Posted in My life, Random Thoughts

Social Distancing

Lately, I went off the social grid for a couple of weeks due to the new mobile I had bought.

I am scared of new technology and keep each of my phone until it almost dies. The last one was with me for 4 years and was a birthday gift from my husband. After four years of constant nagging from my over-indulgent husband, I agreed to let it go. It was still in a good shape. The only item I ever had to replace was the charging cord. The adapter was still good as new. I wouldn’t have given it up but the carrot my husband had hung in front of me was the much-superior camera quality. So, finally I took the bait.

Now, I have the new phone, but am scared to touch any button for the fear of triggering… something… Not sure what that something is but the fear of the unknown evil far outweighs the excitement of discovering something new. Hence, I haven’t downloaded the Whatsapp and WordPress applications.

Initially, it was weird to have nothing to do. I thought it was the end of the world. How would I exist without Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram…how would I connect with my friends and family? How would I live without checking WordPress comments every free minute I had…

Well, I survived.

Here I am–a new person who has more time in her hands than ever. I have painted, watched movies, created storage boxes for toys, mended clothes, resized old dresses, taken active interest in daughter’s home education…anything to kill time! I even need less sleep, I get up erlier than usual and don’t feel loopy all day.

And I made real phone calls to people–not just texting on Whatsapp but actually dialing the number, waiting for them to pick up while listening to the caller’s tune and talking to real people who mean something in my life! And I visited relatives who live in the same city–real people in flesh.

I know! Weird…

Posted in My life

Tattoos and Difficult Clients

Mehendi is a lost art…

Okay, not entirely lost, but it is certainly changed quite a lot. Mehendi tattoos are a pain (only) in the ass because of sitting ducks for hours. You can’t even twiddle thumbs. The traditional subjects for the designs include flowers, peacocks, plants and marriage. But the new generation has changed that.

I made my 4-year old daughter’s Mehendi tattoos a couple of days back on the occasion of Eid. Any guess on the subject?

Right hand (my fault): Before, After and Between

What better way to give your child a Maths lesson that sticks, literally? The numbers are mostly illegible, thanks to my superior(?) skills with Mehendi cones, but well, it served the purpose. In case you are worried, it will wash off within a couple of weeks. 🀣

Left Hand: Kung Fu Panda and Furious Five

It all started with a random doll and a beaver that my daughter took fancy on. But beavers live near rivers that have fishes and octopus, and they need trees to gnaw. And then, gnawed trees could fall on little dolls. (Please don’t ask me to label the characters. It is too embarrassing. 😁)

So, Po, the Panda Dragon Warrior, had to come for rescue along with the Furious Five–Monkey, Viper, Mantis and Tigress. I know, there are only four here because Crane decided to stay back to take care of the old Master Shifu (Pssss, I forgot both of them but don’t tell my daughter that.).

Overall, my client was satisfied and declared her Mehendi better than mine, which was, I guess, the best praise I could expect.

What do you think?

Posted in My life

Fourth Day

Four days back when I started my Eid break, I was over the moon for the 9-day break. And in the daze of happiness, I made a hasty promise to my daughter. I said I’ll spend the entire holiday playing with her.

Trust me, I had no idea of what I was getting into when I uttered those words. I had assumed, I will attend a few tea parties with her dolls and, maybe, draw a few animals. But now, I am dealing with the horror of Disney Princess and Animal Planet full blast.

I have binge-watched Grimm’s Fairytales and animal-drawing. Later, as my daughter slept, I willingly watched Masha and the Bear alone to wash out the taste from my brain!

Every day, I am the teacher teaching a class-full of stuffed animals good manners, maths and zoology. Every night, I am the Evil Step-mom taking the stuffed monkey and bear to the ball. I am the Fairy Godmother and also the Prince. I am also the Royal Messenger who puts shoes on Cinderella. I am afraid she will ask me for Snowwhite. I am unsure how to be 7 dwarves at the same time.

Every inch of my daughter’s artbook is now covered with different scenes from Fairytales.

Cinderella walks out in the yard wearing her tiara and best dress while a female dwarf stalks her.

Snowwhite in her tiara deals with lions, beavers, oversized ants and, guess what? sharks in the little rivulet outside her place. All in a day’s work.

The jungle overflows with animals and their babies while a jungle princess (Pocahontas?) in her tiara oversees their comings and goings.

