be.
I watched my kitten getting killed this morning by a stray dog. I rushed to save it, but the dog had already bitten its neck, deep. It was bleeding and writhing in pain. It could barely lift it's head, off the ground. It's body was convulsing. Violently. It was struggling, exactly like a fish struggles, when taken out of water. I couldn’t bear to watch helplessly and I rushed to get my car keys. But it had already died.
Meanwhile, my friend Tyler, in response to my yesterday’s post had already mailed me a video. It was in my inbox when I logged in. He did not know about the kitten. I told him.
Then I watched the song. It made me cry some more because it was so touching. And about wanting to fix things.
Her mews attracted a male cat, and the last I saw, they were at it again. That made me smile.
Like they say, women need a reason for sex. Men just need a place.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I haven’t seen ‘Fight club’ though it has been on my list. Yet, I can relate to certain parts of Tyler Durden. Especially when he says
“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”
Or when the voice-over says “This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time.”
That is when I feel a bit sentimental.And I remember, that sometimes some people touch you in a way, that you find hard to explain. Words fail me when I try, and to express myself, I create pictures.
Today was one such day. My friend Tyler Durden [the blogger—not the movie hero :-)] sent me a lovely song yesterday. It has been playing in my head ever since.
We had an interesting conversation today. I don’t remember the exact words he said, but he talked about his heart not being in it anymore. I was moved. Beyond words. So, I created this mixed media painting-collage. And yes, the foetal guy curled up inside the bottle, symbolizes my friend.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
My children are amused that I actually admire her dance.
"Yuck mama--How can you like her?" they echo in chorus.
"But look at her dance.Can you do that?" I ask.
My nine year old listened to the lyrics.(and he doesnt know Spanish)Then he says
"Does Shakira have a mouth on her hips?"
He claims he was trying to make me laugh.I did.
It took me 10 seconds to figure it out.
And I continue to smile when I think of it.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Click on the photos to enlarge .The third kitten is a bit shy and refuses to pose for the camera!
Dogs and children for some reason, gravitate towards me! I’m really good with both. I can spend hours in the company of dogs or children, without getting bored.
I’m not a cat person. I don’t hate them either, like some people do. Then again, I love most animals and since childhood, I’ve always had a variety of pets, ranging from a rescued bird that couldn’t fly, hamsters, fishes, a rescued kitten, a rescued squirrel, and dogs. I was forever, bringing home, one kind of animal or the other. In one of the places that I lived in, my house was next to a Blue Cross shelter. I was a familiar figure there.
Now, these three kittens and their mother have clawed their way into my life, with their cuteness ,charm, cunningness and antics. I have a patio that leads into the garden, and there is a rocking chair there, where I usually read my morning newspaper. The kittens have now discovered the joy of rocking! I laughed when I saw the bewildered expressions when they first climbed on it. And now,by Jove, they rock!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
This is what it said about me when I did the quiz.I do not know how much of that description is true [:-)] , but I was honest when I answered the questions. There are about 40 questions, but you can choose in what order to answer, as they are all attractive visuals.You click on a visual that appeals to you.Then answer,then again choose another visual, and so on till you complete it. The order in which you choose the pictures, also probably ,determine the end result.
It was fun!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Why do I like this poem? Because, like most of the ones I like, there is a beautiful play of words.It is so simple, such beautiful thoughts, most of all , it makes you think. Don’t you agree?
What is the opposite of riot?
It is lots of people keeping quiet.
A minute while I meditate
This isn’t easy. Ah! I’ve found it.
It’s a cookie with a hole around it.
A white reflection in the sea
Or a huge blueness in the air
Caused by the cloud’s not being there
That’s much too difficult.I quit.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
My cousin diyadear introduced me to Orkut.—Rather, prompted me to try out orkut. I always knew it existed but had never bothered about it.But all the publicity it generated (some negative) made me curious and I decided to join.
It did not change my life in any great way, but it helped me reconnect with many of my friends with whom I had lost touch.I have never stayed in one place for more than 4 years, my whole life! (Because of the nature of my dad’s job, in childhood, and my husband’s job now) You move on, you make new friends, keep some old ones.Orkut helped me FIND some.
