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Showing posts from 2010

As January rolls in

Hi there,

First of January. There is something childishly optimistic about a 'New Year'. The fact is, a 'new start' to whatever you want to do, can be done on any day of the year. Yet there is some joy, some anticipation, some excitement as December 31st passes and January begins.

The newspapers carry so many adverts about new year bashes. It is almost as if there is a compulsion to 'do something' for December 31st. Almost anyone I meet seems to ask me the same thing "So--what are you doing for new years?"
Somehow, the noisy pubs and clubs and bashes and dos and loud parties (commercially organised with a Bollywood diva or a celebrity singing and dancing) with a room full of drunken strangers isn't my idea of welcoming the new year. We usually stay at home for new years. Sometimes we have good friends over, sometimes it is just the four of us.  (Satish and I and our two children)

If it is just the four of us, we usually have a 'party' on t…

Silent Words

Words rising to the lips From the depths of the heart Held back as prisoners. They’re not free to leave Or live.
Squashed they must be The desire they contain within themselves Squelched with no trace For they belong neither to you Nor me.
Yet they strive To exist within boundaries Refusing to die But struggling to live Suffocated.
They rise like smoke Spread against the sky Forming letters bit by bit That can only be felt within the soul Silent words.

Each of the letters Contain a world of their own True to the deepest core Yet unsaid, unexpressed So pure yet so tainted
Unable to be quiet Any longer They scream in anguish Echoes scream back ‘I love you too’.
© 2010 Preeti Shenoy

For more poems click here. Some poems have already appeared in print. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Age is a matter of feeling not of years--a wonderful birthday

Many people shy away from birthdays. They feel only children can celebrate their birthdays. Yet others feel every single day comes only once a year, so what is the big deal about birthdays. Some feel bad that they are another year older.

But my views on birthdays are different.I truly go all out todo something specialon the birthdays of those closest to me. Do I expect them to return the favour? Of course not! It is not like I would feel disappointed if these people do not wish me or give me a gift.

However, when someone close to me, does make that extra effort, it does make me feel really special.(on my last birthday when I was visiting India from UK,  one of my closest friends flew from Delhi just to spend the day with me and that made my day truly unforgettable. In fact, this  story of our friendship will appear soon in the Indian edition of Chicken soup for the friend's soul).

My birthday that just went by (It was on 21st December, I turned 39 and I am very proud of my age  un…

You deserve to feel wonderful

A good friend of a good friend died  two days back. It was all of a sudden, a cardiac arrest. I have met the person but cannot say that I am a 'friend'. Yet the death did affect me.


What is it about deaths (even of people we do not know)  that affect us all so much? Is it the warning of our own mortality? Is it because we're truly powerless in front of it? Is it because it is a stark reminder that life is indeed fragile? Is it because it is a jolt of  fact presented to you in a manner  that screams that today indeed might be your last day?

In my twenties, I hardly thought about death.(At that age, who cared really!) But now, the older I get, I find myself realising more and more that every single day that passes, brings you closer to the date of your death. We all come with expiry dates and the clock is ticking.

 Most of us, especially if we're parents, hardly live for ourselves. This is more true if you are a woman. Somehow I find that men do not feel as guilty if di…

One more pencil portait

A lot of people have been asking me about my Portraits. With the kind of questions I have been asked, I realised that many have doubts as to what portrait commissioning is. Also, many are confused between a quick sketch, a caricature and a hand drawn pencil portrait.

You find sketching booths in malls which give you 'portraits' within a few minutes. It is basically a photograph clicked and digitally altered by a program to make it appear like a portrait. (There is no talent, no time and no art involved here). You could easily do this with something like Picassa or photoshop.

A hand drawn pencil portrait takes me at  the very  least a whole day to complete. The finished result is a lifelike resemblance and is very realistic. (Unlike a caricature or a 'cartoon' ). Recently, I sold my first portrait commission in India. (yes, in between all the relocation from UK to India, I still found time for my art ).

It was Swati's husband's birthday and she wanted to give hi…

You are thought of.

This morning I got a text message which made me pause and think. It said "
When someone messages you, don't think ki isko sms free hai to kar raha hai but think that he gives 1 minute of his life for remembering you. Stay connected.Good morning"
(For my non hindi speaking friends, it translates to don't think that the person is texting you simply because he has free texts)
It really made an impact on me and made me go "how true." ( Of course, I replied back immediately). It is true that no matter however silly the message (many a time forwarded) is, fact is the person has indeed spent a few seconds to send you the message. For those few seconds, you were remembered and thought of. 


