Treasure from a jewel. This vase was a gift from a very special person the year I moved back to India. I was trying to adjust to being in migraine-inducing Delhi after 12 years of living away, coping with a toxic, soul-sucking job that had sounded amazing in the interview, one I gave up my entire trajectory, security, and lifestyle for only to find they’d handed my designation to someone else. What kept me going through the feeling of, “Did I give up my life for this?” was the family I lived with, a family I sort of borrowed from another family-friend. I moved in with my oldest friend’s mausi, who, with her husband, daughter, husband’s two nieces and nephew, 3 dogs and their house help became my scaffolding, my anchor, my shelter.
I would try to make my presence less of a burden by trying to bring cakes and things for the motley crew from the market and would also get myself flowers to brighten up my space.
I don’t see them a much as I should (ugh, Delhi!) but I still count them in my blessings and am grateful for them every day!
This vase harks back to that time … and yes, I still buy myself flowers.
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The Ahar cenotaphs. I learned the word “cenotaph” when I was 14. It means a “monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere” — a place holder for veneration, if you will.
I don’t think the folks who put together that dictionary ever dreamed of the way they’re done in Rajasthan, over acres and acres of land. The yellow stone Bada Bagh outside Jaisalmer might be the most famous, but near the old Pratap Nagar railway station in Udaipur is a huge tract of Chhatris in white.
Sadly, the grounds are unkempt and some structures are in disrepair (plus the caretaker is more than happy to take a bribe to break the posted rules.) Still, it’s serene and rather imposing in the early morning and I’m glad to have visited.
#blog #wp #udaipur #History #incredibleIndia #Rajasthan #wecouldberoyals
#throwback to our trip to Vilnius and some fun things we did there. I loved this brilliant sculpture (top right) – an abstract portrait of 16th century Polish queen Barbara Radziwiłł, Grand Duchess of Lithuania – by Vladas Vildžiūnas, from 1979.
It’s on what translates as German Street and one side had to be completely rebuilt after the bombing in WWII.
I loved Vilnius more than I’d expected to. We’d planned only two days and 1 night here and we really lucked out. The location of our B&B was fabulous, the city was easy to navigate and I loved that the “old” town was a living city – I mean the university is smack in the middle of it (like Krakow) and it was teaming with students and locals, not just tourists like Riga or Tallinn old town were.
Plus there was Užupis, the cheeky artists’ republic with their lovely constitution that affords respect to cats and humans alike. On our first evening there in the square of the Cathedral, we saw dozens of hot air balloons go past. And I just adored the sculpture of Grand Duke Gediminas. (Of course, we also found the lucky star and did little turns while making a wish.) Later we walked up the Hill of Three Crosses in Kalnai Park – it was a good climb and the wooden path kept disappearing down corners, a little stairway to … well, toward heaven.
#sculpture #publicart #europe #Lithuania #Vilnius #summertime #summer2018 #blog #wp #rainy #showers #cloudy #summerholiday
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I’ve been spending a lot of time in Udaipur and with a view like this when I visit, how can I stay away?
Okay, that’s a little bit of hyperbole, I admit, but c’mon, the lake is gorgeous — any time of the day, all (more…)
Earlier this month, I went overlanding for the first time. What’s that? It’s defined like this: “Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal.”
Seven of us got on a modified truck (called Bonnie, a beautiful orange BharatBenz), while her twin (Clyde, of course!) followed us (tricked out with loos, showers, hot water on one side and a kitchen on the other) and went from Jaipur to Gurgaon (where we were stopped by curious cops at every intersection, it seemed), on to Rishikesh, where we stayed in a room by the Ganges, then further up the mountains, following the Alaknanda river past Rudraprayag and Devprayag to Chopta, Uttarakhand. Here we stopped for two nights and camped amidst rhododendron trees, (more…)
At the UNESCO heritage village of SukhoThai, the seated Buddha in bhoomisparsh mudra. Elegant, graceful, serene. Nina and I got there early is, on a scooter (with helmets, thank you very much) and explored much of the old ruins on foot. A lot of people had the same idea though. We saved the best for last and although it got hot, at least the crowds had thinned. We got a private audience with many Bodhisattvas and Buddhas.
The audio guide was useful, but the site map was confusing. And no one told us there was a separate entry fee for the other older park, but we snuck into a section of the old kilns anyway. I think two nights in the city were plenty, and we stayed in such a fantastic Ruen Thai hotel, made in the old Lanna style with solid teak, structured around a swimming pool. Great breakfast, helpful staff, free bicycles, sturdy tree furniture. And a bus stand pickup we somehow missed. Oh well. Still a superlative layover.
In a soul-less mall in Singapore, we chanced upon this space where volunteers were asking passsersby to leave a message and a little bit of themselves behind through impromptu art made from colorful pipe cleaners. I made a flower (of course) with two different colored pipes but I was amazed at the imagination and skills of the other artsy-craftsy people who’d come before!
A teeny tiny, fully ripe, totally sweet watermelon from my mother’s terrace vine. July 2013.
Even in white, there is color. This moulin (or mill) is maybe a few hundred years old, but could have formed overnight, too. And there are rich veins of blue, compacted ice exposed as the hole widens. Breathtaking.
(Breiðamerkurjökull glacier tongue, near Jökulsárlón, Iceland, October, 2013)
The wonderfully modern stained glass inside the picturesque church at Vik on the southern coast of Iceland. I loved the minimalistic design on each window, but this one particularly moved me.