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: , | 6 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

a new home

“Time Flies” is such a reality! It was just yesterday when I landed in Angola, my new home, and yesterday when I was talking to friend in India she said “You’ve been there for more than a month! Post some pictures of the place!” And it suddenly struck me…it’s been more than a month!

One month of complaining, accepting, exploring, enjoying and loving the new country that is to be my home for a few years now. Luanda is lot like Bombay. The two most strikingly similar features being the ocean and the juxtaposed images of high risers and slums. I had been told of the vast economic disparities in the city and resulting crimes and thus warned of not going alone in the streets. As a result I was 90% of the time home bound during my first week and as a result very very homesick (home here being the one I had just left behind in India). That was the complaining week.

Then I came across this little piece of art by Lahar:

#artwithheart, moving to Luanda, create heaven where you are

Words do wonder when you come across them at the right time. This was like a wakeup call for me. Why was I complaining so much? I always said home is where Sikander and I are together. And I can create heaven here too!

I let go of the mental barriers I had created. Barriers of language, of safety, of laziness and of complaints. And so started the exploring phase. I made friends; I went to street markets; I realised people are very friendly and warm here. I little precaution is necessary but not so much as what I had been made to believe. People are warm and friendly. With a little Portuguese I would be able to go to most places in the city on my own.

Within our apartment complex there are families from so many different countries and the cultural exchange is amazing! I’ve already learnt Italian, Romanian and Indonesian dishes J. Cooking also helped in settling down (as did friends who came over to eat that cooking!). There are a lot of Indians here, but we currently have a small group of friends. Finding Indian ingredients is a bit difficult but then necessity is the mother of inventions and I’m looking forward to more innovative cooking and also bags full of food whenever we come back from India as most things are either not available at all or are very very expensive! :D

We live close to the beach and I can’t ask for more. The nature puts on a show for us every evening when the big fire ball slowly falls into the ocean. Every sunset is unique and beautiful and its amazing how the whole sky gets filled up with fire embers in the evening! Ruskin Bond said it well “The sun makes such a fuss while coming down!”.

And with this one pic of today’s sunset, I will just leave by saying “we are home”.

Indian in Luanda, settling in Luanda, luanda sunset, Ilha luanda

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

You are my loyal sunshine!

First there was love and then there was more love! It’s so overwhelming J Madhu is at it again! She nominated me for the Sunshine award and Dragon’s Loyalty award! Thank you so much Madhu! You are the Santa; you are the loyal sunshine of Lime ‘n’ Lemony! Continue reading

Categories: Gen | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Food lovers’ paradise! – Sarafa Bazaar, Indore

I was visiting my sister in Indore and just happened to speak with a friend of mine who had spent many a vacation in his childhood in Indore. The first thing he tells me about Indore is

N: “you have to go to sarafa bazaar!”

A: “What is Sarafa Bazaar?”

N: “It’s a food paradise! You have to try the garaadu and the kees.”

It was almost like sitting in Germany he was reliving his childhood; savouring the flavours while urging me to go there :)

So I went! Continue reading

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

How easy it is to forget …

We were once ignorant. We had to be taught everything. We asked way too many questions. Yet our parents answered them. again and again. no matter how often we asked. They answered them. How easily we forget that.

A friend recently shared this video and I couldn’t stop crying. The video took me back to a similar incident I had with my mother many years ago.

Every time me or my sister went back home, we would get our laptops with us and our mother was very fascinated. Then in between I had shifted to US for a year in 2005 and ISD calls were still very expensive so we told our mom to start using skype and that was her first direct interaction with computers. She was so amazed that she started learning computers all by herself. She even took like a 15 day course on computer basics. This is almost 8 years ago. She would practice at home and whenever she had a problem; she will call me. I would try to resolve her issue as best as I could but in most cases since I couldn’t see what was the problem, I would just tell her to ask one of my cousins who was staying close by.  This continued for months and once I remember I asked “Why do you always call me; why don’t you call didi?”

And then one day, I became irritated. I think I was trying to explain double click on phone. And I said “don’t ask me.. Find someone in Jaipur.” For a minute there was a silence at the other end of the line and then she just said “You know you didn’t come into the world knowing ABCD.”

And I was dumbstruck for some time and then I just started crying… Ever since that day, even the thought of losing patience with her didn’t come to my mind… I am amazed at how much she has learnt on her own. This was more than 7 years ago and I’m still saying sorry to her for that day and she keeps saying she doesn’t even remember :) Mothers are so forgiving! and as her child I was so thankless :’(.

Categories: Family | Tags: , | 1 Comment

New Year and a Resolution

It’s 31st December.  It’s again that time of the year when you start thinking about resolutions… earlier it used be what resolution should I make, something that actually stands a chance of lasting a year and now after many failed attempts it is more like whether I should take attempts a resolution at all. Practically speaking if I want to do something I don’t really need to wait for 1st January to start. If it’s something I need to do; doing it early should be good! :) Continue reading

Categories: Family | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Goa beyond the beach

Sun. Sand. Late nights. Lazy days. Tattoos. Phirangs.  Beach. Alcohol. Yoga. Shack.

Some of the images that come instantly to mind when we think of Goa. I don’t have a count of the number of times I have been to Goa. Friends and family say its our vacation Mecca!:) But each time we have just done what it is famous for – the Sun, sand, water, food, late night parties and lazy days. But this time we went a little beyond the beach. Not saying that the beach was not there in the whole one week vacation.. It was but only for a couple of days. The rest of the time we explored the cities and mainly the capital city – Panjim.

Riding through the narrow quaint lanes of the old city. Walking along blue, yellow, orange homes; turning a corner and getting lost in the narrow lanes. Stopping to admire a small lamp post or a name plate done in traditional pottery.

Panjim has charms hidden all over. It started with the drive along river Mandovi to Shan’s home. It was evening and the sun was just about to set. We stopped and that was when I fell for the city :). Next day we went to explore Fontainhas – the older part of the city still living in its Portuguese heritage. Homes decorated with beautiful pottery and bright colours. You would love to lose way in their lanes and it’s made easier to lose way by the numerous one ways in the region :). I wanted to click pictures of all the name plates which were actually done in blue pottery. Turning a corner, you would see a small homely café or a small yet very expensive boutique!

Goa, Panjim, Fontainhas, Goa sans the beach, exploring Goa beyond the beaches

The bright and colourful Fontainhas

Continue reading

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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