October 24, 2016

Chaitime Chitchat #4

I confess, there was a lot to say and a lot to write but I could not collect all of them together and hence this updated post.

Life has been running smooth without the husband in the town. No lies. I do not believe in crying over not getting something for a very long period of time. Adjusting once intended, is my prime skill set. I have been focusing my energy on two prime things namely office and craft. I'm not a pro in either but I am on that way. Intense satisfaction in not wasting my time, keeps me sane. Hence, the missing my husband and my family at Ahmedabad is not really happening.

I went to Chorbazar last to last weekend and oh boy, the world looked so vintage. I bought a skeleton of a carved wooden frame and a normal photo frame which I re-touched this weekend. I got a very classy looking old wooden lamp post with brass detailing in it - it reminds me of my grandfather's huge home. I am yet to create/buy a lamp shade ,but already engineered it to its working state with a lamp and some wires.

With the great help of my MIL, I perked up the drawing room with fuchsia and maroon cushion covers on the cream-muted brown patterned sofas we have. These cushion covers are made up of scrap silk we had at home and each costs us exactly 50 INR- Talk about DIY power! My FIL being the cutest person here happily gave away three wine bottles from his cupboard which were almost empty. Now, this self proclaimed creative lady is pinteresting about ideas to use all of them.

I'm in the process of revamping our bedroom by re-doing the focus wall which is painted light orange, against rest of the cream colored walls.Color selection for frames and art pieces is tricky due to the not-so-normal color of the wall but who worries about it much. I have already started giving it a chaotic look by adorning it with those chorbazar repainted frames and souvenirs we were gifted from Iran, Bali, South Africa, Copenhagen and Spiti. A cute little quirky clock on the book shelf from the Bombay Store gives a red pop to the wall. I am not a pro when it comes to decor but it gives me immense joy and that is what matters, right?

I am also going all Handloom these days, which is a luxury in itself. The fact that the simple touch of hand woven cotton is very comforting,stuck me when I got a bedsheet painted with vegetable die from Ahmedabad. I am so planning a pair of mal-mal curtains and a linen saree (hopefully a gift!) soon.

Office is hectic than it was ever. We have been stretching ourselves a bit too much thanks to the festive season wrap up coming closer. Physical and mental exertion would have taken a toll on my health but a small dose of artsy creation (I believe so) keeps me alive. The Mascara I used once last week and the stress almost killed my eyes with pain (not burning) and made me take a break on Saturday. God, how I deserved it. Even when I used the whole weekend to clean up home for Diwali- I enjoyed it to the tee.

Hopefully my Diwali days wont be too dull and if you are expecting photos of the new DIYs and the decor, well pray that my ancient Camera works this weekend!

October 15, 2016

Maa,for me

We called her Maa, because Mom-Dad called her Maa. My Dadima. Our talented grand mother, born in a rich brainy Diwan family but also married into a household of talents. Needless to say, she possessed a beautiful mind.

Maa was an avid reader. A voracious one I would say. Unlike others' grandmothers she did not read many religious magazines, only a couple of books here and there to my knowledge. Of course, her love for mythology is passed on to me but we never considered it to be religious. Her major interest always remained in Geography- beyond this planet even at the age of Eighty. Maa read about every thing from different countries/cultures in the world to the so called doubt of 'Life on Mars' or 'Potential colonies on Mars'! I remember, her mapping cities my dad used to fly to, on the globe. She would then,with a child like curiosity ,open the Atlas and read about the weather in that country. (I think, she would have been a globe trotter if she had a chance!) She also had interest in War-History (again, passed on to me with great intensity ), Cultural History, Current Affairs and what not. Her Gujarati was brilliant. Books I have at home, speak about her wide range of reading interest in the language. Thanks to Maa and her Book-collection she made with great help from my grandfather- I was already done with majority of old Gujarati literature by the time I entered my tenth board. (These were the books written in the era when such creations were pure in language and well crafted unlike today's novels which I found to be very shallow) I would climb that portable ladder and pick a book from the attic which served as a small library, read out the title and she would tell  me about it. No, it was not a collection of ten twenty books - it was/is a collection of may be over 200 books. This heritage is precious to me, more than that yellow metal.

Maa was an artist. Sewing machine was her friend and she pestered me to the core to learn how to run it- I did learn basic sewing and stitching from her without any interest but never realized that I would die to do the same after years when she wont be there to guide me. She could do machine embroidery, hand embroidery, crochet,cross stitch, pearl embroidery and what not. She was a DIY expert. Stitching tote bags from extra blouse pieces , Potli bags from silk scrap, making table clothes. She with my mom as a partner - sewed fancy frocks for me and my dolls! Her little two suitcases carried her collections of small art pieces she would preserve to create new ideas.

