Saturday, December 22, 2012

Delhi Gang Rape

First, chief minister Sheila Dixit's obnoxious refusal to hear out protestors' anger about the Delhi Gang Rape.

Now, Delhi police lathi-charge and use tear-gas shells on people rallying against the crime and seeking tough laws.

We need a new satyagraha & a new independence movement against this insensitive, impotent governance.


Sheila Dixit URL:

Lathicharge + Tear gas on protestors URL:

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bastards are Getting Better! lol (Spammers, FO!)

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

You don't even know

And then there are times
that I miss you
you don't know when
and you don't know how;
Funny thing is
you don't even know
it's you who I miss.

That's my impromptu FB status message that turned out to be somewhat nice

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Meow and his toys

Meow models for the new pet toys I made:

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Check out Meow: The low-cost handicrafts and pet toys store

I have put the following handmade items for sale. Find the price information on our Facebook page. The decorative quilled envelopes and greeting cards sets are ideal for Diwali and Christmas. The rectangular envelopes are perfect to give gift vouchers or cash for Diwali and for weddings.
Assorted quilled envelopes. Accepting orders for Diwali and Christmas. See price info on our Facebook page

Quilled paper earrings, very light-weight and can be tailor-made to match your outfit. Accepting orders, see FB page for price info.


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Monday, October 29, 2012

Meow- My miracle

I grew up with dogs, and like most dog people, had an open dislike that bordered on trust issues and prejudice for cats. This began to change sometime last year when I first met two pet cats with rather royal names. I thought, "Hmm, cats are not that bad to have around."

In the days after my return to India, I found myself entertaining the idea of having a "cat pet" more and more. Then, there was a period of two weeks when I was so desperate to get a kitten that I literally stopped my scooter at the sight of kittens on the road or near fish markets. One day, I happened to go to Panaji Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). There, Meow happened to me.

Though Meow is quite a plebian name compared to the cats that acquainted me with the feline world, he is every bit the pet I could ever dream of or ask for. So much so, I sometimes question myself how in the world can anyone ever be a dog person when there are cats around.

Meow took to jumping on my bed and sleeping near me since day one. It was his first week home and I had had a particularly bad day. I had tucked Meow in my bed and was trying to sleep while fighting ocassional tears when I felt a soft little paw rubbing my cheek. I opened my eyes to see Meow's green eyes staring into mine and then he rubbed his paw against my cheek again, this time flicking the tear away.

Meow is my little miracle. Yes, Meows happen!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Dussera

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meow Mondays

Meow is on a roll and thanks to him, so are we.

Please go here and like this FB page :)

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Meow Mondays

Meow chose me at the animal shelter where he was since he was about one month old. He chose me, yes. I simply obeyed his "meow" and took him in my arms to carress and cuddle him just the way he likes.

The shelter staff told me he had a congenital lump near the side of his belly and my vet later thought it was a hernia.

At another animal hospital, the vet confirmed an advanced hernia and suggested an immediate surgery. Meow was operated on the evening last Tuesday, October 9 and he was up and running on October 11 morning, the day I shot this video.
Check this video:

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Because I always smile

Because I always smile
don't think there are no tears
that I hide.

Because I always love,
don't think there is no hate
that I have known.

Because I tolerate the ifs and buts
don't think I don't have
the power of rationale and reason.

Because I am always good
don't assume that I can never be otherwise.


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Monday, October 08, 2012

Meow Mondays

When he makes my heart jump out of the window

Meow will undergo a surgery for advanced hernia tomorrow.
Pray for my little cupcake with all the faith you have.
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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Vaishnav jana - Gujarati bhajan

Mohandas Gandhi (Oct 2 1869 - Jan 30 1948) was an Indian freedom fighter. He adored this devotional song written by Narsinh Mehta, a religious poet who lived in Gujarat around 16th century. The song describes the qualities that a man who truly believes in God has.

Listen to the song on Youtube:

I have attempted a translation:

He who understands the pain of others, That human is a person who knows God.
He who helps in the sorrow of strangers
But does not feel any pride in doing the same;
He who respects everyone and never critizes
and who keeps his heart unwavering in his work and his talks;
he gets the love of the mother earth.

