Friday, 27 January 2012


As you can make out from my blog, I have a lot of interest in all forms of art but haven't really tried my hand at too many things until now. But now I want to spend more time in learning and creating more art. And Paint Party Friday has become a weekly inspiration for me. I was wondering what to make for this week's party, when I came across the Soul Challenge. I was intrigued by the idea and wanted to give it a try. So here's what the word Soul means to me. It of course is influenced by the Indian beliefs of Aatma and Parmatma. 

According to the Indian philosophy, the Aatma or soul is a piece of the superior force that's present all around us - the Parmatma. This superior force is interpreted in different ways. Some call it God, others prefer other names. After all, matters of the soul are extremely personal preferences. Indian spiritual thinkers believe that all living things are mere tiny manifestations of the supreme force and once we die, the soul departs the physical body and blends back into the supreme force.I tend to think of God as a supreme force and visualize "it" as a very bright light. :)

The current Hindu religion is a pretty complex with centuries of interpretations and misinterpretations taking it away from the original ideas. However, there are a number of rituals that are practiced even today that emphasize the basic philosophy of the Aatma and the Parmatma. One such practice is the Indian form of greeting - Namaste. 

By greeting a fellow human being with a Namaste, we are actually acknowledging the supreme force present in him/her and bowing in front of it. So, here's how I look at these things -

So this one goes to both Paint Party Friday and The Soul Challenge at Artists in Blogland.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Nimbu Mirchi

I'm very late for the Party (PPF) of last week! I wanted to submit something on time but during the week, I didn't get any time. And I spent the weekend enjoying what others had submitted. But the desire to submit something was still there...suddenly an idea to go with the "Friday, the 13th" theme stuck me and I thought its ok if I'm late (very late actually). I just finished making this sketch of an Indian Evil Eye Warder - Nimbu Mirchi or Chillies & Lime.

Nimbu Mirchi Sketch

I would have loved to do it in water colors but I've not worked too much with them (same with any other medium as I'm new to art ;) ) and didn't want to risk it at 11:30 PM in the night. So I just made a pencil sketch. The original photo is here.

Traditionally, in India, chillies and a lime are strung on a string and hung in entrance of houses and shops with the belief that it'll ward off all evil eyes (or spirits). You can see them hanging in the front bumper of trucks too :) Once the chillies and lime start drying up, they are replaced with fresh ones. The old one are thrown away and you wouldn't want to step on them as all the evil spirits will now haunt you :)

Now there are a number of options if you are not too keen on fresh ones or are worried about buying new chillies and lime every week. You can choose from brass, oxidized metal, silk fibre, silver coated or ceramic chillies and lime.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Paint Party Friday # 43

I am an artist at heart but well disguised ;)

I've always wanted to draw well, paint well, sketch well... Lately the urge to do something was quite high, so I started this blog thinking this would encourage me to try my hand at art more often. And while browsing around, found PPF and was really interested. For the last 2 weeks I've been wanting to send an entry  but was very uncertain about myself. Will they even entertain such amateur art? They might be furious at my awkward creations. 
Well the only way to find out, I figured, was to try it! So here goes...

I used acrylics on canvas. The white is acrylic too but it was so old that it had become thick. 

Yoohoo! I did it! and now my fingers are crossed...

Thursday, 5 January 2012

A resort and a dance village

Hesaraghatta is a small village about 30-40 kms from Bangalore. The main attraction in yester years used to be the Hesaraghatta lake which is a man-made reservoir built in 1894. The lake is mostly dried up now but is said to still attract a number of species of birds. 

In 1990, the famous Odissi dancer Protima Gauri established the dance village Nityagram. Its a gurukul dedicated to dance! 

We were told that Protima Gauri started a small restaurant called Kuteeram to cater to the visitors. This was later taken over by the Taj group and they developed the lovely little resort Taj Kuteeram

Its a nice relaxing weekend getaway from Bangalore. I used to think a resort is worth visiting only if it is either in the hills, the jungle, on the beach or on the banks of a river or a big lake. Taj Kuteeram proved me wrong.

