Dolphin at Sunset! (Painting captioned:Freedom at Dawn)

“Freedom at Dawn” – explained.

February 9th is always an important day as it is the birthday of my favourite person in the world – My grandmother. She is my biggest ‘fan’ – in the sense that my grandmother each year, eagerly awaits her custom-made birthday card or letter and firmly declares that I am getting better at each year (which I doubt!). 

This year unfortunately, the card arrived late because as I called her London time 3AM to correspond with the perfect hour back in India, she requested a seascape to be drawn! As she had never made a request before, I promptly made up my mind to draw and send her a seascape-of-sorts, although another picture was ready and just about to be posted.

The medium for this picture is all wrong – because I decided to use the back of a printed A4 paper to save on material. The instant I added water to the colour pencils, I fondly remembered the thick matte-finished sketchpad I own that is tucked safely in my drawers in Ahmedabad! (Am a broke student in London now – and despite a student discount for water colour pencils, they are  still the most expensive art equipment I have ever bought!)

But having drawn and paint it in a haste – I am glad my Grandmother enjoys it. Behind the cardboard is a message for her which is an ode to the one value she and I prize the most – freedom!

Dolphin at Sunset Medium : Water colour pencils and sketch pens on A4 paper, mounted on cardboard for support.

Dolphin at Sunset
Medium : Water colour pencils and sketch pens on A4 paper, mounted on cardboard for support.

To my beloved Aaboo – am so glad we got 27 years together! May there be many more!

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Prism (The good ol’ sketchbook is back!)

Art for the Cawtes... Medium: Ball-point pen and water colour pencils on paper.

Art for the Cawtes…
Medium: Ball-point pen and water colour pencils on paper.

What the lyrics of 'Take Me to Church' by Hozier brought out of me... Medium: Poster Paints, Water colours and sketch pens on paper.

What the lyrics of ‘Take Me to Church’ by Hozier brought out of me…
Medium: Poster Paints, Water colours and sketch pens on paper.

Blank Space drawn! Medium: Paint and sketch pens on the back of a food cover packaging.

Blank Space drawn!
Medium: Paint and sketch pens on the back of a food cover packaging.

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The Jungle Eagle!

 The Jungle Eagle Medium : Mixed - Colour pencils and Sketch pens

The Jungle Eagle
Medium : Mixed – Colour pencils and Sketch pens

Random drawing – adapted from an old T-shirt !

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#ThrowbackTuesday – An excursion report from a decade ago!

This week’s #ThrowbackTuesday entry is an old report I wrote for my school magazine back in 2004! This probably did not get published in the ‘Girl Cottonian’ (which was the name of my school’s annual magazine) but I do recollect the group photograph and a shorter version of this write-up getting featured in the magazine within the log of activities and educational excursions.

Back then;  I was studying in Class XI  at the Bishop Cotton Girls School in Bangalore.

I cannot help laugh at my own eagerness to express how much fun this short excursion was..although I vividly recall this memorable trip especially Mr. Karthikeyan S. ( WWF) and how thrilled I was remembering the field-note taking technique for Birding in my later years!

Here goes:

On a beautiful Saturday morning of 17th January 2004, nineteen girls accompanied by two teachers set out Bird-watching. The surprise element to this, is that the time neared 9.00 AM and the venue was right at the heart of the city in the Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens. With the experienced eye of our guide , Mr. Karthikeyan.S  of the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) we were able to spot around twenty different kinds of birds closely within two hours.

Bird-watching is not the most common hobby known around, least of all to school-going ‘city’ children, hence it was extremely practical that an hour-long seminar , the previous day was organized. During the seminar, which was mostly attended by Environmental Science (EvS) students of Std. IX and Std. XI , Mr. Karthikeyan taught us some basic skills to Bird-watching. The most important of which was – Maintaining silence is a golden rule. The seminar also highlighted methods to spot, observe, identify and study a bird. We were asked to carry a field note-book and taught how to make basic field notes which proved extremely useful the next day.

Right from the Common House Crow to the fabulous Purple Heron, the Pied Wagtail to the majestic Brahmini Kite – the colourful varieties of the class of ‘Aves’ amazed us all. The very idea of observing these fantastic creatures in their natural (but shared) habitat was a refreshing and enjoyable experience. We are all aware that knowledge is the key to understanding and protecting our environment, and a ‘fun’ way to learning is small yet delightful excursions such as these.

We are very thankful to our Guide – Mr. Karthikeyan to have introduced us to this enlightening hobby and to our teacher Mrs. Christy Bobson for taking out some valuable time to organize this excursion, and hope to ‘enjoy’ a whole new world of Birds- not just “out there” but everywhere around us.

Summary/Points to Note:

“Bishop Cotton Girl’s School EvS Students Bird-watching excursion to Lal Bagh.”

Time spent: 8.45 AM – 10.30 AM

Venue: Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore – en-route and the lake situated within its premises.

