The friends I made during the year


The last few hours of the year are here, and I find myself sitting alone… In search for company, I decided to rummage through some of the things I’ve been up to over the past few months… The end of yet another year… Here’s wishing everyone a great year ahead… better than the year gone by…

Lucky Charm From Sikkim
Lucky Charm From Sikkim

In the beginning of the year, my brother had the opportunity to visit Sikkim, a small state in the Himalayas. Among the many souvenirs he brought back were lucky charms (I’m assuming they have something to do with feng shui, but I really can’t say for sure). Here’s one that posed for me on the table…

Pendant
Pendant

The table is always a work-in-progress. Sometimes its squeaky clean, but mostly, its got some odd objects visiting it. While I was looking around the rather cluttered table, I noticed this pendent… My mother and I purchased it from a street seller on an impulse. It’s one of my favourites… and we bought it really really cheap…

The First Of Many Seashells
The First Of Many Seashells

Looking for a familiar face in the sketching file, I found this photograph of a really old sketch… The first of many seashells… It’s perhaps been the best too…

There’s something about sea shells that never ceases to fascinate me. The different shapes, sizes, colours, textures, designs and patterns. And the strangest thing is, that the creature that makes these magnificent works of art, is a slimy creature which no one would want.

Shell On Velvet
Shell On Velvet

This is the latest seashell that was gracious enough to pose for me (also a key chain). I kind of got fed up with the chains. I assumed the shell too would want to be free for a while. So I unchained it and allowed it to rest on a velvet blanket. I hope it felt good.

3D model of shoes - Ambient Occlusion
3D model of shoes - Ambient Occlusion

Talking of feeling good, the doctor told me to catch some sun…

3D model of a toy train - Ambient Occlusion
3D model of a toy train - Ambient Occlusion

and what better way to catch the sun, than with a few flowers.

So I put on a pair of shoes, caught the train, and paid a visit to some flowers…

Flowers
Flowers

Random Thoughts


Just a few things on my mind… Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year everyone 🙂

When I said I had the holiday blues, I thought I was alone… Until recently, when I happened to hear an old song… Apparently Dean Martin too had some issues with festive occasions…  Ironically, he died on a Christmas morning… God bless his soul…

Aah… The good old days of melodious music, pure soul, emotions, and something the whole family could enjoy together without any embarrassment or disgust. Every time I saw a video of the ‘Rat Pack‘, I couldn’t help but smile…

So when was the last time you danced? The last time you smiled when watching someone else sing or dance? When I asked myself that question, I didn’t have an answer. In today’s world, genuine joy is a rare luxury indeed. But there is a very interesting phenomenon spreading around the world…

Flash mobs are increasingly becoming popular. Complete strangers gathering at a public space and spontaneously dancing – just for the sheer joy of it… Okay, so they’re choreographed and planned events… But it comes as a surprise… the energy is infectious. No strings attached! It must take a lot of guts to pull off something like that. But at the end of it, everyone goes home smiling.

I’m sure there are lots of marketers who have done research on this already. On why it is so popular, and how it could be used to promote something.

Stressful work-environments, tight deadlines, social pressures, family problems, the latent frustration of today’s lifestyle … People need a break. We need some purity around us, to remove the clutter we have created. So dear marketer, this is what people need. To have fun, like we used to when we were kids. A return to innocence.

Genuine happiness is infectious. And so, with a heart full of hope for a better year ahead, here’s wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year…

For those of you suffering the holiday blues, hope this cheers you 🙂 It worked for me… how I wish I could do that typical Shah Rukh Khan move 😀

One final word… For those who are wondering why this nonsensical song is popular – well its just proof of those infectious things… 😀

Rebellion


As the year draws to an end, most people have been trying to summarize the events of the year gone by. Arguably, revolts and revolutions have been the most significant part of the year. A common thread connects WikiLeaks, revolts in several African and middle-east countries, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and closer home, heightening protests against corruption. Perhaps Mother Earth too is getting frustrated after such prolonged abuse. Rebellion, it seems is in every human’s blood.

Keeping in spirit with the theme of the year, here is a piece of frustration shared by several women who travel by public transport in the Capital…

The Delhi Metro is one of many things a resident of the city is proud of. State of the art technology, on-time performance, and (gasp!) cleanliness. So when the first compartment of the train was reserved for ladies, it was another hurrah moment.

With jam-packed trains, the first compartment of the train provided a huge relief for women against a rather unruly and unsafe public. While it provided a sense of security, there was still something disturbing.

Very often, men would enter the compartment and stand at the divider between the first coach and the rest of the train. If a lady wished to enter the first coach, she had to move past a wall of men. It was virtually impossible to get past this human barricade without a huge struggle. Very often, the whole train would be empty, and only the second coach of the train would be over-crowded.

