Soak up the Sun

This picture I took of a kitty lounging in the summer sun in Istanbul last year, makes me long for a day like that one. I wish I could find a grassy little spot under a tree and just stretch out, with a book and let my thoughts wander. This weekend may very well be the last lazy one we enjoy. A big move is on the cards for June and we need to get started with packing up our life here. And…we’re getting a light drizzle almost everyday, so the monsoon isn’t that far away.

Somehow, doesn’t summer seem to always be full of so many things to look forward to? As kids, summer vacation meant plans for craft projects, hide and seek, late night card games, board games and climbing up every tree in sight, whether there were fruits to be had or not. It also held the promise of travelling to a new place. My dad is a civil engineer, and was usually posted to different parts each year. School year began with either a vivid essay or a drawing of some memory of the lovely, jobless time spent licking orange flavoured ice lollies. Mangoes were another treat that summer never failed me at. I miss sinking my teeth into a huge slice of cool water melon.

When we lived in Nasik, my sis, our best friend and I would plan sleep overs on our terraces. We’d spend the evening lugging up bedding, mosquito coils and other meagre comforts up the rickety ladder propped up at my friend’s house. Going up was so dandy. While the other two slithered down skillfully, I had to be coaxed down like a cat stuck on a tree. I now am so grateful for their patience. They never gave up on me, and never stopped making plans to go sleep on the terrace. And there we’d lie, looking up at the sky, marvelling at the twinkling stars. Slowly, we’d pop off to sleep, conversations terminating mid-sentence, tired from all the planning and several trips up and down.

As we would be flopping around through the day, waiting for the ice-cream cart to come by, I don’t recall much parental supervision or interference. We were happy they were at bay, they were probably enjoying the much needed break too. When it got really hot, we’d fill up a tank with water and get in, in our bathing suits. That was pretty much the only time the bathing suits came out, unless we were away for a beach holiday.

What do kids do today to while away the abundance of time in summer vacations? How come we don’t make these plans anymore? Why did we really want to grow up so fast, when it seems obvious now, that there is no greater joy that just soaking up the sun?


Easy DIY Fabric Flowers: Poppies

I saw these lovely flowers on Ez’s blog Creature Comforts a while back and was dying to try them out. When I finally went to Mumbai in March, my sister and I picked up some satin to try our hand at all the enticing flowers we’ve been pinning onto our DIY boards. I’d seen the tutorial for these ones and tried them out.

Now that am back home, I made a fresh batch of two! The little one was a great accessory for my bright red saree. It made me feel like a retro film star, mostly because of my hairstyle really. The big poppy has been made for a special little girl. I just need to figure out how to get it to her now.

Go check out Ez’s super easy tutorial. She’s even added videos, just watch them even if you aren’t making the flowers right away. You never know when you’ll be in the mood for poppies too. These make excellent gift toppers, hair accessories or brooches.

I’ve made much flatter versions of the original design, with only three whorls, which I think look good as hair accessories. If you add your own little twist, be sure to share it with us.

Little Rainbows in a Jar

Colours really make me happy, they put a smile on my face. Just glancing at this corner of my desk where I’ve stored some felt pompoms in an old jam jar, every once in a while makes me feel joyful. Colours have always had that effect on me. As you may have noticed, yellow is my favourite colour. It has the magical ability to uplift my spirits. Could be one of the reasons I love Goa so much. I have never seen such wonderfully yellow, mustardy, orchery houses anywhere else in India. And the police stations are painted a bright, inviting yellow, somehow making me fall for the Goa all over again. The beaches and sea food do a darn good job of enticing me there in the first place, but these special touches of yellow make a world of difference to me.

Hot pink and coral make me feel quite stylish, I really can’t explain why. Must be some odd wiring in my head. And then there are the divine whites, blues, greens and warm, fuzzy oranges. What’s really fun about shades is trying to mix and match to create interesting, surprising palettes that can help sprinkle some fairy dust on ordinary things to transform them into art. Am inspired by the myriad colours I see in nature – the ultimate master blender.

It’s pretty easy to be my friend, just buy me a box of colours – crayons, water, fabric, glitter. Anything, really.

You can imagine what happens to me in candy shops. What makes your world go round?
Have a lovely weekend.

Infectious Creativity: Illustrated Bites

In a sea of beautifully styled food blogs with glamorous pictures of vittles, here comes a delightful blog with illustrated recipes and cooking tips. Heather Diane is an artist who has combined two loves – image making and food. A wonderful idea, isn’t it?

Head on over to her blog Illustrated Bites to dive into a world where your imagination will get a high and your stomach will rumble with desire.

Vintage Treasures: Mahatma Gandhi’s Home

A quaint little house stands testimony to the simple, rustic life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Father of our Nation. He was born in Porbandar and lived in this house until his teen years. As you duck when you pass through the short doorways, you wonder how a tiny, frail man could have managed everything that he did. About how he continues to inspire people around the world with his words – written and spoken.

A bus-load of senior citizens clamber up the precarious staircase, holding onto the rope for dear life. They speak a tongue, foreign in these parts but comfortingly familiar to me. I interject their chatter with, “where have you come from?”, in Marathi. A happily surprised smile, a short pause and the dhoti-clad gentleman breaks into Marathi that could only be from Pune. Am from Mumbai, and there is usually a mildly cold war between the two cities of Maharashtra. One, the commercial capital of the state and India. The other, the bastion of all that represents the Marathi warrior.

But in these parts, we bond over the syllables of a common language. I relish the texture of the words being formed in my mouth, and I strain to hear the gurgling sound of my mother tongue from these village folk. Strangely, am comforted by the fact that home is indeed not that far away.

As we amble through the museum and get ready to leave the sunny courtyard, I look back one last time. The lady in the nine yard saree, who had almost not made it to the top floor, mops her forehead with the corner of her pallu. Even though she has skipped the trek to the third floor, she seems satisfied with her tour to a sliver of history.