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Hobbies Stories

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

Categories
Hobbies

Ready to play


I was invited by my friend to attend a choir competition to celebrate the founder’s day of a Church. The competition included solos, duets and quartets. The main event was the choir in which seven teams from different Prayer groups across the city competing.

The stage’s backdrop was decorated with balloons to make it look like the keys of the piano. Unfortunately, there was a shortage of black balloons, and the keys could not be completed. Not for long, though. The musicians performing on that stage more than made up for the lack of the key balloons — all the performances I had the opportunity to listen to, were of a very high quality and a treat to the ears!

Ready to play
Ready to play

nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #9 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Categories
Hobbies

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate


Luxury hotels tend to have a rather extravagant dΓ©cor. 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

Categories
Poetry

Micropoetry


The world sees greatness,
But you hide and take cover.

Oh! You fickle stupid self,
Recognize thy power.

Originally written on 22 July on Twitter https://twitter.com/kasturika_r/status/623839340183969792?s=09


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #7 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Categories
Musings

Doodle Notes


I often find myself scribbling along margins of diaries during meetings. I think that is an indication of boredom, which is not really a good thing. Wikipedia, though, claims otherwise:

… doodling can aid a person’s memory by expending just enough energy to keep one from daydreaming, which demands a lot of the brain’s processing power, as well as from not paying attention. Thus, it acts as a mediator between the spectrum of thinking too much or thinking too little and helps focus on the current situation.

My doodles are usually in the form of lines. The lines are usually placed close together to create a gradient from dark to light (or vice versa). Sometimes they radiate from a central point to look like fireworks in the night sky.

There are certain doodles that take on different shapes and patterns. This one turned out quite interesting, and I hope to recreate it digitally at some point of time.

Doodle on the margin
Doodle on the margin

What about you? Do you doodle? Do you think it’s a good thing? Can you interpret doodles? What does this doodle say to you?


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #6 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress πŸ™‚

Categories
Stories

Highway Art


These, along with several other paintings greeted us, as we entered Puducherry while on our road trip in Tamil Nadu last Christmas.

Paintings on stone slabs next to the highway at the entrance of Puducherry
Paintings on stone slabs next to the highway at the entrance of Puducherry, Tamil Nadu

nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #5 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress πŸ™‚

Categories
Poetry

What’s your story?


You can lie all you want.
You can hide behind your mask.
You don’t need to tell me,
And I will not ask.

You may deny it,
And say all is fine.
But it’s written on your forehead,
Across every single line.

You must be patient,
Soldier on.
Let go of your worries,
It’s time to move on.
Explore the world,
Save your memories.
Be brave, be bold,
Tell the world
All your stories.


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #4 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress πŸ™‚

Categories
Stories

The locked house


Colonial Building

A Colonial building in a Mughal Garden Complex, living amid ruins of the Revolt of 1857, locked and forgotten, except by park officials and evening joggers.

For whom was it built? Why is it locked away? What lies behind those red stone walls?


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #3 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress πŸ™‚

Categories
Stories

Much a-doe about a deer


The Sariska Wildlife Reserve was, at one point of time home to over 40 tigers. During our safari, our guide informed us that wildlife enthusiasts preferred Sariska over Ranthambore. Unfortunately, poachers felt likewise. Due to poor monitoring and rampant poaching, by 2004 there was not one tiger left in the Reserve.

The lack of tigers led to an increase in deer with the population of over 25,000 Sambar deer alone.

In 2005, three tigers were relocated from Ranthambore and the number of tigers in the 800 sq km forest has now risen to 13 (with less than half the area allocated to it, Ranthambore boasts over 50 tigers)

Doe, a deer. A female deer
Doe, a deer. A female deer

This gorgeous creature is one of thousands of deer at the Sariska Wildlife Reserve.


It’s November. Regular bloggers may be familiar with the Nanos. This year, I’m also going to try to post something every single day. So I’ll see you tomorrow πŸ™‚


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #2 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress πŸ™‚

Categories
Stories

Ink-Stained Fingers


‘Hey you! Come over here,’ The teacher smiled and called the chubby girl to the front of the class. Addressing the other students, she pointed at her face and said, ‘Look at her! Doesn’t she look funny!’ The class of forty students began laughing. The girl stood there, clueless about what the joke was. The teacher told the girl to go and take a look in the mirror.

Confused and embarrassed, she made her way to the girls’ bathroom and stared at the mirror. A small blue patch of ink had made its way to her face. She turned around a bit, acting out the scenario from a few moments ago, curious to know how she would have looked in front of the class.

The class was the fifth standard. The little girl was me. The patch of blue on my face had come from my ink-smeared fingers.

That teacher taught us Hindi. She was a good teacher, and probably the sole reason I actually know the Hindi alphabet better than most of my Hindi speaking peers. But for reasons I am still not sure of, she constantly picked on me. My Hindi was terrible. My handwriting even worse. Every page of my notebook bore scars from her red pen. Strangely, her remarks in my notebook were all written in English. I can vaguely recall one such remark, ‘Instead of improving, your handwriting is getting worse with every class!’

I was terrible with pens. We were only allowed to use fountain pens. Ball pens were a complete no. ‘It’s bad for your handwriting,’ that’s what they said. I had to change my pen frequently. I broke nibs. The refilling compartment would leak as I wrote — leaving blue fingerprints on my notebooks. I took it as a sign of achievement — proof of a great writer, or at least one that writes a lot. I could make the best pens leak. I began using different kinds of pens, and they leaked too. I even managed to break the nib of roller-ball pens.

For over three years, I have attempted to narrate this little incident from my childhood. And every time it ended up with me breaking down. I always imagined that I would write about having forgiven her and sound magnanimous. But I cannot bring myself to say that. Her insult was a personal one — one which no child should be subjected to, and most definitely not by a teacher.

One might say that hatred is another side of love, and that deep down inside I probably want her to like me and be nice to me. That may be true. And by not letting go of that incident and allowing it to torment me, I am more likely to harm myself more than anyone else.

But today, as I prepared to write this — my 200th post — I wanted to put to rest the whole issue. Having ink-smeared fingers is no crime, and my inability to take care of a pen has nothing to do with my ability to write.

This morning, I took out my fountain pen and washed the dust off it. I cleaned the nib and watched my fingers get soaked in ink. Then I sat down to type.

Now that I have written this, I realise why that incident refuses to leave me. As angry as her behaviour makes me today, my own reaction to it at that time never ceases to amaze me. For some reason it never hurt me. The little girl I saw in the mirror didn’t react – at all. She was different. She was indifferent.

Did she notice that? Was the teacher trying to get under my skin and make me feel something — love or hatred — towards her? I’ll probably never know. But it sure feels good to think about it!


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #1 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress πŸ™‚