Category Archives: Uncategorized

Post 23: Koi Fish

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Acrylics on Canvas (8″X10″)

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Post 18: Jaipur – An Extended Family Tour (Part –II)

My husband always tells me that I am lucky to have hobbies. He feels that atleast I have something to escape from the monotonous life and get lost for few hours in the world that I love. Now this was the perfect time to act. Without giving a second thought I handed him the rough draft I had written about Jaipur Part-II and said go lock your self in a room and finish it!  By acting on time I got him engaged for an hour and somehow escaped the long tedious conversation he was telling me he had had with his boss that day.

(Now at this point let me tell you that my husband plays a major role in editing most of my posts. It makes him feel important. )

Any way so here is the remaining Jaipur Trip written by my husband.

Day-3: Amer and Albert Hall Museum.

Daily we devoted one and half hour to breakfast. The variety and the taste of assortments was very good. From butter toast to puri sabji , from chola-Bhatoora to paratha, from corn flakes and muffins to idli ,vada, dosa upma ,poha, and from boiled egg omelette & egg  fry to juices ,tea and coffee, everything was at our disposal and we made sure nothing goes untasted.

After loading ourselves with more than a heavier breakfast we headed to Amer. I had heard that Amer hosts an amazing light and Sound show in the evening But we decided to give it a miss as it was not feasible to wait that late in night. We hired cabs. The drivers preferred to take a shortcut and took us through the small gulleys showing us the unseen pictures of Jaipur which was not at all good. The roads were filled with stinking garbage with pigs rolling over it. The sight remained the same till we came out to main road near Jal Mahal.

Amer is real far from the city and it took us an hour to reach there. This was my second visit to Amer, but still I don’t have any majestic detail to share here. All I could remember was that while the whole family was leisurely learning about the details of Deevane khaas-Deevane aam, I was dealing with my toddler’s tantrums and trying to find the exact thing she wanted to eat. I am sharing here one crazy carving that my brother in law found on a pillar. It has many animals. See how many u can find out?

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We saw two huge kadhai at the exit. These were made for the movie Jodha Akbar and were left behind after the shoot .

We also went to the contemporary art gallery-” ArtChill” established near the exit gate where the work of India’s top artist was on display.  I spent 30 minutes there and was quite lost in it. The work ranged from 3D work to nature, modern art, big strokes-small strokes oil painting etc. Photography were prohibited. Out of curiosity, I inquired for quote of one of the paintings by Subrata Gangopadhyaya and found out that it was costlier than our life time savings.

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We had Lunch at Handi a very popular place for eating “Laal Mans”. For detailed review you can visit Zomato- our own source of choosing the restaurants.

Indian food is not at all photogenic like the other worldwide cuisines but believe me the mutton was amazing.

We had no plans for evening as Amer visit was very tiring. But seeing some energy left in gentry, we proposed to go out to either Albert Hall museum or Birla Temple. Only God knows why we chose to visit the museum to see that  Egyptian mummy and the artillery . The museum had nothing but the pottery work and various trays at the ground floor and some stuff on the Second floor too. Lesson learnt – whenever to choose between museum and temple always choose temple. (At this point I had warned my husband not to touch this paragraph or else you would have been reading the details of the weapons at the museum right now)

Day -4: Pushkar and Ajmer

Pushkar was indeed well planned. Not by us but by parents. Dad had researched that  Pushkar is actually the holiest pilgrim place in India where one can give offering to  ancestors. He had plans to perform ritual there which he had not shared with us.

Jaipur to Pushkar was three hours drive. Pushkar has huge cultural and religious relevance. It is famous for the Bhramaji Temple. We were welcomed by the sight of colorful camel carts and typical Rajasthan local dressed up people.

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We visited the temple where my husband and father performed the Pooja. It turned out to be “Amavasya” which is highly auspicious for worshiping the ancestors.

 

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Panditji and the inquisitive family

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Cow asking for her share

After the Pooja we ate lunch and then it was the time for shopping. The local market was full of small one shutter shops but the stuff was cheaper than Jaipur. While I picked elephants and dolls for my friends, others got bagful of things. Since our priorities were different, we couldn’t spend much time there. But my advice to fellow traveler is that Pushkar is the place where you can do the best shopping of Rajasthan. From Blue Pottery to Rajasthani Quilt, Hand bags to Lehenga Choli, Rajasthani Pagdi to all the possiblities that a true shopper can explore .

 

Ajmer was 40 minutes  from Pushkar. I was very apprehensive about the trip partly because few friends of mine had alerted me that the road to “Dargah” was filled with butcher shops and the sight could be highly inappropriate for us. But nothing  of that sort happened. The road to Dargah was clear from any such thing. Later I came to know the pathway that they were talking leads to “Dhai din ka Jhopda”, another historic place that we didn’t visit.

