Sunday, March 29, 2009

Photo of the Week - Yellow Lotus




A new yellow lotus in the pond!

It bloomed yesterday morning and will stay for two more days. And there's a new bud coming up.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sketch Book - Pashupatinath

20 Pashupatinath

Old sketch from Pashupatinath, Nepal.

Fiction - Eating Out

An old one from the closet.

I was having a hard time with the writing today, so I decided to take a break and see where I went with the writing prompt from

Here's the Writing Prompt: You sit in a restaurant booth eating a turkey sandwich when you hear the couple next to you start to argue under their breath. The woman begins to cry softly and says, "You didn't have to kill her."

Here's my take -

Eating Out

I hate turkey sandwiches. But I hate pizza even more and that was the only other thing Annabel's had tonight. And every night, really. The rest of the menu is only there to gull the customers. If you're new here, you spend 5 minutes looking through everything and then the bored waitress spends 5 minutes telling you they don't have this and this and that. Just pizza and turkey sandwiches, sir and ma'am. Today, tomorrow, and everyday. On days like today, when I'm just too darned tired to walk up to the apartment and cook and too weary to walk around the corner to another restaurant, I wrinkle my nose and eat the nasty fare.

It would've helped if there was some sort of entertainment here to distract you, but there isn't. Annabel's is the most soulless place I've ever eaten in - and I've eaten in quite a lot of soulless places, so that's really saying something. Hell, you know, every time I eat here, I feel like I've lost a few inches of mine. Nobody seems to ever talk in Annabel's. People slouch in and slouch down on the plastic chairs, gaze at the dirty green walls or just about anywhere. They avoid all eye contact as they eat their soggy turkey sandwich or their cold, dry pizza. Then they pay the bill and slouch back out. If this is a gathering place for losers, I guess it's for the kind that like to suffer in silence.

Except today. There's actually a couple murmuring at the table behind me. It's incredible. Human sounds. Who did have thought you would hear them in here?

It sounds like they're having a mighty argument. I perk up my ears and listen. Yeah, I know that's eavesdropping, but I've committed far worse crimes. Besides the girl's crying. I'm only human, you know - if you're only human, you like to know why people are crying - if only for the scandal value.

She sniffed and said, "You didn't have to kill her!"

I paused.

"Get a grip on yourself," said the man. "What else could I do? It was the only way out of the miserable situation."

"You could've have discussed it with me at least."

"Discuss? Damn it, Marla, I had to make a split second decision, didn't I? If I hadn't shot her, she would have shot me!"

"Well, you didn't have to kill her - you could've shot her in the arm or the leg, you know."

"Oh, for heaven's sake, what's done is done. She's dead. Let's forget it."

"Yeah, right. You're just like every single man, aren't you?"

"What the hell's that supposed to mean?"

"That means this is a wake up call for me. Boy, am I glad I found out before it got too late. I thought you were different, you know, Sean. But you're not. You're no different from every single jerk I've ever known in my whole fucking life!"

"Oh, excuse me, I'm a jerk because I didn't let myself get killed?"

"No, you're a jerk 'cause you took the whole sole decision - we were supposed to be a team, goddamn it! - but you've been making all the important decisions, you didn't once consult me about anything. It's everything your way."

"Look, I told you it was a split-second thing."

"Yeah, it's always a split-second thing. It'll always be a split-second thing." She sniffed again. "My mother's right. You're a selfish, inconsiderate bastard."

"No, your goddamn mother's not right. She's never bloody well right. Okay? And especially not when she's interfering in our personal affairs...."

"Don't talk about my mother that way, I'm warning you!"

"Or what? You're going to get violent? You couldn't even throw the bloody grenade back there."

I stirred. Grenade? The cell-phone is in the bag, I thought, and the bag is under the table. Reach down slowly. Get it. Call the police, the FBI, the CIA, Interpol, the CID, the Surete, Scotland Yard, anyone, this has to be the Orange Alert of Terrorism, or is it Violet?

"Like hell I couldn't," said Marla angrily."I would have thrown it if your bloody, fucking Playstation joystick didn't keep getting stuck all the bloody, fucking time. It's so ancient it's from the Stone Age. And of course you'll have me use it. You will keep the new one for yourself. And that alone says everything about the way you treat me. Our relationship's over, Sean. I'm not going to play another bloody game with you ever!"