A fairy with specs (Yes, those are wings, and you thought you knew what fairies looked like!) teaches a shorter fairy how to look after whales…

Now, no one can say that fairytale heroines had it easy…

I am so over it. I’m already counting days for this holiday to get over.

Posted in My life

Busy Bee (Part 2)

I mentioned a couple of projects for my daughter in my last post, but elaborated only one–the folding kitchen. Well, the other one is a jungle/zoo/farm backdrop.

Everybody at home had been complaining about how my daughter’s toy animals turn up everywhere in the house at the most inopportune moment, like on the floor under your bare feet, on the pillows when your head hits it too hard, on the chair seat when you are too tired to check before sitting, under the bed where you can’t pull them out without getting yourself dirty, behind the huge almirah which needs four grown up men to move (we have only three at home)…

I guess, the herbivores have the habit of running away to go looking for grass and plants, and the carnivores follow them to eat them…

Well, it became important to build a ranch/sanctuary/safeplace where they were allowed to roam. It also helps my daughter create stories that I could, then, publish in the blog (Hah! Mastermind me, stealing stories of the minions…).

So, I used an old flat cardboard box to build the backdrop with water colours (all that I could find at home during lockdown).

The walls have silhouette of a deep forest.

I also built a detachable cave and a hollow tree out of a plastic box. The 4-year-old Madame Leonardo Da Vinci coloured it to perfection.

The forest comes with yellow and red trees built out of old coloured cardboard boxes. It also has a fishy pond and an even fishier river that can be moved around at will. These were made of the old plastic sheets from my old organiser diary. The stones donated by an unsuspecting relative add to the effect.

To ensure flexibility to convert it to a zoo, we have combined it with a set of foldable cardboard cages and coloured by the family artist a few months earlier.

The piece is a continuous work in progress since we plan to add grass, a few more trees, a lying down hollow tree, and other cool stuff to build stories. We are gradually working towards adding farm buildings to the set as well. I’m looking forward to building a nice blue ocean out of the box top, thanks to my daughter’s new found love for water creatures.

The best part is that it also works as storage space for all these sets.

All in all the hard work seems to have paid off, considering the time my daughter spends with the set. I had too much fun…so there’s that too.

Posted in My life

Busy Bee

So, you might have noticed that my posting frequency declined greatly lately. Earlier I used to write at least a couple of posts every week. But in the last month, since mid-Ramadan, I went slow, too slow actually.

No, it had nothing to do with fasting, something to do with my book–The Forest Bed–and everything to do with a couple of projects I had going on for my daughter.

As you might know, I love building things with hands. Earlier I saw on You Tube a folding kitchen that a father had created for his daughter where she could stand and cook. The kitchen was simple, clean and orderly with hangers and stands for utensils, a microwave and a working sink. I was specially struck by how everything was in place and ready to play when the girl opened it so the child doesnot spend time setting it all up.

My house doesn’t offer enough space for anything that elaborate. But setting the kitchen up is my daughter’s pain point. Usually by the time she is done with it, it is time to sleep, eat or study. So, I definitely agreed with the ready-to-play and folding kitchen part.

So I built it out of waste material.

The cardboard was home, thanks to Amazon–around 12 X 8 inches. I just cut one side to be folded up and down. Then, I used the side flaps to add to the depth. Of course, they close too when we are folding, making it a compact storage for all the things that were earlier found all over the house. Since cardsheet was not available due to lockdown, we covered it with the artsheets my daughter had already coloured. The utensil hangers are made of old buttons. The racks are made our of smaller cardboard boxes.

Since the space was too small, rather than sticking the oversized plastic stove on the counter top, we painted it on the counter…by we, I mean my humble-self and my very own four-year-old Leonardo da Vinci.

I added a bit of rough outlines for accent…”rough” being the operative word here. I didn’t want to take away the childish feeling from the paintings so I ensured that the outlines were not clean and symmetrical…they were drawn as if I didn’t have my glasses on (which I didn’t)…way off the mark but still leaving a mark (smudge, actually) on the sheet.

Closed front gates open upwards all the way back and down to form the floor.

The crazy fun I had during the process made me question my mental age…which was about five a couple of years back. I think now it has shrunk to three and a half.

I am planning to add a refrigerator and oven on the outerwalls in my next vacations. Any ideas?

