"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way-things I had no words for." ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Picked up the brush today

I seem to always like the light and dark contrasts so when I looked out of my guest room window the other day I thought the roses looked absolutely beautiful looking from inside. Somehow the colours looked so striking. I don't think they would have looked so striking from the other side so decided to see if I could actually put them on paper with my limited skills of water colour painting. It was a challenge because painting roses is not easy and especially this pink rose with so many petals was a great challenge. Anyway I just wanted to see if I could get that looking from inside out into bright sunlight feeling in this painting. Don't think I archived it though:-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's that time of the year

I love this time of the year. The garden is in full bloom. Just looking at plants gives such a joy. I am sure your gardens are blooming too and you are enjoying the lovely weather while it lasts

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The other side of Lake

This is a follow up post from the previous one. Just thought I would show you my feeble attempt to paint the lake from memory from the opposite side. We used to go for walks often along the lake and somehow I can never forget how beautiful it looked with the mountains as a back drop. Ofcourse I painted this oh maybe 30 yrs back and I am glad I did it as it helps to keep my memory fresh even though the painting is not great :-)  I may have shown you this painting before but I am not sure so if you have been following me for a long time perhaps you have already seen  it :-)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Where I grew up

Today I thought I would shed a little bit of light as to where I grew up in India and the idea came from Barbara's wonderful blog and post which you can read here.
When I was about 2 years my dad moved to this little sleepy hill station in Central India called Pachmarhi where he worked. It is nestled amongst a range of mountains. It was discovered by a Captain James Forsyth of the British army during the British rule. I can now see why he chose to make this place a training ground for his troops because it looks like a tiny part of England plonked in the middle of these rugged mountains. During my time there weren't many people except for the army which at that time was fairly small as well. As kids we spent many hours just cycling and playing on the hills in front of our house and disused grounds of the army. We never ventured into the jungles which were close by for fear of wild animals .Many a times one could hear a laughing hyena or howling of a jackal in the nights. We made up our own games and our own adventures since there was no TV or for that matter many toys to play with. My companion was most of the time books when friends left. Friends were few and far between since everyone was in the army and it was a moving population. Being a small community there were often many get to gathers in the old army club and children were always a part of these events. It was during one of these events when I found my treasure trove of old books. There used to be a disused shed/room that we thought had a lot of broken furniture etc dumped in. The door on that particular day we noticed was slightly ajar so we decided to hide in this room which was in darkness. As we huddled together behind the door I became slowly aware through the faint light that was filtering through that the room was filled with books. Every shelf was overflowing and many were on the floor too. You will not believe the joy I felt when I saw them. To cut a long story short I nagged my parents to find out if I could borrow books from there. It turned out that long ago that was the library for the army officers who came to the club. Now those days club was not what today you would call a club. It was purely a place for the officers to relax and have a game of, billiards, table tennis, tennis or badminton or cards and have a drink and chat. There was even a stage where sometimes they would put up plays etc. anyway I was allowed to go in and rummage around even though the person in charge thought there were no books for kids. He was wrong!  to my delight I found many books. Amongst them,  Alibaba and the forty theives, gulliver's travels, Winnie the Pooh, warrols stories, and many more. From then on I would take a book often and read them during the monsoon months when we could not go out to play. There were wonderful books written by captain James Forsyth on the flora and fauna of the area. Oh it was a treasure trove. Sadly one day when a new person in charge took over he closed the place down. I do not know what happened to all the books. I think some went to the main army library and others just got discarded. Many of the books were bound in fabric covers and I got to keep one of my favourite books "House at Pooh corner " . Since the library was closed and they did not know what to do with a single book that I went to return I got to keep it. Sadly now I do not even have that as mum gave away all my books after I got married. To date I have not forgiven her for that:-)
Down below is snapshot of part of the town. If you look right in the centre of the hill in the background and slowly bring your eyes down you will see first a tiny white box shaped building. That was my school. In the bottom left corner as you move your eyes across the lake in the middle there is a building. That was my dad's office. Our house was about five minutes walk from there to the left. Unfortunately it is not in the picture.

Below me and my brother in a picnic spot. We often went on picnics to beautiful natural  falls or pools.

Below is the highest peak of the mountain ranges and one could see beautiful sunsets and sunrises from there

My parents and me with our cat. I love cats and dogs and always grew up with pets in the house.
At one point we even had a chicken that would lay an egg only indoors on a chair:-). 

One of my few very good friends. 

Here we are together again. I was feeling very sad as her father had been posted to another town and she was leaving. 

Me with my lovely Siamese cat.

At school listening to the botany teacher.

