Shine


This weekend India will celebrate Diwali. And preparations for the festival are in full swing. Homes are being scrubbed squeaky clean. Renovated houses are getting last minute paint jobs. Traders – both online and offline – are running promotional offers. And all of us are busy shopping for clothes and gifts!

The most important aspect of the festival, of course, are the lights. With every nook and corner being illuminated, the streets are one of the most beautiful sights to see this time of the year. Even the most common, everyday routes we take, turn glamourous.

As I was walking near a popular market a few days back, lights caught my eye from behind the trees. I would normally just walk past the glittery market, but this time, I took a detour just to soak in the festive ambience.

All decked up – Diwali preparations in full swing

Unfortunately, Diwali is also the worst possible time to head out because pollution levels skyrocket. It’s a shame that noisy and noxious crackers are still so popular. I’ll admit we used to burst crackers as children too. And it’s been years since we stopped. I hope you, my dear reader, will refrain from contributing to the pollution levels this year and enjoy the sights without the sounds.

Update: Big Bazaar does a fabulous job of getting the message across with their paper patakha ad. Check this out:

Here’s wishing you a very happy, prosperous and safe Diwali.


To see more shiny posts from around the globe, head over the theΒ Daily Post.

Lighting up Diwali with colourful candles


Wishing you all a very happy Deepavali and a prosperous year ahead!


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #11 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

The Owl


‘Come, quick! You have to take a look at this!’

My father’s voice conveyed both his excitement and the urgency of the moment. We rushed to where he stood – at the door to the balcony. He signalled us to wait there and pointed outside.

A huge white bird sat perched on the railing of our balcony. All around it, the crows cawed as loud as their hoarse voices allowed them. This new bird was clearly not welcome. But the commotion didn’t faze the uninvited guest. We gazed in awe at its majestic presence. That was the first time I had ever seen an owl.

My grandmother (father’s mother) was sitting on her bed, when we asked her to join us. She was weak with old age and walked slowly. We prayed that the bird would wait for her. We didn’t dare step outside, fearing we may scare her* away. And she obliged. My grandmother was as excited to see the bird as we were. ‘Goddess Lakshmi has paid us a visit,’ she said.

She must have sat there for half an hour, clearly in no hurry to go anywhere. The crows could caw straight into her ear, and she couldn’t care less! We looked outside from our door to the balcony the entire time she sat there. We just couldn’t get enough of her!

* * *

The owl is called ullu in Hindi, and the word ullu also refers to a fool. I wonder why. With eyes wide open, they seem to be observant creatures. With greying hair and a deep thoughtful expression, to me, they are at once a picture of wisdom, peace and soft, furry, cuddly goodness. I’ve also seen very few owls — which may be the real reason why I find them fascinating.

As northern India prepares to welcome Goddess Lakshmi to their homes on Diwali, I wonder, will they call her consort a fool?

Wishing you a Happy Naraka Chathurdasi (and a happy chhoti Diwali, for those of you in the north!)

* I’m not sure if the owl was a him or a her. But I’d like to think of it as her. πŸ™‚

One of the several bird paintings while I was in high school
One of the several birds I painted while I was in high school. It is now perched on the mantle at my grandparents’ (mother’s parents) home

nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #10 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

A Very Happy Deepavali


We hadn’t really planned on making a rangoli this year. It isn’t something we do traditionally.

All that changed, however, when a close friend of mine sent me a photograph of a beautiful rangoli she had made with her sister.

My cousin and I went shopping for colours, and with the help of my mother, drew a rangoli together.

Wishing you all a very very happy and prosperous (and hopefully cracker-free) Deepavali.

Happy Diwali


We mixed up the traditional white stone Kolam powder with colourful Rangoli powders to create a small message. A couple of shots of our little decoration for this year’s Diwali…

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Deepavali!

The Lamps Are Lit


The dust has finally settled – quite literally. Here are the sights (no sounds, since we’ve gone cracker-free) from this year’s Diwali.

Deepavali (Diwali) is a time when people celebrate. Reasons and ways of celebrating vary.

Lighting the stairs
Lighting the stairs

But the lights are the main features of the festival. In the place where I live, the festivities begin only in the evening, whereas in the place where our ancestors lived, the festivities are over even before the day begins. Its complicated, and I’ll save that for another post.

Decorative Earthen Lamp
Decorative Earthen Lamp

So while the whole society around us celebrates, we have nothing to do. A feeling of loneliness, and isolation, inevitably begins to creep in. Something I term festive blues (okay, there may be others who’ll claim to have termed it thus).

This year, to fight the festive blues, I decided watch our neighbours making a rangoli outside their house.

Traditional Peacock Lamp
A Traditional Brass Peacock Lamp

Again, in the place I live in, rangolis are made only on very special occasions, and are a form of recreation. In the culture we belong to, new rangolis are made daily. So when we see people making a big deal about rangolis, I really can’t understand it.