Posted in My life

Negotiating with Intelligent Beings: Act 2

Author’s note: I recently had this conversation with my daughter. Note how priorities change with time.

“Mom, Make me a fairy. I want to fly.”

“Baby, I can get the wings from the market for you, but I’m afraid that won’t help you fly. You need hollow bones.”

“Fairies don’t have hollow bones but they fly.”

“First, you don’t know that yet. You’ve never met one. Second, fairies are born as fairies. You were born a human. Maybe you can grow up and become a pilot. Then you can fly.”

“Who’s a pilot?”

“Well, you saw those aeroplanes the other day? Pilots fly them.”

“But I don’t want to fly inside an aeroplane. I want to fly like fairies.”

“Well, there is hand-gliding. You hang on those gliders tied to the wings and fly.”

“I don’t want to hang to anything while I fly. It’s dangerous.”

“Okay, then become a pilot.”

“Fine, make me a pilot.”

“Well, to become a pilot, you must study a lot…for many years…”

“How many years?”

“15-16 years…maybe more…”

(A pregnant pause)

“I think, I’d rather have the scooter you offered the other day…”

Posted in My life

Delay in Story Compilation

Hi!

Some of you probably know that I am writing a short story compilation. It was due January first half this year. I had taken a vacation in early Jan just for that.

But I sustained a back injury on January 4 and have been on bed rest. Hence, there is a long delay since I have used up all my sick leaves and nearly all vacation. Also, I am trying not to push myself too hard in the coming month while I return to working part-time with full-time motherhood.

Sigh! I really wanted this one out for Valentine’s day! But I guess some dreams need time to nurture! 😁

Wish me luck for future.

Posted in My life, Nature

My Neighbours: The Underbird

My area is used to seeing 10-12 birds at any given time except during the intensely hot summer afternoons when these birds are hiding in the cool shade of trees along the roadside. On winter mornings, this number rises to 20s.

Today started as any winter morning. I am on bed-rest because of a back injury and was looking out of the window. Pigeons were enjoying the sun perched on the electric wires on opposite side of the road. There seemed to be a lot more than usual…so many that I had to count them–58! It made me wonder whether a high-tension wire could break down under the weight of 58 full-grown rock pigeons.

And then, all of a sudden around 70 crows flew in from the right side of the sky. There could be more. Since they were coming in large groups and continued circling the sky, it was impossible to count unless I had a very quick brain. But after 14 days of bed-rest due to a minor back injury and 5 fantasy ebooks, my brain is less cognitive and more imaginative. They were cawing at an intensity that made me wonder whether it was a war cry.

Suddenly, the crows started retreating. I turned around and saw a huge number of pigeons flying in from the left side of the city. Suddenly, the pigeons perched on the wire took flight together, swooping in from the left, filling the sky with at least a hundred pigeons and my brain with the scenes from the movie Underworld. I wondered if I was stuck between a war of shape-shifters–the Crow clan and the Pigeon clan.

The remaining 30+ crows were clearly outnumbered by 1:3 ratio. Holding my breath, I waited for the fighting to begin. But the crows descended and perched on trees on the right of my house (which is the tallest tower in the area) looking irritated and guarded. Then, the bulk of pigeons retreated and nearly 50 pigeons stayed to take their rightful places on the electrical wire in front of my house, looking watchful yet at peace, as always.

I was left waiting for the rounds of silver bullets and wondering if they can penetrate the walls of my house…the only thing between the two clans. Only time will tell, because they are still in position, so if I live to post tomorrow morning, you’d know too.

Posted in My life

The Curious Case of M&S (Part 2)

Illustration by M at Ammpryt ART

A lot of you already know my best friend M through my post–The Curious Case of M&S. She’s my soulmate, except for the romance part.

We had rediscovered childhood together at an age when most women try to act grown up. We had run amok on streets ducking angry cows, eating unhealthy food, just loitering around on the pretext of finding coaching centres, attending those coaching just to be around each other during summer breaks…well, you get the drift.

What I didn’t tell you is that our common love is painting. We met during our Bachelor’s at our painting class and it was love at first sight. We were the fiercest competitors and best friends. We had entered competitions together, exhibited paintings together, experimented with colours and dabbed with different styles.

