My brother went on a trip to Haridwar Rishikesh and took this picture of Lord Shiva! Its a treasured posession for me, for a reason! In my growing years, in my parent's home, there was a calendar of Lord Shiva with the most serene and calm face. That visual has stayed in my mind for years, and I often close my eyes and think about that exact picture when I am feeling restless or upset. I feel much better instantly. Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to take that picture ( If it was with my parents, the first thing they would have done is to courier it to me!)....
Now, this picture comes really close to that calendar picture! :-) I am in a happy place again and it adorns my desktop! Its breathtaking, isn't it? I feel like the Lord talks to me through this and says 'Why fear when I am here?'
Interestingly, my brother blogs here ( Click here to read his blog) and looks like he has been doing it long before me. I never knew, neither did he tell me...I just found it by a coincidence.I like the fact that he has made an effort to learn and share the significance of many Hindu practices or why we do certain things the way we do! I never knew the significance of Om or the reason why people wear Vibhuti on their forehead. (Click on the colored text to read it). Often, I have seen many people comment on how outdated certain practices are, without taking the effort to understand why we do it. In ancient times, most practices were forced on people, with a fear factor attached to it, so that it was actually practised. I agree, it is not the smartest way to go about it but hey, sometimes only that works! I guess they were not very good at marketing their theories or ideas in a better package!
Yes, sometimes adults do not have the patience or maybe the knowledge, to explain why? But with google, there is so much information available in a click! I am glad that he is doing this in his blog, even his introduction is so profound.
Note: I am not interested in any counter-opinions about Hinduism or its practices. This blog is reflective of MY opinions and thoughts. If you feel differently, by all means, Please do! To each his own, except not on MY BLOG!
Literally!!...(don't get it all wrong!)..I mean, my love for gardening!! :P
As a kid, I remember, my brother and I, had few household chores to do, and I would water the plants sometimes. I would often watch my mom toil for hours in the balcony ( we had a few plants on our balcony coz we stayed in a spacious apartment, my parents still do) digging, watering, manure...the works! I would often wonder what does she see in these plants? When there are so many people here, wanting her attention ( which basically meant her daughter!), why does she spend so much time with these plants? We would often have tomatoes, bitter gourd and other home-grown vegetables in our rasam or curry. Amma would be so excited that it is something she had grown. Now, I understand that feeling! I had written this (click on 'this' to read that post) when we had strawberries at home, when we just arrived in Pune. We brought saplings from Mahabaleshwar and when we had cut strawberries with our cereal or muesli, I had a feeling of deja vu!
I didn't realize then that as a working mom, she had so many things to do! For that matter, I didn't understand that she would need to do something for herself, that gives her happiness...other than the kids, home, husband, work and million other things.
Now, I can't imagine how people can't realize beautiful plants are....or how lovely it is to see a plant grow or a flower bloom. Often, the first thing I do, once I get up from bed, is to see if the seed that I have been watering regularly, has sprouted? half a centimeter more? a new bud? some new petals? I get really excited and drag S from the bathroom while he is brushing groggy-eyed . I ask him to figure out what is the change?...And he is clueless!!! I want him to share the same joy and excitement I feel...
I am totally in love with gardening and I have started working on my breakfast table in the balcony adjoining the bedroom. With spring in full bloom, there are lovely flowers and little saplings available everywhere in the market. ( will post pics soon when it is ready!)
Everytime, S and I go to the market, we come back with plants. S groans and runs in the opposite direction! Another addition to my obsession for cushion covers, clothes and wind chimes!!!
...as I flick through the pages of a Fashion Magazine ( only English magazine I could find!), I see this!
Pic Courtesy: www.elle.com
...I have seen a few women sport these pants in Paris, and often wondered what the hell can it be? I was really amused to find out that they are called 'Dhoti Pants' and of course, they do look like Dhoti!
*For the uninitiated, Dhoti is a long unstitched cloth wound around the lower body, passed between the legs and tucked into the waist, especially in the rural parts of India.
You can rarely see anyone in Dhotis in urban India. Its so great that the Dhoti has travelled so far....from rural India to HI-FASHION!!!!
...Snatches of conversations in Paris...S and I stroll across the open-air market in Odeon and as we are window-shopping, we found a shop that sold ties. Its an interesting package in a cute box that opens up to hold, a tie, cuff-links and a silk scarf or cloth or whatever people wear on their formal suits. S goes to office in formal suits and he often needs lots of ties ( not that I need any excuse to shop!). So we pick one among them...when the owner, a slightly old man...very excitedly...
