A Trick May Be Easier To Go With

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Source: thestoryreadingapeblog.com

Unquiet Landscape Of A Different Kind

Anjolie Ela Menon

The painting is by the well-known contemporary artist Anjolie Ela Menon, titled as ‘Unquiet Landscape’, at this moment put up in an online auction by StoryLTD with bids starting at Rs 60,000+ and expected to finally fetch Rs 6,00,000 to 8,00,000!

I found it quite serendipitous-ly. Besides the quiet appeal of the ‘Unquiet’ in its muted hues, my eyes popped up seeing the going price. For I had with me carefully preserved this crayon drawing she had produced in school on the occasion of an Independence Day. One cannot fail to spot the early signs of a genius-to-come – must now be good for at least a couple of lakhs of filthy lucre?


Quite an Unquiet Landscape of a different kind though – fireworks in the sky, music in the air and eats in a basket and kids – do slim kids draw slim kids? –  in colorful dresses with eyes to the right (at least most of them)! You may note how her perception over the years – in eighties now – of the ‘Unquiet’ has sobered up in terms of the participants and their vigor in her paintings.

Removed from Ms Menon by thousands of miles and about a decade in time, how did I land it?

Well…I didn’t. And those lakhs wont be making their way to my house any soon.

My apologies for the misleading attribution, prompted by some vague similarities perhaps more imagined than real. Or a wishful but pardonable exaggeration from a fond grandparent?  I mean I do have the painting with me – only it isn’t Anjolie’s.

But no less precious, it’s dear Ani’s (8 yo)!

And who knows…I’ve started collecting!



PS: To my question why the flag was not fluttering. the painting captured that moment precisely when it wasn’t, it was explained to me:-)


Who Is The Sharpest?



Knives, Daggers, Swords, Arrows…

were all squabbling

over who causes the most hurt.

Words at the back

were smiling.


Source: Pinterest, catholicexchange.com

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Pleasing Asymmetry

Kolam is an ubiquitous art form widely practiced in the south of drawing patterns of dots, lines and curves laid just outside the main door of the house, every morning, welcoming ‘gods’ and visitors to the house. Unlike the welcome-mat, the kolam is never stepped on. Usually simple, on festive occasions, it gets more flamboyant and even embellished with flowers.

Every morning the area is first cleaned by splashing water out of a bucket by the maid or the housewife marking the start of the day for the entire household. An energizing sound, not annoying in the least unlike the strident alarm clocks, announcing the arrival of a new dawn and all is well with the world. A sound that I wake up to even today when we visit my sister-in-law’s place in Chennai, to the accompaniment of an orchestra of bird-calls – it meant Thaayamma, an illiterate old lady and a ceaseless wonder, at work pulling off in a breeze a non-repeat elegant design on the wet floor with no shake or break in her kolam.

The white flour – no artificial colors – used to make the kolam up is intended to be food for ants, insects, etc. – unfortunately these days in many places powder from pulverized pebbles, by no means edible, is used for reasons not known to me yet. Infrequently, flour paste is used if the kolam is needed to last longer and not easily blown away.

The ‘canvas’ on the floor also lets the womenfolk to show off their artistry and creativity, with houses trying to outdo each other during festivals. The women learn it largely from their families when young though books are available these days.

In general, it may not be too wrong to say the kolam on the outside often reflects in some ways the state of well-being on the inside.

Kolam‘s are also drawn inside the house in the pooja room where gods are worshiped.

My wife’s doing today, more as a ‘welcome’ gesture than food for non-existing insects, a simple traditional flour kolam, with two leaves instead of the usual four, generating a pleasing asymmetry:





PS: In the north the art takes the form of Rangoli that is far more elaborate and filled with colors especially during festivals.

If You Don’t Laugh Aloud Seeing This…





Source: Thanks to Gul Advani on FB.


Reader’s DiJest


A selection from the June 18 RD issue:


Scene: Bar

Me: What’s the wifi password?

Bartender: ‘You need to buy a drink first.’

Me: ‘Ok, I’ll have a coke.’

Bartender: ‘Three dollars.’

Me: ‘There you go. So, what’s the password?’

Bartender: ‘‘You need to buy a drink first’ no spaces, all lowercase.’

(Sylvia Maclain, Grand Prairie, Texas)


A %#$@^& defector moves into an apartment in Chicago, and his new neighbor asks what his apartment back home was like.

‘Oh, it was perfect,’ said the defector, ‘I couldn’t complain.’

‘What about your job?’

‘Oh, my old job was perfect. I couldn’t complain.’

‘And the food?’

‘Oh, the food was perfect. I couldn’t complain.’

‘So, if everything was perfect back home, why did you move?’

The man said: ‘Here I could complain.’



An umpire at the ATP Challenger Tour in Nottingham, England, penalized a tennis player, Brydan Klein for calling a player on the court a ‘stupid, stupid person.’

The player Klein was berating was…himself! And he was right! The penalties cost him the game, set and match.


My wife caught me standing on the bathroom scale, sucking in my stomach.

She laughed and said: ‘That’s not going to help.’

I replied: ‘It’s the only way I can see the numbers.’


