Sketches of my life

From filmfare magazine
A Page from my Diary

Like most of the young girls I loved to paint , sketch, colour,draw .....and  do every thing related to what we call as ART. Never trained formally I took fancy to it as a subject but my sketching was limited to drawings and shadings of T.S. Lungs : Frog or the Floral diagrams of Cucurbitacae,Malvacae and Rosacae. 
Being a biology student had its own share of being able to draw. Though I was deeply interested in sketching I was not the best sketcher for all those T.S. and L.S. of cockroaches, mice and frogs.

From a Korean Poetry book
Neha Dhiman was the best in bio. diagrams . Her fowl's bones diagrams looked as if they were snaps !
 For me no solace was their in Art section also as whenever I peeped in the art files I find ridiculous designs of lamps , tea glasses ,floral creepers and climbers looking completely lifeless and particularly ugly. They were called 'Aayat mein alpana', 'Saree ki kinari' , 'tribhuj mein pushplata' etc. It  repulsed me and I decided not to study art - A BIG MISTAKE. though I realised it later in life.

So much so for the art inclination.

From Readers' Digest
Other problem was if you are not a brilliant scorer and  are interested in drawing and poetry you can well imagine your life as finished! Its quite simple just likes 2+2 = 4 . For starters you are not scoring (leave the knowledge and depth and honesty part) enough ;next you are not least bit  interested in the happening subjects i.e. math and physics and to make matter SERIOUSLY worse is that though you are a bio. student  still you don't want to be a Doctor. And on the top of it you have such abusive interests like painting and poetry!!!  You are something akin to a curse (disgrace is a VERY mild term for u) to your parents.

From newspaper

From a film magazine
Thankfully mummy never even suggested something of this kind still pressure was there.. specially because I was clueless about my interests and capabilities. Though I was keenly interested in literature and art ,I was too much into Darwinism, evolution ,genetics  and embryology also and as per the Super Intelligent Indian Educational system literature and life sciences don't go hand in hand!

Sketch of a  Rajaravi verma  image
 In such an atmosphere it was no miracle that I never EVER dreamt of anything except my curriculum only. Studying art as a subject was not my cup of tea and learning privately was not possible,so I started sketching rather copying whatever I found interesting ...A picture from newspaper, an image from a calendar. anything.. At that time  Readers' Digest proved to be my biggest ally as it used to print beautiful pictures by famous artists on its back cover...My parents and a neighbourhood aunt

Greeting card
were its subscribers and they used to get it in Hindi as  'Sarvottam' so I had a triple collection of RDIs ---  mine, mum's and  the Aunty's .
Aunty's were in hindi and oldies and ours were in English and the latest ones but the paper was good of the old ones . I still treasure them.                                                                                                                                             

 This image of the girl with a rose is from one such edition.

 Being a happy-with-myself-and-life-in-general sort of personality I was very much satisfied with my progress ... from drawing mountain and sunset scenes I have started figures. I was hooked to sketching figures with minimum of background and lots of ornaments. I found immense pleasure in sketching little details of  hair, braids, nose,eyelashes and   the twirls of clothes.

Soap Ad
All this helped me in not only spending my leisure in a creative way but boosted my self-confidence. I was fifteen at that time and was experiencing difficulty in making close friends.

From a magazine cover : Shivaji with Jijabai
The way my classmates behaved -coy and dainty all the time was not going well with me. I had SERIOUS problems with fluttering eyelashes and artificial manners . The coy and sugar-wont-melt-in my-mouth look and sometimes the sudden transformation into fully grownup aunties discussing affairs of families and  shamelessly lying to their 'sworn bosom girlfriends ' for chemistry notes , was too much for me to handle. I was visible miles apart sticking out of the bunch.

 But then who was sulking ?

From a Korean poetry book
I was always ready for a bit of solitary time to sketch ,sketch and sketch to my heart's content. There were times when I found the world cruel but Mum, books and sketches were always there for not only solace but HOPE.

From newspaper
While copying the paintings I used to modify these according to my mood which is generally sunny and happy. So, a sad film actress or a dull picture would become pleasing and smiling .Later I started adding swirls of air either in form of billowing clothes or drapes or twirling leaves and flowing hair.Most of my sketches are happy and smiling...just like me.

 Then,a time came when this hobby of mine took greater hold of me and I pined to Learn sketching in a proper way .But  conditions were not favourable. At that time books were my only solace. My imagination (whatever little I  had) was all dried up . But one pencil and one paper was something I could always manage  from my biology file :).

