Defining eyes


I first applied homemade kajal when I visited an acquaintance many years ago. While I waited for my friend to get ready to head out, I chatted with her mother — a tall and slim, simple rural Haryanvi lady. As our mundane conversation veered towards the use of kajal, she mentioned that she had prepared some herself.

I had a vague idea about kajal being nothing but soot. But the small boxes available in the market contain a sticky substance which smeared, so I wasn’t quite sure. She showed me her preparation. The homemade kajal that I saw was, indeed, soot and a tad rough to the touch. I gingerly dipped my finger in it and applied it to the waterline of my eyes. To my surprise, it spread easily and gave a beautiful definition to my eyes. I wondered how she had made it, but our conversation was interrupted, and I didn’t get the chance to ask her.

Life has a funny way of answering our questions, and seemingly disconnected memories find themselves being connected into one big picture. I had shelved this memory of the homemade kajal in the corners of my brain. Until one fine day — on the first Deepavali after our wedding, to be precise — I saw my in-laws performing a puja.

I saw them pray, and then light a large earthen lamp. They then placed an empty lamp, upside down atop the flame, supported by smaller lamps around the flame.

The next morning, I saw our own kajal, ready to be used.

Kajal
The soot collected overnight, a.k.a kajal

This is post #13 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

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

Lamps in the sun


Diwali may have gone by, but that doesn’t stop me from posting about it 🙂

In this day of fairy lights and tea lights, the protagonist of Diwali, for me, is still the humble clay lamp, or the diya.

Diyas are usually soaked in water before oil is poured in. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing it is to ensure that there are no air bubbles inside the earthen lamps, which would ‘drink’ a lot of oil!

This past Diwali, I caught dozens of diyas lazing on a weathered wooden table, drying under the sun after a nice soak. The contrasting colours and textures of the scene were quite different from what they would end up looking like at night!

Diyas drying in the sun
Diyas drying in the sun

In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Rounded

Picture captured with a Moto G3, edited with Befunky. Click/tap on the picture to enter my Flickr photostream

Happy Deepavali!


As is the tradition in these parts of the world, here’s a few Deepavali pictures 🙂

The Daily Post asks us to post something that glows. Nothing better than the glow of festivity, piety, family and lights.


Here’s wishing you all a very happy Deepavali!

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

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!

Happy Deepavali!


Diya Painting
Happy Deepavali!

Today, on the festive occasion of Diwali, I painted this little Diya…

Here’s hoping every home has a lamp, and a bright future.
Wishing everyone a very happy, cracker-free and safe Diwali!

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 🙂


‘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 🙂
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 🙂

Cheers!!