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.


coconut-eyes

“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 ūüôā


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.  A 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.

Guarding the hills


The Dadhikar Fort is well concealed in the Aravalli Hills and even with modern technology, it can be hard to find. So when we did eventually find it, we tried to get as close a look at we could!

Photographs edited with the help of my brother.

Related post: The fort in the hills


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #29 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate


Luxury hotels tend to have a rather extravagant décor. Here are a few pictures I snapped using my phone a few months back at a couple of Delhi hotels. Click on the images to view larger size.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ornate.”


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #8 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat


I’ve always had a soft corner for birds. But it’s always been a challenge to photograph them near my house. They hardly sit still long enough to allow me to take a picture. The birds in the jungle though seemed to be quite extroverted.

The Jungle Babblers, which are so restless in the city, didn’t seem to be afraid of us at all. One sat right next to us on our Gypsy, while a few more were perched atop the wind shield. Looking at the pictures, I suppose they were probably angry because we were trespassing their territory.

We spotted a Rufous Treepie at the exact same spot under a bush three times. I suspect it was looking after a nest, although I didn’t find one.

There were several Bulbuls too — some that allowed me to come real close. As strange as it sounds, I’d never been so close to them before in my life. And in my greed to capture a close-up, I didn’t get a clean shot at all.

Here are a few shots I did get.
Click on a picture to view larger size.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Treat.”

WPC – From Every Angle: Spiral Staircase


A few months back, we paid a visit to an old bungalow in Old Delhi, and I couldn’t take my camera off this beautiful spiral staircase!

And here’s yet another angle beneath my feet.

Many thanks to the kind landlady for tolerating this shutter-bug ūüôā

More angles of everything under the sun over at the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

WPC: Today Was a Good Day


A photo story…

Waking up to the smell of fresh filter kaapi

Filter Kaapi
Perhaps the best coffee I have tasted – in Vaideeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu

The sight of beautiful flowers on my way to work

Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea growing wild

Getting hands-on experience at work

Independence Day Decor
Lending a hand for the office decoration

Attending productive meetings, seminars and conferences

Meeting Boats
A conference note-boat (how I wish I had thought of it!)

Coming home to see a dream come to life

Kolam T-Shirt
T-shirt with my mom’s kolam, printed by MyDreamStore

And to end a day on a sweet note, a cake — or two!

Two Cakes
Celebrating my dad’s birthday with a cake baked at home, and one from the bakery

To see what a good day means to other bloggers, visit the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge

Art from scrap


It was on the first of March, a Sunday, that our family got together. It was after such a long time that we went out together, that we joked that it would rain. And sure enough, it did! Little did we know, that it was the beginning of a very strange phenomenon. Not only on that day, but almost every subsequent Sunday, it rained.

North India has witnessed, over the past two months, unpredictable weather, and many crops have been damaged due to this unseasonal rain. Vrindavan, it appears had its own share of golf-ball sized hail storm, if the pictures shared on WhatsApp are to be believed*.

Is this weather a result of climate change? I don’t know. But it definitely seems eerie.

A few weeks back, I was at the India Habitat Centre, where I saw a very interesting art installation, and seemed to fit in rather well with the issue at hand. Delhi-based artist Gopal Namjoshi combined scrap iron to create a garden, to highlight the importance of ecological conservation. The garden included flowers, small birds, deer and peacocks, as well as a man resting on a chair!

Below are a few snapshots of the installation.

For more about the artist, please visit Gopal Namjoshi’s Website

Related News Article: Installations made from scrap

* Images of the Vrindavan hailstorm – Any of you received these images on WhatsApp?

Spring Reunion – Event Branding


I’d written earlier about an event, for which I had done the visual branding. Here are some shots of the event — Spring Reunion 2015.

Death by chocolate!


A sweet entry
Large Candy at the exit of Chennai Airport

Being late December, it was no surprise to see Christmas Trees decorating the airports of Delhi and Chennai. But I should have known the large candy sticks at the exit of Chennai Airport were more than just festive decorations – they were a sign of things to come!

We ate out almost everyday. And for every meal there was dessert! Adirsam, Mysore pak, Jangiri, Badusha, Kesari and many types of Payasams accompanied the traditional meals.  We tried out the local soan papdi sold by a street vendor in Mylapore. And ice cream at the beach was a must.

One particular day, we had a double doze of chocolate.¬†One of the desserts was a¬†sizzling brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, at Haven Sampoorna. The other was ‘Death by chocolate’ at Tangerine.

It was hard to resist the temptation to dig into these beauties. And after eating, I couldn’t help but wish for more! There never really can be enough of chocolate, can there? ūüėČ