WWW – Wednesdays – 16th July

It’s been more than a year since I last played along WWW Wednesdays. Of course there can be plenty of excuses given like all the traveling in India before packing up Baroda; volunteering in Uttarakhand after the floods and then the whole move to Africa and settling in. (See I just gave so many! :P )

WWW Wednesday is a reading game started by MizB at Should Be Reading. A simple game of telling (every week) about the books you have read, are reading and wish to read. To play along, you just have to answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” – C.S. Lewis

www wednesday, classic fairy talesFor me that time is now and every night before going to bed I have started reading one fairy tale. Currently I’m reading from Berlie Doherty’s Classic Fairy Tales.  I love the illustrations by Jane Ray and also the way Berlie has narrated the stories. Just yesterday I read the Beauty and the Beast. And I remembered the quote that “a thing must be loved before it is lovable!” I love fairy tales and how does it matter if I’m grown up… It’s still fun to go to sleep with some magic :)

www wednesday, a Christmas carolAlong with that I’m also reading a classic – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickines. Enjoying the visits with the Spirits and Scrooge but also enjoying the words and the archaic English!

“Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

Mind! I don’t mean to say that, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.”

What did I recently finish

I recently finished I am Malala. I had picked it up at Delhi airport this time. Not that it was in my list of books to read but as I was browsing through the books, the photograph of Malala Yousafzai was almost staring from the cover and I couldn’t stop myself from picking it. Continue reading

Categories: Books | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Tangling up

Almost a month back when I returned to Angola, after 2 months of lazying around and feasting on awesome food and love in India, I had made a promise to myself to do more art. Learn something new and gift. Actually I had many more plans :P as I wrote back then! I am so glad I wrote them down here, it at least keeps me from giving them a miss otherwise it would be too easy to fall back on my lazy ways.

One shelf in my cupboard has a lot of waste with which I feel I can do something. There are empty cereal boxes, biscuit boxes, kitchen paper rolls, cardbords, plastic bottles and other packaging material. One day I realised I’m just adding things to it and not really making anything from it. So I decided to take some action :).

I needed a mail and document holder so I took out one empty cereal box, covered it with a single colour paper and illustrated the front of it. I used a few pictures that I had to help with the illustration. Simple patterns that I didn’t think will really go well together looked like they were really thought out and planned out before :P.

 

Mail holder from cereal box, recycle, illustrations,

Mail holder from cereal box for me

And when Carole saw this one, she said she wanted one too! And when I made for her, I decided to try out something new that Thakkar had told me about – zentangle. In many ways it is actually illustrations but I like the way it says to divide the area into multiple sections and illustrate each separately without thinking about the other and ultimately the whole picture will be beautiful! At least that’s what I understood it to be! And here’s the one I made for her.

mail holder from cereal box, reuse, recycle, zentangle, illustrations

Mail holder from cereal box for my friend

Zentangle is fun. I don’t think I’m any sort of illustrator but once I divide the whole area into smaller sections, it does become easier and pinterest has so many images from easy to difficult patterns to give a start!

Categories: go green, recycle | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

So much to learn!

Today I started my day thinking the first thing I have to work on is the Moved by Love newsletter. But little did I know there were other plans for in store :) I went out to water my plants. I had sown tomato and green beans about a week ago and every day I have been peeping into the seed pots to see if there is anything. Just like didi’s little scientists! To tell you the truth though I love to have plants, I don’t really have a green hand. I have never had a plant growing from a seed :( All my seeds till now have only resulted in weeds. All the plants that I have started with a sapling bought from a nursery or gifted from a friend like this mint.

apartment gardening

mint growing in my balcony! The plant was gifted by a neighbour when we moved in.

The now image of the mint would have been even more amazing but while I was away in India, all the people I had asked to water my plants somehow missed and it got water only for a week in those 4 weeks :( The plant dried up a little but then picked up again once rains started! I still wonder at the magic rain water has for plants. Continue reading

Categories: Family, go green | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Go chalking!

I love chalk :)

Here are pictures of the first few chalk messages…

chalk project, art with heart, window dressing

I didn’t think much before starting these everyday chalk messages but its become quite exciting! My neighbours say they now look forward to reading what’s new on my window everyday!

Categories: Family, Volunteer | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A new magic every day!