He who renounces desire and judgemental views,
and considers another's woman as his mother
He who isn't stressed out by the material world
and who is staunch in his spartan outlook towards life,
He who is devotional and (carries the purity of) all the holy temples in his heart,
Narsinh says such a human is a person of God,
Narsinh says meeting such a human is like gathering the experience of 71 generations put together.

Ocotber 2, the birthdate of M K Gandhi, is celbrated as Gandhi Jayanti in India. It is a day when we remember his principles of non-violence and self-rule and a host of other noble ideas that he stood up for.


વૈષ્ણવ જન તો તેને કહિયે, જે પીડ પરાયી જાણે રે
પર દુ:ખે ઉપકાર કરે તોયે, મન અભિમાન ન આણે રે... ||ધૃ||
સકળ લોકમાં સહુને વંદે, નિંદા ન કરે કેની રે
વાચ કાછ મન નિશ્છળ રાખે ધન ધન જનની તેની રે... ||૧||
સમદૃષ્ટિ ને તૃષ્ણા ત્યાગી પરસ્ત્રી જેને માત રે
જિહ્વા થકી અસત્ય ન બોલે પરધન નવ ઝાલે હાથ રે... ||૨||
મોહ માયા વ્યાપે નહિ જેને દૃઢ વૈરાગ્ય જેના મનમાં રે
રામ નામ શુ તાળી રે લાગી સકળ તીરથ તેના તનમાં રે... ||૩||
વણ લોભી ને કપટ રહિત છે, કામ ક્રોધ નિવાર્યાં રે
ભણે નરસૈયો તેનું દર્શન કરતાં કુળ એકોતેર તાર્યાં રે... ||૪||

(Text in Gujarti script sourced from Wikipedia)
Translation copyright GG. Feel free to point out any errors.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Meow Mondays

Gata took all the time in the world to snub Meow's advances. After torturing the poor guy enough, Gata seems to have said "Yes." But look how she stresses out my white-little-cupcake so much already!
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

An Obedient Daughter

                                                                Click to enlarge:

                                                                 Thank you, Baba!
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Poetry and Prose

The distance between poetry and prose
is the difference between reality and hope.
Poems come to me in the peak of optimism
and prose reminds me to get back to work.


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Thursday, September 13, 2012

On 114th

And then,
When all is said and done,
Will you still come looking,
to the bench where I always sit,
below the flowering tree,
on 114th street?


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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Ishwarbhai Patel: My teacher

Of the people I lost this year, the loss that saddens me a lot is the sudden death of Ishwarbhai Patel. He was in his late seventies. He took my math and science tuitions in the 10th grade.

For the 12 years that I knew him, I loved him a lot. He had a very discliplined lifestyle, with long morning and evening walks, ate only freshly cooked food at specific times of the day, spoke to the point on phone, and had somewhat radicle views on life, education, parenting and everything else. The last I met him was in 2010.

Ishwarbhai collapsed in the restroom of a park in Ahmedabad after his evening walk in early 2012. This part about dying alone and away from family haunts and hurts me the most.

After the one year that I studied with him, I kept calling him few times a year. He used to say, "I get oxygen for a few more months after talking with you." Ishwarbhai always said he had trained me "for a 100" in math and so when I got 99, I was sad.

But, it is thanks to Ishwarbhai and the way he taught me math and science, that I was able to get admission to Loyola Hall and study under another fantastic human being, Fr. Morondo.

I miss Ishwarbhai a lot today; trying to imagine his voice on other end of the line when I called him on Teacher's Day every year.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pallavi Purkayastha

How in the world did he think he could get away with it?

Pallavi's attempted rape and consequent murder has shaken me in an unprecedented way.

Ever since I can remember, I have been let down by my country's gender apathy and gender hypocrisy. This is a country where, instead of swiftly deciding in which public park the rapist should be castrated or the molester stoned, abused women instantly suffer character scrutiny. The common counsel to avoid eve-teasing is "to dress decently." Here, attire or lifestyle is justified as an "invitation to rape."(1) (2)
I live in a country where women are respected only in grandiose theory. Chauvinist escapisms abound. Let's face it: India is no country for women.