Small Decorative Clay Lamp
Small Decorative Clay Lamp

Since our rangoli had been made early morning, there wasn’t much to do. So yet again, I picked up the very intimidating camera and captured some sights of this diwali.

* * * * * *

Fighting against darkness
Fighting against darkness

If you intend visiting India during Diwali, it could either be the best, or the worst experience of your life. All the bazaars are flooded with the most beautiful lamps and idols and what not. All houses are decorated with lights – both electric as well as oil lamps/candles. And since The Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, enters only clean houses, all houses are squeaky clean and colourful rangolis are drawn. Of course, all the shops are crowded and everything is expensive. So you have to have great bargaining skills. And if you don’t like crackers or loud noises, well, then nothing can protect you against them!

Pots of flame
Pots of Flame

Cheers!

PS. The photos here are free for anyone wanting to use them for non-commercial purposes. A link would be appreciated πŸ™‚


‘The Lamp Is Lit’ is a book authored by Ruskin Bond.

Lighting up the path
Lighting up the path
Welcoming the Goddess
Welcoming the Goddess

Happy Deepavali!


Another Deepavali (Diwali), another card! Also, a poster I made exactly a year ago… but forgot about!

Happy Deepavali!

I got the background wooden texture from here.
The lamp in the card is actually a sketch I made recently (after a break of 10 months, I finally picked up the pencil). I hope to post the sketch soon.

Celebrate a cracker-free Diwali

This is a poster I made last year. The background image (which I really liked so much, I just threw in a bunch of words to make it a poster) is by Anshu. I’d forgotten about it when I was uploading to the gallery (and it wasn’t very original either). This time around, I decided to upload it.

Wishing everyone a very Happy and Cracker-free Diwali πŸ™‚
Cheers!

Festival Season!


It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post… Thanks to some work… Hope to write about the experience soon, for now, here’s a greeting for the upcoming Festival Season

Its been a long time since I’ve paid a visit to the blog. In fact its been a long time since I’ve paid a visit to anybody over the past few months.

It’s the annual competition season and the Creative Minds Competition is around the corner. As usual everything had to be done at the very last moment and as the deadline for sending entries drew nearer, everything took a back seat.

When I say, everything, I mean everything including food and sleep! For the last week we slept a little more than a few hours and food refused to go down out throats as tension and pressure reached its peak. Looking back, I’m struggling to recall all that happened – everything seems blurry.

This project involved two people – myself and my friend Atul. In a way it was a shared dream. We took up the project more as a challenge to ourselves, to stretch ourselves, and to find out how much we could do. At first, we felt it was a small project, and the two of us would be enough. But as things started shaping up, the magnitude of our work multiplied. After initial reluctance, even we realised we needed at least one more person for the job.

Both of us knew who we wanted on the team, but as luck would have it, she was busy. We asked our mentor if there would be anyone who could do the job. Even we tried to look for that elusive third person, but in vain. Finally we decided that the two of us were enough. Everyone around us had doubts about our capability to pull off the project, perhaps even we had our fair share of doubts.

But we had to finish the project. After all, it was our idea, and now that it was out of the bag, we couldn’t let some one else pick it up. And above everything else, it was our reputation on the line. Last year, I had the misfortune of being a part of 2 projects of a similar scale. One that got completed, and one that didn’t. The one that was completed fell short of expectations (and I fervently thank my stars I didn’t play much of a part in it). The one in which I was involved more actively, couldn’t be completed. To be honest, no one could be blamed for the fiasco. The time period allotted for both the projects was simply too short.

We couldn’t afford to repeat last year’s mistakes.

Our deadline was the 30th of September, and somehow, we scraped out something. Its all over (at least officially), and it has been a very adventurous journey, filled with ups and downs, and last minute patches. I do not know when we started it (not the precise date anyway) but we had a rough storyline in the third week of June (my email puts it to 19 June).

Over the past 3 months we have learnt a lot. In many ways it was a crash course in project management, as well as time management. We realised how much effort professionals have to put in to produce quality results. As a lay person, it is easy to criticise what we see, but it is only when we try to achieve the same, we begin to appreciate what it takes to be there, and do it. At a student level, theoretically things seem simple and logical. But when it comes to doing things, especially with a deadline at hand, it is an entirely different ball game.

As I mentioned before, we managed to complete the project. But honestly, it was way below what we had expected. Perhaps we bit off more than we could chew, perhaps it was because it was our first attempt, perhaps we were one person short, maybe it was the lack of time, or perhaps a salad of everything, with a pinch of technical glitches (not according to taste)!

So after all that’s said and done, we’ve mutually decided not to share our adventure till we can safely make it public without embarrassment. Now that there is no deadline hanging over us, it is hard to tell when that time will come, but I sure hope its sooner rather than later.

For now, we’re enjoying a little break (spent the past 2 days sleeping :P)

Since the festival season has already begun, I decided to share something I made last year. It is a Diwali card I made for display. I had presented it to our mentor but Atul managed to pull out a photograph he took of it. So here it is…

Happy Navratri and Happy Diwali in advance πŸ™‚

Cheers!!