I was her biggest fan…the kind who collect waste paper after the other, literally. So, she used to carry out five-minute experiments on scraps of paper, intending to throw them away. I used to collect these little gems. Some may find it a little creepy–stalker-kind of behaviour. But I knew someday, I’ll sell them off as M’s first and become a millionaire. I had that level of confidence in her skills.

She is the best painter I have come across, and I have met some some really successful Indian painters during Bachelors. After she finished her Masters, she had to take a long career break due to the reason the world knows as marriage and children. Now she’s back in full force and raring to go.

She paints both for love and money. She has created some illustrations for my site under the pen name Ammpryt ART.

She also has a website that has her contact details in the About page. So, in case you are thinking of some custom-made paintings that you can print, she is the go-to person. She also has a design shop on redbubble.com by the same name (Ammpryt ART). They print your chosen designs on blankets, mugs, t-shirts etc and deliver at your doorstep. There are a bunch of Red bubble links in her blog, though she hasn’t figured out the blogging part properly yet. Do check her site and let her know your thoughts about her designs.

We are currently working on our first book–a story compilation with some kick-ass illustrations. Wish us luck!

Posted in My life, Random Thoughts

Indian Snowman

Lately, my daughter asked me when we’ll have snowfall. She wanted to build a snowman that she had seen it in the cartoons.

But we live in temperate zone and never see snow unless we travel all the way to the mountains. So, together we built an Indian Snowman…the Orange man! He looks rather sunny, I’d say.

Posted in My life

Negotiating with Intelligent Beings

My daughter is notorious for harbouring animals, cooing at live 🦎lizards🦎 and hello-ing hovering πŸ¦…eaglesπŸ¦…. We have been debating lately about the pros and cons of owning real animals.

Iniatlly, it started when we realised that Mathew🐁 (our resident mouse who lives in our house without paying the rent) now has a batch of newborns yet again. We know what to expect next–mice overrunning🐁 the house🐁, playing around🐁 in pairs🐁🐁, looking around🐁 the house🐁🐁 for new property🐁 to build homes🐁, chewing🐁 on our fingersπŸ–πŸοΈ while we sleep (it happened when I applied coconut cream)…

So she saw the opportunity to ask for a cat 🐈 “to kill the mice 🐁🐈” and play with her πŸ‘§πŸˆ in her free time. But I countered that the cat would eat the birdsπŸ¦πŸ¦‰πŸ•ŠοΈπŸˆthat frequent our rooftop and drink away all her milkπŸ₯›πŸˆ.

Then she asked for a cowπŸ„ to ensure we had a never-ending milk supplyπŸ₯›πŸ₯›πŸ₯›. Upon my objection that we didn’t have enough space indoors, she offered to keep it on the rooftop. I relented and asked her to carry the cowπŸ„ upstairs in her arms, since it couldn’t climb the three floors on her own. She asked me for help, but I had to decline the generous offer considering that both I and her father were too old for such antics.

That was when she realised that the cow would eat her Aelovera plantπŸŒ±πŸ„, and kick the (imaginary) pet monkeysπŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ„ who sleep on our rooftop every night. So we dropped the plan of buying a cow, and the cat got suspended until the milk crisis was resolved.

Then she asked if she could build a nest inside the house to woo the pigeonsπŸ•ŠοΈπŸ•ŠοΈπŸ•ŠοΈ that have been frequenting our area (I told her how birds hate cages). She was super excited about the little pigeon babiesπŸ₯πŸ₯πŸ₯ that would live in them someday. But I reminded her that the cat might eat them πŸ₯🐈.

So she asked for a dogπŸ• to keep the cat under controlπŸ₯πŸˆπŸ•. But I reminded her that both the animals together would drink all her milkπŸ₯›πŸˆπŸ•.

She again suggested the cowπŸ„ for the milk for the animalsπŸ₯›πŸˆπŸ• and I requested her to carry it up the three floors to the rooftop.

She, then, decided it was a good idea to drop the cow, and in the process, dropping the cat, dog and pigeons as well, and invest in a good rat🐁 poison.

Such a relief!

Posted in My life

Claws: Filed

As some of you might already know, I am on a weight reduction program that my husband arranged for me because of knees problems I faced due to sudden weight gain (thanks to hypothyroidism). I wrote a post about it earlier.

