Life is one vast canvas

I like blogging. For one, whatever I come up with, I have a place to post it. Sometimes, I even tamper with my own laws of sense and publish things as frivolous as a poem on life and it being a vast canvas and all that. Not that I feel like Wordsworth, just that I don’t feel like getting my word’s worth when the head is a chock full of worries!

Life is one vast canvas.

Some strokes make a pretty picture.

Some strokes make it bleak.

The bleak ones leave you feeling weak.

Just when you think it can’t be tweaked,

Another stroke you’ll paint

Now if that ain’t making you faint

Guess what? You are a saint

For the bleak canvas just turned

Into a riotous canvas

Full of colour

Full of joy

Full of life’s essences

The vast canvas evolves.

The Flower State & Grain

AS several of my readers know, we spent the past few days in a place where, we are told, it is against the law to bring your worries. We didn’t. We succumbed to the island. We’d been to Kau’ai the Garden Island of the Haiwaiian chain. This vacation was different by all standards. For one, we rented a condominium, and ate delicacies cooked by moi on several beaches. Bows and accepts thanks gracefully for variety of picnic food provided.

Since we were going to the Garden Island, the husband thought it prudent to buy a flower sounding rice. We were going to the Plumeria flower state after all. Jasmine rice. Basmati doesn’t sound like Hibiscus or Jasmine. But Jasmine – sounds exactly like Jasmine doesn’t it?!  

It is at this point that I feel obliged to explain the difference between Basmati and Jasmine. When one is looking for long grains that separate from each other easily, Basmati raises its long slender hand. If one is looking for cuddly affection between the grains, you go for Jasmine. Jasmine being Jasmine, it stuck together like glue, and puliodare/pulao were ruled out. I peered into the boiling pot and saw something white and gooey emerge from the effervescence. After some time, a sticky mush emerged. Luckily I had taken some curry powder with me.

On day one, it was some vague mixture of curry powder, rice, tomato and onions.

Day two was a very interesting variation (vague mixture of curry powder, rice, tomato, onions and bell peppers).

Day three was a different league (vague mixture of curry powder, rice, tomato, onions, bell peppers, carrot and peas)

And so the rice scaled loftier reaches of creativity, till one day we found ourselves ditching the carefully prepared food packets for a restaurant. The food in the restaurant sent us scurrying back for a vague m of c.p, t and o the next day. The curry gods were appeased and the sun was shining on the beaches again.

This was our first time to Hawaii, and I must say it felt great to shed our jackets and socks for lighter clothes. While there, we discovered a number of folks who accompanied migratory birds to Hawaii from the snowy reaches of the Northern United States, and actually made Hawaii their home for three to four months at a time.

A totally different mindset I confess, not to mention how curious I was to find out how they made a living. The same kind of feeling I have when I gasp at large mansions and wonder how they clean it! My curiosity was all the more since there were young folks with small children who did the same thing.  Hawaii is by no means cheap, and I found myself gasping dramatically at some places (like that wife in the Sati Leelavati movie when she hears the ticket cost for the whole family to Bangalore for a week-end.) What do these people do for money?

I wish to set the record straight here, that I have been known to display decency, and kept my questions about their livelihood to myself. I must admit though, that this question is still eating my brain.  Well, maybe Pinocchio’s nose longer grows longer when he lies, but mine seems to be growing with the constant activity in the brain from this quarter. I found myself guessing the options with the husband for such people, while pushing the over-priced, under-cooked pasta on my plate, and came up with nothing that looked feasible.

The moment I figure out, have no mistake folks, I am packing those bags. I almost had my toe and fingertips bitten off by frost-bite today because I forgot the socks and the heavy winter shoes with the glove and the earmuffs! That won’t do. It just won’t. Jasmine rice or no, I am going to Hawaii again!

Aloha! Hou are uou?

Aloha! Haaiiiaa! Hoau are uoou?

I am back from the vowel islands. I imagine the vowels one day complained bitterly about the tough task of holding the consonants together.  Only five of them had to do the unsavory task of holding 21 consonants together. I wouldn’t be too happy about that if I were a vowel myself. So, the vowels decided to vacation for a bit in Hawaii. They realized they really don’t need consonants and just took one or two per word to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Poipu, Kileauea, Waimea, Mauluhia settled down happily ever after.

Seriously, after the first few times of this alphabet soup, I found myself tongue-tied (not in the sense it is usually used, but like this.)

Then, the trick revealed itself, and after that, Kauai was one sweet song with the coconuts. All you have to do is pronounce every vowel in the word. So, K-a-u-a-i phonetically sounds like Kawai. Maui sounds like Mow-ee. See?

