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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

COLD AND WINTER ARE SYNONYMOUS







We in North India are in the grip of severe cold. January is the worst month and feels the longest. It meanders. Fogs and mists have become our uninvited friends. They keep clinging to us. We wish them good-bye all the time and eagerly wait for their departure. Sun has acquired the propensity of being elusive. Some days it does not show at all. Those days are the gloomiest. Sometimes all at once, the sun wriggles out of the smog by late morning or by afternoon. A sigh of relief and joy takes over. I dash outside with something to read while basking in the glory of the golden sunshine. I sit at a point where there is no wind and let the sunshine penetrate into my body unhindered. How happy you feel when for a few hours at least you take off your layers of clothes. You bare part of your body to sun's invigorating rays. Such days are heavenly.

Otherwise, on sunless days you keep snuggling in your quilt the whole day. You get up only for cooking, eating or for some unputdownable chores. If you are at the computer as I‘m now you need a room heater near your legs to prevent them from getting stony cold.

For the  poor and daily wage earners winter is tough and brings misery. Authorities in all states of India keep building night shelters for the homeless and the deprived.

Yet winter has its plus points. It is great in many ways. For one there is so much variety in fresh vegetables available in stores. Street vendors ply their carts loaded with veggies and make rounds of the area all the time.

image google
Winter is the time to savor goodies and special dishes, which are only prepared in cold months. Breakfasts are incomplete without radish stuffed paranthas. Sweet carrot dish cooked in cream is always mouthwatering. Bars of sesame seeds and groundnuts prepared with jaggery are everyone’s favorite snacks. Freshly roasted whole groundnuts are available in plenty. Vendors on the roadsides pop corns in your presence making you enjoy the warm crunchiness. Moreover, delicious sweets, in eye-catching arrangements, adorn the counters of sweet shops. Yet who can dare ignore the special winter dish of sag eaten with makki di roti and dollops of fresh butter? Nothing can beat it in nutrition as well as taste.

Such are the joys of winter that small discomforts don’t matter. 

Linking to:
Our World
ABC Wednesday    C is for Cold
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Seasons
Wednesday around the world
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 Friends,welcome here as always!



Saturday, January 14, 2017

14TH JANUARY, 2001






  “Mother’s love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. If it is there, it is like a blessing; if it is not there it is as if all the beauty had gone out of life.” —Erich Fromm



Through this painting, I try to visualize mother spinning cotton yarn in the company of her youthful friends.

MAKAR SANKRANTI 14th January 2017


REMEMBERING  DEAR MOTHER


It was the sacred day of Makar Sankranti - the 14th January 2001. My dear mother chose  this pious day to leave for her permanent abode. Unforgettable day it was. It will stay in my memory for the rest of my life. It was tragic too because I failed to reach on time to see her beautiful face for the last time. Her frail body was consigned to flames on the funeral pyre without me. I had been feeling traumatized since then. Guilt feeling has taken root in my subconscious. Off and on a sudden trigger point brings alive the memories of that day. “Why did nature will this for me?” The question bothers me to no end. Mother was like a lighthouse and loved me so much. Then, why, when she left the world, her daughter was not there to bid her final adieu. The tears meant for her had remained unshed. Got stuck somewhere in spite of the irreparable personal loss.

Mother was a devout soul and a giving person. She was fearless, truthful, full of piety and honest to the core. Her wise counsels were always forthcoming to help anybody tide over tough situations. Whenever I took something for her, her response was always the same. “Why did you bring it? I’ve enough of everything.” I wonder why she was so selfless and undemanding. The word lack was never a part of her mental makeup. Her management skills were such that there was always a feeling of plenty in our household.

She did face many trying circumstances in her life, though. As a young bride, she had to live with her in laws who obstructed her integration into the family. They didn’t allow my army man father to take her along with him. They did everything to prevent my father from being attracted towards her. She bore this and other umpteen unpleasant situations with fortitude and remained steadfast.

Later on in life when my father left the army, he collaborated with a friend, and bought farmland in U.P.  Alone with us children, she looked after us diligently and could manage the household like a pro. I don’t remember her ever complaining.

Throughout her life, she remained a Karm yogi in the real sense of the term. She had been an accomplished woman in many spheres. An excellent cook, she would prepare the most delicious sweets on Diwali and other family occasions. Flax-seed pinnis in winter were our favorite and her expertise in it was inimitable. She would design our dresses when we were young. She had woven designer KHES (thick cotton sheets) and Durries in her parents’ house for her dowry. And the yarn for that she would make after spinning cotton, (which my Nana cultivated in his large farm) on the CHAKHA. During her lifetime, she kept gifting that precious handmade stuff to all her children. These remain my priceless possessions,
cementing a permanent bond with her.  My Nana (maternal grandfather) had installed a loom in his house. He hired a village woman to teach his three daughters weaving skills. My mother was perfect in that too.