Our friend had given us contact details of a person who guided us to the Dargah. These guides are called ‘Banda‘. Dargah was beautifully lit up and the smell of itra (perfume) was all around.The road leading to the dargah was another intersting place for shoppers. Don’t forget to buy the very famous ‘Sohan Halwa’ from Ajmer which is available almost everywhere and it is very delicious.

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Sohan Halwa (PC: http://www.traveldglobe.com)

We got chadars and rose petals for offering and entered the main dargah. It was crowded yet manageable. Our banda took us in and  offered prayers for us. The whole atmosphere was so peaceful and soothing.

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Finally I got to see what I had come here for, Yes! the Live Qawwali. Verese sung for the praise of Khwaza Garibnawaz.  I had never heard live Qawwali before. The voice was heavenly, I closed my eyes and found myself lost in the sweet sound of rhythmic clapping. My hand came together to clap in unison, but I was stopped by people. Perhaps the clapping by others disturbs the singer’s rhythm. I came back to my senses when my daughter came to me and said that she wanted to play uncle’s piano (She had never seen a harmonium before) . She took money from us and very happily offered to the harmonium player.

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Then my mother started to remind us that we should leave before it gets too late. Our ‘banda’ asked us to have Prasad which was actually non-veg . We politely declined the offer as we were still under the effect of Pushkar and the word non-veg prashad sounded like a taboo. Now when I think about it I regret it because I don’t know what tastes better- the Lucknow Biryani or Ajmeri Biryani.

At exit gate we saw two big vessel. In one people were offering various things; fruits, grains, rice, money, etc. In other something was cooking. We were told  that in one vessel they collect offering from people and in second food is cooked for whosoever want to eat in dargah same like the “Langar” in Gurudwara.

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Day-5: Shopping and departure

Parent’s train was in afternoon. We had only one place left in our diary which we had not visited, it was “Rawat Kachori ” and it was very close to railway station. So we headed to the place and ordered Pyaj kachori ,Mewa kachori and Choorma. Everything were very delicious but very heavy to digest.

 

We set our parents off and while coming back we stopped at Lassiwala of MI Road and had Lassi . It was yummy and  it gave good competition to Chaudhuri Lassiwala of Amritsar. Since I had forgotten the taste, I asked my husband to arrange another trip to Amritsar and I am not kidding here.

The itch for shopping was still left in us and we decided to visit the Bapu Market again. There we went on a did three hours shopping marathon.

Finally the trip came to an end and it was time to say bye bye to Jaipur. We all had a big smile on our face and my toddler had another place imbibed on her mental map .

Epilogue:

Every evening/night, we used to gather in one room and chat for hours. We skipped our dinner few times due to the late afternoon ghee rich Lunch. We ate peanuts, snacks, fruits together and talked till late in the night. It was quite fun to sit in one room leisurely and just talk.

It was a leisure trip; every step was taken to make sure that the stay and journey must be as comfortable as possible . Nobody was allowed to have tea/coffee in the hotel (except in breakfast which was complimentary). It is against the ideals of my husband, he never approves sipping a 100 Rs tea of Hotels which essentially has nothing in it. My whole family is a tea lover and to resist their temptation and quench their thirst, my husband would take a flask, visit the nearest tea stall, ensure the ratio of all necessary ingredients and bring hot tea for us. My father accompanied him, it strengthen their bonding too,  I used to find them sharing Rajnigandha from the same packet throughout the trip . Anyway, it was so nice to sip that rajasthani Chai. It always added flavors in our late night conversation.

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The Real Chai Shaukeen 

Reviews of Handi: https://www.zomato.com/jaipur/handi-restaurant-mi-road

Hotel Souvenir Peppermint: https://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g304555-d2064904-Reviews-Peppermint_Hotel-Jaipur_Jaipur_District_Rajasthan.html

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 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″

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!!!!

Post 5 : Fish ( To-Paint List -1/5)

I finished the painting and I was wondering why I chose fish. There had to be a reason. Sometimes the sub conscious mind takes very smart sensible decisions. I realized that the fins of the fish are so delicate and  the translucency of the fins are so challenging to paint.

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Oil on panel 6″X8″

Now that I mentioned the fins,  I see so much scope of improvement and learning. I  think I should do a series of fishes.

Here is the step – to -step of this painting :

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This painting took me 2 hrs, stretched over a period of three days as it has been done on weekdays.

Post 4: Wild Lilly is off the easel.

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Oil on Canvas 12×16″

Post 1: Butterfly Series 4/4

Final Butterfly of the series.

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Oil on Canvas 

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Complete series 

Week 25:Messing up with White

I am very uncomfortable with white so at times I just experiment with the colour.

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