Interestingly, it was during this particularly low phase of my life, for the first time, I started using colours in my sketches. Without realising it, I was afraid of the gloom, the lack of colour and sunshine in my own life ,so I poured colours on paper. I was attracted towards water, gushing streams and rippled rivers for inspiration and static figures, ornaments suddenly became less interesting.

I sketched colourful and vibrant spring flowers from a watercolours, a radiant rainbow coloured flower filled backyard , a kitchen garden, a sunny window sill and many more.

 I started using colour pencils , crayons even water colours.

 P.S. The sketches in this post are quite old ,are wrapped in transparent sheet protectors so, the images are little hazy and flash is also visible in some.
One or two are in decaying condition still I tam taking he plunge to post these.


The Seven Dials Mystery : Review

In one word but in more than one ways, its Hilarious!

 Christie is a favourite .Yes,now and then certain books of her did not go that well with me but still, each one I have read till date is better than one of the so-callled bestsellers.

Now, not to go astray, The Seven Dials Mystery is loaded with humour in trademark Agatha Christie Ishtyle. It provides due dose of thrilling moments ,doubts on every character, a plot brimming with foreign spies,shady deals ,secret societies,two murders and was at places rib-ticklingly funny. 
Never were murders a thing or event so gay and light hearted and never were these set in such a sunny and jolly English Society.

If you forget the murder , its a party! And to think that this jolly way of writing and presenting was of years back is remarkable !!

South face of Abney Hall, looking north (Cheadle, Manchester - 20 May 2007).jpg
Christie's fictitious place of 
 Lord Caterham is Abney Hall
Murder of  a vivacious young man  takes place at Lord Caterham's majestically enormous p(a)lace which he'd rented to Sir and Lady Coote. All the other vivacious friends are aghast and break the sad news to his not-so-vivacious half sister. Sir Coote leaves the place to go house hunting for some other famous spots. Lord Caterham's brilliant  hyperactive and sweet and vivacious daughter Bundle finds some clues in form of half finished letters. Along with one of the remaining vivacious friend and the npt-so-vivacious half sister, she/they decide/s to catch the culprit by herself/themselves. Second murder occurs of another vivacious young friend of the deceased vivacious one.

 Bulky Inspector Battle, battles hard of his suspicions of  'Steam Roller- turned- into- human -Sir Coote' . A highly intelligent secretary sort of Rupert Batement aka Pongo and a bumbling Bill Eversleigh try to help further complicating the matters .The climax is  umm. Part  of it predictable while the other half regarding Battle's identity, is surprising so, nice. A Mayhem.

My Take 
I don't like secret societies so, was groaning past first few pages, when the story unfolded itself as a secret/spies sort but thankfully it turned out full of suspense and aristocratic hilarity.
Many light moments were provided on the bulky shoulders of inspector Battle, responsible shoulders of Lord Caterham  and stupid ones of Bill Eversleigh and Jimmy Thesiger.

The heroine, Lady  Brent aka Bundle is strong, spunky and adventurous quite like Tuppence. At some places she is the sweet and cultivated true blue lady and at times she had this 'following my heart damn to the ladyship' attitude. I liked her for her spunk and pep. You will certainly fell for her charms of wit and restlessness. I specially like her driving abilities!

The heroe/s ( if there ever wa/weres in this novel) are like silly college boys and the villains even  sillier. Miraculously, the book still satiate your thrill and suspense quota .The sly sense of humour of Madam Christie is marvellous .The way she treated Jimmy boy, Lord Catreham and the butler Alfred I tell you, she deliberately made them the butt of fun.I MUST say a shrewd observer she was.
And yes, not to forget the lines she gave to Lord Caterham. 

  She has taunted the incapability of the young boys born into 'riches and connections'   having nothing else but luck on their side. I am not sure how, but this novel reminds me some characters from movie  'Ayesha' the Indian version of Jane Austen's  'Emma'.
 Most of the youngsters here are named as Bundle, Socks, Pongo Wow!... and are apparently investigating murders ... More WOW!!

But not even for once, the autheress missed a beat on suspense or the ever-lurking danger. All in all, its a 'whodunnit' written in tongue -in-cheek style.

Dangerously Hilarious! A Page Turner .

Genre  : Mystery Thriller
Rating  : 4/5

The Garden of Good Books and my Angels

I don't remember exactly how young I was when I started reading no eating , drinking and sleeping BOOKS. Though it must be after  I was two and half years old at least!

