Monday, August 27, 2012

Bases for a Sketch

India Art Journal Aug 3,4,5,6 by Meera Rao
"Events at home, at work, in the street - these are the bases for a story"  - said  Naguib Mahfouz about his writing. That is not too far from what I do as I look for ideas now to sketch the daily vignette :) 
The satellite dishes on the roof of a neighbourhood building tells the story of India leaping into the advanced age of technology even while struggling at street level with the day to day to life which sometimes looks like  has not changed in ages. I find  quite a few cows still share living space with their human family; there is still very personal service in the market by the small Mom and Pop shops as seen with the guy selling fish, and unfortunately quite a few youth are working for a living rather than studying/attending school despite the govenment passing laws for universal literacy for its citizens. The boy ironing clothes was using a old fashioned coal iron and a small cart for his ironing space and moves from neighbourhood to neighbourhood on a rotating basis on different days of the week to bring laundry services to the door.  
I wrestle with what to sketch, what do I want to show the world  of the my birth country. But it is always easy to see the beauty in most everything whether its the mess of satellite dishes on top of a building or simple living of the majority of its citizens. And I just sketch.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Slice of Life

India Art Journal July 30,31, Aug 1, 2 by Meera Rao
"Then India, everyone has his own idea of India" - J Milton Hayes.
Tata Nano car is considered the cheapest car in the world and I see quite a few of them on the road. I have not ridden or checked out one but they definetely have the 'cute factor'!
Most of the pots in India don't have handles and these chimtas or tongs are a must in the kitchen to handle the hot pots and covers.
The parrots cause a ruckus at dawn and dusk with their chirping and swooping about. They love to perch on the coconut palm fonds. I have not figured out what is it about the coconut tree that these birds love.  I do like waking up to hearing them noisily flying around from tree to tree.
Rakhee celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie the 'rakhee' on to brothers's wrists and each assure the other to protect and love forever.  Its an ancient custom performed once a year. Until recently the custom  was prevalent mainly in Northern India but now it is celebrated throughout the country. Born and brought up in the south, growing up, I was not familiar with the custom other than having watched it in a Hindi movie or two. Days and weeks before the special day shops were filled with variety of bracelets for purchase. I was amazed at the beauty and abundance of the bracelets for sale everywhere!  This year Rakhee day was celebrated on Aug 2.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Honest work and Steadfast Faith

India Art Journal July 26, 27, 28, 29 by Meera Rao
Street vendors are an essential and unofficial part of the economy in India. Most of them just stake out a space on the sidewalk or street corners and set up shop. Just a few streets from our house there is a full scale market on the streets occupying several blocks and parellel streets where the street vendors sell (and make as in the case of the bamboo shop) ladders, baskets, garlands, fruits, vegetables, meat(ready to cook or butcher live a  one just for you right there!), furniture, food, wood, cosmetics, statues, pots, clothes, keys - and whatever else you may need :) They hang their wares on the street light poles, and some even live right there with a make shift tent and take over the sidewalk. Some sell their stuff from carts, others display them on cloth or plastic sheets, benches, baskets etc.

By googling I discovered that there is even a National Association of Street Vendors of India! Women vendors are a huge part of this and I read that recently in this city, Mysuru,  there`was a Women Street Vendors training program to help them organize for collective bargaining and negotiation with the government at various levels, to strengthen women's social security and livelihood rights.  

There is always some festival or other and the ladies all dress themselves in beautiful colorful sarees and jewelry. They perform 'puja' in their homes or in temples. On July 27 there was a festival for the Goddess that was celebrated especially in a grand scale by all.

As seen by the notices around town nailed to the tree trunks by the street side, there are more women coming to the city for work, and homes and hostels that cater to them.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sketching The Spirit of A Place

India Art Journal July 22,23,24,25 by Meera Rao

Nagasampige belongs to the magnolia family. It is an unusal and rare flower and I was thrilled to find a tree on one of my walks around the neighbourhood. The flowers were all high up on a huge tree and I barely managed a close up of one. The seed pod looks like a huge cantaloupe! I was able to collect one inner part of the flower - the part that looks like a hood of a snake(naga) and hence the name. It is a very fragrant and beautiful flower. The biodiversity in India is mind boggling!

On July 22nd Indian parliament selected a new President, Pranab Mukherjee and I had to document the event. The reference photo was in the front page of a leading newspaper The Hindu. Its democracy at work in the  world's most populous country :)

It is quite a common site to see people double and triple riding on bicycles and motorcycles in India :) And the kid in the back was really very skinny!

 I was surprised to find the public phone box in an alley with a bench and pole tied to it securely and a make shift cover to protect it from rain(barely)!! These days just about everyone owns a cell phone but since noticing this particular one, surprisingly, I have spotted a couple more phone boxes in the neighbourhood. 

Its totally by accident that there is so much orange in this page :) I don't plan the pages and decide at the last minute what to sketch each day and it is whatever catches my fancy at that point :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Subtle Joys

India Art Jornal July 18,18,20,21 by Meera Rao

 Our flat is in the middle of the old  part of the city and the area has a mix of old dilapitated but once grand buildings and very narrow roads as well as  modern apartment and office buidings and "double roads."  I never go out without my tiny little camera and try to capture the neighbourhood as obscurely as possible.  But people notice anyway and sometimes oblige by posing even though I much prefer candid shots!

There are beautifully painted horse drawn carriages for hire in a corner of the neighbourhood. I am yet to hire a carriage for my daily errands but I have fond and vague  memories of my childhood days when my grandmother would hire one isntead of taking the bus on the return trip from market in my own hometown. These days the three wheel 'auto riksha' is the prefered mode of transportation for most people when they have packages to carry.  

My kitchen balcony always had the towels hanging on the grill to airdry. It also has hooks for the brooms and mops :) It gets the Sun all day long and I love the play of lights on the towels, dust pan, brooms etc... Now we have a few lines and the towels hang neat and tidy! 

From the balcony is also where I see the lady sweeping every morning. She not only sweeps her doorway but also the road in front :) Then she pours water on the ground and draws a rangoli in front of her door.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

An Eclectic Mix

India Art journal July 14,15,16,17 By Meera Rao

While India is steeped in tradions over 5000 years old, the new, the modern and the latest techology is conveniently adopted by all in surprising new ways - like the lady in traditional saree scootering away to her job, a tubelight right by the side of lemon, chilies hanging to ward off evil spirits in a tiny little tailor shop or a water pump on the front stoop by the traditional 'tulasi katte'.  No one bats an eyelid as an eclectic mix of the old and the new intermingle and thrive side by side. 

watercolors, pilot G-2 pen

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...