It’s already 9 days into the new month but for me the month practically starts today. The first week of June was just busy with packing and travelling and settling back. Finally this week life has returned to some normalcy. While I was in India, I made many plans for the things I want to do once I get back to Angola (don’t know how many will start :P!):

  • Learn how to make a website using wordpress
  • Get back to sketching and learn to paint
  • Experiment with food more. For some reason in Angola I had just fallen into regular cooking routine. It has been such a long time since I tried something new and in this trip my sister inspired me to do more with food and flavours! :) So hopefully My Weekend Kitchen will also get its activity back!
  • I want to do more art for gifting to strangers. I met Swara after a long time and she told me how our one day’s activity of writing letters to strangers had motivated her and she continues to do so even now. When she told me this I felt how I need to pick this one again. So I will be doing more art to gift. I even brought lots of handmade paper, colours and pens with me! :)

But one thing that I brought from home and I’m very excited to use is my box of coloured chalk and a small slate! I fell in love with chalk as a medium of art after seeing Lahar’s beautiful creations all over Sugad campus during Moved by Love retreats. Her hands would create magic on the floor and one thing which she said that stayed with me was the beauty of impermanence that chalk brings. Your creating is cleaned the next day and every day you start with a clean slate! Every day a different magic comes alive through your hands…

I was also inspired by the sidewalk chalk projects that many people have been doing all around the world and while I don’t think I will have enough chalk to do that; I plan to hang my slate on my window/ balcony with a beautiful quote every day and that would be my gift for each day for those who read it :)

I started yesterday, these are my first two!

art with heart, quotations in chalk on window

Categories: Family, Volunteer | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Back in Nani house…

… like it was 25 years ago!

Summer Vacations…. Brings back memories of all cousins getting together at nani house for 2 months;

 of sweet sweet watermelons and mangoes;

of silly and creative games that the 5 of us designed;

of nani finally pulling her hair and asking our mom’s to take us from there :D

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of those two months spent in nani house. And we (me and didi) keep telling stories of our mischiefs during those two months to Nandini. How nana used to put up a big swing in the quadrangle and all of us used to be on it at the same time! How Bittu mama and mummy used to make a boat of bedsheet and all three of us (me, sonu maasi and chinu maasi) used to sit inside it and cross the imaginary river running between rooms :). Ah! I wish those days, when imaginary tea served in toy cups tasted amazing, would never have ended!

And right now in Nandini’s childhood, we have the opportunity to recreate similar experiences for her and since there are no other kids, the chance to relive our childhood :).

We are back in nani house. Nani has made all the sweets to welcome the gang and nanu brings sweet sweet summer fruits everyday when all we want is a different ice cream for each day :P. But he still tries.

Nani house is so meant to be the big open place with lots of space to run around and create a new problem for nani every second J though this time maasi and mummy are keeping a little tab on them :P

Every day is a day for a new activity… Making doll house using empty cartons and paper shopping bags… learning gardening and planting new seeds; every day we take our picnic basket out in the park. Some days nanu takes us for excursions outside and also some trekking!

summer vacations fun

Fun times at nani house during summer vacations!

I’m loving it! :D

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Dressing up …

… my small little coasters!

I’ve had this set of four coasters since a long long time… The idea is to put pictures in them and then use them to put your drink on! I did put pictures in them initially but soon realised that the water from condensation that collects in a little pool around your drink, slowly seeps into the coaster and then the picture gets spoiled. As soon as I noticed that, I removed the pictures and these were then lying just like this; with their original “Keep this cardboard as cushion” paper in them.

As I was unpacking one of my last boxes from the shipment, these came out and I started thinking “hmmm…. I need to do something for them… they don’t look very nice without a picture” and then it struck! Why not do some quotation cards! Even if they get wet; it will be super fun and easy to make some more; unlike pictures which I can’t print so easily!

art with heart,

dressing up with some art with heart!

And with some sheets of red and green paper and my beautiful pen set (that Lahar had gifted me) I made these cards and look how pretty my coasters now look! :) I just love them. When Sikander saw these he said “now we can’t use them even more! I don’t want these quotation cards to get spoiled!” :D

Well, I said, then I will get an opportunity to make some more! :)

Categories: Family, go green | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Mirror mirror on the wall….