Hence, since 10 July, I am on a diet that largely contains fruits, dry fruits, milk and a meal-replacement shake called Safolla Fittify. It tries to keep me away from regular oily and spicy Indian food. But an Indian cannot live without spices, so I am allowed normal food during lunch only. My breakfast and dinner are strictly controlled. I am allowed dry fruits all day, but they don’t taste as good as the Bread-Jam and Aaloo ka Paratha (Potato-filled Chapatti) I would rather have.

In the beginning, I could feel a pride of Lions clawing from inside out, but after 3 days, they shrunk to the size of a small pack of Dogs and I stopped crying at dinner time. One week later, they gave up the struggle and died a painful death. I only have little mice now, who often remind me that they would rather eat something. I throw them some dry fruits and they are happy.

Even though I was reluctant to accept the rules in the beginning, I have to admit, I feel like a new person. Since I was only 60+ kgs when I began, nearly 10 kg reduction in 3 months is a lot. Ever since then, my weight has stablized and I can hear my knees thanking me for the small sacrifice. I am still on the diet, but now, I am okay to trudge along as long as needed.

Posted in My life

Lessons on Minimalism

My daughter is a minimalist. Her paintings contain only what is absolutely necessary. For example:

Two caterpillars and half-a-fish

Her caterpillars have multiple feet, yet her fish is an oval without fins or tail…but what’s the big deal! The fish knows she needs neither fins nor feet while living out of water. She is what she is and that should suffice.

Two horned (African) Rhino

This two horned Rhino…just so that you know, the horns are blue triangle patches and round orange patches are the eyes. She told me it is African, and hence the two horns.

Monkey atop a fish’s head

Her monkey has no hands nor legs but makes do with his tail. No need to add extra weight to his frail body that already carries the weight of an oversized head. The head beneath him belongs to a fish (a hammer head shark, it seems from the shape of it!).

Cat with her litter of five kitten and an adopted monkey.

The best part is the cat. She has two legs and a tail, and a litter of five kitten-blue and black. All her babies are unique in shape and have different characteristics (two legs, no legs; ears, no ears; body, no body…). She also seems to have adopted a yellow baby monkey (because I have been assured by the painter herself that it is indeed a baby monkey and not a cat). He also seems to be wearing a monocle on his eye, however, the painter declined to comment. I believe diversity and inclusion is the cause.

She created all these paintings in her first attempt at painting on the day she turned three. It was a hasty work to finish the masterpieces before any interception from a meddling mother.

The background was the walls of the playschool I had created for my daughter on her birthday out of an old refrigerator box (since she could not go to Playschool this year, thanks to COVID 19). My daughter quickly painted the inside walls while I was busy arranging food for hungry mouths. I hadn’t even finished sticking chartsheets on the outer surfaces by then. She had a gala time.

But now the playhouse had to be retired because of its depleted condition. I have pictures for memories though.

Here is some work we had done together on the walls. I had written a couple of posts about it earlier.

1.5 Dollar playhouse

3 Dollar playshool

Posted in My life

Of Sheep and Lion and wayward Hippos

My daughter’s next killer story. Please note that the entire story has been lifted…I mean, inspired by a Disney story called Lambert, The Sheepish Lion.

Original plot:

  • One night a flock of sheep is sleeping on a farm. 🐏🐏🐏
  • A stork, by mistake, delivers a Lion baby to a Sheep. 🐈🐏
  • The rest of the sheep make fun of him, 🐈
  • and he grows as rather a sheepish lion, who is “not ferocious like a sheep but has rather a sheepish grin”. 🦁
  • One night, a wolf 🐺 tries to pull away his mother 🐏, the sheep, by the tail to eat her.
  • She cries for help. 🐏
  • It wakes the Lion’s inner ferocious Sheep. 🦁
  • He 🦁 runs to the wolf 🐺, gives him a head butt like a true sheep, throwing him down a cliff. 🐏
  • He becomes a beloved Hero.

It is a lovely video about finding your true identity. You can watch it on You Tube via this link.

So, I had asked my daughter to tell me a story (to escape a similar request from her). I told her I wanted a story of a Hippo. She offered the Hare and Tortoise again and later, Lambert the Sheepish Lion. But I told her, I wanted a Hippo story. So, she simply replaced ‘Sheep’ and ‘Lion’ with ‘Hippo’. Here is her story.

