Wednesday, November 19, 2014

उल्टा :: Upside down trivia




He comes home late from school; there isn't much happening there anyway. Everything seems very trivial to him; the conversations, the dreams and yes those silly conversations. He often accompanies his parents to dinners and those at times pointless gatherings; there again it’s the same story.  What happened in the stock market and who suffered from eating street food or who is the most eligible candidate for an upcoming election. Everything was more or less pointless to him.
He wanted to flip the world; to go on a different planet for sometime. See how the world of different people was; what were their conversations all about, what did they want to be.



                                                                    *************


But this little boy had another side to him; a side only he knew of. This world had the same people, same conversations, birds and clouds. But they all looked different. Just the way he wanted them to be.






He could stare at them without speaking a word. The faces looked funny; with mustaches on the top and eyes at the bottom, hands up in the air and head floating nowhere. He liked it, he laughed at it, thought about it and forgot about it.




It was all his own, and that’s why he visited that world very often.

                                                              
                                                              *******************



It’s the warmest feeling to come back to my sacred space; I was never gone though, but just had too much on my platter. In the last several months I got many emails from people who have been seeing me here that they miss our conversations so now I hope I keep at it and yes see you soon.


If you are tired with the mundane chores in the middle of the week, look at the world upside-down and laugh at what you just did.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Once this used to be the {monsoon}


Amidst all the moving in and out; I totally forgot about completing four long years of blogging in April this year. Nevertheless let’s smile and celebrate our conversations and my monologues in the last four years and our frequent and at times rare rendezvous. Thank you for standing by throughout.





This year the Bombay summers were quite harsh like usual and we all silently hoped for calming monsoons from our little pockets of the island. Then one day the clouds gathered to hide us all and left us drenched as we flaunted our dusty umbrellas and torn raincoats. Staring at the enormous skyline, we welcomed the non-resident Bombay monsoons.

The trains were once again flooded with watery boots, sparkling windows and smiling faces. We all were well armed for the anticipated heavy showers until one day the clouds cunningly went back in their conch flanked by the beaming sun.




The entire month of June has passed by and the rains have conveniently escaped our thoughts. My hometown too longs for the showers like rest of India. What happened to the Rain God and what happened to the time that was once called the monsoon?




       

         Dry Pastels | Watercolors | Ink  | Journal | Fountain pen

 



From my monsoon journal; kindly ignore the grammar :)


It used to be the time for blurred lights,
The piping hot chai and the milky coffees;
For the latecomers and early risers,
Droplet dreamers and sunshine escapists;
The umbrellas so dusty to come out and take on
The water so mucky.


It used to be the time for the reflections so blurry,
And dreams so catchy.
June was for all this and July was for this too,
August swung in the mud as September hid in the puddles.


Once, this used to be the monsoon.


I will soon be previewing my journals, nervous and excited and hoping that everything falls in place, much love. 






Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Bombay skies are for the dreamers so {coy}




I am back to the city that I have always written about, talked a lot about, but this time I am here not knowing when I would return to my roots; the little warm nostalgia called Pune. Since the time I moved in, I am discovering the parts of this maximum city which I had not seen before but was always quite intrigued to see them. To be more precise, I am a tree with its branches in Bombay and roots deep inside Pune and a tree needs to carry its roots and be aware of it wherever it goes.

So like usual I have spotted all the chaiwallas around the locality and the food haunts et all. I am a part of random conversations that fly in the air especially at the small hotel nearby where they offer a full meal for negligible charges. It says 'Rice Plate' written in a hand painted font and the place is flooded with workers around lunch time. Just yesterday I was having some chai and heard a man speak in Bengali. I instantly asked him, “Are you a Bengali from Kolkata?” he had a broad smile to his face. “Yes” he boasted. “I love Kolkata; the pujo, the chai there”, I said to him. “You should visit my village there; it’s very close to Howrah!” I nodded in affirmative, smiling and wondering at the same time, when I would see Kolkata again. The conversation was this short or long, whatever you prefer and we both got back to our chores.








