The time machine


This week, the guest at the Daily Post asks us to tell time. The challenge had me all excited and geared up!

I have a fascination for gears and enjoy watching them at work. The way the individual pieces interlock; their movement harmonious and in-sync; and that rugged metallic look! These simple machines have stood the test of time (pun unintended!) and can work reliably even after years of use, unlike modern digital goods. And so, for this week’s Photo Challenge, I decided to photograph the inner mechanisms of a mechanical clock. Until next time…

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A look inside a clock

Vibrant Chennai


Along one of the ends of Eliot’s beach in Chennai is a long colourful mural depicting city life in Chennai. Here’s one portion of the mural for this week’s Photo Challenge.

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So how many of you folks in Chennai have taken a selfie here?

For more vibrant images, visit the Daily Post.

PS. I haven’t been able to catch up with posts from you for a while – I’m a bit caught up in the offline world. I’ll be away for some more time, although I’ll attempt a blog post now and then. Hope to catch up with everyone once I return to regular routine.

If winter is here…


Delhi’s winters used to be chilly*, with icy weather in the peak season of mid December to mid January. But over the past few years, the winter season has become shorter and shorter – no thanks to global warming. This year was a huge disappointment. The New Year was exceptionally warm with many people giving woollens a pass.

The harvest festivals (Lohri/Makar Sankranti/Pongal etc), which usually fall on the 13th-15th of January every year, mark the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. Even as we prepared to celebrate, the lack of a proper winter was a bit sad.

Perhaps the thick air carried our dejection, and precisely one day prior to the ‘official’ beginning of spring, winter finally showed up in full swing. The cold wave has been here for well over two weeks now, and seems in no mood to leave in a hurry!

Meanwhile, the bougainvillea plant in our balcony seems to follow a different calendar altogether. Even as the other plants geared up to brace the winter chill, this plant began flowering for the first time in our home last autumn. Throughout the season, there hasn’t been a single day without a shade of pink amid the grey haze and fog.


On a lazy Sunday morning, I peep out from under the rajaai**. The curtains are only half drawn – there’s no need for them. The fog and frosted glass guarantee privacy. And the sun hasn’t been showing up for work for a few days. I coerce myself to get up, if only to wish my friend. I walk up to the balcony door. It’s all white and grey. A few plants are struggling to keep warm. Most of their leaves have dried and fallen. But one thorny plant stands there defiantly. I step out gingerly and wish her a good morning.

She wishes me in her own way. It’s cold for both of us and she doesn’t mind me going back inside. As I turn around, she smiles knowingly.

If winter is here, can spring be far behind?

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Hope ‘springs’ eternal – even at 5 degrees C!

* No, we don’t have snowfall or blizzards but day time temperatures of 7 degrees C are quite ‘normal’

** a thick blanket, usually stuffed with cotton

For more optimistic pictures, gather around the cozy fireplace of The Daily Post.

Alphabet


Several years ago, my uncle gifted me a bead loom kit. Seeing the actual tools used to make bead jewellery got me excited. I couldn’t wait for my holidays to start using it. My mother and I read through the manual and she assembled the loom. I drew out an elaborate design on the drafting paper provided with the kit and had begun imagining a bracelet on my wrist!

It was only once I had drawn the grid for the design of my bracelet and begun weaving each individual bead into the loom that I realised the effort that is involved in beading.

I have always found it difficult to haggle with street vendors selling these kinds of bracelets. Having tried it out myself, I don’t even think of negotiating.

This one with my initial is one of the handful of bracelets I weaved on the loom.

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Explore all the alphabets over at the Daily Post

Weight(less)


This week’s weighty photo challenge had me jumping with delight. A perfect excuse to share this picture I took at Anandagram last month.

Anandagram offers a beautiful and serene environment to visitors. It houses 3 private museums housing traditional Indian household objects, terracotta and textiles from across the country. The buildings, styled like traditional houses, are surrounded by vast manicured lawns with discarded objects turned into art installations! Kept spotlessly clean, this leaf was about the only item which ‘littered’ the place – and it too was pretty :)

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Homecoming


The shrines at every street turning.
The fifty square feet kolams.
It looks beautiful.

The yelai sappaadu and the million varieties of everything.
The nongu and manga inji.
It tastes exotic.

The aroma of freshly ground coffee.
The incense and malligai.
It smells heavenly.

The taalams of the kutcheri audience.
The rustling of the Palm trees.
It sounds familiar.

The waves rushing towards me.
The sea breeze and the sand.
It feels like home.


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“Do you like Delhi or Chennai?” My cousin’s grandfather asked me in a soft childlike voice.

“Both!” I replied.

“No, no, no. I won’t accept that. You have to choose!”

“That’s like asking a child to pick a parent!” I protested.

“Of course! And you must pick one” he replied with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

“Well, I prefer Delhi. But Chennai comes a very very close second.”

He smiled. It was impossible to tell if he was happy with my answer or not.

No matter where you are, or where you’re headed, wishing you a year in the company of friends and family.

As for us, we spent the New Year in both cities :)


Glossary

yelai sappaadu/ilai sappadu: literally, food on a leaf. A traditional platter typically served on a plantain leaf. For a more humorous explanation, check out this video.

nongu: Asian palmyra palm, toddy palm, or sugar palm (in science: Borassus flabellifer)

manga inji: literally, mango ginger.  variety of ginger that tastes like raw mango (in science: Curcuma amada)

malligai: Jasmine. Ladies adorn their hair with garlands made of Jasmine

taalam: beats of a musical composition

kutcheri: musical performance, typically used with reference to Carnatic classical music. Audiences across Tamil Nadu can often be seen tapping their hands to the rhythm of the musical piece.

Gathering Knick Knacks


Those who know me, whether in person or via WordPress, know that I love collecting things in general – be it coins, rocks, feathers, chocolate boxes… And more often than not, the packaging of a product makes my heart jump for joy!

Here’s yet another addition to my ever-growing box of knick knacks!

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Coins with Greek motifs

For more interpretations of this week’s Photo Challenge, be sure to gather around the Daily Post!