People, travels

The children of the village

So, another day we went to Dhordo village in Kutch to meet some of the craftsmen.

While everyone was admiring the crafts, I went to draw the kids sitting outside and making bead necklaces. Each of them make and sell their own handicrafts to earn pocket money. While I was drawing, all of them gathered around and then took turns for me to draw them one by one!

kids

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sketchbook

Calm in the air ends with Periyar

Calm in the air | Calm in the air, Kochi and Silent Valley | Calm in the air, Silent Valley and Alapuzzha | Calm in the air, Lake Vembanad
Bengalis, as everyone knows, are notoriously bad at other Indian languages, specially if they’ve grown up in Bengal, and my uncle is no different. And faced with Malayalam, he devised his own version:
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Anyway, from Kottyam we went on to Periyar Forest Reserve. The road was beautiful – bordered with tea gardens and rubber plantations – and the aroma of spices greeted us the closer we got to the forest
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I was drawing more nature on this trip than humans and the brown boy objected. “What’s the point of drawing nature? You can’t even do justice to it! I hereby direct you to draw only people.” So I tried, somewhat, on the last day.
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And of course, the best part of every holiday is when you’re recounting the stories to your friends – just like I’m telling you now.

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sketchbook, travels

Calm in the air, part 4, Lake Vembanad

Calm in the air | Calm in the air, Kochi and Silent Valley | Calm in the air, Silent Valley and Alapuzzha

We took a local ferry from Aleppy to Kottayam, on Lake Vembanad. It was absolutely breathtaking.
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The ferry would stop at these villages, every few minutes or so – just like bus stops – and people would get on and off. To tourists like me who’d never been to Kerala it was really new.
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We passed hundreds of houseboats, and here is Anirudh telling us to read an article about Kerala later on –
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And there were tons of birds – and I kept drawing and drawing trying to capture their motion
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And amid all this beauty, someone was snoozing away
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sketchbook

Calm in the air, part 3, Silent Valley and Alapuzzha

Part 1, Calm in the air

Part 2, Kochi and Silent Valley

So, on to part 3 of the now-long forgotten Kerala holiday.

We didn’t do much more in Silent valley, except go on a safari. Here’s a place which reminded me of Spirited Away.

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We also saw a couple of animals (I drew these from memory, so they may not be true to life).

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Then we went on to Alaphuzzha, or Aleppy as it was called in English, a few hours away by car. It was all about the backwaters, tapioca chips and coconuts.

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19-sketchbook-keralaYes, the retreating monsoons, my sketchbook. Happy Kerala-ing.

Part4 tomorrow.

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sketchbook

Calm in the air, part 2, Kochi and Silent Valley

Part 1

Part 2
From Bangalore we went on to Kochi.

We met up with my uncle and aunt, who had traveled there from Calcutta.

In Kochi we stayed in a lovely homestay run by Basil and Annie Mylanthra. They were so hospitable it was like staying with family!

After a day or so in Kochi, gatecrashing funerals and school band practices, we went on to Silent Valley.
Despite my grumbles, it was rather exciting. Here’s the stream at the foot of the forest inspection bungalow.


So you can see, we were surrounded by a lot of atmosphere.
Part 3 coming next.

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Food, Life

Losing sweets

[TRANSCRIPT

Last week I went home to Calcutta for a brief visit. Those two days were filled with delicacies of all sorts, including the most esoteric dessert. Actually the presence of some seasonal delicacies brought to mind the absence of others – like the Bengalis’ pride and joy, the Himsagar mango. I did get to eat “taaler bora” and “taal kheer” cooked lovingly by my aunt – a skill that my mothers’ generation would take to their grave rather than teach me.

Mother: Huh. Your generation has neither the time nor patience to learn these complex dishes…
Me: But who will make these for me when I’m eighty?
Aunt: Be realistic! You don’t even own a karai, how will you deep-fry the boras?
Yes. Unfortunately I gave up deep-frying (so unhealthy!) and so forfeited my chance to learn the art of taaler bora.
Me: But at least, taal kheer?
Mother & Aunt: No!
Mother: You have no patience!

My chances of cooking taaler bora thwarted, I set out to buy some Bengali sweets to take back to Delhi with me. But horror or horrors, the shops were selling all Marwari and Punjabi sweets!
Where was kheer kadamb, with the powdery white shell and the juicy centre? Where was dorbesh, that beautiful jewel-like sphere?
Nor tilkoot – made from sesame seeds – or jibegoja – the sweet I most identify with!

I was reeling from the shock. Finally I had to go searching across town looking for some real Bengali sweetshops.

In the end with much difficulty I found some simple sandesh…but I am still in shock.]

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sketchbook, travels

Sketching in the sun

Last month we went on a little holiday to Goa. First we visited Marvin & Ellie in their beautiful home in Panjim.


We then went south to Palolem to meet up with some other friends.


The anteater came as well, spouting William Blake.

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sketchbook

On the Metro, hairdos and some

Most of the women that I see on the metro have long hair, but these ladies really stood out.

Sometimes there are women who spend their commute doing something else other than on the phone. Here’s a girl who was reading a religious text and chanting throughout her journey.

 

This girl spent the journey staring at her reflection on the window behind me. I forgave her, she had just lost a gold ring.

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