Monday, September 30, 2013

Different Loads

2013 India Sketch Journal Page 21 by Meera Rao

2013 India Sketch Journal July 18 by Meera Rao

Often I see men carrying a decorated shrine on their shoulders and on a pilgrimage.  They depend on the good will of shopkeepers and others for their meals as they walk toward their destination, a holy place or temple, as a personal penance.  I am not sure which deity he is carrying as the fresh flower decorations completely covered the icon. 

2013 India Sketch Journal July 17 by Meera Rao

This person was carrying a load of a different kind -- a cooking gas cylinder - to appease a different desire - that of the stomach.  It was uncanny how both had a look of determination as they walked. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Shrines and Seams

2013 India Sketch Journal  July 14 by Meera Rao

Road side shrines dot the streets - some are just a small niche in a wall, or a small platform with an idol under the shelter of a tree, and some are little structures built with stones and bricks as proper miniature temples as in the sketch above.  These don't have a priest but the neighborhood community members take care of daily cleaning, adorning it with fresh flowers and keeping it spruced up. As always, these shrines are reminders of the spirituality, gratefulness for the benevolence of the Universe. Here  is a sketch of another shrine from my 2012 sketchbook if you are curious. 

2013 India Sketch Journal  July 15 by Meera Rao
Sewing Mends the soul - Author Unknown

There is such heavy demand for electricity that routinely people in India experience power outages. Bigger stores and offices have their own generators for times likes these but the little mom and pop stores like the tailor shop in the neighborhood still operate old fashioned sewing machines etc that don't require electricity to run. They can run their business and earn a livelihood. Check out the tailor using the old fashioned sewing machine here and a sketch of the UPS (universal Power Source) here 

2013 India Sketch Journal  Page 20 by Meera Rao

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel ~Anon. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sacred and Secular

2013 India Sketch Journal Page 19 by Meera Rao

In India all living things are looked upon with gratitude since time immemorial.  Many trees and plants are held as sacred and used in religious ceremonies and many others are cherished because of their medicinal and health benefits. 

2013 India Sketch Journal July 13 by Meera Rao

 The Peepal/Aswatha/Bodhi tree -Ficus religiosa - is one of the most sacred trees in India.  Worshipers of different faiths whisper their desires and tie  either yellow or red thread, cloth around the tree trunks in hopes of seeing it realized. Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under this tree.  The leaf is dried and used by artists as a canvas with beautiful images painted on them.  My niece caught me on one of my walks doing a double take to pick up a leaf on the road side -- and here it is sketched  in my journal. 

2013 India Sketch Journal Page 19 by Meera Rao

Shigekai  - Acasia Concinna - literally 'hair fruit'   is another tree which is considered to have medicinal properties and the fruits, pods, leaves barks are dried powdered, made into paste and  then used as soap or as hair care.  It does not lather much but is considered very good for skin and hair.  I remember once when we had moved to a new house the yard had a Shigekai tree and I tried to use it to care for my hair - not much success I might add :(  Now I see that  there is a shampoo available with my name on the bottle except unlike the lady pictured, I have short very curly hair!!!! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Price is what you pay, Value is what you get

India Sketch Journal 2013 July 12 2013 by Meera Rao

A cart by the road side, a few fruits or vegetables and a whole day to sell them makes one a shopkeeper.  They tout the freshness and how special the produce is by mentioning where its from. Absence of price tags means changing prices depending on the customer -- regulars get a break while novices and others are an opportunity to make a bigger profit :)  But it is a hard life and as the poses of the vendors show they catch a nap or rest any which way they can. 

India Sketch Journal 2013 July 11 2013 by Meera Rao

Lots of tropical vegetables are now both grown or available here in the USA but as I mentioned before something about the tropical soil and weather, they definitely taste different (better!) in the tropics.  I remember when growing up teasing my  grandmother when sighed as to how  vegetables from certain villages tasted better than others and it is ironic that now I have come to the same conclusion ! 

India Sketch Journal 2013  age 18 July 11-12 2013 by Meera Rao

Price is what you pay
Value is what you get
~Warren Buffett~

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Feast for the Senses

2013 India Sketch Journal  July 9 By Meera Rao 

African Tulip tree or Nandini is probably the most well represented of any image in my journals during my stay in India- the only flower or subject that I sketched more than once.  I have sketched the tree, the flower, the seed pods, and birds sitting on it enjoying its nectar! I read that nectar as well as the water that pools in the flower cup is a favorite of many birds - their refreshing tea? 

2013 India Sketch Journal  July 10 By Meera Rao 

In an effort to cut down on my coffee drinking, and reducing milk consumption, I have been enjoying 'tulsi' tea -- hot and cold.  Now that I am back in my home in USA, I use fresh tulsi leaves from the garden to make my tea and love the flavor and aroma.  Of course it was the perfect beverage to sip these past ten days as I nursed the bad cold, cough and fever - gift of the long airplane journey! I will continue to blog the rest of the sketches from my journal slowly but surely. 

2013 India Sketch Journal page 17 by Meera Rao
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