 The first or the oldest memory is me crouching on the bed and reading a book in torchlight (though it was broad daylight) under the quilt covers. The theatrics was conducted to get an adventurous feel of reading inside a cave and to avoid listening to the shrill whistle of cooker in which my mother was preparing (probably) sarson methi saag (yucky) for me and Papa .This whole cooking smell and routine homely noise used to spoil 'the' atmosphere, the aura of treasures and adventures ,fairies and gnomes ,plump Russian characters like 'mitushka' and others playing in snow surrounded by tall fir ,poplar and birch trees.....That's why that quilt was SO dearly necessary as
I was simply not ready to come back to the real Indian soil of daal-roti -saag and mangoes.T
his memory is when I was five and was living in a small, quiet town of Uttar Pradesh- Hapur.
At that young age , I was much enamoured by books and stories, always wanting to be a writer and nothing else.

I was introduced early to Russian literature by my father and Russian stories have much to offer. Both my parents along with my maternal grandparents were deeply into books and literature. While mum was a Hindi and English literature Post graduate, Papa did his PG in Philosophy.My nanaji,  fondly called Daddy by each and every person younger to him was the origin of this love.He was a very humble and honest person with an ocean of knowledge .Urdu Adab, Faarsi, Hindi and English languages were his pets with whom ,when he used to converse, the languages themselves were gratified to be dealt by him.

To be able to explain a topic to a child of class1 as well as to a research scholar with equal ease and relevance was his forte`.He passed away when I was in class 4th.I remember my class because even in that painful condition he made notes for my English literature,Geography and History chapters.I stood First in class and was lauded with appreciation for the lucidity of my answers.

I am unfortunate to lose him without being taught by him (my cousins were luckier)I was young and naïve and did not want to study in June holidays. Instead I would gorge on Billu ,Pinky and Chacha Chaudhrys by the tons from Bittu bhaiyya's shop.
Bittu bhaiyya was a pal of my youngest mama and so he was lucky to get the second position in my fav list. First rank
holder always being chote Mama of course!

At that time holidays meant mama.

 I used to think Bittu bhaiyya as a bad Bhaiyya as he would allow
ONLY six comics at a time.Felt so mean of him. Later, I realised that mum (She was against my reading such small print of comics) had instructed him to give me only two a day!
 and he was in fact a dear mama as he took pity on me and lent 6 comics.. sometimes even twice a day!

 So all my hols were reading ,reading and reading! Not only the Pran Comics I could and would ANYTHING! be it folk tales or life of Chacha nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, 'Jatak kathas- the stories from life of Buddha, ACKs , essays and other prose i.e. 'gadya' ,poetry or kavita , plays means naatak  ,newspaper, even the lifafas (made up of magazines pages) in which daddy used to bring murmure.

Daddy used to feed me as I was wary of green veggies and he used to trick me in eating those. He would ask what story I would like to listen ? what setting I would love to have the story in and what characters viz. ducks, a girl, a peacock  I wanted? I generally went for a fawn , peacock  sometimes fairies and a thug .
He and my father told many anecdote of thugs and their thugee. While listening I'd eat louki and tori without realizing. My third Mama Aashutosh would help him in feeding me by making apt noises and grunts at required places in the story thus, adding life to the characters .
With daddy around, I never felt the need of books .He was my Encyclopedia with a human touch - compassionate, understanding , simplifying facts and life for me. After my father's demise it was him who talked to me like my father used to do.... about school, friends and stories. I lost him very early...before realizing the importance of his presence.

Now as I do realize, I try to spend time with kids in the same way he used to do with me. I had only little bits of him and my father both but, still I am brimmed .... 

So I try to make my presence , my affection count in the life of other children just like his and Papa's counted in mine..... 

I also have a natural affection for children starting with my little cousins to close at home babies, Naman and Kriti.... they all were my angels. Specially ,Nammu bhai who got the most of me .... even more then my own kids as I was free in every sense during his toddler days and he lived less then a stone's throw from me. Don't know how he feels now,but I had this 'Naman effect' which made me feel loved and blessed. He was as broken hearted as me when I got whisked away by the villain in the story - his Fufaji ,my husband! He used to understand fully what I was not saying... and vice-versa. There are many poignant  anecdotes with him etched hard in my mind which I will NEVER forget. 
With Kriti things were more pragmatic ..... and poetical at the same time . She would doze off while listening to endless poems and stories and would wakeup if 'd stop.She would chaff Naman for his romanticism and look at me for approval. The Jan-e-man girl!

With Shikhar it was more like Naman and the distance never mattered .He would have a intuition in those phone-less days as a 2 year old that I was coming !!

So many pages of  this life are full of love and warmth and the garden of books have offered me a great many blooms of exotic scents .. a blessing I will keep on imparting....

ग़ुलाब- The Rose

                 ग़ुलाब एक...                                    डॉयरी के पन्नों में,                                     कोयल ने फिर कुह...