She was a great raconteur. She was well versed with the popular tales from the scriptures. She had listened to them through wandering groups of singers in her village when she was young. Often when she had time on her hands she would regale us by narrating those stories and enjoyed the task herself too.

Mother was my staunch well-wisher. She glowed with joy whenever I visited her after my marriage. There was always a sweet dish waiting for us at home. The purity of her unconditional love, which I took for granted, I would ever yearn for. Time’s scythe doesn’t spare anyone.

Her position of an anchor in my life is permanent. In time of need I only have to seek her in my mind and forthwith receive all the answers.

The pain in my heart of her absence is a constant. Yet I know where ever she is, she is in peace and showers her blessings on me.


Her brief illness was the outcome of a fall, which fractured her femur bone and incapacitated her completely. The doctors did not operate upon her because of her fragile bones. Lying down, eating little took its toll. Within two months, she lost her vitality and  resilient spirit. She went away peacefully in the sacred dawn of Maghi.

Whenever I happen to gaze at her picture hung on my bedroom wall, tears trickle down my cheeks. And my heart aches for her.

Friends,welcome here as always! 

Linking to:
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Our World 
ABC Wednesday  (B is for binary opposites in memories)

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

VISITING MONUMENTS


       NEW YEAR GREETINGS TO ALL OF YOU DEAR FRIENDS!!!



1.Visiting monuments is always an entirely wondrous new experience.There is always a slice of history associated with them, which makes one nostalgic about the past historical events,which played a crucial role in shaping world history. In the recent past I chanced upon to visit 'INDIA GATE'   at New Delhi and was mesmerized by the 42 meter high  architecturally imposing structure, in the midst of vast open spaces around. 'INDIA GATE' "commemorates the 70000 Indian soldiers martyred fighting for the British army in the first World War."
Another memorial 'AMAR JAWAN JYOTI' was added under its ARCH after independence. It commemorates the  soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo- Pak war of 1971. It is a befitting tribute to the unknown  soldiers who valiantly fought the enemy to safeguard the territorial integrity of their motherland.
During holidays and weekends large crowds throng here to admire its dignified and amazing monumental presence.





INDIA GATE ABOVE AND BELOW





Leisurely crowds enjoying the beautiful ambiance beyond the Gate.





Open space  around the monument filled with visitors even on a working day.

...........




2.Visiting TAJ MAHAL at AGRA, one of the seven wonders of the world and one amongst the UNESCO world heritage sites, was an unforgettable experience. It required  some zeal and a creative urge to explore and expand your mental horizon. I'd somehow mustered up that before embarking on this short outing.
Taj Mahal symbolizes in a unique way, eternal love of Mogul emperor Shah Jehan for his beloved queen Mumtaj Mahal. It is an ivory white marble mausoleum built on the south bank of 'Yamuna' river. On the other three sides there are artfully structured gates made of red sandstone. The Taj Mahal has been inlaid with precious and semi precious gems depicting natural scenes. Quranic verses are also inscribed on the walls.


This gate (below)  is right in front of the Taj Mahal.


























(Below) Captured the awesomeness of mist wrapped Taj from inside the above gate through the arch.
When for the first time my eyes glimpsed the Taj from this gate, it's like dreaming with open eyes. It is well- nigh impossible to describe the  spell like effect. It doesn't even look real. There seems to be veil of mystery enfolded in the layers of  its very being. It is incomparable in its aesthetics and eerie visual  charm.




The Taj Mahal (below) with its indescribable mystical grace, grandeur and perfect symmetry stands as a masterpiece and 'jewel of  Muslim' architecture  fashioned by the unwavering perseverance and incessant toil of innumerable master craftsmen. Many renowned personalities have commented on the mystical magic of the TAJ MAHAL. The poet laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore remarked, it is a "teardrop on the cheek of time."



Below some snapshots of the visit :

Outside hotel 'Radisson Blue' Agra, smiling tongawalas ready to give a joy ride while ferrying  tourists to the Taj Mahal.This couple and their daughter happily posed for the shot.






A folk artist displaying his handmade crafts in the shopping arcade of the Hotel.

His puppets eagerly waiting for some one to watch their performance in the corridor of the shopping arcade.


The boat shaped sofa in the lobby of the Hotel.


Here is the guitar shaped, type of settee, in the lobby of the Hotel.


Friends,welcome here as always!

Linking to:
Our World
image-in-ing
Seasons
Outdoor Wednesday
ABC Wednesday Z is for Zeal
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Wednesday around the world
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