From left mum, me, brother and dad sitting down and some friends who loved to hear dad play the piano so they would visit us often, and our dog. Our dog never liked to be photographed. My brother is trying hard to make him sit for the photograph session :-)

Dad dressed as Father Christmas for a Christmas event. He didn't fool us for a moment :)

Me feeling rather self conscious and my dog looking away again!

Kids from the neighbourhood. We all got invited to each other's  birthday parties no matter what age.  Age was never a barrier. Even parents came along and it would become an occasion to meet and socialise.

This was the church we worshipped in. I did not have a picture of it so had to take it from the net hence it is in colour. It saddens me to see that it is slowly crumbling away. I notice the portico roof has probably gone and they have tried to repair it by putting a tin roof. It is beautiful church 

Look at the stain glass windows. I have seen similar windows in one or two cathedrals here in England 

Again I have had to pinch this from the net as I don't have any photos of the insides either.

Things have changed drastically since I left way back in 1978. Someone had a brainwave and decided to put Pachmarhi on the tourist map. It is a shame really because it is has been commercialised without giving any thought to the environmental issues. I can imagine the garish looking hotels that have sprung up everywhere. Where there was not a soul on the streets now it is overrun by tourists and all the riff raff that comes along with it. The beautiful tranquil favourite picnic spots have been decimated by man made structures and hawkers everywhere. Where the environment was clean and one could drink water straight from the streams is now polluted with all the rubbish that is thrown around. There is even another lake been dug up where there was gentle rolling meadows. Why there was a need for another lake when there was one already there I have no idea. Suddenly loads of school and college students are landing there going into the jungles and collecting plant specimens for their studies. While doing this they do not realise that the rare plants that were found are becoming extinct by so much of pillage. Does it teach them something that they cannot otherwise learn without collecting specimens? In this day and age I do not think one needs to collect specimens to learn. 
Sorry I have started rambling now about something I have no control over. I guess I feel rather angry that sometimes we humans spoil the beauty of our earth in the name of progress. C'est la vie.
So that was my dream place and the beautiful and magical childhood I spent there. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bank holiday weekend in Rome

I was in Rome over the bank holiday period. Saw the museums and Sistine Chappell . It was hot humid and crowded but worth it. I shudder to think how it will be in the height of season. Although I had been to Rome once before I had missed out seeing the Vatican City because I had a stomach bug. So decided to go again. I also visited Tivoli where Hadrian's villa and villa D'est are situated. It was good to be away from the crowds. Hadrian's villa was constructed at the foot of the Tiber river. Now it is a charming mix of ruins and natural landscape . It is difficult to imagine the scope of the original Villa. Only one fifth of the three hundred  hectares that originally occupied the site are visible today. 300 masterpieces have so far been recovered and displayed in museums and collections all over the world. Only the bare frame of the villa remains today but one can see glimpses of the past grandeur and superb architecture of the villa and imagine what it would have been like in its hey day.

Villa D'est
It was built by cardinal of Ferrara. Since he was accustomed to pomp and luxury he decided to build this villa. It was built very rapidly even by today's standards . Inspite of his aspirations to the papacy he never became a pope.
The garden of the villa I found absolutely amazing. It has more than 400 fountains and jets.  Every imaginable nook and corner of the garden has a fountain. A few were not working and I am not sure if they had been shut or not in working order but imagine so many fountains in a confined space! Just so amazing and there were fountains inside the villa as well which were not turned on and I am guessing this must be to preserve the beautiful frescos on the ceiling and walls. If you have not visited Rome and intend to do so don't miss out visiting these two sites.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

We had a fun day

Today was our British Red Cross fundraising event. We reached our target in flying colours. Of course this would not have been possible without all your help and support. So I thank each and everyone of you who contributed for this great cause. You can go to this link to checkout how much we raised if you wish to do so   http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/thecrazyquintet or the the button on the left hand column will take you to the page. The link will be open for a few more weeks if anyone else wants to chip in. 
After we registered at the desk we started our walk. We had so much fun along the way. The weather was great. London was full of smiling people and many of them waving and some cheering us on.And many many tourists who no doubt wondered what we were doing walking in crazy red shoes:-)  Along the way we too did some sight seeing:) . It also made me realise how much we miss when we are going by public transport or in a car. I must have travelled those streets umpteen times on my way to work but never knew that there were so many little interesting nooks and corners along the way.
Victoria embankment gardens
Millennium bridge
St. Paul's cathedral
The iconic tower bridge

The Shard
Old Blackfries bridge

All in all it was a wonderful day.
Once again a huge thank you to everyone.


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