When was the last time you tolerated being groped in a bus, on the street, in the train?

When was the last time someone shove his dick in front of your face in a crowded bus and have the audacity to smile in your eyes?

When was the last time you collared your molester and made a scene?

When was it that you gave up fighting because you realised molestation in some form or the other is a daily affair?

How, you wonder, is your silence relevant to Pallavi Purkayastha?


Men in this country, whether they stare, grope, rape or kill, they are becoming used to getting away with it. For Pallavi's sake, the next time you are abused, don't take it mute. Scream. Shout: NO.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Baby love

Curl your fist around 
my fingers and babble your 
baby love, sweet love. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Random memories

I must have been about five. Sat on a bench with this boy called AZ in the class. One day, we both eyed a pencil fallen on the floor at the same moment and bent down precisely at the same time to get it. Our heads knocked hard but I grabbed the pencil and firmly held on to it.

It was mine; I noticed the teeth marks I had made the night before. But, AZ claimed my pencil was his. I maintained that the pencil was mine and we kept on arguing and pushing and pinching one other till a teary eyed AZ pleaded in desperation, "But my mother will beat me up if I tell her I lost my pencil!!!"

Now, this argument made the most perfect sense to me. I knew it was my pencil and in a way, AZ had also admitted it was mine. My parents did not beat me for losing things. The thing is, I was a regular at the school's lost-and-found department. I reached home jubilantly waving a retrieved lunchbox to simultaneously announce the loss of new pencils or a water bottle.

That day, I got home and told my aaji that I had lost my pencil. Then I clarified that in fact I had "found" my "lost" pencil but had let AZ take it home as his mother would have beaten him and aaji wouldn't do that. My aaji had a good laugh that afternoon and still makes fun of me by reminding me about "the lost pencil" when I take irrational decisions.

This was more than two decades back. Hell! I better start claiming what is mine. Pencils et al.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Methi na dhebra / Savouries made from millet flour and fenugreek leaves

This snack was a staple at my maternal grandmother's house. I remember coming home with a box of the dough that Baa or my aunt would coax me into taking home to make dhebras for breakfast the next day.

I mainly referred to this post, but made many changes along the way to replicate the taste I remembered.

This is how I made the dhebra:

Dry ingredients

3 and 1/2 cups  millet flour (bajri no loat)
2 heaped tablespoon roasted soji (cream of wheat)
1 cup wheat flour (rotli no loat)

1 tablespoon chickpea flour (besan)

1 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds (til)

Mix the above ingredients well in a large plate / bowl that you will use to knead the flour in.

Ingredients to be processed in a grinder:

4-5 green chillies, chopped

1-inch piece of ginger, chopped

10-15 cloves of garlic (adjust if using huge cloves)

2 tablespoons of yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoon of jaggery (Use sugar if you don't have jaggery)

1 spoon salt (adjust)

Grind the above stuff, use yogurt instead of water to adjust consistency. Spoon the jaggery carefully that may get stuck to the blades, add some yogurt if required to aid the process.

Additional ingredients

200 gm of fenugreek leaves (methi) and 50 gm coriander (kothmir), finely chopped

1 1/2 table spoon oil

Pinch of turneric, asafoetida, red chilli powder


Mix the chopped fenugreek and coriander leaves and add the oil, turmeric, asafoetida, red chilli powder, and the ground paste to the flour mixture and knead as you were to knead bread dough, dusting some wheat flour in later stages. Slowly add more yogurt if required (I used a quantity equal to the yogurt that can fit the white plastic cup shown in photo 1).

My grandmother is very particular about how we knead the dough for roti (Indian bread) and her rules are: to use only the right hand, no flour should stick beyond the wrist, and no dough should remain stuck on the bowl / plate. Thanks to her constant nagging, I now manage to knead the dough to her satisfaction, see the first photo, it's just after the dough was ready, the plate is clean and so is my hand.

Dab the kneaded dough with half a spoon of oil (take oil in you palm and use your hands to dab the dough) and then cover the dough well. Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. You can store this dough in a platic / steel container for two-three days in the fridge. I made the dhebras for breakfast the next day.