Anytime you get up on the islands, you get the satisfaction of getting up at the crack of dawn. Getting up at the crack of dawn fills one up with a sense of purpose like nothing else does. For one, Hawaii is two hours ahead of us, and for another, one gets up to the crowing of the rooster. The roosters there are a confused lot. Somewhere along their evolution on the island, they  forgot their purpose. I tried to study their activities and noticed that they spend their time loitering around and crowing everytime they look at the sun. As a result, no matter what time you get up, the rooster crows and you feel like the whole day stretches in front of you. I like those roosters.

When I am up late, and charging about like a raging rhinoceros in the morning, it would be nice if we hear the rooster crowing, and play that back to those sticklers for time.
Exactly, what are you moaning about? I got here at the crack of dawn!

You can tick people off squarely with the rooster logic. Also, you can set your clock by the roosters like this.

I will be there at the 50th rooster crow on my farm.

Not one person could find fault with that. I wonder why I am not consulted on important matters such as these. Anyway, one does not dwell on these things.

One instead tries to remain mentally on the shores of the best beaches of the World, soaking in the sun and building sand castles.

Image courtesy: The Husband.

Joy cometh in the Morning

Faced with a sunny week-end and finding ourselves alone(rare event) on Sunday, the husband and I undertook a run together. We ran a distance – I shall withhold critical information such as distance, route information etc. For one, I don’t want to shrivel up in shame when an ultra marathoner visits, but I do want to feel good about moving those muscles again.

The husband and I did an urban run i.e. we made sure we ran where loads of cars with quarreling couples in them could see us. Strategy is important. If we are doing something,  we might as well get the World to sit up and take note what?

We played a little game of what people would be talking about when they saw us. By the end of the run, we could broadly classify folks into 3 categories:
1) Either couples goaded one another, saying – “Look at those people, that’s why I am asking you to run with me.”
“What do you mean? Are you saying it is because of me that you aren’t running?”
“Of course it is because of you that I am not running”
“Let me get this straight – so your pot belly is my problem?”

These couples probably spent the rest of the journey scowling at each other, not knowing about the half dozen pooris we tucked into last week-end or the vadas we polished off the week before.

2) The couples looked on with a smirk on their faces as they called us losers running in the sun like this when aloo gobi and parathas await them at home or in the park. To those folks, I have nothing at all to say. The Doctors will do the talking. (now, that was mean huh?)

3) The couples were happy to see us run, and waved at us with genuine joy.

The sun peeped, the muscles moved and Joy cometh in the morning.

Sculpture Lessons anyone?

I don’t mean to boast, but seeing that I have many multi-million dollar talents about me, it is a hard choice to let the world sail by, thinking I am a normal person who just enjoys the way I am.

We had a class in School titled S.U.P.W meaning Socially Useful Productive Work. The term evidently evolved over the ages seeing that the youth in schools were wasting time wandering around campus, chatting and planning practical jokes. Not at all giving any sense of comfort to the Teachers who were looking upon us as the torch bearers of the next generation and all that.

The students were social beings alright – why we couldn’t keep shut for five minutes even when in line! But there was a line drawn when it came to being useful. So, the educationists had to come up with making us socially useful. The problem was useful as we were, our efforts almost always weren’t productive. (Some harsh critics used the word unproductive.) That is how the authorities  decided that we have to buck up and do socially useful productive work.

I dabbled with various activities in my career, and the parental abode still bears the painful onslaught my creativity unleashed on it. You would find checkered beige coloured tables adorned with a blue tablecloth embroidered with pink, orange and red flowers. I have already remarked on the sweaters that the brother had to combat. Had my parents’ love for me been any less, these fine works of art would have jostled for space in the attic where all the inorganic trash reside in the home. But they did not – they “decorated” the house.

My diverse career in the Arts, among other things, included Sculpture. I made a statue. If we had digital cameras then, I would atleast have a picture of this eyesore. We used film prudently those days, and photographs were reserved for special occasions, and tried to cram in as many members in the vicinity as possible. Rare photographs have only 5 people in them. The long and short of it is, there are no photographs of this beauty. A pity.

My father came and saw it, and hemmed and hawed when I asked for it to be brought home. It was modeled after a lady reading. My mother even posed for me one day when I came home depressed. My statue was looking nothing like what I intended. She sat on the floor with her legs stretched out. I realise now that nobody reads like that. Do you sit with your legs outstretched, sitting at right angles with no back for support and read with your feet sticking up at right angles? No. But that is what my statue did.

I call it a cruel cut of fate, one that set me back by at least 104.3 million dollars had this masterpiece made it to the great annals of art. This goes to prove that the right place at the right time makes a world of a difference. Please read this link to see the news item about this particular statue by Monsieur Giaccometti fetching 104.3 million dollars.

Image below.

I am no connoisseur, but this eyesore would have given stiff competition to mine. If this was worth $104300000, I don’t know what mine would have fetched.

Anyway, life goes on despite these scars, and I look on the positive side as always. Anyone needing Sculpture lessons can contact me, since Monsieur Giacometti is no more.

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