The same evening I met my watchman who is from the heart of Bihar. As he moved his hand over his stomach he exclaimed, “Have you noticed the development in Bihar when you went there? You can see your face at night  in the lights on the highway.” Over the next one odd hour we both chatted, rather he spoke breathless and I nodded wherever I thought it was needed, not that it gave any kind of change in tone to what he was saying. 


                                                            *   *   *   *


The sketch below is of Bahadur, my caretaker and owner of the dog Tingu who runs around our studio compound in south Bombay. Bahadur is a Nepali brought up in Assam and does not remember his exact age but he always smiles and works more than the work done by half of Bombay put together.



 
                                                                *   *   *   * 


I have been discovering little conversations, lives and expressions in my new hometown. I like the way I find the rest of India tucked inside Bombay’s most unlikely places. How people carry their hometown along with them and their dreams when they move to Bombay, just like me. 

Just the other day when I was walking by Mohammed Ali Road in south Bombay I stumbled upon a shop that makes a variety of kites. There were some old men sitting inside the shop and they said that that was what they did for a living, make kites. I have never seen people frequenting the shop but each one them had a happy face. They love making kites and that what they do, to put it simply. I picked up the smallest one and tucked it in my little black book. Came back home and it was dark already. I wondered what I could do with the kite. The Bombay skies are too crowded for this little one I thought to myself.









And then this is what I wrote: 
I came across a coy kite

Which asked me

Where can I fly?

I said to the coy kite

Follow me to the Bombay sky



But where will we find the sky

Enough for you and me to fly?

The kite said being shy

The Bombay skies are not to fly

They are crowded by the dreamers so coy



Why don’t you dream my boy?

And someday you shall find your sky




Have a fulfilling week ahead, for my blog-peers from India let's hope for a soon monsoon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The enclosed conch {Terrarium}

My dear blog-peers, 

I have been away from this space for a while but this space always comes along with me wherever I go. It is sacred for me and the people who come here to see me are sacred to me as well. I mean every single word of it. It’s the quietness of being here that makes me write more and say more. Lately I have been sharing visuals on an old but ‘new for me’ platform that of Instagram. Within a click I get to converse with so many likeminded people or rather people who seem to be like minded.

It gets life back on the same page as others and quietly whispers in my ears, “The world is huge, with bigger dreams; little betrayals; tiny shadows and much larger expressions.”
                                                            
                                                                   *  *  *  *  *

So unlike the end of last year when I told you stories about different people, places and expressions, in the next few days I have a mixed platter for you. A visual platter on which you can sprinkle as much salt, pepper and olive oil as you wish to.

I am letting you drift away with some drawings and floating words that have been traveling with me since I spoke to you last. So come on board and I shall tell you lots of short stories, one of them is of Ankit.


I know Ankit for the last few years, rather our introduction was uncanny. A mutual friend of ours introduced us over a social networking site saying that we look alike. That time I had just entered design school and Ankit was about to join an art school. His work was very expressive then. I would often wonder how he spoke to colors so boldly and why I related to someone’s work I had never seen in person and was it because I took extra efforts to see someone’s work because we are look-alikes.

Every person we meet comes with a riddle. Today after knowing him for over five years, I finally saw him in flesh and blood at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Vadodara, Gujarat. Now we laughed loudly for the first few minutes and spoke like we had always known each other. When I opened my travel journals, Ankit seemed familiar with them because he had seen the blog quite carefully and he would point at things in the book and say, “Hey this is on the blog, I have seen this!”

How lines have an identity, they are like people. Colours are like confidants; mutual friends in today’s lingo. How sometimes words are less mighty than elements of a painting. How sometimes…

I was in Vadodara for a short while and before I could sit with Ankit and see his work, which I was very keen to see; it was time for me to leave. As I walked with my bag at the Fine Arts campus, Ankit came running with a beautiful little plant in a glass bottle. There were shells and conches peeping out of the soil and colorful stones stood still in the firm but loose soil. A little plant shyly emerged from the uneven surface and as I turned the bottle around to see what all was there inside; my eyes caught this little note hanging from coiled threads, it said ‘inspire’.