Species of Bird found (should have written this as ‘spotted’ or ‘observed’ – but this is a youthful mistake here):

  1. Common Mynah
  2. Jungle Mynah
  3. Common Kite
  4. Jungle Crow
  5. Common House Crow
  6. Flower Pecker
  7. Small Green Barbet
  8. Rose-ringed Parakeet
  9. White-breasted Water-Hen
  10. Pond Heron
  11. Pied Wagtail
  12. Purple Heron
  13. Little Egret
  14. Purple Moorhen
  15. Coot
  16. Cormorant
  17. Brahmini Kite
  18. Dabchick
  19. Black Drongo
  20. Shikra
  21. Darter
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#ThrowbackTuesday – “Is God still relevant in this day and age?”

Found this Old, old speech the other night when I was cleaning out my closet. Then cleaned some more, sifted and sorted out  piles of paper, old books, curios and found  more speeches and random jottings from my school and college days mostly. This got me inspired to launch a new category for my blog called #ThrowbackTuesday.

{ Forgive the hash-tag – in the world of social media I resemble a dinosaur who perhaps survived past the Ice Age but has just learned how to breathe! So I am kinda proud that I have adapted to thinking in terms of a hash-tag despite my Instagram account being non-functional! } 

Anyway, #ThrowbackTuesday is plan to post something – whether a speech, diary entry, drawing or even a quote that is a relic of my past. It has no greater purpose – but does give me an insight of how my thought-process(es) has evolved over the years. Some of it is cringe-worthy, most of my thoughts seem to naive back then, full of youthful idealism and minus the good ol’ cynicism. Below is a good example of that. 

To give a reader some context – This was the speech I made at a Debate and Elocution competition at St.Mira’s College in Pune on the topic ‘Is God Still Relevant in this Day and Age?’ somewhere in the first half of 2007. It wasn’t a typical two speaker ‘for’ and ‘against’ debate although my team-mate from college – Jyotsna ‘s speech was leaning towards ‘against’ and mine leaned towards the ‘for’ , so it balanced itself out quite nicely. We did not win this competition, but I do recollect one of the female judges (I remember her being sari-clad, hair set in a short bob) telling me that she quite enjoyed my speech for it was “personalised” thus “original”,  after the competition was over. 

“Respected Chairperson, Judges, fellow-speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen – Allow me to introduce myself.

I stand here as a nineteen-year old to share my thoughts on a topic that I often ponder about. I reside in this city away from Home, and have come here to pursue a career that I am not all that sure of. I routinely complain about the lack of hot water, sanitation and good food when I speak about my hostel. There is a dream that I have, and each day it seems all the more impossible. And, once-upon-a-time I had the sheer luxury of calling myself an atheist. Looking back I realise that it was when I lived in a sheltered environment- between school and home, unaware if the world out there – a world in which I soon realised that I need the being called GOD as my refuge.

History has often spoken about the rise and fall of civilisations. Be it the ancient Indus civilisation, the Nile Valley, the Greeks/Sophists or the Chinese – each era and culture had a mode of worship. Man feared some supernatural elements and believed that there is some force that controls it. Without this sense of fear in Man, anarchy and chaos would prevail. Therefore, the manifestation of this force or ‘GOD’ acted as a deterrent on human temperament. The fundamental fact remains that no matter what age Man thrives  in – this DETERRENCE is needed to keep him in harmony with himself, his peers and most importantly, Nature.

Who or What is God? Perhaps, God only knows!(short pause) As a child, I would often wonder, that if it were God were a human for, then what should people say when God sneezed? (Brief pause and smile) The truth is that nobody knows, and the few that have had a divine revelation often say that God is the PERFECT being.

Vedanta has this shloka

Om namaste sate sarva lokakshrayaya; Namaste chite vishwa rupa atmakaya!” This translates to – Hail to the being who is the Refuge of one and all, Hail to whom our very mind, creates the form!

In simple words, God is just whom we perceive to be. All religions are based on this truth. Yet it is unfortunate that Religion – what once was and is meant to be a unifying, harmonising force, now divides us all.

I believe that the Modern day youth is not against Religion. Religion is sometimes synonymous to a belief or a ‘BLIND FAITH’ and it is this ‘blind faith’  which stands questioned or debated upon through generations.

Why else do we see laws challenging the ‘varna’ system? Why else would there have been so many offshoots to e.g. the Catholic faith that stands firmly against abortion or contraception? Why else would there be so many questions as to why growing fundamentalism in all religions actually challenge the very premise of any religion that seeks One God, One Refuge, One Paradise?

The natural answer is that when one code of conduct was formed that regulated human behaviour, it also needs to be changed to keep up with the changing needs of society. Anything that remains static, stagnates and in its place comes a wave of dynamism. After all, what held good in one century may not be very relevant now.

I urge every person here who might believe that he or she is agnostic to think of how many times we may say “Thank God” when circumstances unfold the way we desire it to be. Every little thing- from having ready change for an auto-rickshaw to a clear road to safely cross on my way to college evokes a silent prayer in me. I may not know all my prayers, I do not believe in visiting a temple as a mark of my belief but I definitely believe that in this day and age, and in any age to come – WE NEED GOD.

To conclude- I would like to quote the famous Irish poet, W.B.Yeats – “Some people say there is a God; others say there is no God. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.”



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