Old Guy: Are you Indians? ( with a big smile on his face!)
Me: Yes! ( S conveniently leaves the talking to me, as always) ;-)
Old Guy (skeptically) : You are from the real India, not London?
Me: Yes !! ( amused)
He grabs my hand and very excitedly, shows me all the stoles.
He tells me all this is from your country, very beautiful, eh?
Me: I know! :-)
Old Guy: India is such a vast and beautiful country....He says 'Namaste' and folds his hands and bows!!
I am very pleased and we thank him.******************************************************************************************* I am ravenously hungry as I have not had lunch so I stop by to have Crêpes, on the way back home from my French class. I spent a long time figuring out how to get there and all the tension to reach on time!! Its a really old lady who is making them and I feel sad as her hands shiver as she spreads the batter.( S and I often disagree with this, I feel sad that old people have to work at this age, instead of having a relaxed life while he thinks its good that they are independant and active!)
Crepe Lady: ( in French) So which country are you from?
Me: ( hearing the only word 'country', I get what she asks...) I am from India!
Crepe Lady (very excited and a big smile on her face!): Big country, lots of people....you speak 30 languages?
Me: I smile and say that there are about 26 states in India and each state speaks a different language! Oui! ( Yes!)
Crepe Lady: (speaks in broken English now)...You are very beautiful...all Indians are very beautiful!
Me: Merci Madame...
Crepe Lady: They are very intelligent too! Indians..very intelligent!
Me( amused): smiles...
Crepe Lady: You know Sonia Gandhi, she is from my Italy! Indian man married her...very intelligent!!!
Me: !!!!!!! ( now I know why she thinks we are intelligent)...LOL!
Jokes apart, I was very pleasantly surprised to know that she knows so much about India and is generally aware about other countries as well. I felt very proud. It feels good to hear such things about our country! :-)
...the pleasure of meeting people...face-to-face conversations...Yup, that is the only thing I miss now that I work from home here. I have always been interested in watching people, how they behave, how they react to something! Of course, in the process, I tend to get affected as well. I can rarely be detached about something; I find it very difficult to hold my tongue! I always need to say something...I miss that! I have become pretty quiet except for snatches of conversations with few friends I have here, who don't speak English too well, only language i can communicate in, at least as of now! Hopefully, the French classes that start soon help me learn the language well and to make friends too.
I have always worked since graduation. So i feel strongly about doing something all the time. Even when I quit my job in Bangalore to move to Pune, I started learning glass paintings and went on to sell a few pieces..within a month! I think its very important to be yourself, do something on your own. ANYTHING, but you MUST do something! Now that I am in Paris, I can't look for opportunities immedietly coz I need the Carte De Sejour ( residence permit) to look for work or to start working. Expats don't get work easily as employers prefer to employ the natives and fair enough, me thinks! So I am freelancing and sourcing writing/editing projects since the Internet started working. I have done some freelance work on and off even before when I had a regular job, that helps me a lot now! I used to write so that I don't lose touch and it has helped and how!
I am also learning how difficult it can be, to run a business ( I mean, to do your own thing!). I have always thought its a dream come true to be your own boss, so to speak! In a short while, I have interacted with really different clients with absolutely different needs. Some of them don't clearly explain or elaborate their requirements upfront. So I work hard on it and finally I get really frustrated when it goes kaput. On the other hand, there are good ones too who know clearly what they want. It takes 'all kinds' to make up this world. So I am learning too; to never give up, to be patient, to listen and not to take myself too seriously.
The best part of working from home is that I get to listen to some awesome music in the background, I have been hooked on to Advaitha ( Click to listen to their music!)and take a break to chat with my friends online or play a game on Facebook! I am at ease, take long leisurely baths, relax while being able to do something constructive. I can even speak to my parents everyday on Skype! ...and ask for a third-person perspective from friends on my writing, if it needs to be reviewed...What would I do without the Internet? I wonder...
The music, interesting conversations, the work that flows in, on and off...am learning to enjoy this phase too! I start French Lessons for 3 hours/3 days next week!!! I am looking forward to it...
.... makes an interesting center-piece in the living room!
....colorful and aromatic candles to soothe your senses!
more organized wardrobe ( Part I)...
...organized bathroom! ( where you can find it when you want to!)
A cute kitchen table with colorful Masalas!
* IKEA is a swedish home decor store that has a chain across the world! They sell modern furniture and trinkets...mostly decor and interiors :-) They are pioneers in home decor stuff but sadly do not retail in India YET! For me, it was like visiting Heaven!!