Preparation to fry the pancakes

On one side of the stove, begin heating oil in an iron pot or a heavy-bottomed, deep pot on medium flame.

Take a piece of thick plastic / polythene bag and spread it flat on clean kitchen platform or the rolling board. Rub a little cooking oil on the plastic.

Make equal sized balls from the dough.

On the plastic piece, flatten each ball with your palm and then tap the edges gently to make a small round pancake that is not too thin.

Once the hot is piping hot, slowly release these pancakes, 3-4 at a time.

Gently press each pancake down with a ladle (preferably a ladle with holes as shown in the photo) towards the bottom of the pan so that it will fluff up.

Fry till golden brown or crispy dark-brownish/black as you prefer. My maternal grandmother always fried the dhebras quite dark and crisp.

Remove the dhebras on a plate lined with tissue paper / napkin to soak excess oil.

Serve with garma-garam chai.

Coming up next: Fried ground-chicken dumplings / Chicken masala balls

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Look who came calling- 2

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And they are back! Also, don't miss this related post about peacock chicks. (For all you know, one of these might be from the same batch!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


All closures come with bittersweet nostaligia. #SixWordStory

Friday, July 20, 2012

Notes to myself

In no specific order GG must remember the following:
1) Be comfortable with your parents in public. Everyone has a weird lot. And as much as Maral may want to innovate, there are no 'parent gardens' yet.
2) Baba loves you.
3) Don't think who called last. Call. Write. Email.
4) Please remember to swallow your ego in friendships, love and generally when dealing with everything else.
5) Eat before you go shopping.
6) Do not hog to celebrate a good shopping spree.
7) Eat with your hands, you were born Indian.
8) Don't let anyone, ANYOnE, laugh at your dreams.
9) On the same note, that people laugh at your dreams is not a reason to stop dreaming aloud.
10) Play with puppies.
11) Look long and good at a handsome guy. If men can stare to "appreciate" beauty, women can do so too.
12) Do not let elder sis laugh at your fashion choice.
13) Listen to elder sis once in a while.
14) Accept that elder bro gives good advice even if he sounds downright cocky and insane when he does so.
15) Do not give up on people, the past.
16) There's a very thin line between being naive and being hopeful, but it's worth being naive 8/10 times if hope materialises two times of those ten.
17) Call friends you haven't talk with in a while when you are stuck in a traffic jam.
18) Call family and write quick emails.
19) Do not boycott relatives who love to gossip, they love you in their own way.
20) Buy good shoes.
21) Make time for reading.
22) Spend less time on the net.
23) Try to sleep like a normal homo sapien.
24) Do not smile so much that people stop taking you seriously.
25) Try to ration your talkativeness and in other situations, speak up even if you are too bored to yawn.
26) Know when it's time to stop blogging and take a nap.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Alu wadi / Patra / Colocasia rolls

Patra (made from colocasia leaves) is a very common Gujarati snack that is available for sale at all the "farsan" shops alongside dhokla, khandvi, fafda and jalebi. My maternal grandmother used to make patras at home and I learnt how to make these sometime back. Sharing the recipe:

Two bunches of colocasia leaves (about 25 nos.)
About 150 gm. chickpea flour
50 gm. tamarind
50 gm. jaggery
Ginger, garlic and green chilli paste- 1 tablespoon in all
Salt and red chilli powder to taste
A tablespoon of sesame seeds, teaspoon of black mustard, a pinch each of asafoetida and turmeric, 3-4 dry red chillies and 3 tablespoons of oil for tadka / tempering.

 Pictorial (clockwise) 


Take the tamarind and jaggery in a small bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds with a cup of water. Keep aside and let it cool and then extract the pulp (add water as required to do so) by discarding the tamarind seeds and veins.

Take the chickpea flour in a mixing bowl. Add tamarind-jaggery water, ginger-garlic-green chilli paste, salt, pinch of asafoetida, red chilli powder. Mix well to a thick batter consistency by adding very litter water at a time (and chickpea flour to adjust the consistency if required).

