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Sunday, August 26, 2007

PaintAthon, anyone?

Last friday, Prayas, Akshay and I decided to have a PaintAthon. A PaintAthon is a time pass activity, when two or more painters do nothing but paint in a time frame. Friday, because the brat will be at school all day. If they had any sense, they should have sent me to school with the kid. Find out why:

Prayas, is a regular painter. Akshay is new. In fact, this is Akshay's first brush with a canvas. Here his mind is desperately trying to 'see' the image.

Prayas does not bother to see anything, he simply begins what looks like blobbing.

Neither Akshay nor me can contain our jeolosy. "What on earth is that?" I ask him. His hand doesnt stop.

I continue to pester him. "Why do you use such dark, dull colors?"

"Why dont you shut up and start your own painting?" he yells.

"Black blob and then dark green! Yuk! Even your kid paints better than you."

By now Akshay is really nervous. He is too unmarried to appreciate the vicarious pleasures of couplehood.

"Chill," he says. He hasnt even started yet, neither I.

"What are you going to paint, Akshay?" I ask him.

"I dont know yet." he says, looking at the pristine white canvas.

"Feels almost like a sin to stain it, doesn't it?" I ask him softly.


"Will you please get lost?" Prayas thunders! "Why dont you start painting? Where is your brush?"

"I don't have one." I pout.

"Ok, take this ."

"This brush is too big."

"Hold it by the side and it becomes small."

"Ok. Thankyou."

I take Pavan's water colors and leave for the bedroom. My canvas is the glass window. There is no choice. All I can see outside are leaves, more leaves and a little bark. And all I remember from my school notebooks are small brickred pots from which imerge green plants, red flowers, sometimes a mango.


"Hey, Mango, where are you?" yells the husband.

" I thought you guys didn't want me there!" I yell back.

"You can come now. We are both done!"
To view, buy, or scoff at the PaintAthon paintings, go here and here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Aproach : A protagonist in every child.

Ahmedabad is finally and officially a child friendly city.

An event where all the children of the city are invited. A huge chunk of a street in downtown area of Ahmedabad, near the Law Garden, is closed to the public and open for children. Not even an entrance fee is charged, and the child is expected to freak out. I have never seen so many children more engrossed, more joyous. Hats off to Riverside school for initiating Aproch.

Here is a three minute video of the event, where my child has become the protagonist, since that was the best way to keep an eye on him during the shoot.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A guru runs a road side tea shop.

How unfair life is, I moan, as I sit facing the dual monitors of the Final Cut Pro Editing computer. Why should I, a computer illiterate, have to sit here all alone, and try to figure out why the goddamn sound and picture don't get printed together?

I have tried everything my computer angel (that is how a computer illiterate sees a computer expert) asked me to do. But how many times can I call her?

So what if I have a deadline, theres no problem big enough that cannot be run away from. I switch the comp off, the camcorder off, leave the AC on, and get the hell out of there.

As I walk out of the building, the escapist-guilt is washed off by the sunshine. I sit on the dirty bench of the road side tea shop and order a cup. The young boy is singing as he stirs the boiling tea.

I ask for a Bun-butter, with less butter.

He continues singing, does not even acknowledge my request. Just as I am about to repeat myself, he reaches for the butter.

"Easy on the butter," I say, and he continues singing. And Buttering.

"Easy on the butter!" I shout.

"Yes, Maam!" he laughs gaily and brings me the tea and bun-butter, and makes an exaggerated effort to clean the bench.

The bun is loaded with butter, the tea is too sweet.

But it has the ingredient Sophia Loren recommended. Its made with love. Love can melt calories, I am sure Deepak Chopra will agree.

Ten minutes later, I switch on the FCP and attack. My mind is clear and the head is held high. I spot the bug and marry the sound and visual!

"I heard you had a problem with the system today?" A colleague peeps in and asks.

"Nothing major. The comp just wanted a cup of tea." I reply.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I am a home-made cook

Tonight I got lucky. The soup I made as an experiment turned out so delicious, I cant wait till tomorrow so that I can have it again. Since I don't want to forget the recipie, ( I have a very short, short term memory ), I thought I will write it down.