What’s the last thing we check before leaving home? What’s the last thought on our minds before stepping out of home? It’s a very subconscious action, but I recently observed that I always brush my hair with hand as I am stepping out of home. If there was a mirror at the door, I would definitely have checked if I was ‘looking’ fine.

The first thing we look into after a shower? The mirror. And so was the case on my first day my in Uttarakhand. After having a bath, I was searching for a mirror everywhere in SNC. After a futile search, I let it be. Brushed my hair with hand and went on with my maths classes. The kids didn’t care how I looked. They cared about what I was teaching.  After a couple of days I wasn’t even looking for a mirror. Days passed, work was happening and one day I came across a mirror. It was almost after 20 days. As I looked into my reflection, it suddenly struck – how liberating it is when I don’t care about how I look! It was almost like discovering a new source of joy! :) A new sense of freedom. I can’t really put it down in words but being able to let go of the ‘need’ to look in the mirror was almost like being free.   Continue reading

Categories: Gen, Volunteer | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

World Mitsakes Day! anyone?

Last night I slept on a funny note. I wanted to read something inspiring before going to bed so I turned to one of my favourite websites – Daily Good and started browsing through the quotes there. One of the quotes was;

Mistakes are the usual bridges between inexperience and wisdom. 

-Phyllis Theroux

This reminded me of another quote by Gandhi ji,

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes!

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes, celebrate mistakes, lime n lemony, World Mistakes Day

and then another which was something like make your own mistakes. I was thinking how so many wise people have always told us to celebrate our mistakes so there should definitely be a World Mistakes Day! Possibly a day when we recount our mistakes; laugh at them and how they enriched us. I searched for it on the Internet. But nope. No World Mitsakes Day.

So I decided to start one for me. Not a day, but a book of mistakes. One day when it is full and when I sit with it; I will celebrate Ashima’s Mistakes Day! :) After all mitsakes are good! :P

Celebrate mistakes, mistakes are good, lime n lemony

Categories: Gen | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Benfica – the bazaar in Luanda!

Benfica is the local art and craft market just outside Luanda city. Wood and ivory handicrafts, handmade jewellery, fabrics, baskets, oil paintings – you can find it all over there! It reminded me a lot about the flea markets in Goa. Handicrafts, browsing, comparing and bargaining. All the fun things about shopping! This also means that you have to manoeuvre yourself among a crowd of sellers trying to get your attention. “Por favor madam! Come here… I have the best statues here” “I give you good price!”. But that is a key characteristic of any flea market! :)

benfica art and craft market ,handicraft shopping in luanda, luanda shopping, places to see in luandaIf you know Portuguese, it’s much easier to converse with the sellers; but even if you don’t, its not that big a problem.  I felt buyers and sellers have a universal language of numbers :). The prices in Benfica are much cheaper than in regular handicraft shops in the city. Great place to buy some souvenirs for self and for gifting. The first price quoted is usually very high and going to half the price is pretty okay especially in wooden handicrafts. I bought a statue for 2K when the initial price quoted was 5K; my friend bought another for 3K when the initial quoted price was 8K but then she bought 3 of them so was able to bargain more! I couldn’t bargain at all in the baskets. The lady said 2000 kwanzas and when I proposed 1000, she simply went back to her weaving without even bothering to entertain in any bargaining! :) But the fact that I saw her weaving it there, made me buy it without any discount :). Fabrics are all decently priced… you might be able to bargain a little if you are buying many items. We didn’t check on prices of paintings. They also sell ivory statues, but I didn’t even go to any ivory seller as it would mean encouraging poaching.

Benfica is open from Tuesday to Sunday. We went on a weekday afternoon so it wasn’t very crowded but I have heard that on weekend there are more vendors, so more choice but so would be the crowd of shoppers.

Going to Benfica was an experience. Till my benfica trip I had only been to the malls and standard shops here. Benfica was fun; it was interactive. You are not looking at a label for the price but you are actually engaging in conversation with the locals and if you like that (and a good bargain), plan a trip there.

Everything was so colourful and vibrant! I missed not having my camera there and could just take a few shots with my phone but I’m just waiting to find company to go there again and this time I’m going there just to click! :)

Directions: As you go from Luanda city to Luanda sul, Benfica is on the right after the first pier to Mussola. The market is covered so no need to worry about the sun, but it does get pretty hot so late mornings or early evening would be an ideal time.

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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