Soak the colocasia (patra or alu) leaves in a large container filled with water and some salt, then wash well in running water. De-vein the leaves from the pale-green / back side. The bright-green surface of the leaves shown in photo 1 is the front side and the batter is applied to the other side. To de-vein, scrap the thick mid-vein and the first two-three thickish lateral veins with a knife. Apply the batter to this de-veined side.

Clean the kitchen platform well and then spread the biggest leaf, the de-veined, posterior face up. Evenly apply the batter on the surface. Then place the next leaf, also posterior face up but with the pointed edge of the leaf facing the opposite side of the previous leaf. I have made a diagram to make things simpler.

Apply batter on the second leaf, and go on arranging about 10-15 leaves in the same manner. Then begin to roll. Press very rightly and firmly as you roll up. You may tied the roll with a thread, but that's optional.

Next, steam the rolls in an idli-container or the vessel used to steam momos and dumplings. You can also steam the rolls by arraning them on a large seive (cover it with a lid) that is placed above a vessel of boiling water. Once the rolls are well-steamed (will take about 25 minutes), they will change colour distinctly and look a dull dark green and will appear somewhat shrunk and sorry (see photo 3 above). Do not worry.

Immediately remove the rolls on a dish and let them cool well, leave aside for at least 30 minutes or more for the excess moisture to evaporate. Once cooled properly, you can also put rolls in the fridge and resume the next part of the recipe just before serving. The boiled patras can also last overnight in fridge.

Next, cut the cooled patra rolls as shown in photo 3 with a good knife and swift, sharp cuts.

We usually saute the patras cuts in some oil tempered with mustard seeds, dry red chillies, garlic and sesame seeds (shown in photo 4). However, in Maharastra many prefer these deep-fried (photo 6). I deep-fried the stuff after I got to know of this preference. :)

Serve with raw mango chutney (as shown in photo 5) or ketchup. Tastes best with a glass of piping-hot chai.

Coming up next: Methi na Dhebra (Fenugreek and millet flour pancakes) :-)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Bel Sharbat- Aegle marmelos cooler

Last week, everyone in the family was sick turn by turn. First Aaji was down with fever, then it was Indiraben with sudden and severe stomach upset. We are not used to seeing Indiraben go silent (she talks non-stop and has an opinion on every word that reaches her ears) and sit still. Our gardener, Bhaiyyaji, happens to be her special friend - they gossip a lot over many cups of tea - and as soon as he heard that Indiraben is unwell, he ran to a neighbour's garden and got me a ripe Bel fruit for her complete with instructions on how to make the cooler: "Make it NOW and give it to her."
Pictorial: Making bel (or bael) sharbat The bael fruit is said to have medicinal properties and can bring relief for a number of small disorders from stomach upset, acidity, cold, etc. The fruit Bhaiyyaji (he had a headache today :-() got was the size of a biggish cricket ball, with a hard yellow shell which had a crack or two. I had to knock it on the kitchen platform a number of times before I could maneuver the knife and break open the Bel into two unequal pieces. The core is a fibrous, orangish mass interspersed with soft beige seeds. Once cracked open, the fruit gives an extremely delicate, soft and sweet fragrance that more than makes up for the slightly sticky fibrous core. The photo explains itself, that's how I made the bel sharbat. Add water very slowly to mash the fruit pulp. I took a glass (about 200 ml) of chilled water in all and used a little more than half of it while mashing the pulp in the strainer. Add sugar, salt and lime to taste. Best if served chilled.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tahiti and Maugham

Tahiti is a lofty green island, with deep folds of a darker green, in which you divine silent valleys; there is mystery in their somber depths, down which murmur and plash cool streams, and you feel that in those umbrageous places life from immemorial times has been led according to immemorial ways. Even here is something sad and terrible. But the impression is fleeting, and serves only to give a greater acuteness to the enjoyment of the moment. It is like the sadness which you may see in the jester's eyes when a merry company is laughing at his sallies; his lips smile and his jokes are gayer because in the communion of laughter he finds himself more intolerably alone. -W Somerset Maugham in The Moon and Six Pence

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Female Foeticide, Beed's Dr. Death and motherhood

He reportedly fed the aborted foetuses to his pet pack of dogs. So did a lot of "doctors" in the area.