One morning, things got out of control. The ladies’ coach was brimming with men. Women spoke in hushed voices, speaking about the crowd. But no one seemed to object openly. And then a girl screamed. She pleaded and wailed to move past a huge group of people. No one yielded. Some hooligans in the crowd began hooting when a few women made some noise. They refused to move away, even when told to do so.

And then something amazing happened. A couple of women blocked the gate to the entrance of the coach and shouted. ‘This train will not move till the women’s coach has men in it’. The doors of the metro train are programmed to open automatically when there is an obstruction.Taking advantage of this, the ladies held up the train.

Even after this move, men refused to budge, even shamelessly smiling at the ladies. Then a few ladies, getting frustrated began manually pushing men out. Most of the men complained saying there was no space in the train. But a few minutes later, we came to know that they had magically found some space in other parts of the same train!

Soon order was restored and the train was allowed to move. A few ladies, unknown to each other, formed an instant union and coordinated with each other to get rid of the men in the compartment. It was heartening to see such unity among women, who are willing to step up and fight for themselves. No knight in shining armour needed. But how did we get into this mess in the first place?

In a way, we are responsible for it. When men started entering the compartment, no one said anything. Only when it reached a tipping point did something happen. And even then, it was only a handful of women who managed to get the courage to do something about the situation, while the majority just stood watching.

From the very beginning, girls are told to learn to adjust to their surroundings. Sacrifice and selflessness are virtues that are the hallmark of a lady. It is all very well. But then subconsciously, the feeling of inferiority, and subservience is instilled into them. And most often, women themselves propagate such ‘values’. It is most unlady-like to do certain things. There are unwritten, yet deeply entrenched rules regarding the behaviour of a lady. Yet, the behaviour of the other half (the majority, to be more precise) is unchecked.

Women themselves have brought upon this situation. By allowing people to trample over us, we cannot really complain. But it is time we stepped up and stopped being bullied. If a lady is not offered the courtesy and shown the respect she deserves, there is absolutely no reason for her to still act lady-like (read meek and docile).

Gandhiji was an advocate for empowerment of women. During the freedom struggle, men and women fought beside each other. When Ms Indira Gandhi was assasinated, it was looked upon in horror. ‘Stree hatya!’, they said. The worst crime that can ever be committed. How then, did India reach this low? If we look back at the lessons from our historic texts, one cord that is common to all is this: The land where a woman is disrespected, is doomed.

Pigeons – part II – The adventurous one


More pigeons!

Pigeons are practical creatures. And for them, life carries on. By autumn, they were back and had apparently decided to start afresh. They began building another nest. Once again we watched them follow their strict regimen of using the specially demarcated in and out gates. This is how we assumed they were the same pigeons which had built a nest earlier.

Once again she laid eggs. We hoped that this time the nest was better constructed and waited in anticipation for the eggs to hatch. And sure enough, this time, there were two little bundles of joy.

It took us some time to realise that they had entered this world. But once they began squeaking in their high pitched voices, there was no ignoring them. Everyday we would stand at the edge of the balcony, as far as the railing would allow us, to catch a glimpse of yellow bare chicks. They would sit fairly still like well behaved children while their parents would go and fetch some food. But at the sight of either parent, they would get excited. Jumping up and down, pecking away at their mother, the two of them would scream and demand their share of the food.

It had become a daily ritual. Each of us would go to the edge and watch as the little ones grew a little larger. Every day at the dining table, the topic of discussion would be the progress made by the little ones. How, with each passing day, they were becoming more energetic, more noisy. “I saw them walking today ”. “Yes! You noticed how much she has to run these days? As soon as she arrives, the little ones run after her”. “It was so cute! The mother running away from her kids!”. “I think they can’t wait to fly”.

One morning, when we made our usual trip to the edge of the balcony, we found one of the little ones had got stuck. Maybe its excitement got out of hand and while running around, its leg got trapped. The leg was caught between the wooden block and the frame supporting the artificial roof.

It was struggling to lift itself up. It was flapping its small wings and squeaking, clearly putting in its best efforts to climb out. But it was still too small. The mother was sitting next to it. We went inside and hoped that it would find a way to climb out of the mess it had got itself in. We felt uneasy. Every few minutes, we would go and check. But it was still stuck. It was still giving its best shot, but in vain.

Our uneasiness grew. The mother was still sitting there. Was she bothered at all? Or did she have no clue as to how to help the chick? How could she not try to rescue it? Had she given up hope? Whether or not she had these thoughts, we can never tell. But the uneasiness was too much for us.