  • One night a flock of Hippos was sleeping on a farm. 🐏🐏🐏
  • A stork delivers a Hippo to the Hippo mom. 🐈🐏 (Of course, the stork won’t always be making wrong deliveries. He isn’t your local postman.)
  • The rest of the hippos make fun of him. (Not sure why…) 🐈
  • He grows as rather a…Hippo. 🦁 (What else would you expect?)
  • One night, a wolf 🐺 tries to pull away his mother, the Hippo, by the tail to eat her. (At this point, I remind her that hippos are rather heavy to be pulled by the tail. She explains that it was rather a strong wolf.)
  • She cries for help. 🐏 (I ask her why the Hippo mom did not bite the wolf with her large teeth, but she ignores the question and ploughs on.)
  • It wakes his inner Hippo. (Of course!) 🦁
  • He🦁 runs to the wolf🐺, gives him a headbutt, like a true hippo throwing him down a cliff. He becomes a beloved Hero. (Tadaaaaaaaaa)
Posted in My life

Calling W

My smartphone has a thing against making calls to my husband. Specially, during the pandemic, our connection has gone for a toss.

1. On the first call, I get no dial tone, no caller’s tune–only a woman in her mid-twenties educates me about COVID 19, washing my hands and keeping a six-feet distance. Yup! That’s the standard caller’s tune in India now. I wait for her to end her ranting so I can bug my husband. She speaks non-stop for sixty seconds. Then the call goes dead.

2. I call again. This time, some random guy picks up the phone and we both hello each other without being able to talk. I hang up.

3. I call yet again. The call gives some feeble beeps and goes dead.

4. Desperate to get through to him, I call yet again. The call connects but I can’t hear him. The call disconnects after 8 seconds.

Frustrated, I dump my phone and stomp off to let off my steam.

5. Five seconds later, my husband calls me demanding to know why I had called him four times and never cared to speak. Duh!

Posted in My life, Painting

Good Teacher Bad Teacher

Knowledge is wasted without motivation.

-Me

I was 9 years old then. My brother who is a few years older than me was already pretty good at painting. So, my father arranged for a tutor for him during our two-month summer break. He was a good painter–somebody my father had employed to paint his own portrait at that time. I was so excited at the prospect that my father asked him to tutor me too. He was sure I’d quit within a few days as I did everything else. But he was fine to pay the fee, as long as I got a fair chance.

I was an average fourth-grader, but I was proud of my accomplishments. My ‘paintings’ would cover the house walls in all the prominent places–a family of bears (mom, dad, baby), a family of ducks (mom, dad, baby) and a rainy season scene (a building with flowers and raindrops) were my trophy pieces. My parents showed their unwavering ‘fanhood’ no matter what I created. They would applaud and suggest a good place on the wall to display the painting. I was sure I was destined for great things.

Our class had another couple of kids, and we differed in ages and sincerity level. When I joined the class, I had great enthusiasm. I expected myself to turn into a great painter by the end of the summer. That day, my teacher gave me an art book, which was far beyond my years, opened a page of animal pictures, and asked me to draw a Squirrel. No explanations, no tips.

I tried my best and achieved what a 9-year old could in 45 minutes. I was rather proud of myself when I presented my teacher with the best painting in the world.

He took a look and guffawed. Then he added springs to his feet, and told the class, it was a Kangaroo and it was about to jump. Everybody laughed.

That was the last day I went to his class. At least, mentally I was always absent. He reported to my father and he told him not to press me. I even stopped painting for a few months. I don’t remember talking about that incident but it was always there in the back of my mind.

A couple of years later, I was talking to my brother and I told him I longed to paint like him but didn’t know how. He told me, “Practice daily. You will get there, I’m sure.” Then, to motivate me, he gave me a tiny unruled notebook and told me to practice in it so that I do not lose my work and see my progress. The first thing I made in this diary was…any wild guess?

My brother told me that Chip and Dale looked great, and that I should practice daily. I’m sure I did not become a wonderful painter overnight–I hadn’t practiced in two years. But he saw I was putting in the effort, and he got me going. Within a couple of years, I was creating portrait sketches, and my work was far beyond my years.

David Dachovny (X-Files fame)–my first portrait sketch I made in eighth grade
Sachin Tendulkar (the Cricket legend)–a sketch I made in 10th grade

Thanks to my brother, I got my Bachelors in Painting–with Merit and second highest score in the Painting subject in the University. My practicals exams had 98% score–a rarity in Arts.

