December 30, 2008

A Sunday

Sundays are to unwind, to get lazy and watch loads of television. But if you are in Ahmedabad and are looking for something to recharge your senses, head to the Sunday market. Known as Ravivari, this market promises to be a treasure island that will surprise and enthrall you at every step.
This was my second visit and I was particularly looking for some good books. When we reached, the booksellers were still arranging the books.

There were books everywhere you looked. Tied in neat bundles, they awaited the glance that would give them a secure place in yet another bookshelf.

Literature, history, art, law, religion, science, photography – these booksellers have an extraordinary collection of second-hand books. All you need is patience to browse through thousands of books that lie in no particular order.

And if you’re lucky, you may find a 1950’s National Geographic magazine, a book showcasing photographs of the Vietnam War, a rare edition of a classic or an advertising journal that can inspire you for years to come.

Neha picked some 6-7 books. Not to mention, she went crazy looking at the collection :)
After enough browsing and sighing and buying at the book corner, Neha and I went around seeing other interesting things at offer. Gleaming utensils, vehicle parts, loud speakers, gardening tools, wrist watches, perfume bottles, pigeons and chickens – the list is unending, and at times bizarre.

These reminded me of the 'sigdi' we illegally used in our hostel room :P

This man would put the blue rings on the pigeon's feet before giving it away

And there’s a whole section dedicated to second-hand clothes. Stacks of them lay displayed on khatlas.

No matter how small the shop, people always do some puja before beginning the day
Barely used clothes, old-fashioned silhouettes, slightly defective clothes and those that don't fit anymore - this market serves as a perfect recycling agent that gives new life to the old.

But what fascinated me most was the brassware.

I loved the tiffin :)
I just couldn’t get my eyes off the amazing pots and locks.

Each little piece was a work of art, telling a story of a bygone era.
I was very tempted to buy the scorpion lock
The carvings, the designs and the finish were so great, if I could, I would pick all of them!

But then I settled for this cute high-heeled ashtray.
Meanwhile, I received many calls; it was my birthday. Everyone sounded surprised when I said I was at the Sunday market. “It's not the best way to begin a birthday”. I didn't argue. I know they wouldn't understand. They had to experience it to believe how breathtaking this trip can be.
Here, old is new…

Trash is treasure…

Bizarre is beautiful...

All you need to do is look carefully…

And learn to see things in a different angle.

I couldn't have asked for more on my birthday :)

November 27, 2008

Mumbai and the media

Terror strikes Mumbai for the umpteenth time and like always, millions of eyeballs get glued to the idiot box. Yet another tragedy falls in the hands of the media, which exploits every opportunity to capitalize on it. So while the oh-so-brave Barkha asks concerned relatives a twisted 'how do you feel about this', the foolish news anchors continuously flash disturbing images followed by utterly atrocious commentary.

Ethics are thrown in a dustbin. Emotions are played with. Sensationalism sets a new benchmark.

Journalists make sure that viewers don't recover from the state of shock and panic. They showcase their intelligence by flashing live images of rescue squads, which can well be seen by the terrorists too. They sneak in dark corners, talk in hush voices to show you 'exclusive' images of a window behind which a terrorist 'may' be hiding. They pick up random celebrities (Mahesh Bhatt is always their favourite) and ask for their opinions.

Bang comes Barkha with another annoying question, "Is this our 9/11?"

They are loaded with questions, but don't know whom to go for answers. The more they know, they less they understand.

And where are the saviours of Mumbai? Mr. Raj Thackeray? Guess he'll take some action only if he's told that the terrorists are bhaiyas.

November 16, 2008

A life in letters

2 childhood friends, more than a hundred letters and a sea of emotions.

That’s “Tumhari Amrita” – India’s longest running play.

16 years ago, playwright Javed Sidiqqui penned this fabulous play, which continues to spellbind theatre enthusiasts till date. Inspired by an American play, “Love Letters”, it’s the play that broke the myth that good theatre ought to have huge sets, change of costumes and drama of light.  Instead, here you’ll just see 2 chairs where the characters sit and read out the letters they’ve written to each other over a span of 35 years.


Amrita (played by Shabana Azmi) and Zulfi (played by Farookh Sheikh) exchange their first letters at the age of 8. Over the years, their letters grow longer and their relationship stronger. They share their darkest secrets, their fears, their sorrows without any inhibition. The result is a funny, poignant, melancholic chronicle of these two people who could neither live with each other, nor without.

The beauty of the play lies in the brilliant script and both the veteran artists do complete justice to it. Their characters draw more meaning with every new letter. Towards the end you cannot help but shed a tear on the tragic end of their beautiful relationship.

I watched the play day before yesterday and it will always remain an unforgettable experience for me. And I’d highly recommend it to anybody who even has the slightest inclination towards theatre.


November 09, 2008


Hum bhi agar bacche hote

Naam hamara hota gablu bablu

Khane ko milte laddu 

Aur duniya kehti...