No. Don't emote as if you were to puke and leave this page. No, not yet. You and me, we have gotten into the habit to conveniently blindfold ourselves to the wretched-ugly-gory facets of life. Hold on just a minute more, please. I promise you won't puke.

So, it has been reported that Dr. Death and his wife (Dr. Sudam & Dr. Saraswati Munde of Maharashtra's Beed region) had an ultrasound and abortion factory that they ran with the help of local goons and corrupt officials. For years and years. They continued butchering even after a sting operation by a local NGO.

It required a woman to die on the operation table (there might be more cases like this, suppressed) when she approached the couple to discard her four-month-old foetus. The woman's family refused to file a complaint and the police decided to (after being pressured and shamed into it by some activists, I suspect) file a suo-motu case.

Because I feel nauseous even as I remember those articles, I will simply link those at the end. But as I have more to say, I request you to read on for another small minute. Please.

My mother cried after I was born. She was scared my grandparents would be upset with the birth of a second girl child. Ridiculously unfounded fears. I know for a fact that my paternal grandmother would never entertain such a sick idea. May be mother herself wanted a baby boy, because when around I was 10, she asked me if I would like a baby brother. I took no second to scream "No!!!" with my wide-eyed disbelief. That was the end of the discussion.

I am glad I cornered her once and demanded why she cried on being told it was a girl. She didn't really say anything as a direct response. But I remember her silently telling me some other time that once when she went for a regular ultrasound checkup when she was carrying me, a woman was waiting to get her female foetus aborted. My mother looked deeply sad and shaken as she recollected that day.

In her typical quiet and mysterious way of withholding herself physically but coveying everything with her silent gestures and eyes, she said, "I would never do that."

Wait. Does that mean someone suggested that mother check the sex of the second child, abort, if it was a girl?

The good news is I am alive. And I am angry. Because millions of pretty, sweet, kind, funny girls (girls are all that and more) like me have been killed even before they are born just because they are girls.

That brings me to motherhood. If and when I become a mother, I want to make up for the harassment I piled on my mother for being the nastiest brat one can ever manage to be. It seems a rather humanely impossible task to be as gentle and patient as she was with a child like I was, but I will try. Baby boy or baby girl. Mine. (Correction: Ours)

End of story. See, that was quick. And no puke.

Now go catch up reading on the doctors who reportedly doubled up as butchers. And puke.

Articles in the Mumbai Mirror, India Today , and read Maharashtra steps up fight
Related essay I wrote for NYTime's journalist and my professor Michael Powell's class.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Jewellery projects: Peyote & ladder stitch earrings

#ThingsToDoAfterJ-School (Check 2)
Recently made stuff

Beaded earrings from a mix of ladder, brick and circular peyote stitches. Got raw material from Michael's on 100 St & Columbus, NYC. Also got myself a very practical, super-convenient set of plastic storage boxes to keep the delica beads from this hobby store that I highly recommend. Sourced the faceted sand stones and faceted black onyx from a store in Fremont.

Feels so good to be beading again!
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Shooting Stars

There was still light in the fading evening sky, just enough to delay the gloom of dusk. I was waiting then and I continued to wait for months worth of hopeful days and yearning nights. I wished on shooting stars that fell just for my eyes in the quintessential New York sky suffocating with concrete silhouettes.

Shooting stars lie.

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Sunday, May 06, 2012

The No. 7 Train

Languages clash on engrossed cell phones
that are unmindful of public space.
Black and brown shoes rest in different pairs of legs;
Keep their distance like respectful strangers.

I keep my face down,
resist the view of the big city flying below;
For eyes can't reach where the mind is now:

Red manicured fingers tap iPhones;
When will fashion come natural to me?
Large studded earrings dangle music
from ear plugs and mock my loneliness.

I see shadows of gloom as bright white morning light
falls on sloped roofs and cars and Taco Bell;
No one told me that New York City looks
poor and lonely from the no. 7 train.

I am on the no. 7 train;
A long, long way from home.

-Gauri Gharpure
October 27, 2011

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