Thursday, February 22, 2018

Clear View

Window Cleaners  India Sketchbook 2017 watercolor by Meera Rao 

These three young ladies were part of the train cleaning crew. It was a bright sunny afternoon and I loved the play of light, colors and shadows as they chatted and worked. They had a assembly line of sorts going - one squirted water, one had a bunch of newspaper she was using to wipe it off with and the third lady had a long handled glass cleaner to finish the job. Once inside though, I found those windows were not clear enough capture the scenery with my camera! The trains are workhorses and it is a tough job to keep the trains clean as they chug along with barely enough time between rides. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Never A Dull Ride

 Autoricksha Ride India Sketchbook by Meera Rao 

Life is never dull on the streets in India.  The variety and number of modes of transportation and the  kind of loads they carry,  how many passengers they manage to cram into those vehicles is always a surprise ! Over the years I have photographed and sketched many interesting scenes - and I know I will find new ones on my next trip :) 

During my last trip, I saw this precarious looking two-wheeler -somewhat small and a cross between a bicycle and a motorcycle. The passenger was holding two sheep/lambs in his arms!  The the scene outside the autorickshaw and the view of the inside of the richly decorated brand new vehicle made for an interesting outing on that particular day. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Cry Me A River

Hanging Onions watercolor India sketchbook by Meera Rao 

Member of the Allium family (Lily Family),  onions claim nutritional as well as medicinal benefits and play a prominent role in Indian cooking.  There is always a bunch, two or more hanging off the window in my brother and sister-in-law's kitchen :)  This is probably the biggest bunch I saw during one of my trips and I had to sketch it.  

By the way, the compound allyl sulphate which is produced when an onion's ruptured cells are exposed to air is responsible for producing tears. To reduce the production of this compound, chill the onions for half an hour or so before cutting to reduce the activity of the enzyme. My Mom was the only person I know who never teared when she chopped onions!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Directing Attention

Bell by the Door  watercolor and ink by Meera Rao

Ringing of the bells during Puja (worship) is an important ritual for Hindus whether at home or at temple.  We ring the bell at the temple when we enter and then as we leave.  A small  hand held bell is rung when 'aarati' (or light) is shown to the murthy (idol of deity).  The light flames  and sound vibrations wake up the senses, clear the mind of distractions and help direct the attention to pray and meditate. 

I love this particular ornate bell that graces the entrance of my brother's home.  During my last visit in November, one afternoon I sat by the steps near the door and sketched it.   

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