For as long as I can remember, a visit to the Rijksmuseum was on my short list. For nearly a decade, it was closed for renovations. When it reopened a few years ago we started planning a long trip. We planned an entire day for the Rijksmuseum. Nothing else would do it justice.
Continue reading “Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam”
Venkateshwara Temple Coloring Pages
Nearly twenty years ago, I had picked up this free coloring book from the Sri Venkateshwara Temple in Pittsburgh, PA. It lay unused till I found it a few weeks ago. I am sharing here all the scanned pages, so you all can enjoy the sublime joy of coloring.
Download the PDF of SVT Coloring Book.
Coloring Books IS the new rage for grown-up gifts. Over the last year I have received beautiful coloring books, as well as collections of drawing pencils, pastels, gel pens and fine sketching markers. Oh, what joy! Give it a try and please share your works.
Consider perusing this Tirupati: A Walk Enlightens
Shriyah kāntāy kalyān nidhaye nidhayérthinām
Shri Venkatanivāsāy Shrīnivāsāy mangalam
Notes – Why does Anish Kapoor support delinquent NGOs
Saw an article in the Guardian by Anish Kapoor about “India being ruled by a Hindu Taliban.” In the article he mentions with great angst,
Nine thousand NGOs have been “de-registered” in a concerted effort to force out these “nuisance” groups … (quotation marks are from the article)
Every time I see a number being tossed around, I like to understand what the denominator is. That is, how many total NGOs are there in India, and what percentage do these 9,000 represent. Continue reading “Notes – Why does Anish Kapoor support delinquent NGOs”
Meera at the Harvard Art Museum
For many years, Harvard’s Fogg Museum showcasing a beautiful collection of 19th century French and American art, was one of my favorite past-times in Boston. Harvard also hosted a unique Degas at Harvard exhibition – Degas: Of Dancers and Bathers. A few years ago, Harvard undertook a major renovation of the Fogg Museum, expanded it, and brought together collections from the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Arthur Sackler Museum and Fogg Museum. This was my first visit to the renovated and renamed Harvard Art Museums with Meera as a curious companion. Thankfully, they did not change the main layout and courtyard, but extended the side wings and added a Louvre-style, roof top glass pyramid.
Meera had a wonderful time reading the layout map and leading me from section to section. She was particularly intrigued and recognized the portraits of American Presidents. Obviously this first grader thought all the renaissance paintings with scantily clad women were “gross”. She was terrified of peering into the courtyard from the upper level verandahs. This is not the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum and I was not expecting a plethora of Indian art – they had a 13th century Chola bronze of Shri Rām, a few pieces of Buddha and other miscellaneous artwork.
We had a wonderful meal at the cafe and ended our visit at the gift shop – Meera’s favorite. She did say she liked the Harvard Museum of Natural History better and I promised her a return trip this week.
This day I loved this work by the 16th century, Italian Baroque painter, Orazio Gentileschi – Virgin and the Sleeping Christ; see how kindly she shields the child with her diaphanous veil.
Mehndi (or Henna) designs
Here are a few pics from my niece’s mehndi gathering before her shādi. The lady squeezes out the mehndi paste from a foil cone and uses it to draw intricate designs on hands and feet. As the paste dries, fresh lemon juice is squeezed on it to keep it moisten and intensify the color.
Shādi or not, my sisters love mehndi for any occasion. Continue reading “Mehndi (or Henna) designs”
Mumbai’s Terminal T2, more
After my earlier passage through Mumbai’s new T2 terminal, I knew what to expect. On arrival, as everyone else darted to Baggage Claim (and staring at flapping slats whizzing by), I strolled through the endlessly curved, glass-lined walkway. I paused at each exhibit and took it in. The breadth of art types on display was stunning. Ubiquitous worker bees hovered nearby and demonstrated practiced busy-ness. Art was not simply a picture or a sculpture, an entire south Indian courtyard (for e.g.) was recreated; Mumbai was mapped with computer mother boards. And despite my earlier reservations, the exhibits were well maintained. Continue reading “Mumbai’s Terminal T2, more”
Zebra and Ohto Mechanical Pencils
I love writing with pencils and slowly weaned Meera away from markers and crayons – I just threw them all away ;-). Now she exclusively uses color pencils for her drawings and I see her focus and attention to detail has increased tremendously. That is also translating into her writing skills. As I walked her to school this morning she blurted, “Papa, I can write “e” and “r” correctly,” and motions the letters in the air. Continue reading “Zebra and Ohto Mechanical Pencils”
Usually, I take pics of tulips in my garden (see here, here and here). This year I have been impressed at how easy it was to draw them on the iPad with Paper. I use this app often at work to sketch key concepts.