Also it has been an eye opener, because I met some new people through the blogging community. I found their blogs compelling enough to leave a comment. It prompted me to check out their profiles and I was so shocked to see their ages.I would have NEVER guessed. Tyler is just 24, and Harshal is just 21! Both were very different from each other.Both compelled me to think (and that always hooks me) Click on the underlined which will take you to the blogs.
Earlier,I would have just dismissed these ‘freshmen of life’ as mere kids. After all, I’m 35, a mother of two and a ‘wise woman’.[humour me, I like to think I am wise :-)] But interacting with them has taught me that you should never judge people by their ages.
I now know, that you can learn even from a 5 and a half year old. Not to mention, that you CAN be friends with a 21 year old and a 24 year old, even if you are 35!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
It is an ancient and a beautiful art form. Completely natural and free of any kind of chemicals.After the intricate patterns are made with the ground paste of mehndi leaves, you have to keep it for at least 2 hours, if you want a deep red colour. It lasts for about 2-3 weeks and slowly fades away.
The delighted look on my daughter’s face said it all. She was beaming, her eyes were shining and she was dancing around.
“Look mama—Isn’t it beautiful .I am sooooo happy!! ”
“It is beautiful, darling. Where did you get it?”
“Mama, Renuka put it for me”
Renuka is an eighteen year old who lives in the neighbourhood, loves kids and loves mehndi designs. My daughter was a willing subject, to try her art designs. Renuka is sweet.But Renuka also does not know the school rules. The school rules clearly say that no kind of ‘mehndi’ or temporary tattoo will be allowed.(I never really understood the logic behind that rule. How does it matter as long as the child is learning?)
I hated to remind my daughter about it, but it had to be done.
“Baby, don’t you know that it is not allowed in your school? Won’t your teacher scold you?”
Her answer left me stumped and smiling. She shrugged and said
“But Mama, she can scold me only once. I’ll just say I’m sorry”
I laughed inside and applauded her spirit. The joy that the mehndi gave her, far out weighed any punishment that she would receive.
And like she said, she might be punished only once, but the joy of looking at the mehndi will last for two-three weeks!!
Way to go, my darling—but please don’t tell your teacher that your mama thinks so!!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Sun flowers.The very name evokes happy associations.Or Van Gogh.Or a reminder that your cooking oil has finished! --Depending on your bent of mind.
To me, sunflowers always mean Sunshine and VanGogh.I really love his work.
They were in full bloom when we passed by.Nodding and smiling.Simply had to stop and click a picture.And gaze in admiration.
It made me happy.
But, as Anthony Angelo said "Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine"
What do you associate sunflowers with?
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Let me call him ‘K’ and not give you his name, for obvious and the not so obvious reasons. K has always been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Despite the vast age gap between us(he was so much older than me) we got on really well. The age difference between us never really bothered us. K looked so much younger than his age .He had the energy of a man half his age, and the maturity of a man twice his age! He was that rare, perfect combination. He was also amazingly fit, tall and handsome, with a very striking presence.
He was an excellent swimmer. He was the one who taught me how to swim, when I expressed a desire to learn. He would splash water really hard on me, with a swift repetitive movement of his hands and joined my delighted peals of laughter, when I got completely covered in a water jet, created by the sheer power of his hands.(exactly like the picture you see above!) We were like children when we went to the beach. K could run really fast, and I would try to catch him, running as fast as my legs could carry me .I never succeeded. When I could go on no more, sweating and panting, I would stop and call out to him. He always laughed and said “You have to try harder. Never give up!”
I loved him with all my heart. And I think he knew it too—but we never spoke about it. When I was a gawky teenager, trying to find my footing in life, K was there with gentle understanding. After all, he was a man, and here I was, dealing with only silly boys! He listened when I talked. Really listened. I could talk to him about almost anything, except boy friends.But I think he knew exactly whom I had crushes on.