November 02, 2008

It was the break i was looking forward to. 6 days of complete freedom - from office and all the other stuff that make life monotonous. Found these strip ads in a lifestyle magazine just before the holidays. They sure were hinting at what was to follow.

I had quite an eventful mini vacation. And though i'm all charged up, i just don't feel like going to office tomorrow :P Will post about the holidays soon. Enjoy! 

October 29, 2008


For me, the most exciting part about Diwali is making a rangoli. Everywhere you go in India, you find a unique style of floor art or rangoli. This tradition goes back to 5000 years in India. While certain designs are created for special occasions such as weddings and religious festivals, a majority of the time, the only limitation is the artists' creativity. 

Traditionally there are two forms of floor art. While rangoli, characteristic of Western India (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan) is a rainbow of colours, the other side of the spectrum are the floor art of Eastern India - Bengal, Orissa, Himachal where they use Alpana, a line drawing in rice powder paste. Since I'm more comfortable with the brush, I prefer the later, though with a difference. Instead of the traditional rice powder, I make use of gheru - powdered red clay. 

Ever since we shifted to the new house (some 10 years back), our rangolis have become bigger and more experimental. Afterall, floor is one of the best canvases an artist can ask for! 

Here's a showcase of what I've been doing since the last few years. 

I'm a big fan of warli painting and tried to use it in this rangoli.

Next year was a bigger, geometric design.

This one's done by my elder sister. She applied gheru on a chart paper and made this neat design with poster colour. The flowers and diyas completed the beautiful design. 

The best part is that this design mat is reuseable!

And this one's one of my favourite. Inspired by mehendi design, I made this rising sun which made best use of the entrance space. 

The mirrors, the decoupaged matki and the diyas gave it a very pretty look at night.

And this year....

my younger sister gave me a helping hand :P

Measuring 9 equal squares was quite a task

But the final product surely brought a smile on my face :)

Hope you all had a beautiful Diwali!

October 12, 2008

Do you see what i see?

It’s all a matter of perspective – the way you look at things.


A small twist, like that to a kaleidoscope, can reveal a completely new picture. All you need to do is explore and unravel the myriad layers of life that lie before you.


See what i found...

A foot-in-mouth syndrome, literally!

Happy Feet :)

Star Attraction


P.S. : Pics are taken from my mobile cam, hence the not-so-great quality.

September 29, 2008

And the award goes to...

Meeeee :)
megha, an artist i truly admire recently awarded me.

For the love of blogging, i would like to pass on this award to some of my favourite blogs -
This is a no strings attached award. You can put the logo in your blog and pass it on to others if you wish. Thank you megha and thank you all for making blogging such an exhilarating experience :)

September 16, 2008

Where Gods Dwell

As I write this post, people across the country are bidding adieu to their favourite god – Ganpati bapa. Meanwhile, I go a li’l back in time to share with you some glimpses from the lives of the people who make these beautiful idols in the city of Ahmedabad.
Welcome to Gulbai Tekra. More often than not, people remember it as the slum around one of the most commercial areas in the city. But come Ganesh Chaturthi and the otherwise filthy area turns into a heaven – literally. Suddenly you begin to see the gods everywhere - in every corner, peeping out from every door and even standing in the middle of the road! For here lives the community that is best known for making Ganesha idols.
I made my trip just before the festival set in and captured some images that convey what makes this place so special.
Artisans put up make-shift camps at every corner and line up their idols, which are made from huge moulds.

The surface is smoothened and then paints are applied with the help of a spraying machine.

The sight of the idol going from white to colour is quite something.

Unlike earlier, idols nowadays are made from Plaster of Paris. Though it makes the process much faster and cheaper, the material doesn’t dissolve in water, causing pollution during Visarjan.

Make it or break it - it's all in our hands...
While men do the major paint job, women help in beautifying it further by painting the accessories.

What comes as the final product is absolutely stunning.

And these are not just the usual Ganpati forms. The artisans take full creative liberty in giving the gods any form that appeals to the devotees. So while you see a sai baba ganpati in one corner you’ll see a swami ganpati in another. Looks like a fancy dress competition to me where our sole hero is switching characters every now and then.

A family invites me to their home to take more pictures – they think I’m a journalist. They take me through some narrow lanes and into their house. I’m greeted by kids and women, giggling and shying away when they see a camera in my hand.  
Inside, more idols await to be greeted.

I take a walk around the little house and find creativity in every corner.

I keep the camera aside and move around the house; there’s always more to be seen than captured. By the time I leave, I’ve absorbed much more than what I’d expected.
It’s not so much about the place, but the people who live here...

You see a sense of pride in whatever they do...

You find joy reflected through their eyes…

You feel more than welcome, though you are a stranger…

Perhaps that’s the reason even the gods dwell here

It’s not about the place, it’s the people…