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Showing posts from June, 2010

Last post of marathon. YAY! (blog marathon post 30)

It was a month ago I started I asked if I should jump in The marathon was going to be difficult But your comments kept me pumpin' :-) Posts after posts I wrote Not even one was a filler post Even when I was ready to drop dead And you know this isn't a boast Mostly I have enjoyed But there were times when it was tough But your comments kept me going As you said   "More, More, not enough! " It is  music to a writers ears After all, blogs are written to be read And a blog is nothing without its readers And this has to be emphatically said. Only a handful were faithful commenters Others just read and went away To these handful I owe my gratitude, Your comments kept the blues at bay. ____________________________________  Finally it is the last day of this marathon. My closest friends will know that this month has been particularly hard for me. I have been going through some real tough times.(Yeah, I don't say everything on the blog, you know,

The Closed door (blog marathon post 29)

This is an Oil on canvas that I completed today. (approximately 12 x 15 inches) I have called it 'The Closed door.' Some of us are cautious by nature and some of us are more adventurous. But most of us (me included) sometimes get so busy that we rush through life, without paying attention to closed doors. What lies beyond? Perhaps it is a wonderful opportunity to experience something new. Perhaps there is a  new magical  world waiting to be discovered. What is the worst that can happen? May be you will be chased by a Giant? :-) You can escape back into safety through the door, can't you? Life is too short to not try new things. Do that thing you have always wanted to. Take that salsa class. Join that exercise group if that is what you wanted. And yes--smile and say hi to that cute girl or guy :-) Do whatever it is that your heart is telling you to. Follow your heart. Chase your dreams. But most importantly, open those closed doors. ______________________________

A meme tag (Blog marathon post 28)

Sunday stealing   had this meme going. I quite liked the interesting set of questions they had. Here are my very honest answers :-) 1. What curse word do you use the most?  The most common  one F* * K (yeah, I do swear  but not in front of my kids :P ) 2. Do you own an iPod?   Yes. Two in fact 3. What person do you talk to on the phone the most?  I talk to my closest friends. It would be difficult to identify one person but if I check my call log, I guess the four names that would appear most would be Suman, Cherissa (who have no online presence hence not linking them) , Mayank and Ajay . 4. Do you still remember the first person you kissed? Of course. How can I forget :-) *Big dreamy smile*...*Censored* Shoo Shoo go away. :D 5. Do you remember where you were on 11/9/01?  Yes. In Bangalore. My daughter was just a 4 month old baby then. 6. What was the last movie you watched? When in Rome which has just released in the UK. 7. Has anyone ever called you lazy?

Three pictures from my garden (Blog marathon post 27)

I really like these two fellows who seem to have made themselves at home in my flower trough :-) I love the Tiger lilies which have just bloomed. I grew them from a bulb. I had planted them sometime in February. Dinathus which has just bloomed too. I have  another one which is dark pink in colour, almost Magenta but I haven't got around to clicking a photo yet. Hope you had a nice weekend and may these flowers kick start a refreshing week ahead! ________________________________________________________________________ Current mood video: You don't bring me flowers --Neil Diamond

Three very quick portraits (Blog marathon post 26)

Pastels is a medium that I find extremely difficult. The above picture was done very quickly. I did not even take 20 minutes to complete it. The reference photo was a model from an ad for Mascara and so she had exaggerated eyes which I managed to capture. She has a kind of startled expression. Since I find the medium very difficult, I am kind of content with this attempt. (Not too bad for an almost first time in pastel) This picture took me more than two hours to complete. This was again a completely new medium called water colour pencils. (click on link to know more) One uses it like an ordinary colour pencil but the effects ar amazing when one runs a wet brush over it. I loved the hardened expression of this wise old red Indian who seems to have really seen the tough side of life. This is what I like about portraiture. I  make portraits of subjects that I find arresting. Sometimes it is a a strong urge that I feel which makes me want to paint something. For instance,

what google does not get (blog marathon post 25)

Every morning when I wake up, there used to be only one mantra that I chanted. It is an extremely powerful one you know. It works almost every time. It has let me down only on very rare occasions and that too it would be because I was not diligent enough. The mantra is no great secret. In fact I am sure many of you would be using it too, everyday. It has be come such a part of our lives, that we wonder how we existed before it. Everything before it, seems meaningless in comparison. What is this magic mantra? Yes! You guessed it! Tha magic mantra is "Googleaya namaha" :D Of late though it has been losing its sheen faster than a  freshly scrubbed squeaky clean pig let lose in a puddle of dirt. Perhaps it is worn out due to fatigue or over-use. Or perhaps it is early dementia setting in. I don't know what it is, but it isn't just the way it used to be. For starters, among my long litany of 'something -is-wrong' take the ads that it shows me on the right

