Zentangle Zone

Thanks to an opportune and thoroughly blissful trip to Nepal a few months back, I now am collaborating with a beautiful boutique designer to launch my own brand of stationary. Here’s a sneak peek into some of the designs we’ll be using as part of the “Anoma Collection”

 

Cafe By The Sea

Let’s catch up you and I,
Over spiced tea for two,
We’ll dip our dreams in rainbow dye,
And devour petite macaroons.
 
We’ll pick a charming cafe,
That one by the sea,
With the cozy terraced sit -out,
Where our hearts once roamed free. 
 
You’ll ask me how I’m doing,
How it feels to be newly- wed.
I’ll smile and let the silence seep,
So you may draw out the unsaid.
 
You’ll say I look different,
And I’ll pretend to enquire,
Knowing that wicks change,
Once you put out the fire.
 
Sugar cubes will gleam like ingots
As you twirl them to a song,
You’ll conjure our next adventure,
 I’ll giggle and wonder along.
 
You’ll speak of life’s monotony,
And I’ll colourfully disagree,
We’ll tug and tease and pull with words,
We’ll laugh at our naivety.
 
You’ll stretch your feet on a nearby chair,
While I tap my heels on the floor.
We’ll gaze into the cerulean,
And just be us once more.

 

amalfiviews_hotelpasitea

 

Scribbles, Doodles and Sounds

As I sit here in my living room, watching pregnant clouds being scraped by distant mountain peaks, I’m reminded of a day in Scotland, when I was drenched to my bones by an errant passing cumulonimbus. It was symbolic for I was returning from  a meditative hour by a secret pond and had stumbled on a few realisations. Nothing profound, on the contrary they were revelations quite simple and obvious. Just that they had been shrouded in anxiety and needed the gentle hand of mother nature to be pulled out. Lying on my couch today, I’m prompted to look for the journal entry of that lovely walk to the pond. Diary found, I flip through the pages urgently trying to locate the necessary parchment. I rarely date my entries, partly because I’m lazy, partly because I don’t write chronologically or regularly but mostly because time is irrelevant. Once words are brought into creation, they remain there for eternity, where time loses meaning.

Anyway I finally find the page. It’s tainted with my characteristic colorful inking, an-attempt-to-be -artistic doodling and barely legible writing. However, the top half of this page was also  written in reverse, or in mirror-writing, as if aptly to reflect the state of mind then. Reverse writing something I indulge in from time to time, just to amuse myself and to flex the visual cortex. I discovered a few years back that I could write backwards, so I’ve since then been working to move it from caveman scribbles to a more legible running hand. All you have to do to decode it, is show my writing to a mirror or to the selfie-mode of your smartphone. It’s proved very entertaining for coded journal entries and the occasional unrequited love letters 😉

If you feel curious enough, try it out on a mirror or phone. If not I’ve written the “straight” form below the image.

FullSizeRender (3)

Today I stepped out for a walk and by the end my soul had expanded a few inches. There’s no better cure I’ve found for my agitated mind, than an immediate long saunter. It must be aimless for it to be effective. No time restrictions either, just the mindful act of placing one foot ahead of the other, letting go of control over pacing while non-judgementally observing what comes up in the mind. Conscious walking supported by conscious watching and slowly the restlessness settles, the tightness in my chest relaxes and what remains is insight. Today walking lead me to a magical pond and these floating words….

Here’s an audio capture of the sounds at the pond. If you listen closely enough the pond might even speak to you.

Songs of Myself

Yesterday we were completely snowed in!!!  A perfect day for doing things I love. Obviously, I called up my friend for all weathers- Sharanya , picked up my guitar and had mad fun recording a duet! It’s a beautiful composition from the movie Lootera. We tried our best and would love your feedback:)

Manmarziyaan from Lootera. .

The one pager

Wonder where this story will go….

The door rattled as the wind gushed in through gaps, knocking over the mud pot and strewing lavender buds all over the floor. Sitara swiftly grabbed her broom and swept up the pale purple dust. Her forehead scrunched, pondering this unnecessary delay, Sitara clutched her sari’s patterned end and hurried to the kitchen to resume grating the last batch of coconuts. The soft glow of the early morning sun streamed in through the windows of the stone-hut, lighting up dust particles and lending golden halos to the only pieces of furniture-a wooden cot, a low table and shelf lined with sparkling curios. Amber beams bounced off the crystal wind-chime casting circles of burgundy and pale blue over the white-washed walls.

Sitara peeked out of her kitchen window as she mixed the coconut shavings with jaggery. The valley was still asleep, covered in a blanket of dewy mist, oblivious to the echoing calls of rising birds. The Djinn had advised that she make her offering at the temple before the sun reached up high in the sky. It was a long trek, so she had to leave now. Sitara deftly wrapped the flax-coloured, sweet mixture in an old newspaper and carefully placed it in an embroidered pouch dangling from her waist.