Its a aesthetically designed resort with a lot of greenery in and around it. The fact that it has only 9 rooms/suits adds to the charm....

I forgot my camera so could only get limited pics with the phone :(

 The restaurant and the terrace with a wonderful view.

The picturesque pond in front of the restaurant

The pond was right in front of the dining area and provided a lovely and relaxing dining atmosphere. There were pebbles in the bottom and fish swimming around. You can see the hammock in the distance. 

 The pretty stone steps bridge

Do you see the dome in the background? That's the top of a room. I think all rooms have a dome shaped ceiling. The rooms were very tastefully done inside with built in cement beds and side tables and tasteful chairs. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any pics before the kids made a mess of it.

Lovely yellow flowers floating near the pond.

That dome was our room. The low stone wall you see is the corridor to the entrance. There are stone benches on either side which made a good place to have morning/evening tea with the birds chirping in the background.

The stone corridor between 2 rooms.

The big peepal tree with a stage under it.

That was a neat use the shade of the peepal tree for a stage. It must feel so good to watch a performance with all the greenery around and above it!

And not to forget the geese! There was a gaggle of geese on the premises. They were kept in some obscure corner till meals time. Ours ...not theirs. And then all of them would march across the lawns and enter the pond at the far end and swim towards the restaurant, entertain the diners for a while and swim back, climb out and march back. Oh, it was such a wonderful sight! The kids were overjoyed to see the birds.
Marching across the lawns

Swimming under the bridge

 A trip to Taj Kuteeram would be incomplete without a visit to the adjoining Nityagram. Its an entire academy dedicated to dance. Protima Gauri's idea was to have a community in the midst of greenery, away from civilization that spent all their time teaching and learning dance.

The place was designed by Gerard Da Cunha to closely resemble a typical Indian village and at the same time have a green quiet environment for the artists to hone their dance skills.

At the entrance there is a stone sculpture which is I think the mascot of Nityagram. I didn't get a good pic so took this one from TravelingBeats.

 The sprawling premises of Nityagram

 Hidden behind the trees in this shot is the stone amphitheater.

 Round thatched huts - accommodation for the teachers/students

 Traditional rangoli outside the buildings 

A stone arch with a creeper on it

 Do you see the doorway on the right? That's where the dance classes take place. You can watch the classes but you are not permitted to take photographs. When we were visiting, there was an Odissi dance class in progress. It comprised mostly of young children. We sat there for a long while lost in the energetic youngsters' difficult but graceful moves.

 Isn't that a wonderful meeting space?!

Nityagram was setup with the idea of reviving the old Indian Gurukul system of education. Away from the city, away from distractions, the students could concentrate on dance and collectively run the self-sustained village. At one time it had as many as 7 different dance forms being taught and practiced. But now, I guess the times are difficult. Most talented teachers don't want to spend their time away from the limelight teaching in the midst of nowhere. And only really dedicated students will be willing to spend 2,3 years away from regular life to learn dance. 

Nityagram comes to life every year on the first Saturday of February with Vasanata Habba or the spring festival. Its an all night dance and music festival. I hope to experience it someday!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Let there be sunshine in every life this new year!!!

Wish everyone a very happy, healthy and satisfying new year! 

Bring in some sunshine into your life and of those around you! 

Well that's what we literally did in the kid's room ... We brought in the sun!!

We painted a huge smiling sun on a wall! As usual this was another idea that's been there in my mind for a very long time but... But now I'm seriously into a makeover of the house. I started with the kid's room. The makeover of the room is almost done but for some finishing touches. So please expect a post soon with pictures of every nook and corner of the room! :)
Hopefully by then I would have got some creative idea for making that boring switch board look more interesting or at least not spoil the look of the wall.