Step 1: Tell your husband you are making soup for dinner. Then you cant back out and make the daily khichdi.
Soup and toast and boiled potatoes.
Yes, there is a full loaf of brown bread in the fridge.
There are enough potatoes that go straight in the pressure cooker.
And, oh shucks, there is only one small packet of maggie tomato soup powder. Not enough for a family of three.

Step 2: Dive into the fridge again. Yes, there is a beetroot and a few tomatoes. Without thinking, mince the above, put them in a pan with four cups of water. Add a little ginger-garlic paste, and bring to a boil.
Use the packet of maggie, salt and pepper, to spice it up.

Step 3: Fry some mungodi's ( no idea what they are called in English, they are made of besan - chana lentil ka powder, I guess) in oil and add them to the red soup. Keep boiling.

Step 4: Open the pressure cooker, cut out the potatoes in four slices each, salt and pepper it. Add some butter. This is a yummy childhood dish that I have rediscovered after becoming a mum.

Step 5: Toast and butter the bread.

And dinner is ready, within twenty minutes.

Extra tip: If your kid has not done his homework while you were cooking, butter the potatoes in front of him, telling him he can have them as soon as he is done, and see how fast and how willingly he winds up.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Effect of Cinema on child.

My child is skipping away, from one room to another.

Left arm in a sling, holding a green lump of clay, he asks me,
"Can i give this clay to my friend?"

"Why don't you ask papa?"

"Because i am asking you, no"

"Ok. why do you want to give the clay to your friend?"

"She likes it."

"I see. And you don't like it?"

"But I want to give it to her." he insists.

"Ok, then. Give it to her."
And he skips away, out of the flat, to the neighbors door, to give his friend the lump of clay.

Why is he skipping so much? Because he has been a patient all day. Ever since he fell in school and hurt his arm a couple of days back, the doc has had his arm wrapped up in a crepe bandage and banned him from adventure sports. Since the last two days, my little boy hasn't cycled, skated, or played football.

Maybe I shouldn't have shown him Harry Potter all weekend. Every time a friend of his knocked the door, asking him to come out and play, we would get that friend to come in and watch Potter. And, each time, they would start from the beginning, when Harry was a baby, flying down on a motorcycle!

So I shouldn't be surprised that Tukru, my kid, has discovered the one thing he hasn't been banned from: Skipping around the house!





Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dying, is always for the first time.

When I was a teenager, I sometimes daydreamed that I am dying / dead. My friends and relatives would be so concerned, so caring....


'The First Time', written (quite some time back), by Joy Feilding, is a novel with similar musings. A married woman, in her late thirties, is struck by an incurable disease just as her marriage is breaking up. The doctors give her an year to live.

Death as a threat, transforms everything. An unfaithful husband comes back home, an uncaring mother is forced to understand and accept her daughter. The couple, during the last few months of their time together, fall in love, for the first time.

I think novels are written for people who once had enormous capacity to daydream. Now all they have left is a little imagination. Fiction writing, as such is nothing but professional daydreaming.

If you are a person who harbors the desire that people around you should love you more than they do, 'The First Time' is an ideal weekend read.

Joy Feilding has done it again. If this book gets you, you wont be able to put it down.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Problem with reading non-fiction

The problem with reading non-fiction is a complete lack of continuity. During the last few years, I have switched from reading gripping fiction to haphazard stuff and in the process, have forgotten how to read a book cover to cover.

I realized this when I recently read a novel, one that I had already read an year ago, 'The First Time', by Joy Feilding. My sister had come down for the weekend and I was shamelessly immersed in the book. Whenever she yelled at me for not paying attention to what she was saying, I would first note the page number, then close the book. And, just as I closed the book, I would realize that I have forgotten the goddamn page number. Then I would open the book again and try to get back my page.

My sister would yell louder and we would have another row during which I would be thinking of the story in the book. However, reading is our religion and my sister would understand how, sometimes, you really cant leave a novel.

Finally my sister gave me a bookmark. Not a receipt, nor a torn piece of paper, an exclusive, designer bookmark.

Next blog: Book reveiw of Joy Feildings novel.