Post 17: Jaipur – An Extended Family Tour (Part –I)

I always carry a book whenever I travel; sometime it is just to add the extra 250gm in my hand bag. This time I had picked up, “My Family and Other Animals” but then considering it a bad idea (chuckle) I dropped it and continued with “ Eat Pray Love “ instead.  We, a total of 9 people (1 toddler, 4 young and 4 not so young), were off to Jaipur for 4 days .

For me this was my second visit, the last one was our honeymoon, a very memorable one indeed.  Usually in honeymoons the boy is lost in the eyes of the new bride but in our case my groom was lost in the details of the forts, maharajas and their artillery . We always had a guide standing sandwiched between us explaining the intricacies of the architecture, and there used to be a twinkle in the eyes of my husband and I couldn’t yawn enough.

Now, you must be wondering why I went to Jaipur again. In short this was a long awaited family tour and Kerela worked out to be costly. So we settled for Jaipur.  Also this trip was an experiment on how different people with different tastes survive together for 4 days. If this experiment succeeds we have other tours in mind.

We had not just planned the travel but had also set strategies.  Our best strategy was to keep one day tour to Pushkar and Ajmer. Always remember no matter where you go with your  parents/in-laws and no matter how well you have planned there will always be this question,” Aren’t there any temples here?”.  My mother still has fond memories of the Mangeshkar Temple in Goa.

Day-1: Chokhi Dhaani

We all reached our destination on time by different trains. We headed to the Hotel. We had booked a decent hotel ‘Souvenir Peppermint” somewhere near BaniPark.

In the evening we decided to take every one to Chokhi dhaani . Doing this on the very first day would give them a brief glimpse of almost everything- food, dance, language , culture etc. In my previous visit we had covered it on the last day and by then we had lost interest in the rich food.

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We covered almost every thing in Chokhi Dhani – Puppet show, dance, magic show, Bajre / Makke ki Roti with makkhan jaggery and chutney, games, recreated Haldi Ghati scene, camel ride, horse cart ride, paani puri concluded by Jeeman i.e the food. Everyone was elated on  being called ‘seth’ and ‘sethani’ by the Chokhi Dhaani boys.

 

 

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Amma serving Bajre Ki roti with Lehsun Chutney

If you go there do have the khichdi with loads of ghee and sugar.I had stopped them from pouring the ghee and sugar powder but upon being insisted I tried it and it was amazing. They are very generous with Ghee and they believe it is ‘ Bhudape Ki Lathi’ (support in the old age) . I had to remind my parents their  Cholesterol level and who actually was their ‘ Bhudape Ki Lathi’ .

It was an amazing experience and every one was happy.

Day 2: City Palace – Jantar Manatar- Hawa Mahal and Shopping

Second day after the scrumptious buffet breakfast at the hotel we went to City Palace. We were wise enough to take all the photographs – single, group, selfies etc. well on time before our energy level and the makeup wore out.  The rest of the tour was the bitter sweet recap of our honeymoon. The difference was that this time I was not yawning but running after my toddler outside the palace.

After 15 minutes of toddler hyperactivity and group inactivity I went in to find the whole gang glued in front of the displayed dress of Sawai Madho Singh –I. His pajama had drawn all the attention as this Maharaja was 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide weighing 250 Kgs.

The whole group was fascinated.

Immediately after city palace we took a right turn to cover Jantar Mantar. One of my friends had suggested reading about Jantar Mantar beforehand to save time but I was too busy reading food blogs that I forgot this part. The visit would have been better if I had followed that advice.  While the gang spent extra time reading about each astronomical instruments I and my daughter sat down at one place and enjoyed watching the lovely foreigners in Indian dresses.

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View of Amer from Jantar Mantar

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Then before covering Hawa Mahal we thought of giving our legs a bit of rest and went for lunch. The biggest mistake we did was asking the e-rickshaw wala where to eat.He took us to the restaurant which was The Best- ” Venus restaurant”. The moment we enter there was a stench and the food is not worth mentioning here. The learning we got, while traveling never ever ask the auto or rickshaw wala where to shop or eat, they have their own commissions.

Then we took an auto to Hawa mahal . It is photogenic place. In todays world this much is enough to be told , after all our priority these days is to get perfect photos for facebook and whatsapp dps.

 

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View of City Palace and Jantar Mantar from Hawa Mahal

In the evening we got a bit late for shopping as the market here closes at 9. So we were not able to grab much.