I wondered if most people who got a message like this would dismiss it as just another forward or would it make them think, like it made me think. I sent the message to fifteen of my friends.

Only four replied back. The replies were almost instant too.

Three out of those are my…

Making love out of nothing at all

Anyone, just anyone ( no matter what their age) who has  ever been in love, knows just how much a song can say. Since time immemorial, men have serenaded women with love songs. (and vice versa too). There have been some  truly brilliant and amazing pieces of music that have been composed for the object of the affection, but the magic of music is such that each one hearing it, feels the emotion as though it were their own. 

Music is pure joy. Music is magic. Music is love.
Life without music is truly barren, empty and to me, it is a life without passion.(Incidentally, the only thing I watch on television are the music channels)

People connect over music. Often we find an unexplainable delight in meeting another who enjoys the same songs as we do. 'Oh,You like Kailash Kher? Me too!' and an instant bond is formed.

Songs often bring back memories too. Even the deeply buried ones that you thought were buried so deep down and so far inside that they would never surface. But music h…

Bird of paradise in my little paradise

When I was moving to the UK from Pune, India, one of the things that saddened me the most was giving away my collection of  about forty potted plants which had moved with me every place I moved. These plants were the plants I had lovingly grown, after I got married. Each plant had a story and each had been chosen with care and carefully tended to. Satish knows my love of plants and nature (and animals) and whenever I went out of town, he would never forget to water them. We had moved and lived in about nine houses in a span of  eleven years and yet each place we moved, the plants would arrive behind us like Bo beep's sheeps, sometimes wilted (as it would take three days in a truck at times) and they always survived.Sadly, they would never survive an International move and also there is a ban on bringing plants and other stuff into the United Kingdom. So we left them behind.

When I relocated to UK, all I inherited  as a 'garden' was a sad looking patch of earth with a lot o…

An extremely special birthday

Funny how time changes things so much.

Thirteen years ago on this day, I became a mother. It was my first born and I was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I did not know how to hold my new born son and I had to call my mum or my aunt to even lift him. I was so afraid of not supporting his neck right (new born babies cannot hold up their neck and need to be supported and carried in a particular way) and he seemed so tiny (even though he weighed a healthy 3.25 kgs) and I was so scared of hurting him.

Funny, how within a week I was able to even manage giving him a bath and how I learnt to evenmanage the cord stump. 


And then his first year. Oh how delightful it was! He was such a sweet, gorgeous baby. He started sleeping through the night at three months.I began reading books to him when he was three months old. He was such a joy and truly no trouble at all, that I even travelled without my husband, to Darjeeling and Gangtok  when he was just five months o…

A little love note

Most people who don't have children, have a  fairly stable routine and  days of work (unless of course you happen to be the official photographer for Kingfisher Calendar or a flight attendant or Rakhee Sawant,  in which case I doubt you would be reading this blog :-)). But people who have children--oh, they will agree with me, when I say  that each day there is a new drama which unfolds. You really don't need reality TV (move over Pamela Anderson)  when you have kids. There is enough entertainment provided on a daily basis, except that sometimes you are an active participant  (at times unwittingly the clown) in this reality show and you don't even realise it till you put your feet up at the end of the day.


But a lot of times it also seems  like we are transported back to our childhood, through our children. The kids these days might be natives to Internet, might have had far more exposure than we did at their ages and might be tech-savvy little geniuses but the fact is ch…

On making a birthday memorable

The other day the newspaper carried an article which showed three young guys from the city who had developed a Facebook application for wishing your friends on their birthdays. It wasn't an application that merely reminds you when a birthday is upcoming (I have no grouses against that) but this was an application which would do the actual wishing for you at midnight, while you slept or watched a movie or had sex or do whatever you do at midnight. It could personalise the wish as much as you wanted ( or as little as you wanted) and it would post a message on your friend's wall at midnight as though you had written it yourself , and your friend would be no wiser. You merely had to enter all the dates of your friends birthdays one time. The article said that this way, you would never have to keep track of any birthdays or take the actual effort to wish a friend or even  forget to wish a friend and your friend would be happy and moved that you  really took the trouble to wish him…

Ullage of life

Every single day I get a new word in my inbox from dictionary.com. Sometimes they are words I know, sometimes they are new.If it is a new word, I usually try and understand the context in which it is to be used and I look at the way it is pronounced too. An interesting word I got yesterday was the word 'Ullage'. It set me thinking.

