Friday, December 31, 2010

Last post of 2010!!

I have been tweeting a lot for the past two days. Not that it can make up for blogging, but let me try and pass this as an excuse.. :)

You can catch me on Twitter

I know 2011 is going to be good. Things can get only better. See you in 2011, with more plans, more hope and more luck.

If 2010 was not so good, hang in there. Trust me, it works.



Monday, December 27, 2010

Freedom fighter dies at 106

Ganga Ba Patel, a freedomfighter and staunch Gandhian till the last day of her 106 years, died at 6.30 am on Sunday.

Ganga Ba was close to my mother's family. "I have never seen her in anything but white khadi clothes. Nor do I remember seeing her wearing any ornaments, not even a bindi. And she was always a skinny woman, never have I ever seen her put on weight. She walked a lot, always walked to our house, even till recently. She ate extremely simple food, without any spices. At her house, we were always served buttermilk, milk, rotlo* and such stuff. Whenever we went to her house, she was always busy doing physical work, be it milking cows, cleaning up the yard. Afterwards, when age made this difficult, she was always alert and supervising the household chores", says Miki Desai, my maternal uncle.

Gangaba's husband and my grandfather were close friends. When her husband was jailed, Ganga Ba's interaction with the Desai family grew and she soon became an integral part of the extended family. She also grew very close to grandfather's mother, Hari Ba.

"She was the 'grand old lady' who could tell anybody anything. She called my father by his name, Chandu. She could tell any man what she wanted to, be it my father, my uncle, us when we grew up. She could call us and ask us to shut up, or do this instead of that. She spoke a lot about women, how important it is for them to be strong and independent," says Miki, his recollection of the strong woman taking him back to his ancestral home and people in Nadiad.

Baba and my uncle had gone to meet Ganga Ba at her residence around March 2010. Ganga Ba had stopped walking her usual long distances, but was as alert as ever. "She had a very mischievous smile and was in perfect control over the household," remembers my father about the last meeting. Before this, they had met Ganga Ba about five years ago at the funeral of a grandmother from the extended family. At 100, Ganga Ba had walked about half a mile to attend the ceremony, talked with everyone concerned in an astute, attentive way.

I do not have any memory of meeting her. But would love to believe I have met her. As a child playing somewhere with dozens of cousins in the sprawling backyard, running about without a care, only to be caught in the spindly hands of an old lady.

"Eyy chhokri. Koni baby chhe?"** Ganga Ba may have asked, her commanding eyes twinkling with mischief.

"Nayana ni". I would have said and run away...

Yes, I would like to believe I have met Ganga Ba.

-Gauri Gharpure

* Rotlo- Thick roasted bread made from pearl millet
** "Eyy girl, whose daughter are you?"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Year-end Post 8- Ame Amdavadi

Aapnu Amdavad!!

The city I love, the city that loves me back.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Year-end post 7: A tag...

Let me take you through 2010 as it were for me.

For each month of the year, I am going to select and link a post that set the tone for that month. May be throw in some extra words... I shall treat this as a tag, and everyone who does take this up, has to tag this post in return and drop in a comment saying they have documented their "Year in posts"...

January 2010

And another day begins

Bitter though the night was, that was the beginning of a new dawn. At that point in time, I didn't know. As I look back, I am thankful.


By saying Hello, I promised myself a few things. Tough as it was, I made sure it worked.


Discovering Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Trust good books and old friends to say some magic words.


My Sorrow is Not for Sale

This was the only post in the month of April. I survived...


No posts this month. As I look back, it was one of the busiest times in my life.



In June, it seems, I came back to blogging in a sense. There were two food posts and I introduced my new pet Yahoo to you. But 'Seesaw' is what the month, on the whole, was like. Love this haiku...


Divaso judaai na

I heard this ageless gazal by Gani Dahiwala with a new consciousness. Rather than making me sad, Md. Rafi's voice gave me strength. I identified with clarity my 'swajan' and I was already with them! Also in July, I bonded with my brother and we talked talked talked like crazy. A month of memories.


Another no-post month. I was on a mission, never have I focussed on something so earnestly, with such a dogged will. No time for blog, no time for friends... Err, no, I met a dear old friend for the first time in August. :)


Another year older, many years wiser.

Some of you had said kind things to buck me up. Your wishes and your prayers worked. In September, I met my old self again.

Can widowed women wear gajra? I spoke my mind and you liked it.


This month was exactly sliced up into halves for me. The second half was fun mainly because the first half was super fun..

Happy Dussera


Let's sing a new song

November embraced me with hope. Everything seemed to be falling in place, everyone seemed to be my side, my friends, my teachers, my family.. Gauri was happy and decided she would be so in the time to come.


I guess this post itself sets the tone for the last month. I have looked back and am looking ahead. I shall be.


I tag Dharma, Sangeeta, Dhiren, Swaram, Mahendra, Atul, IHM, G, Doremi, Poonam... And anyone who feels like taking this up.

Please tag me back and drop a comment when you do this.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Year-end post 6

Sunshine does cheer you up. Even for a person like me, who has grown up braving the scorching, angry Amdavadi sun, sitting out right in the sunbeams on a sun-heated floor still ranks highest as one of the simple pleasures of life. As this morning unfolds, I ask myself several questions. How will sun shine on me in 2011? That's the gist of all the innumerable questions that occupy me now.

There's the question of truth, how we analyse our truths and how far we are ready to go to defend them. Having always gone the extra mile to be with what I have believed in, 2011 should definitely be fun on the truth (and all such things) front.