All this was thanks to the great teacher who told me to believe in myself. Both my brother and I are now in the business of adult education and I can vouch for his method.

A successful teacher does not teach great things. He motivates his students to forge their own path.

-Me again

Just for the sake of bragging, here are some paintings I made during Bachelors.

Hrithik Roshan in oil paint (My second love)…a story for another day
Gul Panag–former Miss India and actress
Mom and dad on swings–my own style–finger and nail painting.
Tiger in the river–Water colours
Posted in My life, Twisted Tales

The Hare, the Tortise, and the Storysmith’s Daughter

My three-year old daughter demands me stories nearly all day. I try to wave off the requests most of the times, since it means overusing my brain, which is already fried by listening and singing nursery rhymes, and dealing with petty quarrels regarding property rights over various animals, dolls, lego blocks and kitchen set, apart from building the training courses for clients.

My favourite way to wave off the request is to ask my daughter to tell me a story before I tell her one. Usually, she asks me to excuse her to deal with an ‘important matter’ and leaves the vicinity until I had forgotten the request (my daughter through and through). A few days back, though, after multiple requests, she acquised to tell me a story of the Hare and the Tortoise.

As most of you would know, the original story was about a race between a vain but fast Hare and a humble but slow Tortoise. The vain Hare underestimates his competitor and sleeps off half way through the race and wakes up to find that the Tortoise has reached the finish line. I was expecting a retelling of the same tale.

However, this is the tale she told me (in Hindi).

There was a Hare 🐰 who was going to market to buy some carrots πŸ₯•(?), because all Hare love carrots πŸ°πŸ’•πŸ₯•.

He met a Tortoise 🐒 on the way who asked him nicely if he could join him–he needed to buy some carrots too πŸ₯• (??), because all Tortoise love carrots too πŸ’πŸ’•πŸ₯•.

So, off they went merrily πŸ‡πŸ’. (Not sure when the race will begin!)

On the way, they met an Elephant 🐘 (???) who asked them not so nicely to carry him to the market because he wanted to buy some carrots too (because, obviously, all elephants love carrots too, 🐘 πŸ’•πŸ₯•). Or else he will step on them 😑.

So the Hare punched him πŸ‘Š (That was one strong Hare!), and then, he pulled the Tortoise on his back and ran to the market. πŸ‡πŸ’πŸ’¨ (AHA!!!)

Then, they, bought carrotsπŸ₯•, and happily ate them.

Author’s mother’s note: Well, what can I say,Β  I love carrots too…🀣🀣🀣

Posted in My life, Random Thoughts

A Personal Grudge

For many months, COVID 19 had been a faraway nightmare, stalking closer everyday but never really touching.

A week back, I got news that a family that is very dear to me was suffering from COVID 19. One of my father’s oldest friends and his wife were hospitalised and their health was deteriorating. His elder son, daughter-in-law and grandson had symptoms too with constant fever, hence they were quarantined at their house and not able to meet him. His younger son was halfway across the country.

He died a couple of days back in ICU without meeting his children–people he had loved and raised with care. His wife was in another ward, and didn’t see him in his last minutes of struggle. I, whom he had accepted and loved with all my eccentricities, wasn’t able to see him, because he was quarantined. He made his last journey to electric Crematorium without any rites. He did not deserve this.

Before you assume that he had risked it and taken a long vacation in Goa or went clubbing… No, he did not venture out of his house, nor did his wife, daughter-in-law or grandson. The disease came to him from his son’s office where he had to go because he had to keep his job–the office where two other colleagues were found COVID positive.

COVID 19 is officially a personal enemy now. It has taken away a part of my childhood. I am usually not the one to cry, but tears keep falling as I can’t stop thinking of the time I had spent in his house sitting, cracking jokes and watching Tennis matches. He was a sweet person who cared for those around him; one person I could trust completely. He certainly did not deserve this. His family did not deserve this.

So, any of us who think that COVID 19 happens only to others and that we can run around being wild while other people are stuck at home–this is a wake-up call. It is your family you are risking, or your neighbours, or your best friend’s family…

So, please, follow the rules:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Wash the stuff from outside with soap and water, including green grocery.
  • Use electronic payments wherever you can, so you don’t have to touch money, which is one of the biggest contributor in the disease.
  • Most importantly, if your business can be run from home, please don’t make employees come to office. They too have elderly parents and children at home.

Stay safe. Help keep others safe.