All apologies-Guest post by Prashant (blog marathon post 24)

Guest post by Prashant who blogs at All apologies 1.      Apologies Led Zeppelin, for using one of your songs in a game of Antakshari. Couldn’t help it, the opposite team had stooped to using regional songs. It was “Stairway to Heaven”. “The” se gaana tha. 2.      Apologies Rats. I persuaded a friend of mine to study biology. He has dissected hundreds of your lot since then. Honestly, I didn’t foresee that at all. My soul is as pure as yours. 3.      Apologies nations playing in World cup football, for one of my countrymen did t his . On similar lines, if you are a proud Mallu, you better be prepared with explanations for this 4.      Apologies that person who studied Electronics for four years simply because your elder brother was a vague acquaintance of mine. Long back, your elder brother asked me whether you should opt for Electronics or Computers and I convinced him for Electronics just to see whether I could do that. I hope y

Tactfully and Strategically (Blog marathon post 23)

Getting your friends to do a guest post for your blog marathon is as hard as getting Diego Maradona to play football for India, especially taking into  consideration the fact that we do not have a team that has come even close to qualifying for the  FIFA world cup. But I thought this would be different. My friend Prashant does have a blog after all and to draw parallels here, it would be a front runner for finals, and not even the also-rans. Everyone also knows he wrote some fantastic stuff for the Royal Challengers blog , although I am sure being in the esteemed company of Kumble and Ray Jennings would have been motivation enough for him, apart from the luxurious five star hotel stay that they had ensconced him with, from where he churned out posts after posts. Still, there is pure bribery and then there is a thing as friendship, I thought. And I waited patiently while the man busied himself, acquiring a degree in Math and Economics from no less than the London school of

Lost--Reward if found (Blog marathon post 22)

Lost: A sense of humour Last seen:  Buried  somewhere in in the stack of dishes to be washed /pile of laundry to be done/room to be cleaned Reward if found: A big wide grin Lost: Enthusiasm that had been taken for granted Last seen: Flailing its arms and running away to Himalayas Reward if found:  A cup of coffee (err... can you make it yourself? :P Enthusiasm might run away again if I take my eyes off it :P ) Lost: Ability to take criticism Last seen: Being bashed up, bloodied and being badly beaten in a volley of words Reward if found: A good dose of cattiness--I'll even throw in some verbal volleys, too.They're free. Lost: Patience (Especially with people who do not read up and instead send silly mails expecting answers to silly questions) Last seen: Buried in the pile of mails that ask me all kinds of things just because I have a policy of 'responding back' Reward if found: A personalised poster of Mr. Silly?

Another pencil portrait and some more tips (blog marathon post 21)

This post is a kind of sequel to  this one (A pencil portrait and what goes into it) . This portrait of Keira Knightley , I finished just this morning.I took about 2 and half hours to complete it. It is again A3 size ( 42 x30 cms approximately). I have used Bristol board extra smooth paper. This time I also used a graphite stick as I wanted the dark of her hair, very dark. To get the lights in her hair, I cut out a triangular piece from a good quality eraser, using a Craft knife . The pencils I used for this portrait were 1. 2H for the initial drawing outline 2.4B for darker shading 3. 6B Graphite stick 4. 5mm Staedler clutch pencil for finer hair Apart from the above, I used the usual blending tools, namely chamois leather piece and tortillons. If you are interested in pencil portraits (and from the excellent response I got from my last post, I know many of you are)  then here are a few tips which worked very well for me. 1.The basic drawing, before you begin shadin

100 years of Fathers day.( blog marathon post 20)

Today is actually the 100th anniversary of the tradition of celebrating Fathers day which is observed in about 55 countries on the third Sunday in the month of June.It was started by Sonora Dudd on 19th June 1910, who felt strongly, after listening to a Church sermon about newly recognised Mothers day that fathers too need to be honoured and recognised. Her own father was a civil war veteran who  was left to raise a family of 6 children alone after his wife died, giving birth to the sixth child. Today a lot of commercialisation has taken place with promotions in stores beginning weeks in advance, at least in the U.K. One would have to be blind to miss the offers, the gigantic banners, gifting suggestions, attractively arranged displays at shop windows and even mails landing in your inbox luring you to buy, buy and buy. If you have missed buying out, they even have 'late deals' where you can gift you can print out gift vouchers and give them to your father so he can buy what h

