Friday, August 30, 2013

To Savor The Tropics.

2013 India Sketch Journal Page 16 by Meera Rao

A major perk of tropics is the variety of delicious fruits and vegetable that are available throughout the year!  Just google tropical fruits and vegetables and you will amazed at the variety, colors, shapes and sizes of the produce! And the number of creative ways those fruits and vegetables have been cooked or prepared and served is mind blowing :) 

 2013 India Sketch Journal July 7 by Meera Rao

The Jackfruit is the king of fruits because of its size and that means ingenious ways of consuming it too! The fruit leather is delicious, and the desserts prepared from it seems endless.  My aunt often prepares these special sweet dumplings wrapped in teak leaves that gives it a wonderful aroma, color and flavor. A sketch of jackfruits and vendor from a few pages earlier can be seen here. 

 2013 India Sketch Journal July 8 by Meera Rao

More and more seedless varieties of fruits are available in the market and when I cut this pappaya I was pleasantly surprised to see the star shaped black seed studded center with orange around it.  I quickly took  a couple of photos and then pulled out my sketch book for a hurried sketch before I proceeded to cut it for breakfast :)  My mother-in-law usually likes her food at the allotted time but now has come to accept that I might pull my camera or the sketch book right in the middle of cooking or other chores and has come to accept that food, snack or drink may be delayed because of my passion and obsession :) 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spot on the Sidewalk

2013 India Sketch Journal Page 15 By Meera Rao
Most of the sidewalks are taken up by various  kinds of vendors - talk about niche marketing :) Often pedestrians do a delicate dance of walking -trying to avoid walking through a sidewalk shop's staked out area as well as the busy streets with teaming with all different kinds of vehicles! 

2013 India Sketch journal July 5 by Meera Rao

'Pani Puri' is a delicacy from north India and those vendors have the longest lines and best business! They sell  crisp fried hollow balls -puris that are then stuffed with tomatoes, onions, chick peas, green chillies coriander and dipped into spicy minty water. As much as I love the dish, I won't eat at any of these road side places because I am afraid of upsetting my stomach! I did not have a good view of the mountain of puris but you can check out my sketch from last year if you are curious. 

2013 India Sketch journal July 5 by Meera Rao

I passed this vendor and similar ones many times and couldn't figure out what he was selling.  Moreover I noticed  all his customers were men- and I always walked on the opposite side of the street to avoid that crowd.  When I asked my niece she laughed and said "No, Aunty, they sell 'paan' ingredients and tobacco products!" Then one day when running an errand, I was able to take a photograph from across the street, as unusually there were no customers around and my zoom lens caught the warning on the cart. "Paan" is another delicacy and not just eaten by men, but best not bought on the streets!!!! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Clock work

2013 India Sketch Journal Page 14 By Meera Rao

I don't plan my pages at all and just sketch whatever catches my fancy each day. But I have been surprised to discover how there is always some connection between the two sketches once I start blogging about them. 

2013 India sketch Journal July 3 By Meera Rao
This cow like clock work comes to this door looking for food as the lady of the house always saves the vegetable peels and waste for it. But the last few days even though the house is locked up and the family has gone on vacation, the cow still comes in the morning and waits at the door for an hour or so before it gives up and walks away in search of food!

2013 India sketch Journal July 4 By Meera Rao

This tiny shop looks like a relic from bygone era with the owner providing a service that is a rarity in the age of digital clocks! I could see some antique clocks on the walls, and clock & watch parts everywhere! I am sure that shop has some unique treasures! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fresh and Handmade

2013 India Sketch Journal Page 13 by Meera Rao
The pace of life in Mysore is laid back and a bit leisurely  - especially in the old part of Mysore where our flat is located.  Things just can't be hurried!

2013 India sketch Journal July 1 by Meera Rao

These ladies were waiting patiently for fresh ground flour at a made to order grain grinding place. Food tastes different/better when one uses fresh ground flour, fresh produce from the farms brought in each morning and ofcourse is eaten away right  :) I hope these tiny, tiny Mom and Pop specialty shops won't disappear as more and more stores sell factory prepared and packaged flour and other goods and western style supermarkets take over. 

2013 India sketch Journal July 2 by Meera Rao

The shop selling earthenware pots is very small and the pots were stacked to ceiling. Grandma in charge was sitting very comfortably on padded gunny sacks. She was selling pots of all different sizes.  My childhood memory is that, the water kept in those pots stay really cool and food cooked in them is especially delicious! I am tempted to try using them rather than the stainless steel vessels that my kitchen is stocked with. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Staying Connected

2013 India sketch Journal June 29 By Meera Rao

 I found it very interesting to watch this worker patch a neighbour's garden wall. He was there for a couple of hours taking care of different holes and damages and spent the entire time on his cellphone - one hand to the ear and working with the other one on the wall, getting sand, mixing cement  etc. :) I suppose thats how he keeps connected and gets his news as opposed to the folks in the following sketch  of a roadside newspaper stand.

2013 India Sketch Journal June 30 By Meera Rao

This sidewalk stand had a temporary look to its permanent makeshift arrangement ! The newspaper stand had nonfunctioning wheels, was propped upright with a few wooden poles and there was a line going from the rickety rain/sun cover to the near by tree on which hung some magazines. Some newspapers were stacked on a couple of wooden crates. There were a few bananas in a basket and a small bunch hanging off a string from the same rickety rain cover. I noticed there are always a few elderly men milling around but hardly any buying and selling happening.....

A look at page 12 from my sketchbook : 

2013 India sketch Journal Page 12

Monday, August 5, 2013

Creative Solutions

2013India sketch Journal Page 11 by Meera Rao
One of the most interesting things to observe while on the road is how and what things get transported ! People use all modes -carrying by hand,  loads on head, on motorcycle, bicycles, bullock carts, 'lorries', trucks, auto rickshaws and anything else with wheels ! They get very creative as to how something/anything is transported from one point to another.  Here is one from last year's sketch book. And another

2013 India sketch journal June 27 by Meera Rao
I never cease to be amazed as to what I see transported in auto rickshaws and the clever ways it gets loaded and carried.  I caught this one carrying a ladder slipped and resting on the handle of the side view mirror on one end and being held by the passenger on the other end. 

2013 India sketch journal June 28 by Meera Rao

Motorcycles and scooters are affordable for most people and those vehicles get a good workout. Most common are where  whole families- father, mother, two kids can be seen traveling happily :) - one kid in front of father the driver and the other on mother's lap both riding sideways -not mounted on the seat ! I chuckle when I see someone carrying a huge desk top computer or old version TV. This guy was carrying two enormous gunny sacks full of cauliflower balanced precariously.   

I am way behind in posting  and don't see myself catching up anytime soon. I somehow manage to sketch something everyday. They are never perfect and am learning to accept whatever I sketch.  But I relish the fact that I am sketching and practicing each day despite the hectic schedule here in India.  
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