We asked at a local shop about some good restaurant at Bapu Market and he without giving a second thought said ‘Ganesh restaurant’- perfect for home like food. Everyone was hungry so we headed toward this place. I was bewildered to find this place, the entrance was a steep narrow stairways leading to an open air half constructed roof with few steel tables and chairs.  I didn’t speak for the next 15 minutes and kept a tight grip on my toddler as the roof din’t have railings!!!

The food came. You wont believe that it was so delicious that all my anger just vanished.

We had ordered: Laccha Paratha , Butter Roti, Missi Roti , Sev-Tamatar (Local Dish) , Daal Tadka . It costed us 800/- for 8 people!!!!!!

If you guys are shopping in Bapu Market then don’t hesitate to have food in such weird small dhabas placed at every  other roof of the shops, as you wont regret the food.

(To be Contd…)

 

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Post 16: An evening in Prague

This is from a photo of my friend in Prague. I wanted to paint this as a study of reflections . Though I have not been able to do justice to the beauty but still I got to learn a lot. .

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Oil on canvas 18X24 “

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The original one 

Post 15: Pre-travel Snippet   

Eat,_Pray,_Love_–_Elizabeth_Gilbert,_2007

Recently, I  finished the ‘Eat ‘part of Eat Pray Love’ and oh my my what can I say. I feel like going to Italy and exploring its architecture, culture, food, fountains, history mystery etc. Italians have a specific ability to turn simple things into grand. Here is an excerpt from the book which made me yearn for Italy.

…. Bel far niente means “the beauty of doing nothing.” Now listen—Italians have traditionally always been hard workers, especially those long-suffering laborers known as braccianti (so called because they had nothing but the brute strength of their arms—braccie—to help them survive in this world). But even against that backdrop of hard work, bel far niente has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement. You don’t necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either. There’s another wonderful Italian expression: l’arte d’arrangiarsi—the art of making something out of nothing. The art of turning a few simple ingredients into a feast, or a few gathered friends into a festival. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich. ……..

As I finished the paragraph, I was in a different world. I closed my eyes and pleaded to God.

Me: Please take me to Italy.

Him:  Tathasthu (Amen)…… You shall be going to Rajasthan!!

Me: Err… What? Wait!! There is a problem in hearing I suppose; I was talking about I-T-A-L-Y.

Him: I know … but in this budget, this is the best I can offer you.

Me: Ah! But!!

Him: Don’t worry! It has amazing food, forts, culture, architecture, secret history etc . Also, the weight you will gain by the Ghee dipped “Daal Baati” will be equivalent to the Naples Margarita pizza”.

Now he was talking.

 

This reminds me to ask do you know anyone who has never ever travelled in his/her life? Who has never ever stepped out of the house to see what lies on the other side, has never explored different cultures, never tasted different cuisines, and never took photographs in front of a monument. Sad isn’t it. My Mausi (Aunt, Mother’s elder sister) is the one whom I am talking about. In 67 years, she has only visited Lucknow that too to attend my wedding. Now I find it my duty to take her to some place -any place.

There is another excerpt which warmed my heart:

To create a family with a spouse is one of the most fundamental ways a person can find continuity and meaning in American (or any) society. I rediscover this truth every time I go to a big reunion of my mother’s family in Minnesota and I see how everyone is held so reassuringly in their positions over the years. First you are a child, then you are a teenager, then you are a young married person, then you are a parent, then you are retired, then you are a grandparent—at every stage you know who you are, you know what your duty is and you know where to sit at the reunion. You sit with the other children, or teenagers, or young parents, or retirees. Until at last you are sitting with the ninetyyear-olds in the shade, watching over your progeny with satisfaction. Who are you? No problem—you’re the person who created all this. The satisfaction of this knowledge is immediate, and moreover, it’s universally recognized. How many people have I heard claim their children as the greatest accomplishment and comfort of their lives? It’s the thing they can always lean on during a metaphysical crisis or a moment of doubt about their relevancy—If I have done nothing else in this life, then at least I have raised my children well.

 

This paragraph defines my life goals and therefore I was very delighted that I am already thinking of a family trip. I was feeling emotional. Right when the tears were going to roll out of my eyes, my sister jogged my memory that ours is a family which when brought under one roof is capable of creating enough rancor to drive anyone insane.

Now this is going to be FUN!!!!

Post 14: The Buddha

A monochromatic Buddha completed over a period of one month on a 24X18″  stretched canvas. The colors used are – Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue, Teal, White, Ivory Black, Cadmium Yellow .