Best friends (blog marathon post 18)

When I was younger and  in school, there was always a 'best friend'. It was mandatory. Everybody had a 'best friend', a partner, an inseparable part of yourself, whom you shared secrets about the opposite sex with, whom you told your dreams to, whom you could not wait to meet the next day day, just because within a short span of  12-14  hours (the time between when you saw them last evening and when you would see them again the next morning at school) there would be so much that has happened that you would want to share. Every trivial little thing, every incident, every minor and major real and imagined mishap had to be narrated with detailed precision. I don't know as adults if people have 'best friends' any more. Do you? I certainly have 'very close friends' and 'good friends' and 'friends' and 'neighbours' and 'people living in neighbourhood' and now  in the Internet  era 'online friends'  too. (But I p

Winni and Jap (blog marathon post 17)

Can you guess what this is?   It is a birth certificate. :-) Do you know whose? It is Jap's. Did I hear you ask Jap who? Well, meet Winnie and Jap. They live in my children's room. Jap was created at Build a bear workshop where children can create their own bear. He shares a birthday with my son :-)  He even has a heart inside which both my children kissed before they put it in and created him. Winnie has a large heart but he  does not have a birth certificate . Everyone knows A.A.Milne created him :-) Yesterday after the children left for school, I found Jap and Winnie neatly tucked into a bed which my daughter had created using her old t-shirt, her toy crate and her favourite fleece blaket. I smiled and meant to ask her about it but  I forgot. I remembered only three days later and they were still in bed, neatly tucked. "Oh my God!  Look at this.Aren't you going to wake Jap and Winnie ? They have been sleeping for three days. What is this? Wake

What being a father means.A guest post by Satish. ( blog marathon post 16)

One of the pieces that Satish wrote will soon appear in Chicken soup for the Father's Soul. He has written another piece on similar lines and I am sharing that with you. Here is a Guest post  by Satish.  On being a Dad By Satish Shenoy   Why are you not in bed? Do you realise you have school early tomorrow morning? Why have you not studied today – you need to ensure you do well in life my darling! Don’t climb that tree. You may fall and get hurt. Why is this mess in your room? Look at the crumbs on the sofa and your clothes thrown here. Why did you crawl in the bed between Mum and me last night? Sounds familiar right? Typical father things, one would say. Mothers go through a lot for the 9 months prior to the birth of the child. They do afterwards too, but a fact often overlooked is that for a father too, the birth of a child is a complete change in life, forever. It is an extremely onerous responsibility which includes ensuring that the children are spoilt rotten

In the summertime :) (blog marathon post 15)

It is summer in U.K. You can usually tell by the length of the skirts women wear. It would be hard to tell by the temperature though because it is still 13 degrees centigrade :-) Friday is supposed to be a warm day. It is expected to touch 19. :D When I lived in Pondicherry (God, how I loved that town!) summers used to touch a  scorching 48 degree centigrade (for those in the U.S that is a 118 F). So when  I moved to U.K and I heard people complaining about how hot it was, I smiled. "You should go to India," I thought I my mind, but did not say it aloud. Now  having spent more than a year, I seem to have got used to it. The other day, I too found the weather slightly warm! :D  What I truly love about this time of the year is that it is bright for so long. Even at 9.30.P.M here, it is still so bright and the sun has not set. (The brightness  outside at 9.30.P.M would be similar to the brightness in India at 5.30.P.M) We have a nice seating in our garden.(see picture ab

Everybody needs a personal sanctuary (Blog marathon post 14)

The English Dictionary defines a sanctuary as a sacred or Holy place. I think everybody needs a personal sanctuary of their own. A positive happy place, where you can take refuge, when you get a few knocks from life. And trust me, sooner or later we all do. If you haven't I'd just say that either you haven't lived long enough or you haven't lived at all. I am fortunate enought to have my own private room which I call 'my studio'. It is equipped with a nice comfortable double bed, my desk, a cozy bean bag, a chest of drawers that houses all my Art supplies, a wardrobe/cupboard which has my favourite art books and also my paintings which I store.(as I have painted at least a 100 pictures and I cannot possibly hang up all of them) The picture you see above is a picture clicked on a rainy day when I was sitting at my desk. (It is an antique desk the top of which can be folded. I absolutely love this piece of furniture). I like to sit at my desk and lose myself

A pencil portrait and what goes into it (blog marathon post 13)