Her house locked, Sitara began walking up the rusty trail to the highway, her sinewy fingers clutching the chain around her neck. A coin-sized turquoise stone embraced by a thin strip of ornate silver hung unassumingly, from a black thread. An old mendicant, one of many travellers that paid homage to Sitara’s hill-side antique shop, had given it to her in exchange for money. She had negotiated the price well but had not bargained for the changes in her life that followed. Three purposeful gentle strokes and the Djinn could be summoned, she accidentally discovered. As smoke and fire he appeared, just as last night, and crackled “From the ancient flames that forged new worlds, I am the Djinn of Agni.”

Sitara reached the highway to discover it was cordoned off. A bus was balancing perilously at the edge of the cliff and village-folk were using ropes to pull the vehicle and its frightened passengers to safety. It would be hours before the road opened up. She would now have to walk the serpentine, secluded path through the woods. This was not a good omen.

Because I want to fly with angels…

It’s a stormy day, so obviously I’m extremely happy and reminiscing old times and old songs.  This tune is a classic and is so apt because  storms remind me of all things beautiful and natural….and make me want to fly with angels, among clouds, past the sparkling lightening and the resounding thunder and see all of nature explode in rapturous applause.

Okay, maybe that was a bit much.

I didnt do any of that, but took out my guitar and sang “Pari Hoon Main( I’m an angel)” with a few mistakes 😛

For your pleasure and perhaps amusement-

https://soundcloud.com/madhumitas/pari-hoon-main

How to be an elementary school teacher in India

You begin by asking if you are willing to let your life be consumed by half-lings, who can barely button their pants but have a slick machinery of expletives to barrage at you when their pleas to sit next to a friend are refused. Then realizing that your self-esteem has already been trampled upon by years of battered relationships and people who don’t believe in you, that your self-respect lies buried 3 inches below the Marina trench, you sign up.

Self-aggrandized notions of your ability to transform lives and impact social development gets you through fantasy- gaming period also known as Teacher Training Institute. Then reality hits as you stand in front of 44 seven-year-olds, squished together four per bench, who seem extremely suspicious of your presence in their classroom. You feel welcomed. You look around, the room has paint curling off the walls, a precarious chunk of cement dangling right above your head and a bluish-grey pile in the corner of something that should have been disposed off a long time ago. You dispose it. You remember to carry a hand sanitzer from that day on. You hear 44 sniggers, grunts, giggles and wise-cracks. You turn around, look straight into the sea of faces and give them that stare, one that you’ll perfect over the next two years, one where you narrow your eyes, stiffen your body and stay in that position for at least 10 seconds. School becomes a battleground, your backpack becomes your shield, a rolled up chart paper your sword and a trusty bottle of water, well it remains your water bottle, something to drown your tears in.

You renounce fashion. Picking clothes and accessories that are practical and don’t attract incessant, high -pitched squeals about how “pretty“ your earrings are and who gets to “borrow” them. Of course you begin to ignore the tugging, pulling and scratching of your extremities when they speak to you. You contemplate using the same methods to grab their attention but realize they may not see the sarcasm or the point.

Your  friends leave you, or maybe you leave them. It doesn’t matter who initiates it, you realize it’s for the better. You seem to always talk about your kids and their families, about how they are progressing. Your friends don’t find it interesting anymore. It’s not gossip or naked celebrity pictures nor is it pseudo-intellectual. It’s too normal and too real, “not as cool as saying our friend is a chef,” they tell you.

Your romantic life becomes an overcast sky, pregnant with possibilities that you really don’t want raining on you. You go to the bar to scout for prospects, only to realize that you no longer are interested in men who aren’t as passionate about education or children as you are and end up cribbing about it to the person next to you. Soon you’ll be talking about your students and attracting raised eyebrows and dropped jaws from eavesdroppers as you mention, casually, that you have forty –one kids and three more will be coming in tomorrow. Before long you’ll be at the karaoke machine belting out, “The lion sleeps tonite…” in a drunken stupor. You’ll dream of animals that night, some of whom will morph into your students.

You wake up at 6:00 am the next day so you can get to school on time. You obviously indulge in self-deprecatory humour about attending school as an adult. You silently curse hangovers and every person who bumps into you that morning. Then your students filter in, dropping their backpacks, settling into their chairs and making honest observations about their surroundings and brutal observations about you. You see their carefree expression of love, anger, sadness and joy and all is well again. You become a clown, a dancer, an artist, an actor, anything to help your students learn. You become an expert at mime, you watch cartoons to wind down and salivate over coloured paper in stationary shops. You spend hours visiting homes, deciding toppings on ice-creams, scraping mud from faces after cricket matches, dancing, quite unfortunately, to Salman Khan songs, gasping at Mammoth tusks at the museum and sharing cheese crackers during lunch. You also become effective at making 7 lesson plans a day, catering to individual learning needs, eating from your colleagues’ lunch boxes, smooth-talking Ravi into giving you extra cups of “chai”, yelling at drivers during peak hour traffic and keeping your sanity.

On Friday nights you almost always are buried under a stack of student papers, wishing you had a life. And then you get a call from Anam Banu, a girl who struggled with English six months ago but who now tells you in perfectly constructed sentences that she is gorging on delicious desserts at her sister’s wedding and wishes you were there. Your heart melts, you beam with pride and  you burn the midnight oil, and a few papers; accidentally, of course.