Ram Navami – battle against terror continues
A Wonderful Rām Navamī
Bliss in Śri Rām’s Grace
M&m and A
The frieze above is from the outer wall of Khetapai Narayan Temple in Bhatkal, which I recently visited. This tiny stone temple was built ca 1546 when Konkani traders escaped Portuguese persecution in Goa and settled in Bhatkal. The Bhatkal port had become the primary port for trade by the Vijayanagar empire with its capital in Hampi. Continue reading “Ram Navami – battle against terror continues”
Murals by Mario at Madgaon Train Station
I am a creature of habit. On every visit to Goa, I follow a similar routine. First I commune with our kuldevata at the Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath Devasthan in Ponda, then I may get a cup of Chai or two at the local canteen. Perhaps visit the nearby Mahalakshmi Devasthan and the Mangeshi Devasthan; and after aarti and a quick lunch, I head over to the Madgaon Train Station to catch the 2:30 Verna-Mangalore local train to Kumta. If I arrive early, I amble around the stalls and watch people – they appear meditative in their idleness. And take one more look at the Mario murals. Continue reading “Murals by Mario at Madgaon Train Station”
Meera Visits the Harvard Museum of Natural History
A couple of weeks back, I took a day off and brought Meera to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. HMNH is quite small, but packed with an amazing collection of dinosaur skeletons, stuffed large animals, skeletons of whales and many other species, including a sizable bird and small animal grouping. I had been here before and throughly enjoyed my visit. Continue reading “Meera Visits the Harvard Museum of Natural History”
The Earth is an Egg
During a visit to the Shivaji Museum in Mumbai, I captured this outdoor installation on the grounds of the Museum by Prashant Keluskar and Laxmi Narwekar. Very creative. The artists are trying to remind us that the earth is fragile. I think it better depicts the fragile and infantile nature of the human psyche. Perhaps you see both here. I have included a few more shots as well as a grab of the artists’ explanation below. What does this tell you? Continue reading “The Earth is an Egg”
Heritage, Countee Cullen
Found many poems, scribbled on scraps of yellowing paper, squirreled away in drawers. Saving it here before Meera rips it to shreds.
What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?
One three centuries removed
From the scenes his fathers loved,
Spicy grove, cinnamon tree,
What is Africa to me?
The power of words!
First verse of a longer poem by the same name. Heard this poem first recited by Maya Angelou.
Krishna Janmashtami: Celebrating Krishna
Wishing you all a
Continue reading “Krishna Janmashtami: Celebrating Krishna”
Video: Jana Gana Mana, List of Performers
With democracy comes a serious responsibility.
What are you doing with your democracy?
Happy Independence Day!
Continue reading “Video: Jana Gana Mana, List of Performers”
Video: Weaving Jaaii Flowers
During recent travels, I was visiting relatives in Honavar, Karnataka – a sleepy coastal town south of Kumta (see google map below). I had stopped by a family store to add money to my pre-paid cell phone. There, this older gentleman was weaving these delicate pink buds called jaaii-che kaLo. These buds only sprout after the monsoon rains (June – August), have a delicate fragrance and are highly sought after during the festival season in July-September. It was a simple, yet mesmerizingly beautiful weave and he agreed to let me record it on my flip video. Continue reading “Video: Weaving Jaaii Flowers”
Meera Tames Wild Animals at Kala Ghoda Festival
Meera at the Kala Ghoda Festival 2010
Continue reading “Meera Tames Wild Animals at Kala Ghoda Festival”
Charyl Weissbach: Balsam Poplars
Something about artists, they just blow me away. Look at this beautiful piece called Balsam Poplars! Not only is it pleasing to the eye, but as you dwell on the image, it draws you in. Did you notice the depth created by different media the artist uses? As I look carefully, I see more fascinating details. The colors play games with my eyes, and soon, I am in the midst of this psychedelic forest. I am expecting a tiny bird to take flight from amongst the trees and I watch intently to catch it flit away. Continue reading “Charyl Weissbach: Balsam Poplars”
Spring in Boston
The days that used to lie
by penetrating frost,
bit by bit
now that winter’s past.
~ Sri Dharanidhara
from Vidyadhara’s Subhaashita Ratnakosha
Translated from the Sanskrit by Daniel HH Ingalls, Harvard University Press
The original verses were composed between the 8th and 10th century. Vidyadhara probably compiled these before the year 1100, when he had access to the library housed in the ancient monastery of Jagaddala.
Continue reading “Spring in Boston”
Shivaji and Mother; Meera at the Zoo
Just in time for Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti.
In Mumbai, we had visited the Jijamata Gardens and Zoo (Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udhyan – PraNisangrahalay) named after Shivaji’s mother who had a positive and lasting influence on a young Shivaji. Mumbai’s premier Museum and International Airport are also named after Shivaji. We have all seen many statues of Shivaji, but this one was unique. The mother grooming and sending her son away, as if to go play, but fight for our beliefs and way of life.
I wish it was placed on a lower pedestal, so we could enjoy it better and it would appear that the young Shivaji was going to join other kids in the garden. Continue reading “Shivaji and Mother; Meera at the Zoo”