Right now I have relocated from UK to India, and we have moved into a lovely home, which is at the moment, completely bare.  There are no tables, no chairs, no microwave, no TV, no kitchen utensils and worst of all, no writing desk, books, the kids toys or my art stuff which is all bobbing in a ship, in a container in the Pacific Ocean or perhaps it has reached Indian Ocean--who knows! They tell us it will finally arrive by month end. (am keeping my fingers crossed). I am cooking with a few borrowed pans and plates. We sit on the bare floor and eat our meals. Getting stuff organised in India, I am discovering is a long, lengthy and extremely frustra…

Dreaming of home

Moving homes is hard. Moving home from one country to another, it is even harder. But I think the hardest is to be without a home which is what my current situation is.

 We reached India on 19th October, exhausted after travelling for more than 24 hours,(it is such a long long long way) bone weary,  jet-lagged and wanting to run back to a comfortable place called home. Except, there was no home. The last of our belongings had been boxed and shipped, our lives neatly packed into cartons, labelled and despatched with cool crisp efficiency of an International relocation agency.

It took me more than ten days to get my body clock set to Indian Time. Was I glad to back in India? I really had no time to notice as there were and still are a million things to be done. Right now we have been put up in a company guest house and we're trying to set up things from here.

We have managed to find an excellent school for the children (they got chosen into four schools which was a pleasant surpris…

News from my end

Hi there,

Is it possible to feel very happy and very sad both at the same time? I have discovered it perfectly is possible!

The  very happy news is I am relocating back to India. (Phoren country desi dilwas a post I wrote some time back. I do love my country totally ) The  sad news is I will be leaving UK. ( The saddest thing for me was that I had to give away my pet-- Sparkle. ( Yeah, I know I will get over it and I know I will be fine, but it is still hard )


A friend  asked how it is possible to feel sad and happy. It is. Moving two houses in the same city  or even moving to a different city within a country, is just not the same as moving countries. Moving from your home country to another which is a completely different world, adapting to a completely new way of life  and then making that  new country your home--well, you understand it when you have done it.(and it is not easy at all). The experience has indeed  been an eye opener in many ways.


It has been nearly two yea…

Things you never notice .Wordless Wednesday 25

This is my entry forWordless Wednesday





Sometimes you have to see the world through the eyes of a child and then you see things you have never seen before.



My niece Gia (need I say I totally adore her? :-)) turns four tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Gia! _________________________________________ For my other portraits clickhere .

[And yes I do commissions if you want a pencil portrait  as a unique  gift to that special someone. I work from photos  which can be e-mailed to me. I use Extra smooth Bristol Board 100% acid free, A3 size paper which is of the highest professional quality (and it will last for centuries). You can mail me (on ps at preetishenoy dot com ) for rates if you are interested.]

A time travel tag

Sunday Stealing had this really interesting Time traveller meme going. It was hard to resist :-) It was written by Emily Barton from telcommuter talk.

Sunday Stealing: The Time Traveler Meme
Emily's Rules:

1. Depending on your age, go back 10, 15, 20, or even more years.
2. Tell us how many years back you have travelled and why.
3. Pretend you have met yourself during that era, and tell us where you are.
4. You only have one "date" with this former self.
5. Answer these questions.

Okay, as we start, what year is it and how old are you?

My answer:  It is  January 1995 and I am 23 years old. I have gone back 15 years because that is indeed a good amount of time to go back in, and  it is indeed very good to ruminate over what a long way I have come.

I am in Mumbai, working at a Corporate job, really enjoying it, and have been made another  job offer  which I am considering hard. I travel by Mumbai local trains to office. I have to take a bus and then change two trains  to get…

Find yourself

A conversation I had with a one of  my closest friends last evening set me thinking.

Most of us, as adults today, have corporate jobs, or are doctors or accountants or lawyers or home makers or other such things. On the face of it, we all fit into Society's concept of  'successful adults'. By 'successful' I mean, 'well adjusted' or in other words, 'boxed-in'.

