Meera with a head full of flowers

pic of Meera with a head full of flowers by Arun Shanbhag

At a recent ‘munji’ Meera got an opportunity to have her head decked with this woven flower buds. Those are Jaai buds from a village called Shankarā-pur near Karkala. One of M’s cousins brought those flowers. Another relative spent nearly an hour carefully covering Meera’s hair with the flowers.

She was one happy kiddo.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt's Night Watch at Rijksmuseum Netherlands by Arun Shanbhag
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”

Keukenhof Gardens: Tulips Overdose

pic of tulips at Keukenhof Gardens Lisse Netherlands by Arun Shanbhag
When we were planning a trip to The Netherlands, I was thinking of immersing myself at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, while M was dreaming of the tulips, i.e. the Keukenhof gardens in Lisse, a quick bus ride from Schiphol Airport. Of course we did both, and much more.

It was a bright, cool day in early May. Apparently they have more than 7 million tulips over ~80 acres of well maintained grounds, and they were all in bloom! The colors and fragrances were simply overwhelming. I was close to getting a “Tulip induced migraine!” For a break, we stepped into the gift shop(s) and of course, more tulips.
Continue reading “Keukenhof Gardens: Tulips Overdose”

Video: Meera Loves Boxes

When we go for a walk and Meera sees a cardboard box in someone’s trash, she wants it.  One time she made me carry a big water-heater box back home.  With some box cutters, duck tape, paint, binder clips and a big dose of Meera’s creativity, we made a Rocket Ship!  She and her friends have more fun with this Rocket Ship and many, many expensive, store bought gifts.

This girl is ruling my life! Love her.

Colaba Ganapati @ Millburn NJ

Friday Ratri Puja and Visarjan Puja
Bhatmaam has arrived and drinking hot Kaapi!

Friday Danapaar Puja
Live streaming of Friday afternoon puja


pics of Colaba Ganapati @ Millburn by Arun Shanbhag

Thursday Ratri Puja


Thursday morning Ganesh Chaturthi Puja
Here is the live stream of the Colaba Ganapati puja from Millburn, NJ.
Ganapati Bapa Morya!

Other Ganapati Posts:

Meera at the Harvard Art Museum

pictures from the Harvard Art Museum Cambridge by Arun Shanbhag

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.

pictures from the Harvard Art Museum Cambridge by Arun Shanbhag
Orazio Gentileschi – Virgin with Sleeping Christ, 1610


Meera at the Cape

pics photos of beach at the Chatham Bars Inn Cape Cod by Arun Shanbhag
The views were soothing

Meera was thrilled to be visiting the Cape. She looked forward to this all spring and finally it happened. The weather was perfect – warm days and cool nights. She loved the Lighthouse, collecting shells on the beach, playing in the pool, catching up with friends, soccer on the beach, scoping seals lazing on sand bars, riding the boat and toasting marshmallows by the bon fire. As in earlier times, the food was spectacular. Overall, a great time.

The lighthouse is beautiful.

pics photos of Lighthouse at the Chatham Bars Inn Cape Cod by Arun Shanbhag
Lighthouse at Chatham

Mehndi (or Henna) designs

photos of bridal Mehndi designs on hands and feet by Arun ShanbhagHere 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”

Meera at Legoland Boston

photos from Legoland Boston by Arun Shanbhag

What could you do with three million Lego bricks? Build a city of course. At the recently opened Legoland Boston, the highlights are a few of Boston’s iconic buildings, painstakingly assembled with Lego bricks. The attention to detail is amazing and they have captured the main sights including a miniature of Fenway Park filled with mini figures. Pressing a button releases a ball over the mound and with a single pin ball flipper at home plate, you could try and swing for the wall. Very nicely done; apparently took 60,000+ pieces. And Harvard Yard, Widener Library, MIT Dome, Boston Statehouse, Custom House, a road accident with flashing lights and rescue vehicles, and a lot more. Meera was awestruck; we spent an hour peering through the city. Continue reading “Meera at Legoland Boston”

Meera at a Sushi Restaurant

photos of Meera at a Sushi Restaurant in Boston by Arun Shanbhag
Meera’s such a champ. Wherever we go for dinner, she just munches on plain rice. She’s such an adventurous girl, but she takes no chances in eating. Even at home, she is most thrilled with rice, yogurt and a papad.


Meera turns Six

Pics of Meera and friends at Lanes and Games in Boston by Arun Shanbhag
To celebrate Meera turning six, we had nearly her entire Kindergarten class over for candlepin bowling at Lanes & Games. The kids loved it. They were thrilled to just send the balls down the lanes. Boys hurled two at a time. On some lanes I noticed more than six mini balls gently rolling down! And then they had cupcakes, pizza and juice. Verily heaven. Happy Birthday Meera! Enjoy Continue reading “Meera turns Six”

Meera goes sledding

pics of Meera sledding in the snow in Boston by Arun Shanbhag
We all complain about the snow. Yes, it’s usually a big mess. But after it has all been cleared and the sun is out, Meera loves to play in the snow. Here we are out sledding on a nearby hill, with one of our neighbors. Everyone had a great time. Here’s Meera after last January’s blizzard. Same outfit, but the jacket is getting tighter.

Thanksgiving In Boston

pictures of M & Meera at the Seaport Hotel Boston Thanksgiving Brunch by Arun Shanbhag
This year we chose to spend a quiet Thanksgiving enjoying a sumptuous and beautiful brunch at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. We started with the breakfast menu of warm croissants and smoked salmon, then crazed on argula salad and gigantic shrimp cocktail; delicious clam chowder, home made mashed potatoes, the bestest dry roasted brussel sprouts and salmon grilled in olive oil, lemon and capers (wow!). We did not venture near the traditional meats. Continue reading “Thanksgiving In Boston”

Meera says: Shubh Deepavali – Happy Diwali

pic of Meera celebrating Diwali Deepawali in Boston by Arun Shanbhag(more Meera pics below)


On this joyous festival of Diwali,
Let divine grace light your hearts and
enlighten you minds.

Wishing you and all your loved ones
Shantih! Shantih! Shantih!

Happy Diwali!
Meera, M & A


Continue reading “Meera says: Shubh Deepavali – Happy Diwali”

Spring in Boston – Meera rides the bicycle

photo of Meera riding here bicycle at Stratton School by Arun Shanbhag

It’s been a beautiful Spring here in Boston, albeit a little chilly. Tomorrow we leap straight into Summer with temps soaring to 90+ deg F. Continue reading “Spring in Boston – Meera rides the bicycle”

Meera: When do we grow

pictures of Meera in Boston by Arun Shanbhag

On her annual visit, the doctor told Meera how much she had grown over the last year. That night Meera comes to me, her shoulders are hunched and a concerned look on her face. Continue reading “Meera: When do we grow”

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