K encouraged me always to reach my full potential. It is only because of his encouragement that I have several academic degrees today. He loved all my paintings and even when others thought they were just mediocre, K would always say they were brilliant. I don’t think he ever lied to me. He sincerely believed what he said because he could not even draw a straight line, let alone paint! And funnily enough, his belief helped me to become better—not only in academics, art or sports, but also as an individual.
K was already married when he came into my life. He adored his wife and I appreciated the way he took care of her. I hoped the guy I married would treat me the same way.
K was there when I got married. It was no surprise that I had chosen to marry a man like K. My husband understood my special relationship with K, and if he was jealous, he never showed it. In fact K and he became good friends and got on really well. K came and visited us when both our kids were born.
Life now took us in different directions. We were in different cities, yet most mornings, after my husband left for work, and after my kids went to school, the first thing I’d do was call K. K was such a positive individual. I’ve never heard him say one bad thing about ANYBODY the whole time that I have known him. K had an infectious laugh, and a vivacious spirit and just talking to him made me feel so much better.
When I moved to this city 5 months back, I wanted K to visit me. He agreed after a bit of persuasion and booked his plane tickets. I was so happy and imagined us having long talks, in my garden. I pictured K lying in my hammock, gazing at the stars. (I have fond memories of philosophical discussions with him, under the stars, during another time) I was counting the days left to see K, when I got a phone call saying K was dead. It left me frozen.Numb.Speechless.
You see, K was not only my special friend, he was also my dad.
Ps: My dad, Mr.K.V.J.Kamath, retired as the Chief Area Manager of IndianOil Corporation.He died, all of a sudden, unexpectedly, on 7th September 2006.He was not only a great dad, but also a wonderful human being. To know more click on
'call your parents'
A few people sent me messages after reading this, asking if it is fiction and telling me that I write well.They missed the point completely.Every word written in this post is true.The regular readers would know.This piece, kind of wrote itself. It was not intended as a suspense story. I miss my dad real badly.And writing helps me get over the grief.
Also, thank you from the heart to all those who cared enough to leave a comment.It helped a lot.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I was okay till my daughter was born. A sound sleeper. A creature that did not roam around in the night, haunted by thoughts, which sometimes by morning, seem silly. Someone who slept through the night. Soundly. Unmindful of the night-time noises. (and no, my husband does not snore! Am not referring to that!)
Then she passed me a contagious disease which new born babies often pass to their parents—Insomnia. And I have suffered from it ever since.
I have tried everything from “41 tried and tested methods to cure insomnia” to deep breathing techniques, to Yoga (I religiously practice yoga too—along with my daily work-outs) to just plain counting sheep. The problem with the last being, sheep often turn into cows, and dragons and elves and gnomes, and fairies and dwarfs and other fantastic creatures, and they whiz past so fast inside my head till I cannot count anymore!!
And now I find that I attract people with the same problem too! Four of my friends are Insomniacs. I thought my problem was bad, but when I hear about theirs, they seem to be veterans at it.(Insomniacs of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your sleep!)
Now, it has stayed with me for so long that I no longer see it as a ‘problem’(Like the Stockholm syndrome!) I’ve learnt to live with it, and even like it at times! I love the silence of the night, while the whole world around me sleeps.(Okay, the immediate world surrounding me. Not those call centre employees and the BPO units) I love the time to think. I love the time to dissect my thoughts. I love the time to read. In peace, without interruptions. I love the midnight chats online (yes—sometimes I login in the middle of the night too and chat with friends. After all, it is not night everywhere—In Australia, it is already tomorrow!)
And I have realized that not all phases of Insomnia are non-productive. Some of my better poems have been written at nights while the midnight oil burnt! Some of my most brilliant ideas have come to me during the sleepless nights. Insomniacs are usually furious thinkers. They tend to worry over what seem small things to others. They are sensitive and kind human beings and a lot of fun to be with…No—these observations aren’t supported by any scientific study, but I’m sure all my friends will agree and vouch for them!
And the best cure for insomnia is usually the realization that it is time to get up!
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Couldn't resist clicking lots of rabbit pictures.
The lotus is the symbol of peace.Here you can see the reflection of the tree above it.It was so alluring--and peaceful to stare at it.
Found this flower unusual.Loved the juxtaposition of curves!
