Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weekend Additions Around The House

This weekend I fished out an old terracotta Ganesha wall hanging that had been lying in cold storage for about two years. Didn't realize it back then but Sunday was also Ganesha Chaturthi.

What should I call this? - Happy coincidence, or maybe, divine concurrence. Whichever way you look at it, it was perfect timing! Not that I'm much of a believer in all this religious hogwash anyway. :)

I also put up this metal sun in our front balcony. Looks a bit lonely right now hanging all by itself.

But I have grand plans to dress up this sit-out with greens. So if the bougainvilleas I planted last month spruce up by winters, or if some more of these creepers show up, I'm hoping that sun-face should have some company next spring!

Once the wall is covered in greens, I'll add some more knick-knacks here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Special Neighbours - II : Monkeying Around

I just learnt the key to being a monkey:

First, get a good night's rest.

After you wake up, peep diligently into kitchen windows, for obvious reasons.

Keep yourself free of bugs and ticks... if you find any, pop 'em right in!

Catch some beauty sleep on the fly!

Yes, we had a simian visitor this week. You think he's funny? Well, so do I, and I really enjoyed clicking the fellow.

But the underlying concern - have we encroached on areas that were once rightfully theirs? After all, jungles and farmlands are being converted to urban living spaces at breakneck speeds everywhere.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adding More Greens

Have been away from blogging for a while as I was grappling with the paces of changing maids. And that is a pretty unpleasant place to be in. Anyhow, things are beginning to look normal again...

We spent the long Independence Day weekend at my parents' place. What lovely weather we had; it was drizzly and cool, and the sky was a riot of colours.

Just the right time for me to get some more plants from my mom's terrific garden. It is amazing just how many plants she has on her terrace, all in containers. It is a veritable plant nursery if you ask me! :)

So now I have some money plant or pothos in a Snapple bottle livening up my kitchen ledge.

And the terracotta planter that I mentioned before, traditionally called the tulsi chauras in north India, finally has its share of Indian basil in place.

Some more saplings are showing up but I'll write about them only after they have grown a bit. And yes, the portulaca has been flowering steadily. :)

What more does one need than some greens around the house to soothe the senses!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our Special Neighbours - I : Common Sparrows

One of the advantages of living in a suburban area is the increased interaction with both flora and fauna. Living in an area that has many large trees and open fields brings us that much closer other living creatures than a pure city existence would. This blog will now include special posts featuring these species that we share our neighbourhood with.

Our first house guest: the common sparrow. When I spot a family of sparrows conferencing on the grills of my kitchen balcony every morning, it feels good to know that we live in an area where correlation between the varied species isn't skewed yet.

The common sparrow disappeared from metropolitan areas like New Delhi many years back. I remember my mum grumbling about sparrows eating up saplings from her garden many years back when I was a student. Afterwards, their population dwindled every year, and now the city holds no place for them. They have been ousted by bigger birds like the common mynah and the uiquitous grey pigeons. Smaller birds cannot thrive in the city because they are unable to find safe places to roost, and there are no tall, bushy trees to accomodate their nests.

While my mum has been rid of the sparow menace, I welcome them to my balconies every morning. We awake with their chirps, and hear their cheeps all day. :) In fact, they have almost monopolised our birdbath but I feel lucky to have them around rather than the pigeons.

Hope you enjoyed meeting today's guests. Subsequent posts will feature other creatures that we regularly spot in the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scenes From Our Rural Backyard

We have a patch of farmland right behind our house, and so are able to view glimpses of rural life all day long. It feels so surreal that despite being so close, the life led by the farmer and his family is so completely different from ours... they are, literally, worlds apart.

The farmer and his family is up before the crack of dawn, tending to their cows and milking them.

Then the fellow waters his lush fields. My maid, who is a village lass herself, tells me that his crop is nothing fancy; just plain cattle feed. But as long as it keeps our backyard green, I'm not complaining.

As the day progresses, the children leave for school and the farmer and his wife go inside their thatched hut. In the evening, a bunch of women descend to cut the fodder.

First from the field using scythes, and then further chopping is done in the machine.

And of course, how can I forget the cowdung cakes? :) There are loads and piles of them, all over the place.

As my maid grumbled one morning, the farmer's wife sells them to the nearby village folk at a steep price. These cakes are used as fuel for traditional Indian choolahs (a mud stove that uses firewood) in rural areas.

Now you know how easy it is to while away time in our new home... by transporting yourself to another world altogether and virtually getting lost in it!

But at the end of the day, our shameless voyeurism only brings home the reality - that our world runs smoothly only because they do their bit in their own world. Can you imagine a world without crops and milk?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Threads That Bind

Yesterday we celebrated the festival of Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi in our new home.

Since this was the very first festival we celebrated in this house, and it is one the favourite festivals of the kids, so that made it all extra-special! :)

We decorated the Rakhi thali with flowers from our garden.

And the kids got to wear their choice of cartoon characters as Rakhi.

I have no siblings, and more specifically, no brother. No, not even cousins... imagine. Some tough luck that! So Rakhi is a festival that never really got celebrated in my parents' house.

But now each year when this festival comes round, I send up a small prayer of gratefulness and thanks to someone up there. For giving me a son and a daughter, instead of 2 sons or 2 daughters. For finally letting this festival touch my life through the joy of my kids. For letting me enjoy the unique relationship that only a brother and sister share and understand.

Hope you all enjoyed this special festival too!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Seasonal Surprises

I really didn't expect the rains to bring in so many surprises in our new home.

Like this family of feathered visitors (sorry I forgot to ask their names!).

Mama, papa and baby bird all seemed to like it around our place, and were contemplating building their own little apartment. :)


Like these tiny white toadstools that sprung up all in the course of a sultry afternoon.

Whoa! Hope the froggies don't turn up to claim their umbrellas now! Or will I see an elf sitting under them tomorrow?!? :)


Like this pretty yellow grass lily that greeted me one morning.

How I loved that cheery yellow flower nodding away in the breeze as I bustled about in the kitchen.


Like this lil' plant that I had long forgotten about, assuming it dead in the summer heat.

Now it stands upright, its tiny stem growing stronger by the day.


Amazing how much wonder a few drops of rain can do....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back From A Time-Out

My blog posts have been infrequent of late since I was enjoying some time-out with the hubby. My dearest was on leave from work so I decided to take a break from blogging. Not that blogging equals work for me, it is more of a stress reliever! :) Pity that we couldn't fit in a vacation though as the kids have been going to school.

But hubby and I got to spend some quality time together in the new home. A quiet hour in the morning in the front sit-out, with a steaming cup of tea and the newspaper for company, some walks around the neighbourhood, enjoying the rain together.... we caught up with such small luxuries that we had been missing given our crazily hectic schedules.

Got quite a few pending house chores done with as well, and that is such a relief! I also took some time out to potter in my fledgling terrace garden, and resume my painting.

Hopefully the blog posts shall flow again soon!

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