This is a portrait in pencil and graphite which I completed  last night. It took me 4 hours and 45 minutes to complete! It is an A3 size which means it is about  30 cms x 42 cms approximately. This is a portrait of a good  friend  Prashant who blogs here and regular readers will also remember that he was also chosen the chief blogger of Royal Challengers Bangalore. I started making this last night around 10.00 p.m and just could not stop till I finished it. When I put it up on facebook this morning, delighted compliments began pouring in and one person mentioned it was a nice 'sketch'.  The artist in me, could not tolerate a portrait being referred to as a mere sketch and I quickly corrected him. He said he was glad he did as he was a complete layman when it came to art and that he was happy he learnt something new. That set me thinking. Most people would not know how many tools go into making a pencil portrait. I thought I'd click a photo of the stuff that I use an

A catty picture story (blog marathon post 12)

There used to be a cat which used to regularly visit me in India. Everyone thought she was my pet. She even gave birth to kittens once in my patio and once in my son's wardrobe! But she was just a stray who had adopted me  and let me think that I had kind of adopted her :-) There are many adventures which have happened with this cat which i will save for another post. Here in the UK too, one cat visits me regularly. It is a pet cat as there are no strays in UK and it is fat and well fed. Reminds me of Garfield (and I love Garfield, btw) and that is what I have named this cat. Here is a picture story of one of Garfield's visits  :-)   Hey you--Do not click my picture please!  I told you No photos. I don't like photos. Put that camera down and pet me right now !  Hmppph. You can kiss my ___________  !    You are not listening to me, you crazy woman with the camera. I asked you to pet me, not click my picture.  If you do not listen to me I shall go

Hand-crafted Jewellery (blog marathon post 11)

Jewellery is something which will interest most women. It always makes a perfect gift too.No matter how many pieces of jewellery a woman has, yet another one is always welcome. And if it is hand-crafted and does not cost the earth, it is indeed the icing on the cake. When I saw these initially in my cousin Sandya's album I was totally blown away. She was making them and had sold a lot of pieces too. Sandya and I have always shared  a special relationship. She is my mother's sisters daughter and as children, every summer vacation would be spent together. We have countless stories of mischiefs , laughs and giggles and even now, when we talk about it, we laugh uproariously! After she got married and moved to the U.S, we somehow  lost touch and we re-connected only recently (thanks to Facebook) which was when I came to  know about her jewellery making. I was instantly fascinated. It is indeed wonderful when someone converts their hobby into a business and I asked

Time management (Blog marathon Post 10)

"People ask me how I do so much. I wonder how they do so little." This is a quote I remember reading somewhere. If anyone knows who said this please let me know. (I tried googling but it did not help) The reason this quote came to my mind today is because of yet another e-mail that I received (and I love hearing from those who have read my book and I do try and respond to each and every mail I get)  asking me how I manage to do so much (painting, blogging, exercising,reading ,watching movies, doing yoga and being and  being a full time mother and a wife).This person had asked me to write a post on time management. Many people have made this request  in the past too, asking me to share my 'secrets'. So here goes.  : A day has 24 hours. Deduct 8 hours for sleeping and an hour for other activities like grooming etc. You are still left with 15 hours which is a LOT of time! 1. No television : I watch absolutely no TV at all. I have not seen Friends or Seinfield or

Flowers--a gift from Nature.Wordless wednesday No.22 (Blog marathon Post 9)

To know more about Wordless Wednesdays and to see other participants go here. My good friend Niall gifted me these bulbs when I visited him in October, last year. They bloomed in February this year. What a wonderful gift idea! Thank you Niall! This was clicked just outside my house on the side-walk. I pass this every day when I walk my daughter to her school. A close up of the same flowers. Khalil Gibran put it beautifully when about flowers he said the following I am a kind word uttered and repeated By the voice of Nature; I am a star fallen from the Blue tent upon the green carpet. Read the full poem here ________________________________________________ Current mood Video (see right) Love story-Taylor swift

On the role of pictures and picture books and comics in raising a child (blog marathon post 8)

If this is the first time you are reading a parenting post on my blog, please see these two earlier posts   both of which got a large amount of responses and requests for more posts like them.  If you do not know me, please read disclaimer before you proceed.Those who read me regularly, welcome back and read on :-) What role do pictures play in raising a child? "Pictures? Picture-books? Why? I'd rather show my child the real thing," exclaimed a mother once, in a course  that I was attending for Glen Doman method of education . (which I am a big fan of as have I used it for both my children when they were toddlers) The lady who was conducting the course is someone I respect a lot and whom I later  had the opportunity to work with closely. She smiled . "If you do not show your child picture books, there is vast universe out there which you may miss. Think of the Solar system, think of Antartica, think of polar bears, why simply think of Issac Asimov, " she s