By afternoon, we had decided to do something. The plan was to use a walking stick to reach up and shift the surfboard just a little bit so that its leg would be able to come out.

My father volunteered to nudge the board as my mother and I watched. Just as he was reaching up with the stick, both of us screamed as we simultaneously realised that maybe it could go horribly wrong and that the board would shift much more and the little one could potentially fall. My mother rushed to grab a pillow. But it was a little too late. Our fears became a reality. The mother flew away. The chick came crashing down.

We stood there for a few seconds in shock at what we thought was a dead bird.

We waited for what seemed like an eternity. Then we saw some movement. It was getting up and dragging itself. It was struggling to balance itself.

That was our first real close look at the chick. It was so small, so fragile, so cute, and so scared. It looked immensely adorable as it tried to move. But none of us felt happy. It was in pain. Perhaps the fall had damaged something. We watched for a little while longer. We were not sure what to do next.

The tension at that point was absolutely incredible. Here was a chick, in a rather helpless state. And we were sure that its mother would not come near the chick because of its proximity to us. We feared that it may not survive the injuries that it could have possibly sustained.

Not knowing what to do, I searched for information on how to care for little birds. Most resources suggested that birds were designed to survive falls and that many times the birds would deliberately throw out the chicks so that they would learn to fend for themselves. I also learned that it is best not to interfere in their lives, for they may become dependent on humans, and learn not to fear them. And this would be rather dangerous for them.

But this one was not kicked out. Perhaps it was too small to fend for itself. So, ignoring all the advise, we spread some boiled rice near the chick. It moved away and refused to eat. We pushed the rice closer to it, but it kept moving away. Clearly it only wanted to be fed by its mother.

Afternoon soon turned into night and the chick had not eaten for almost the whole day. The chick seemed to become tired. It had not eaten much, and was constantly trying to hide from us. It was scared of us and desperately shrieking. It wanted its mother.

My brother was home from work and on hearing the entire course of events, came up with a plan. He took a handful of wheat flour and tried to force the bird to eat. I lifted the chick and held it as gently as I could. It was fidgeting and trying to free itself. It was pecking at the my brother’s hands. But we had no clue if it was eating at all. Its beak was closed and the pecking seemed more of an assault. We tried to feed it a few more times, but it all seemed fruitless.

Before going to sleep we took one more look. It had taken shelter near the rocking chair. The parents were perched at the nest. It was a little cold outside, so we decided to bring it inside.

We kept it on a pillow. And, to prevent it from moving about, we kept a hollow cane “moda” on top of it.

The next morning we put it outside again and asked the cleaner to be careful. We tried to stay as far away as we could.

At lunch, we were discussing conspiracy theories about the parents not being bothered about the chick. “Maybe they knew that it would not survive, so did not bother to waste time on the chick”. “Maybe that chick has a defect in its leg. You noticed how it was limping?”. “The parents would know better than us, right? I think they have come to terms with reality. Very practical.” We had almost come to terms with what we thought was the “reality”. Then my father announced, “One of the parents was sitting on the floor near the chick this morning”.

So the parents were still concerned about the chick. That day the chick became a little more sure of itself. It began moving about a lot more. It seemed to be curious to see the world, moving in a rather excited manner. It would try to look under the junk lying around. As its confidence grew, it seemed to have no care in the world. It seemed to enjoy the open space. It wanted to explore its new found freedom.

We were a little relieved but even more apprehensive now. We were the ones who were cautious. Every time we thought about entering our balcony, we would look for the chick, so that we would not accidentally step on it.

But it still refused to eat anything that we had to offer. Clearly its instincts were still intact. It would still try to walk away from us.

The next day, we decided that it would not be safe for the chick to be on the floor. It needed to be taken care of by its parents. We located a high table and my father climbed up. I handed him the chick and as he raised his hand, the mother flew away, and he put the chick back up on the surfboard.

We waited for the mother to be back. And when she came back, everything seemed to be normal.

In the next few weeks, we saw the chicks transform into adults. The yellow flesh began growing grey feathers. The neck became a little longer and before we knew it, they were beginning to spread their wings.

Taking small steps, they first flew from the surfboard to another frame. Then they made their way to the clothes-line. They did not seem to be scared. They would sit on the swing or the clothesline and if we went near, they would not even bother to move. When they flew out, we would have to duck out of their way to avoid collision!

Soon they began to fly outside and stopped coming back.

The parents, however, decided to stick around. In the absence of the young ones, the balcony was a quieter place. But the older pigeons were still a source of entertainment for us. Watching them would always liven up a boring day.


A ‘moda’ is a piece of furniture made of cane or bamboo.