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Showing posts from 2017

Hampi 1

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One of the greatest pleasures that the denizens of Karthi indulge in is envisioning our next long trip. This time we were going somewhere special, a place that had always captured my imagination and that caught my family's attention when the movie Anandam came out. I for one, went into full research mode, reading up on all I could about the Vijayanagara empire's history and even buying a coffee table book off Amazon - Hampi - Discover the Splendours of Vijayanagar by Subhadra Sen Gupta and photographs by Clare Arni. 
Six months ago we booked tickets on the Hampi Express from Bengaluru leaving on the Durgashtami day. We got confirmed tickets, so were placid seeing the crowds on the platform as our train chugged in. We managed to find our seats and settled down despite there being several people standing around. Confident that the ticket examiner would chase away those without reservations, we went to sleep. When a call of nature woke me up at 2 pm, I reached for my sandals ben…

Be Ready!

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On Sunday, I received a forwarded whatsapp image

With the typical disdain of an Anglophile, I was about to dismiss this image, particularly turned off by the mishmash that is supposed to be English in it. But the dates and the area of influence mentioned niggled me into doing a bit of research on this. You know how I feel about rumor-mongering if you have read this blog post of mine.
What I did find was an article in the Hindu - this is the link to the same  - regarding this Mr. Babu Kalayil and how he had predicted the 2004 earthquake and subsequent tsunami and how the Kerala University has a team of academics doing research with him.  The Hindu is NOT a tabloid rag and that lent the news some credibility.
Then I sat back and thought about one January morning in 2001 when the earth shook in my native town of Kottayam. It was a relatively minor quake and no one in my community was harmed. But I remembered standing still wondering what was happening to my glass of tea that was trying …

My Craft Room: Before and After

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Let me dive right in:
Here is what my craft room looked like at the end of March

The builders left the walls painted in wall primer tinted a greenish yellow that showed the cement color behind the walls. It looked much worse than this photo.


One of the first things I did was to shift all my craft things and furniture to the next room. Please be warned, the mess is likely to startle and horrify! :D


Most of my stuff was pretty organized, but mostly in big, labelled totes that looked untidy on the shelves. After the laborious, multiple-coat woodwork painting, I first painted the walls with leftover white paint. And left a taped rectangle on one wall...

Why? I'll show you in a bit! 
So here is my craft room AFTER the painting! 

Tadaaaa!

That's my sewing machine on an old computer table on the left. And can you see why I taped that rectangle off? One coat of special paint transformed it into a blackboard where I can draw or write as the fancy takes me!

Of course I have a white boa…

Lessons from Painting a Room

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I've always wanted to paint a room by myself. I used to tell DH that whenever we had a home of our own, I wanted to paint it - at least the inside of the house - I had no plans to dangle precariously over the exteriors of our home. DH waited for 7 years after building Karthi to see if I gathered any momentum in the house-painting direction. Then he gave the job of painting our living quarters downstairs to a set of professional painters who broke all their assurances of being least disruptive and of finishing within the stipulated time. In the end, they made a slapdash job of it in the last areas they painted.
So the chances of getting my craft room upstairs painted properly any time soon diminished. But I had been watching the painters, studying their technique and materials at first hand and gained valuable lessons from them. I slowly began gathering supplies once a few months. This summer vacation, I decided to take the plunge. And here are some lessons that I have learned in …

Movie Review: Take Off

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I don't really like conflict films or war movies - give me a choice and I will always opt for a soppy, syrupy love story any day. I hate watching the aftermath of armed conflicts in terms of loss of limbs and lives. I especially hate watching medical dramas in conflict zones and the endless parade of bloody and maimed bodies.
Then why did I go to watch Take Off? For one, it based on the real story of the rescue of a group of  Malayali nurses stranded in Iraq during the first onslaught of ISIS attacks there. I still remember praying for the safe deliverance of those women. It is also a tribute to the director who gave us that perfect movie called Traffic - Rajesh Pillai. Which is why perhaps I choked up when the titles of his three movies blossomed on the screen before the movie. That I was not the only one so affected was proved by the heartfelt applause in the house-full movie hall.
The movie drew me in with the title scenes themselves - the montage of nurses across history prom…

Why I Quit from Whatsapp groups

I have always been wary of social networking platforms. One of my friends had to bug me for six months before I joined Orkut. And when Facebook turned up, I was one of the last among my friends to join. I haven't gone anywhere near Twitter or Instagram, which would make me a dinosaur, I think. It was not until 2014 and my second android phone that I finally gave in to peer pressure to install Whatsapp.
As in any relationship, the honeymoon period was fabulous! There was a lot of catching up to do in the five groups I was added. Friends all over the world, in different time zones, came together in shared waking times and chatted, sharing tidbits from their daily lives. Some chats continued for days. There was a lot of good-natured teasing and reminiscing.
Whatsapp helped a lot with dealing with tough times too. When a dear friend was in trouble, one group chipped in and helped out. It helped in organizing 3 reunions in the past 3 years. Most of the time, the news enthusiasts kept …

The Aftermath

The moment I hit 'Publish' on my last post, I began to have second thoughts. "Was it okay to have written that?" "Will people perceive me as a lecher/disaster  magnet?", "Was it alright to have mentioned the proper name for a part of my anatomy?" - all these raced through my mind. Couldn't help the effect of several centuries worth of conditioning that has been handed down among women across generations. I have seen the sort of inane comments that appear below completely innocent posts of female celebrities and felt relieved that I am not a celebrity and hoped that the few friends who read my posts would not take it wrong. It just felt good to have poured out the rant I had been harboring for a weekend. 
After the day was done, I came back to Facebook where I share my posts and saw the first few comments - all of them encouraging and I even saw a few shares. Intrigued, I went to check the stats on the post and was flabbergasted... 5000 hits, …

Thoughts of an Ordinary Malayali Woman

Yesterday I watched a bunch of Malayalam movie personalities expressing wonder and stupefaction at the attempted abduction/compromising photographing/blackmailing of a noted Malayali actress. They seemed to think that such a thing was not heard of in God's Own Country at all - and it set me thinking of my life journey as a woman in Kerala. 
I think I was 7 years old when my Mummy asked to me to stop sitting in the laps of the "uncles" who came to visit us in Saudi Arabia. She refused to tell me why even though I pestered her for an explanation. But the warning was enough to awaken a sense of self-preservation in me when barely a year later, I found myself being tightly hugged from behind by an "uncle" who had wandered into the kitchen while I was mixing Tang for our visitors as my Mum had asked me. I made a fuss about not being sure if I had added enough sugar even though he insisted that I had. I yelled aloud for my mother and was instantly freed from his arm…

New year on a note of gratitude

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Hi everyone! 
Much as I would like to subscribe to the view that each day is the beginning of a new year, the feeling of an actual new calendar year is still exciting! The last page of my 2016 diary has been written up. All the receipts and papers of the last year have been transferred to a new 2016 folder that has gone to live in the lower cupboard instead of in my desk. The 2015 folder has joined its brothers in the archives on the top shelf. The last box of decluttered items is waiting for the recycling guy in the shed. This year I even managed to clean out the garage and get rid of a lot of junk - some of which was as old as Karthi!!! 

My old planner and new diary! I am a BuJo fan now. No planner that I bought over the years was completely satisfactory because they had no space for the myriad things I wanted to keep track of.  That is when I encountered the Bullet Journal - a planning system that is (a) totally customizable, (b) very economical - you can adapt any notebook for th…