In those two suitcases there used to be a small A4 size thick folder, which was the most exciting thing for me. It had hundreds of cut outs of designs and patterns apart from some booklets on how to create various patterns of Rangoli. We bonded the best when it came to creating Rangolis during Diwali days. She would cut different designs from newspapers,magazines, even borders of sarees for the year and then we would do some research before Diwali to decide on which day which Rangoli we would create - combining different patterns. Of course I was her 'Active hands', as she could never sit on the floor for hours or even bend -hence a chair would be placed for her exactly beside that huge 'Gheru' patch on which she would reside to guide me. Her inability to bend or sit on the floor did not stop her. Maa taught me how to apply Gheru, draw using chalk sticks, how to draw a circle with the use of a string, how to make multicolored background or a unique shade of a color from the previous Rangoli. She would be so protective of my creations that she would not let kids of my society play around it. Even today, a Rangoli creation by me never gets finished without mentioning her.

Maa was a very specialized cook too. In a way, a foodie who never binged. She would take out recipes developed by her self, from the rusty looking handwritten note books on special days/seasons and teach my mom to cook all of them. Her great observing skills would detect the perfect red shade of the Atta on the tava and give my mom a signal to pour in the hot sugar syrup. For every sweet dish recipe she had her own skill set to rectify,if anything goes wrong. My mom still dishes out the meanest Mohanthal thanks to her recipe.

Apart from her such multi-talented personality, she had some other super human (as I call them) traits as well. She never generalized based on religions or faiths- I do not remember even one incident of her commenting or debating about such trivial subjects negatively. She never had time to do gossip or back biting, at least in my presence. To me, she was the most open minded person of our family - not even me, my brother or my parents can achieve that limit.We all have our own small biases.She was also the emotionally strongest person of our family, never found her tear eyed or found her cribbing about any personal issues- including health. (I think she still holds this title!) She did not believe in keeping a temple at home, which itself was and is a revolutionary idea. No, she was not an atheist, she worshiped Tulsi, Ghee laden brass lamps and occasionally followed Lakshmi Pujas and Satyanarayan Pujas at home. She had very deep faith in God but surprisingly never tried to rub off on any of us - including my mom. Those hundreds of fasts never happened at our place because we were given liberty to choose wisely as per our own faith. My mother was never asked to do any fasting or follow any food restrictions ever in the name of the tradition, by my grandparents. Such open mindless and the willingness to give liberties to all the family members of next generation (specially to my mom) to develop a home of their own, is found rarely even in today.

I believe, Maa was born in a wrong generation with such a unique set of a Heart (or Art?) and a Brain. Or may be she was born for us. For us kids, to get inspired to live in the world create a better world/ a home around us and to never stop learning as well as innovating.

October 9, 2016

Ahmedabad trip and all that jazz

Jazz? Actually Garba in the air. How can I not visit Ahmedabad during Navaratri! Last time I had a super dull one in Mumbai but this time - well my enthusiasm was too high to be true - hence it was okayish. This is what happens. When I'm all prepared for something, some variable plays a game. This time my lack of sleep and exertion made me play only two hours of Garba. Sad, for a six hours player.

Though spending time with parents, meeting relatives and of course,shopping held more importance. Above all, this time I was blessed with gifts for one or the other reason (or should I say no reason at all?)which includes an ethnic wear, mom's hands me down Tangai saree, one old saree to make curtains with, a Persian hand painted wall mount dish. Now let me tell you, my dad's Iran trip has made me crazy about this nation. First, because our ancestry which is widely debatable is said to be half Persian - times of Alexander. Second, seeing photos I am highly impressed by their still preserved Persian art and music. In fact, my dad's friend (actually a client) presented some extremely elegant art pieces which includes a huge wall clock- cut to the precision with hand painted patterns on it. I of course pestered him a lot to 'donate' it to me-but my dad who is equally crazy in terms of decor promised me to get one more for me when that Irani Uncle comes to India. Of course, in that huge gift bag we got super fat Pistachios and traditional Irani sweets.

Now let me get away with this Persian bug- I met so so so many of my relatives this time. My maternal family, paternal family and family friends as well. I generally shy away(or pretend to be one) from social gatherings but this 'living in the other city' phenomenon had changed me. I crave for my old life including people, our home, language etc hence my mother was supremely pleased with my willingness to meet all of them. Life, I must say. Even when I was continuously feeling feverish the moment I boarded the train to go to Ahmedabad, I could conquer the visit.

Meeting my niece (my best friend's daughter) was the cherry on the cake. It took a minute for her to welcome this crazy Masi she has. And the best part? She liked me so much that she showered me with her baby kisses! Never felt so so loved by a baby before. I must say, she is not as picky as her mom! But loves me just like her mom!

The trip ended with of course the old Ahmedabad's best Rabadi thanks to dad- who convinced my mom to let him have a cup of the same Rabadi in the name of her daughter's farewell. Dads, I tell you.

The train  journey ended up with Sister-in-law's birthday and hence coming back was welcomed with our giggles-gifts for her and well giggles again.

Life is good. Touch-wood.