Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Every time when I go to Padmam aunty’s house, she is busy with one of her creations. Nowadays its mostly painting sarees. She says that most of these are sold even before she finishes painting them. 

So it is not surprising to see that her posture and concentration is the same in practically all the pictures but the saree and the designs keeps changing. 

Her admirers are from different quarters of the world and some of them have even made me promise to arrange an audience with her when they visit Pune.   

She loves the sambhar that wifey makes. So it is a mutual admiration society. 

Some of her work that was recently framed and which has found a place in the drawing room. 

These two pictures shows how steady her hand is and how she looks at the finer details while painting 

It is not only painting, she loves to dabble with any form of art, like this cross stitch which is in one of her grandson’s room 

One of the things that she misses now a days is the yearly visit by the flock of Munia that used to visit her balcony. (you can read it here)  Blame it on climatic changes and the unpredictable monsoon. 
Whatever the changes, I never miss having the yearly Onam Sdhya with her. In fact I have observed her directing the family members how and where each item has to be placed on the banana leaf, the proper traditional way.

A picture of her on her 97th birthday which was four months ago.  

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Off the beaten path

The thrill of looking down 4670 feet from the edge of a cliff is something totally different.

This is at Kokankada, about 2.5 km from Harishchandragad in the western ghats of Maharashtra.  

We started off from Paachnai village where we set up the tents the previous night. We were 15 of us and each one helped in pitching the tent. When the moon came up, we had dinner by the camp fire.

The next day, after a light breakfast we proceeded with the climb. On the way up, we took the mandatory group photo. Like one of our members said, “its better to click now as all are fresh and eager to pose” 

The climb up was slow as the path was slightly steep 

 Moreover there were short stops in between as the area of interest differed for different people. 

And of course nimbu pani (lime juice) is always available when you want to refresh yourself. 

The 6.5 kms climb was completed in 2.5 hrs and as mentioned the view from Kokankada was breathtaking. 

And one more group photo. 

On the way back from Kokankada we stopped at the Harishchandragad temple. 

Next to the temple is the Saptatirtha Pushkarni pond. 

The Kedareshwar cave is very close to the temple. There is a shivling in the cave which is almost submerged in water. You can see all this in the attached video

What I like about Rivers and Ridges (the guys who conduct the trek) is that they don’t go to the usual crowded places but patronize small villages. We had all our food from the local villagers (for which they were paid) 

Preparing Tea for us

Over and above suitable gifts were distributed to the villagers, keeping in mind of their needs. These villages have no electrical connection. So maybe a torch with sufficient supply of batteries is something helpful for them.  People from the city keep contributing and that in turn ends up in these small villages. Captured some footage on video as the gifts were distributed.   

I got chatting with this lady as she was connecting the batteries to the solar panel. She said that one day’s charge is good enough for a tube light to illuminate the house and the kitchen till its bed time. 

On the way back we spotted some langurs (I am sure they spotted us too) 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Street shows in UK

One of the things I like to observe when on a trip abroad is the street show. They are interesting and entertaining. But if you look a little closer you will find the reason why some of them do these shows. Like for example Jess Josie Lee who is travelling the world funding herself doing what she likes best  – busking.  Clicked this while she was singing away to glory at Cornmarket Street, Oxford,  on 25th July.  

These two guys (known as the Mangor DUO) were too good on their guitar. Spotted them at Reading.  

It is also interesting to watch the pedestrians as they pass by. You can see their body automatically sway to the music as they pass the speaker (at least those who are musically inclined) (watch these two girls at 2.50) 

At a mall I saw this Yamaha keyboard display cum sale section. The salesgirl was a pro and belted out some good numbers, a part of which I managed to capture. 

Unfortunately there was little audience for this man on his accordion, probably he has selected a quiet street behind a store. 

This guy was outside the King’s Cross railway station and the music he played went well with the rush hour traffic around the railway station. 

I have captured most of these and strung it up into a small video.
Saw these guys playing at Chester cross (the junction of Bridge Street and Watergate Street) You can see the street names written on top. All street names are elevated and displayed at an height of about 20 feet. It was only later I realized that this cross road had some historical significance. 

Jason Allan was performing not far from Chester Cross.

Princess street at Edinburgh is a hub of activity when it comes to busking. It was nice and sunny with many tourists sprawled out on the lawn. 

You could hear music from different quarters (without disturbing each other) 

 Apart from music there were other artists trying to make some money using their skill 

On Princess street I found the statue of John Wilson totally covered by a tree. In 1854 when John died he never thought that he would be standing tall totally covered by foliage. 

When you walk around you come across some shops with unusual names.  Saw this one in York 

These two are from Bath. I noticed that people do contribute generously. 

The levitating street performers comes up with newer and newer ideas to catch your attention (and a few coins if possible) 

These two girls produced some excellent music. I purposely clicked with the elderly couple in the foreground. Wonder how Princess Street was when they were young.