Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Call or Write?

2013 India sketch Journal Page 10 by Meera Rao

Staying in India for months means I had to get a cell phone number. They are pretty strict about cell phones since the tragedy in Mumbai Taj Hotel. After gathering up and submitting all the required documents, I acquired a new sim card and a new number.  I was really excited to open the cell phone, replace the sim card and activate the phone for India. I sketched the phone, and the simcard (tracing around the actual older card that I took out) while I had it open.  Then I went googling for information about 'sim' cards.

2013 India sketch Journal June 25 by Meera Rao

Wikipedia gave me the following information: A subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module (SIM) is an integrated circuit that securely stores the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) and the related key used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile telephony devices (such as mobile phones and computers).
A SIM circuit is embedded into a removable plastic card. This plastic card is called a "SIM card" and can be transferred between different mobile devices. A SIM card follows certain smart card standards.[1] SIM cards were first made the same size as a credit card (85.60 mm × 53.98 mm × 0.76 mm). The development of physically smaller mobile devices prompted the development of a smaller SIM card, the mini-SIM card. Mini-SIM cards have the same thickness as full-size cards, but their length and width are reduced to 25 mm × 15 mm.
A SIM card contains its unique serial number (ICCID), international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI), security authentication and ciphering information, temporary information related to the local network, a list of the services the user has access to and two passwords: a personal identification number (PIN) for ordinary use and a personal unblocking code (PUK) for PIN unlocking.

You may read more fascinating stuff about SIM cards, its history, design,  formats etc here.

2013 India sketch Journal June25 by Meera Rao

As I had mentioned earlier, I have a clear view of the family across the road in their daily chores from my third floor balcony. I have sketched the various members past summer and this year in various activities [sorting rice, combing hair, etc  - check the four links for now :) ] almost every evening this girl does her homework sitting on the front steps. On this particular day she was wearing the traditional long skirt in silk with gold and red brocade border, and flowers in her.  Right afterwards, I saw her leave with her Mother to attend some function.

Regarding "call or write", I guess for me now its partly 'sketch' -  how about you?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Little Quirks and Special Treats

2013 India sketch journal June 23 2013 By Meera Rao 

Automobiles are special to people almost everywhere in the world. When it is a huge investment in your life savings it is treated very differently.  I find plush seat protectors, fancy steering wheel covers, special things hanging from rear view mirrors, idols on dashboard to ward off evil and keep the vehicle safe, and of course the hanging air fresheners. This particular van in the roadside auto repair shop around the corner even had lace curtains and I had to sketch it!

2013 India sketch journal June 24 2013 By Meera Rao

During my college days drinking sugar cane juice with friends at the end of the day from a vending stand like the one I sketched here was an almost daily ritual.  But  having lived outside India for many years now I don't want to check if my system can still tolerate the roadside offering :(   I really miss buying it and crave to drink the sweet juice  but reluctant to take a  risk (not yet anyway!)  BTW,  an interesting fact is that these road side vendors are such permanent fixtures that people use them as landmarks when giving directions :) 

  I realize looking at page 9 below that even though I have sketched the van and the sugarcane vending stand  in isolation both are very much part of the landscape and life around here! Curtains in vehicles ( though I read they are now banned) and brisk business for the vendors is nothing out of the ordinary. 

2013 India sketch journal Page 9 by Meera Rao

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Flights of Fancy

2013 India Sketch Journal June 21 By Meera Rao

Everyday the parrots in the neighbourhood dart around following one another, frolicking, squawking and chirping away.  I have a movie of it but unfortunately can't share it as it is not loading right into the blogger :( Last year the parrots used two coconut trees on a neighbour's yard as their base.  This year they have chosen a tree with a few dead branches in another yard as their perch as the coconut trees are dead and felled. I love watching their green bodies, red beaks and long tail feathers as they streak by and wonder what they are really doing! Is this a game, an elaborate social ritual, hunting for a meal or something else altogether?  I zoom in on the ones that land on a branch for a few minutes with my camera lens so I can see what they look like up close and still for a moment and of course, admire them a bit !

2013 India Sketch Journal June 22 By Meera Rao

I pass by this 'compound' most days on my daily walks or errands. The locked up classic 'old Mysore house' now with its overgrown garden/yard lush from the monsoon rains, fence wall and gate in ruins conjures up all kinds of drama in my head ;)  Painting the beautiful birds and then this yard made me acutely aware of the cycle of life. Many of these classic old houses are slowly being renovated and I am hoping some day this one will get a new lease on its life! 

Below is page 8 as it is in my sketchbook: 

2013 India Sketch Journal Page 8 By Meera Rao

And Thank you- each and every one for stopping by,  for leaving comments and coming along with me on my trip :)   

Saturday, July 13, 2013

To See Things in the Seed

2013 India sketch Journal Page 7 by Meera Rao

2013 India sketch Journal June 19 by Meera Rao

To see things in the seed that is the genius -Lao Tzu

The fiery red African Tulip blossoms eventually are but solid woody seed pods that fall into the earth and disperse.  The pods look like brown wooden bouquets on the tree and resemble little boats when they separate and  fall off.  There are still occasional red flowers around and a couple of days ago my Sister-in-law found one on her walk and brought it home for me to paint :)  I think it is wonderful that I have so many people around me now making sure I sketch something everyday! My niece the other day said that when she is out on an errand often finds herself wishing I was there with her to catch a scene that she knows I would love to paint :) It is so cool how they are all acquiring what I call 'sketching eyes' ! 

2013 India Sketch Journal June 20 by Meera Rao

An important chore that has to be done in most households before the rice for the day is cooked is to sort the rice for stones, husks, dirt, bugs etc before washing and cooking because who wants to bite into a stone and may be even loose a tooth! The wicker tray or 'mora' needs a certain knack to use -- it is open on one side and rice is tossed over and again with panache - only rice stays close to the edged side and the husks are  blown off from the rimless side. It takes years of practice to use it  right. Here is a video of a woman using a similar tray except it is round to sort rice .  I see from my third floor balcony the lady  who lives across the road do this every day and that is why the sketch shows the view of her from above :) I on the other-hand, put the rice on a plate and do a once over. I have not attempted anything more fancier than that :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fruits of Labor

2013 India Sketch journal June 17 by Meera Rao
The Monsoon is in full glory this year and jackfruit vendors are roaming the town. The jackfruit opened to reveal the fleshy edible part inside looks like huge flower arrangement! Jackfruit is native to Southern India and its fruits reaching upto 80lbs is considered one of the largest tree-borne fruit. And this time I have been lucky to savor specialty dishes made lovingly from the fruit by one of my special aunts! A very tasty dish is a sweet idli or dumpling steamed in teak leaves that gives it a beautiful red color and a wonderful added aroma!

2013 India Sketch journal June 18 by Meera Rao

Around the neighborhood where I am staying now are many vendors and artisans that work with wicker and bamboo.  They stake out a spot on the sidewalk and weave baskets, make ladders and mats for sale. They are busy all day and come back to their spots day after day - I do hope they make enough money selling their wares for a decent livelihood. I sketched a man busy making ladder last year- if you are curious, do check out the link :)

As always here is a look at page 6 of my 2013 India Sketch journal:  

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