Next comes the question of trust. Should you continue to nurture the innate trust in human goodness that you were born with or should you let the brutality of the real world shake your faith? Will I be able to trust that stranger who smiles at me for no particular reason as he crosses the road? Will I smile back? Will 2011 make me conscious, cautious and thrifty with my smiles? Moving on in the same dimension, comes the question of finding trust in the people around you. Mind you, out of the many acquaintances you may have, only some are friends and out of those friends, only a select few are around forever. Is it worthwhile trusting outside this circle of people? But then again, life puts certain conditions under which trusting is the only option. In 2011, will my equation with trust change?

And the question that frightens me the most.

Will I change in 2011?


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Year-end post 5: Sharmila Irom

I read a powerful, passionate piece on Manipur's Sharmila Irom. She is fasting for ten years now to demand the repeal of the AFSPA- Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

You will find details of the misuse of the special act in this Tehelka article, but let me tell you something I remember.

On the desk, we selected stories from North-east editions of TOI published a day before for our early edition. I distinctly remember the stories following the killing of Sanjit Singh and a pregnant woman. The follow-ups, the spate of protests, police rebuttal and anger, violence went on for months. My job made it necessary for me to read through all these stories, select and present it to readers in the districts of West Bengal. Ironically, we did not have enough space in our main edition to include even these culled, subbed versions of North-east mayhem. These stories, the continuous stream of violence and unrest in a part of my country unsettled me extremely. Some editions were so moving and so screaming for attention, it seemed as if our early and late editions too should have more space dedicated to this very real, sad and on-going conflict in the country. But no, the paper has a set pattern for various reasons.

Sharmila Irom, to me, is the epitome of feminine gentleness, strength and gumption. I have been hearing about her ever since I was in high school. She's the same frail woman, defying age and medical science with her grit. Ten years, the article says, has finished her. On a physical level, that is. It is something in her steeled psyche, something in her beliefs and goals, something about her consciousness that's keeping her alive. Sharmila, I want you to see the end of your battle and I pray. May 2011 bring you what you want.

Sharmila's protest is dignified with its silent, subtle plea for attention. We read about her, get moved and forget about her for a year or two when again her frail face catches out attention in a daily. It is then that we realise that we have moved on, but this woman is where she was. Alone and hopeful.

What Sharmila wants is not a qualified, select request. If her decade of going without food and water were to shame the state into concrete action, it would send a poignant message to both parties, the armed forces and the rebels, to give peace a chance.

Sharmila on Wikipedia

Photos of Sharmila

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Year-end post 4

Shoes maketh a woman...

Wordless Wednesday. Well, almost.

Year-end post 3

After Sundervan, I head to best buddy's. Christmas baking. For all the times I have drooled on food blogs, this is ironically the first I am trying to bake something. And today was mostly "assistantship" so to say. She had some strange lime cake in mind and we have managed to put together something that looks very very tempting in batter form. Everything ready and we discover the oven is out of order. BB's going to her neighbour's place to use their oven. Yours truly is using up the time to freeze the memory of her first baking.

I guess the party's already on...

Photo added on Jan 2, 2011

Year-end post 2

After more than a decade, I go to Sundervan. Friend's out shopping and I have to while away some time. Pani puri would just take five minutes. On a whim, I decide to go inside the park where my parents took me on innumerable evenings. There's something special about reliving childhood.

You grow old, but age in itself remains constant. The traits of being young and foolish are universal. As I see two-year olds running about without shoes, pinching each other to tears and swinging on swings as if to touch the sky, I know I left nothing behind, everything is the same. May be in the years to come I will live each moment that I lost to the past. May be, some day when I become a mother, I will become a child again. May be...

But for now, there's the heady lure of youth waiting for me. And as this year ends, I promise myself I will stay truthful to my youth.

Let the party begin...

Collage made and added on Jan 2, 2011

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Countdown begins

Just 10 days to go for 2010 to end. And I notice this has been one of my lowest-post years on Life Rules. It's a different story that I wrote some posts exclusively for Internation Musings and then some on Short and Sweet, but hey! This blog is the fulcrum and it deserves special treatment.

Beginning today, I am going to try and post here, as many pieces as I can. Photos, drawings, twitter-like messages enforcing strict economy of words on myself, and so on. I thank you for journeying with me in 2010, you made a difference, you know, even if you, my anonymous reader, have no idea how...

Here goes the first such year-end post:

Drawn yesterday. When I can't express myself in words or voice, I take refuge in colours. I immensely loved this drawing. You tell me how you like it...

Also, tell me what are those hopes, colours and wishes with which you would like to usher in 2011.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Handmade products for sale

Shalika Lakshmi is a platform to provide unique handmade products.

Handmade bookmarks: Available in more than 50 different designs. Each bookmark is made freehand, and so no single piece will be exactly the same. Use of handmade paper and colourful tassels adds to the beauty of Shalika Lakshmi products.

I hope that bibliophiles will appreciate the minute detailing that has gone into the making of each bookmark and that my products will add to your reading experience.

Introductory price: Rs 100 for a pack of five.

Greeting cards: I have made Christmas cards, and cards with floral designs etched freehand, cut and paste on a paper of an appealing colour.

Introductory price: Rs 150 for a pack of five

Introductory price: Rs 125 for a pack of five.

Gift tags: Floral / freehand / geometric designs cut and pasted on papers of complementary colours. Single sided with enough space for name and message. Ideal for those people who want their gifts perfect in every way..

Price: Rs. 50 for a pack of five.

Delivery anywhere within India is possible. Products can also be delivered elsewhere provided a wholesale order is placed. Shipping and service charges extra. For suggestions / inquiry / orders, mail to gauri(dot)gharpure(at)gmail(dot)com