While preparing the underpainting I had a different picture in mind. However as the painting evolved many changes were made. This painting is made for someone who knew exactly what this painting should have. From its color , tones , glow every thing and before I could make a mistake of putting lotuses at the back she suggested me that a mandal at the back would be better… and here it is !!!!! (though this is what I could get closest to a mandal)

BUDDHA

For those interested in the layering and detailing involved the photos of different steps are as below:

Post 13: Poppies

This painting is for one of my friend (on order) and so was my Sunrise painting. ( ref: Post 11).  This painting was meant to be a fine art work but somehow turned up into a knife painting. With this painting I have realized that  Knife gives me contentment and the strokes it creates give me immense pleasure. I am so waiting to explore more knife work.

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Oil on canvas

POST-12 : Ending the War Within (September Rambling)

If you are bitten by a travel bug then you are either travelling or making travel plans. I have been busy these days doing the latter. Now my toddler has grown up and her options of food have widened so I feel like increasing my challenge level. Currently I have three plans in my planner:

  1. Singapore-Bali, 2. Jaipur and 3. Kausani.

The first and second are to be held for few more months so we thought of focusing on Kausani.  My toddler will be 3 in September end so we decided to celebrate her birthday in the mountains. It was a last moment plan so was not structured well, the tickets were not confirmed and all the resorts where I wanted to stay had already been booked.

Then fortunately or unfortunately we had to cancel our plan to go to our home town for Dusshera. Now this cancellation was not that heart breaking because of the waiting tickets and heavy rainfall in  Uttarakhand . But after doing so much of research I had become nostalgic and had wanted to go to the mountains once again. I wanted to see the sunrise in Kausani and smell the pine trees.  To distract myself from this destination I had to think of something else and I stumbled upon ‘Cinque Terre ‘ in Italy. The photos of that place were breath-taking.  But as I started searching this new place I became sadder. Now my phone was loaded with photos of Kausani and Cinque Terre.

Then the book , Alchemist, which I was re-reading this month came to an end . After closing the book I closed my eyes and thought that what is the book saying that the treasure we look elsewhere lies at our backyard. Anyway I found it confusing so I slept off. When I woke up in the morning and went to my balcony there was a fresh breeze blowing. It didn’t carry the smell of the pine or the sea but still was fresh. The view outside was somewhat similar to the photos in my phone. I felt good.

In the evening I happened to leave office well on time to enjoy a cup of tea at home with a spectacular sunset view , again from my balcony . Now this was so similar to that desired at kausani, except that this was sunset not a sunrise..

Then I realized that the nature had conspired the finishing of the novel alchemist such that it coincides with the sunrise and sunset . I had found my treasure, not in the backyard but in my balcony. I was happy.

But that doesn’t mean i will be hanging on my balcony all year long. A new plan is already under execution 🙂

Meanwhile I purchased three books this month- The little Prince, My family and Other Animals and Eat Pray and Love . I think all these are a sign leading me towards something/somewhere.

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Before I could smell the freshly purchased books and sink into the world of travel to dreamlands my husband reminded me that first I need to finish the war Mr Iyer had started one year back !!!! Damn!!!

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PS:

1. MR Iyer Goes To War is the Indian modern version of the misadventures of Don Quixote and his companion Rancho.

2. The little prince is a heart touching story of a Little prince from a tiny planet giving lessons about friendship and loneliness.

3. My Family and Other Animal is a funny journal of a boy who moved from England to Corfu .

4. Eat Pray Love is a book about a women’s journey through Italy , India and Bali.

If I get time will surely review  read these books 🙂

 

POST-11 Sunrise

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Oil on Canvas 16″ X 20 “

Post 10: Candles (To Paint List 5/5 )

With this my 5 painting project is over . Will soon post the pic of the 5 paintings together.

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Oil on Canvas 8X10″

Post 9: Tibetan Girl-Part -I (To -paint list 4/5)

This lady took one and half month to step down the easel.

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40X60 cm Oil On Canvas 

 

 

Is Well Begun Half Done?

It’s been exactly one month and I am not able to finish the projects which I had taken as a challenge. In euphoria, I had called up my five friends and asked them to give me different ideas to paint. So I have in total five painting to do and all I could do in past month is to start only three. Now I am hiding from the three under-paintings lying on the shelf .

Inspired by our beloved PM I also got a yoga mat and after 15 days of surya namaskar I switched to HIIT. Even that didn’t last long. One day my alarm didn’t ring and I slept off. Till this day I am sleeping. My sedentary lifestyle has made me sick of each and every thing. After 8 hours of seating job, I feel like running away to a far far place…. just like Forest Gump.

Also this mid-life crisis is making me feel worthless. I have so many ideas floating all around me but the kick is missing. Sometimes I search for motivation in TED Talks, sometimes in Blogs/Vlogs and sometimes in books, but nothing works because we all know that ‘It works only if you work’.

I think it’s time to fix my alarm!!!!