Jennifer’s wedding day was fast approaching and she was horrified to learn that her mother had bought the exact same dress for the wedding as her father’s young new wife. Jennifer implored her step-mother to exchange hers, but she refused.

So Jennifer’s mother agreed to buy a different dress for the wedding.

‘Aren’t you returning the other dress?’ Jennifer asked, ‘You really have no other occasion where you could wear it.’

Her mother smiled: ‘Of course I do dear. I’m wearing it to the rehearsal-dinner the night before the wedding.’


Feeling down about my thinning hair, I told a friend: ‘Soon, I’ll never need to go back to beauty salon. Whenever I vacuum all I pick up is my hair.’

A glass-half-full kind of a gal, she responded, ‘then you don’t need to vacuum either.’


A customer walked into a post-office wanting to mail a package.

‘Two-day shipping will cost $12.95 to get it there by Friday,’ my co-worker Billy told her.

The customer, clearly looking to saving a few bucks, said: ‘The package doesn’t have to get there till Saturday. Is there any way to make that happen?’

Billy nodded: ‘Sure, you can bring it back tomorrow.’

(David Cutcher, Royal Palm Beach, Florida)




Watch Out…Could Happen To You!

‘Doctor, please help my dad, his eyes have gotten like this over the past few months.’


MD: ‘You must take him to a ophthalmologist.  He may need a scan. I know a good guy in Colaba with all the equipment…will give you a note. Do it asap before it gets worse.’

‘But, doctor, we live in Borivili and Colaba is land’s end on the other side…’

‘Look, if you’re serious about getting him treated…that’ll be 2000 rupees.’

In a few days, Uncle visiting from Thirupparaithurai: ‘Hey, whatever happened to him? He was perfectly normal when I saw him last.’

‘It’s a long story, Uncle – must have happened gradually that we didn’t notice it at all until one day…’

‘Has he been watching English movies on TV?’

‘How did you know? Lately, yes, a lots of them.’

‘Show him Hindi movies…this is what happens watching movies with subtitles.’






Source: santabanta.com’

Arundhati Takes On The Redoubtable Vishwamitra!


Stories in ancient Indian scriptures, legends and myths include a good number of women and instances when they bested the men in the battle of wits. The one readily coming to our mind is Savitri retrieving her husband from the jaws of certain death defeating Yama. And there was Gargi (800 BCE) questioning Yajnavalkya, the first philosopher in the Upanishads, Draupadi in Mahabaratha arguing her case like an attorney when she was dragged to the court of DuryodhanaWhile ancient text of Rig Veda, it’s said, mentions some twenty 20+ poetesses, the Sangam literature in the south is not far behind with 25+ poetesses living in its time 2000 years ago! One of the best known poetess Avvaiyar was bold enough to challenge the powerful Tamil kings. More recently, some 800 years ago(!), there was Lilavati, the renowned mathematician and astronomer Bhaskaracharya II’s daughter, teaching her father’s students math…

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Osho Says…

Jottings From The US: A ‘Storm’ In A ‘Tea Cup’


Ani’s election promise: ‘If I’m elected, one day a week you could wear to school without a care a dress that didn’t match!!’ At one brilliant stroke she did away with the nerve-wracking task, for most parents and kids, at least for a day, of finding that elusive one of a pair of socks or the green hairband…with the school bus announcing itself outside. If that isn’t turning a disadvantage to an advantage, a problem into a solution…Well, I can, right-off-the-bat, recognize a potential board-room consultant when I see one

What was the election about? Well, she stood for the post of class representative to the body of student council. A position ‘hotly’ contested for with as many as eleven aspirants out of a class of twenty-two third graders! Also the class was ‘deeply’ instructed one cannot vote for oneself or one’s best friends.

And who was the winner? A US-senator in the making – no way he could lose when he promised longer recess times between class periods! Of course, I’m assuming folks in US are not very different from our ‘neta’s’ here swearing during the electoral process to banish unemployment, poverty…

Unfortunately my attempts were not successful in finding out what other promises were made. Apparently a few said ‘I’ll be a good leader for you if you elect me,’ and that didn’t impress.

Ani had no tears for the outcome.

Levity aside, it’s interesting to see how kids in school are introduced to these democratic processes and institutions at an early age. May be these are the first steps to induct/shape new joiners into a society that still stays together despite being polarized increasingly on various issues.

In another exercise with older kids, a virtual UN was constituted and kids were assigned different nationalities to represent their countries which meant learning about these places. Would love to know what is the lasting impact of these initiatives on the kids. Does it make them better global citizens? Why then is the general impression – not entirely ill-founded – that an average American’s world ends at the end of his street, town or state?

At the back of the mind the question nagged me while jotting this post: How well are we doing it back home? In searching for a suitable clip for this post, imagine my thrill on finding the one shown above featuring our kids from a The Hindu report about a few schools exposing the children to the process.  However it was such a let-down when I read the details: the children were being taught the mere mechanics like how to handle the ballot paper, etc. Aren’t we true to form missing the grain for the chaff? The subject schools, I suspect, are ISO 9000 certified:-((