There was so much synergy in this whole situation; someone whose work inspired me; himself gave me a note saying ‘inspire’. Someone who is supposedly a look-alike takes the effort to make something for someone he is meeting for the first time in person. All we knew about each other were strokes, colors and expressions.

We are look-alikes, perhaps. And if I was not able to see his work this time maybe there is another time planned for it. Who knows!


                                                                   *  *  *  *  *

Here’s what Ankit told me about the plant;  its called a Terrarium, its a mini ecosystem and functions exactly like one. The leaves release the water vapour which condense on the walls of the glass and goes back to the soil, and the process of photosynthesis makes the plant get the air it wants within the enclosure.Ii love these and am tying to learn better what plants and what arrangements work best for them...

                                            Much love and more to tell soon in the March sun

Monday, February 24, 2014

The maximum city with little words; worlds.



The ‘beeping’ city rises to a quiet sea,
With the mighty ship floating in the clouds.
The city celebrates it's physique,
And blooms to the 'beeps'.
The moon hides;
For the sun to kiss the go-getters.




The wide screen; a confidant,
Speaks to the minimalistic country,
As the aroma of lemon grass;
Dissolves in the bustling aspirations.




The warps and wefts,
Speak for the dreamer;
The go-getter.
Chic prints flaunt their way,
In the conditioned commute.
The minimalistic city;
Celebrates its physique yet again.




The aroma of lemon grass,
The brewing coffee,
And the draft beer,
Compliments the weathered corridors;
Running with the go-getters.
The ship still floating in the clouds;
And the streets full of themselves.






Why this maximum city with little words,
Has so many words and worlds?

Singapore 2014





Monday, February 10, 2014

It's a win win situation "Winning! #Conclave14"





It's a win win situation

The country I was born in wins when it loses;
Celebrates when it loses to win,
Where winning the first spot in 
any incongruous queue is winning,
Where a ‘like’ button, an overwhelming ‘emoticon’
, a ‘re-tweet’ reassures winning.

Where;
A green signal is victory,
Winning is twice loosing,
Loosing is just a consolation prize for winning.

Don’t laugh my friend;
It takes a bit, quite a bit to feel you have won.
In a country like mine,
A drunken husband who beats up his wife and wins,
A wife, who burns her obtrusive husband alive; wins,
A news channel wins when it intimidates 
the next prime-ministerial candidate,
Yes, it wins a million ‘hit’ on YouTube.

That is winning.
So win my boy; win little girl,
In a country of million conditionings,
You shall learn to loose, sorry; win.
Win what wins you wins,
Win the ‘hashtags’, win the ‘likes’, win
 the YouTube hits,
Because that is winning in todays wins.

Express to win; crib to loose,
Fight for the winner, the lost ones anyway fight.
But no my friend; win because you want to win,
Win what makes you feel you have won,
Don’t hide behind an intimidating emoticon,
Don’t demean what it means to win,
Win and go ahead to loose,

In a country like ours,
You win in the morning, loose by evening,
Go to bed smiling,
Only to win a new day;
Hoping to see the new day.

And that’s when you know you have won,
Lost.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

That a man as beautiful had touched our lives for years


A man who held seven grandchildren together with unbiased love, made each one feel that he belongs to them. His customized attire that made him distinctive, his thoughts that made him relevant even in changing times, the wines he made and the beers he celebrated, the conversations he evoked and the smiles that danced on our face when we saw him.

To a man who never feared death and looked at it just as another beginning to an end.




Mothe baba, my grandfather designed his own clothes. He had once got a coat designed in a way that the pockets of the coat matched the fabric of his trousers. When I saw it as a child it mesmerized me. Although my grandmother would often target him with her unmatched sarcasm for his attire, the coat would always draw compliments from the young.  He would wear it for most of the family celebrations and it would look new every time. The secret behind the magic was not the coat; it was his persona beaming modesty through his eyes, his mellow voice and his ability to strike a conversation with the quietest soul in the crowd.

A year has passed since his demise but his warmth lingers in our heart, his stories are told to the little ones in the family and I wish to tell them more when they grow up; that a man as beautiful had touched our lives for years.