Why is it that we have very few creative thinkers? How many of us can claim to have done something original? By creative, I don't just mean creating a work of Art .(Not everybody has an inclination or an aptitude but my firm belief is that every single person can be taught  Art if they have a willingness to learn, even if you cannot draw a straight line. But more on that perhaps in a later post.)

By creativity I mean originality of thinking. I quote the following  fromthis  site
What is creativity?Creativity is the bringing into being of something which did not exist before, either as a…

Recharge your soul.

No matter how old you are, no matter what you do for a living, no matter what place you are in, right now, I am sure you have that little problem, that little thing which needs to be taken care of, that small (or big) problem which needs to be sorted. Sometimes, we get so busy focussing on doing that we forget on just being. Sometimes we get so caught up in the journey and  reaching the final destination that we forget that the journey and how one enjoys it, is what matters more than the destination.

Life always throws us challenges. Just when we think we have it all figured out-- POW, there comes a knock and you don't know what hit you. Sometimes, there is no time even duck.

We all need a little special something, every now and then, to keep us going. We need that little pampering. We need that time out. We need to recharge our souls with what makes us truly happy. We owe it to ourselves. Only if you are happy, will you make your loved ones happy. If you are empty within, you hav…

Yet another pencil portrait

This is a portrait I completed today. It took me about three hours to make this. The paper is an A3 size. He is one of  our closest friends. He is a remarkable and an extremely smart person and he was featured in Outlook Business for his niche business of parking management. Click here to read the article.

But to us, times with Sathya are always  GREAT times (oh, the amount of crazy things that  Sathya and Satish have done together! I will have to write a whole book about it :))  and one of his lesser known skills is bar-tending. :-) (He makes some amazing cocktails)

It is his birthday next week  and this portrait is an early b'day gift.
Happy birthday Sathya and here is wishing you  all success and  knowing you will reach even greater heights!
________________________________________________________________
ps: To know more about how I make these portraits and the techniques I use go here

The best certificate in the world.

How the children address me and their dad, depends entirely on their mood.
If it is urgent, they call me "MAAAAA..." .
If they are with their friends (and they always talk in a Brit accent if they are) then it is "Mum" ( with stress on the right syllables the way a native English speaker would say it)
If they are feeling very affectionate, it is "Mommini", a word they made up.
They even call me "Cutie-pie Mommy" :) Sometimes even "cutie."

It's the same for their dad. They call him "Pa" or "Papa" or even "Poppet" or "Poppy" and sometimes even "poppy doopy doo" :-)

One of the things their dad does particulary well with them is baking a cake. (Yeah, he bakes and he bakes well) They love helping him to bake while I watch them, the two little helpers scampering about, carrying out the instructions of the Master Chef. :-)


The other day , for a change, I  baked a lovely chocolate cake for …

Vive La friendships!

There are friends who you may have known for 23 years, yet never got really close to, if you know what I mean.
Then there are friends to whom you have never spoken for 23 years, but when you do, it is as though the years have vanished like vapour and there is your bond, just as strong, just as good, just where you left it.


When the latter happens, it is indeed magic  and I have just received a large dose of magic just now and I am still floating in air with silly grin on my face, smiling at it all. I have just reconnected with a friend who was my classmate and with whom I had lost touch for 23 years. Last time I saw Ilakshee was in 1987. She gave me a little card then. There was no Internet those days and partings meant you had to write by snail mail if you wanted to keep in touch.




We never kept in touch but I treasured the card  (click on the above pictures to enlarge and read) . I am so glad I am a memory keeper that way. Everything that I treasure, and anything that moves me deeply…

A tribute to one of the coolest people I have known

He was a real cool guy, you know, my dad. I mean really cool.

He used to drive really well. He loved it. It was his passion. At that time (and this was a long time ago when we were little children) , his job involved a lot of travel around Karnataka and you bet, he drove. When we had summer holidays, those were the best times. My brother, my mum and I would travel with him.The part I remember most was how expertly he used to navigate the hair-pin bends in the Western Ghats which can be treacherous if you have no expertise. My brother and I would slide in the back seat from one end of the seat to the other (whoever heard of seat belts, back then :-)) , as the car swerved and we would shout "Whooooo..Daddy another hair-pin bend coming. Once more, daddy once more!"

When I was 16 or maybe 17, he taught me how to drive, in an Ambassador car. He was a tough teacher. The slightest of noise while changing the gear and 'thwack' there would be a sharp twang across my forearm.…