That's when the turkey went down the wrong way.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WIFI - Women's Empowerment

Interesting article here - 

What Money Doesn't Buy: Microfinance and Women's Empowerment in South Asia

And an inspiring video by Apna TV CVU about Mangal Thorat, a former rag-picker from Bombay, who got an education and became a teacher. Now, since the lady has obviously understood the importance of having an education, she will make sure her children are educated. With an education, they will be more likely to get good jobs and so correspondingly their economic situation and their personal lives ought to improve.

We have such a success story in our own area. Our former domestic help, after her drunkard and wife-beater of a husband died, raised her three children by herself and insisted they all get an education. Now the eldest son works in a good position in a factory, the middle son runs a computer booth and the youngest daughter is about to graduate with a degree in Computer Science.

Education + Hard Work + Opportunity (and the sense to grab an opportunity when it comes) + Encouragement = Success

That's just the simple formula, of course.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Drawing - Fashion Models

Pen and Ink

The Indian government has a competition out for designing an identification symbol for the rupee.

Here are the guidelines in PDF - Design Competition for the Indian Rupee Symbol

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to Create a Picture Book

27 Page 20-21 (2)
I've posted a new article on Maysun In C. Here's the link -

How to Create a Picture Book

The above illustration was done for Scholastic India.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On St. Patrick's Day

May the blessing of the rain be on you—
the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up,
and shed their sweetness on the air.
May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.

Beannachtam na Femle Padraig!


And here's my article on St Patrick - I had such fun writing it way back, I have to air it ever since.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Photo of the Week - Rain Clouds over Tawang

Rain 8

This was taken on the way to Tawang, in Arunachal Pradesh.  Tawang is one of my favorite places on the planet.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How do you measure success?

Leyenda 2Cre

Can success be measured? What is the general criteria?

I drew up the following list -

  • Being consistently creative
  • Doing the work you like
  • Being able to work where you want and when you want
  • Being able to work across diverse fields
  • Learning new skills in the course of the work
  • Getting satisfaction in work well done
  • Getting paid well for work done
  • Helping people find the right solutions for their problems
  • Getting respect and acknowledgment from peers
  • Being healthy on the way to wealthy
  • Having enough savings for the rainy, snowy, sunny, earth-quaky, volcano-bursting days
  • Being well-liked generally, without anyone tripping up to capture your private moments for the public media

For the record, I never thought it was all about keeping up with the Joneses.

But it's nice to remind yourself from time to time about wh0 you are and what you are all about.

Especially when the Joneses look down their noses and make pointed remarks about lilies of the field that neither toil nor spin.

And what do you do in that situation?

A. Do you throw a fine fit and a thundering tantrum about being a grossly misunderstood creative person?

B. Do you calmly and patiently explain in detail the time, effort, thought, research and learning that goes into crafting an article, designing a web site, producing a graphic, creating an illustration or painting a picture?

C. Do you hike up your nose in your turn and offer them that lovely tale about pearls before swine?

D. Do you hone your acting skills by pretending you are too thick-skinned and superior to be felled by such minor barbs?

Well, it really depends on when they drop the clangers and what sort of mood I am in - saintly, educative, bloody-minded or beastly.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sketch Book - Coon Hound

27 Coonhounds2a
It's Holi today. I'm not into the whole rigmarole of throwing powder colors and colored water at people or having it thrown at me. So I washed and scrubbed down the dogs instead. They are not into that, by the way, so much howling and whining and protesting. :D

Sunday, March 8, 2009

WIFI - Willie Smits: How we re-grew a rainforest

Inspiring talk by Willie Smits about how he and the local people of Samboja Lestari in East Borneo regrew a rainforest.

Here's the satellite view of Samboja Lestari -

The new rainforest has worked wonders for the climate, the ecosystem and also created many jobs for the local people. A win-win situation all around.

We have managed a mini miracle in our own backyard - the pond and the fruit trees draw birds (20 species so far), butterflies (9 species), reptiles (not counted - snakes,  lizards, frogs and toads)  and some mammals (squirrels, mongoose, cats, dogs, cows, donkeys, neighborhood kids).

Friday, March 6, 2009




I got some new stretchers from A.K. John in Bombay, I have the colors and the new canvas will come today or tomorrow. I'm all set to begin a new series of oil paintings.

I don't usually plan the paintings ahead - it's more fun when you have to wait until towards the end to know how it's going to turn out - but I'm very partial to laying on the color in thick, impasto style with a palette knife.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Does being on Twitter make you a Twit or just very Tweet?

Now we will find out.....

The bookworm bird is by courtesy of The Smashing Magazine.
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