In the city--clicked from inside the moving car.
Another angle of a picture I posted earlier.This one is clicked from inside the monument.
Same monument.Another view.
A mosque which was on the way.Loved the unusual architechture.
You might have known somebody for just a few minutes, yet you might trust them, and it completely changes the relationship. You feel you have known them for ages. You might have known somebody for ages, yet you might not really open up to them. That is because deep down, your instincts are telling you not to trust them. So you hold back.
It is so difficult to break away from what you always do and do something completely different. Like trusting, if you have always doubted before. Like carrying a pink hand-bag, and wearing pink stilettos to match, if you have never worn it before .(I did that today—I’ve never worn ‘feminine’ colors like pink. But there was this lovely really expensive pink bag which I got as a gift on my birthday. So yesterday I bought pink stilletoes and went all pink today :-) It felt so strange, but also liberating ) Try doing something you have never done before. It helps you break away from the same boring rut.
Coming back to the power of trust, this morning I carried my tea, upstairs to my bedroom on the first floor.My bedroom overlooks the garden. I was standing at my window and looking down at my husband Satish, who was in the garden having his tea and smoking (he never smokes inside the house as it is so unhealthy to expose the kids) I finished my tea and felt lazy to go all the way down again, to put my cup in the kitchen sink. So I called out to Satish.
“I’ve finished my tea. Shall I throw my cup down? Will you catch it?”
I expected him to give the usual answer “Are you crazy? It might break”. But he didn’t.
To my utter surprise, he said, ‘Go ahead, throw it down and I will catch it”
I hesitated. What a crazy idea! What if he missed? Worse—what if it landed on his head and hurt him?
I said “No—I’ll come down and put it in the sink”
He said “Why? Don’t you trust me? ”
I did. With my life. I’ve been in love with him for nearly twelve years now.
So I threw the cup down.
He caught it.
The power of trust.
Satish,after he caught the cup, this morning.Click to enlarge.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Cotton fields --White bits are cotton pods. Click to enlarge
This part of India is famous for its really beautiful fabric called “Himroo” and “Paithani”. Himroo is an age-old weaving craft. Himroo in its original form is made of silver and gold. The threads of silver and gold were so fine that the final cloth appeared as "GOLD CLOTH".
It is indeed fabric fit for royalty.(Aurangabad was the capital of the last Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, as I mentioned. and the city is full of reminders of this era)
I could not resist buying a saree for my mom. It was so beautiful .What is amazing is that it is hand woved—painstakingly.
She is an unknown artist.Nobody knows her or appreciates her.There are hundreds like her. She weaves, she creates. She is forgotten, but what she has created gives so much joy, that lasts a lifetime.This is my salutation and my applause to that silent face in the crowd.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
We were driving back home from Aurangabad. It was a lovely drive. Scenic, peaceful, both kids asleep in the back seat of the car, nice music playing,Satish at the wheel, and me at my furious-thinking best, with a calm, peaceful look camouflaging my thoughts.
Suddenly this sight appeared. It was almost magical. We stopped the car and stared---and clicked these snaps.(click to enlarge)
Any guesses what it is? Let me have your answers and I’ll tell you if you are right.Will give you more pictures and the ‘whole story’ after I have your guesses.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
The resemblance is indeed striking. Having been to the original Taj Mahal in Agra more than twice, I was curious to see what “Bibi ka Makabara” promised. Even though I expected it to be alike, I was nevertheless, astounded by the resemblance. The Taj is of course, so much more beautiful. The Taj Mahal is made entirely of marble. In this monument, the minarets at the side are made of stone, and plaster. Also there is so much beauty inside the Taj. The lovely engravings which are in the Taj are missing here. However, it does have its own charm.
It’s a tribute from a son to his mother.Prince Azam Khan , who was the son of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb built it, to honour his mother.
I found a nice article about the whole thing. Here is the link, for those who want more!!
I clicked this picture from inside the monument.Loved the architecture and the play of light.Its made of marble.Look carefully (click to enlarge) and you will see a little child playing outside!
Another view from inside.And a view of one of the minarets against the twilight sky.