A drop of sunshine

And another cactus blooms with a short lived bright yellow flower.

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The flower bloomed only for a few hours, however there are two more buds in the waiting.

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Monsoons hit Kerala

As a nation that depends on the Monsoons for most of its water requirements, the onset of the Monsoons are a much awaited event and its progress is tracked with religious fervor in India. This year amidst conflicting predictions from the Indian Meteorological Department and Skymet; and anxiety over El Nino effecting the volume of rainfall, the monsoons arrived in Kerala, the first coastline it hits, a few days earlier than its traditional due date of 1st June, much to the joy of all!!

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Monsoons arrive with a magic wand … transforming even the mundane into things of beauty

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So looks like the bud on the right is flirting with the bloom and asking it for a dance in the rain

Weekly Photo Challenge – Nostalgia

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WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge – Nostalgia invites us to share nostalgic moments brought to the fore by the change of seasons.

The changing seasons has heralded the “festival” season in India – they are lined up one after the other from august onwards till December and provide the perfect excuse for family celebrations and friends get-togethers. It brings back memories of college celebrations and the nostalgia of college days. Ceramic figurines were our preferred gifting option specially by my friends to me because of my love for the same – and these now form the centre-piece of my little collection.

How do they know?

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It is a source of constant amazement to my parents of how much I remember of my childhood, even as early as around the age of four years. Some of the memories over the years seem to be the product of my active imagination superimposing images from the stories told by my parent over the memories of places that I had, however some stand out very clearly as distinct experiences – like the day when mom carried me around for ages with a cold compress till dad could get home and take us to the hospital for stitches, after I had cut my head against the flower bed brick border. Or that evening when dad walked us a to a hitherto unseen area to pluck flowers and the kaleidoscope of impressions of the day – the lovely colours of the setting sun, the shower of pink blossoms bursting through a creeping bed of green leaves, parrots squawking as they returned to roost and the simple joy of being with loved ones. That childhood bubble of joy still channels through the years and hits me every time I look at the golden hues of a setting sun.

When I was around six, dad was posted in Arunachal Pradesh and we got to spend our summers in this eastern extremity of India. My memories are filled with towering mountains, lush green vegetation, gushing streams, roaring waterfalls and the weird creature – leech. Besides the fresh water black blob variety the higher altitudes also had a grey-green terrestrial variety of the most tenacious kind. One just couldn’t complete a stroll through a grassy green without having a couple stuck on. They were also very hardy and could tolerate high dosages of salt before they would let go. This one time when we had gathered some wild flowers dad found a minuscule one crawling on one of the twigs. As soon as dad picked up the twig the leech changed directions and “charged” (if that’s possible while crawling) towards dad’s finger. When dad held the twig by the other side the leech promptly changed direction and headed again for the hand. As my six year old self watched the movements of the leech in awe, the only thought in my head was – how does it know where to go??!

70x50cm @ 2 cm. sq. per min

Am talking about this mammoth task that we voluntarily took up last weekend – assembling a 70 x 50, 1,000 pieces Ravensburger puzzle. We bought this glow in the dark version of “Evening in Rome” – amazing architecture, lovely sunset hues, fabulous reflections in the water – lots of identifiable features – easy peasy! We thought with combined effort we could get it done in a day.

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“Evening in Rome” – Ravensburger Starline Series

Oh, naive us! We started with the relatively easy part of setting up the borders, and then sorting the colours – which ended up taking most of the first day. Sorting through the colours is when we clued on to the fact that there were a number of areas with identical colours and it was kind of difficult to decide which violet was the sky and which was the water and which blue / black was to the left and which to the right – all of which made comprehensive sorting very difficult.

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End of Day 1 – Borders set up and sorting of colours

So, we decided to plunge in and start assembling the the most easily identifiable areas like the bridge, the buildings, the sun and the streaks in the sky AND THAT is when it struck us – 1,000 pieces is A LOT of pieces! Even after assembling what seemed to be the focus of the landscape we had only completed about 40% of the puzzle by the end of the 2nd day. (Of course the hours we spent on it was a lot less – it being the weekend and all)

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Assembling of the structures and portions of the sky

On Day 3 began the work of setting up the reflections in the water. This was comparatively easy – somebody had paid enough attention to the puzzle break up to ensure no piece in a reflected vertical line of light matched another reflected vertical line – and so the lines were easy to trace out. The hard part was smaller yellow and black areas under the bridge pillar – all looking very similar.

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Still can’t differentiate that one piece from the hues of the sky

The last mile and the most difficult began on Day 4 when we had to do the sky. Gradient areas were the most easily done but, barely varying shades of pink had us resort to trial and error to fit it all together.

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Multitude of pinks

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Almost there and it still took half hour to figure out the right fit!

At the end of 4 days patience and perseverance won out and we had the fully assembled puzzle!!

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The final outcome of hard labour – worth every minute!

Kudos to the designer – that despite all the similar colours and textures each piece was differentiated enough for us to be sure of the correct fit, and the night glow is pretty amazing (very difficult to photograph though). Also, must appreciate the photographer – We didn’t find any other puzzle that had this amazing a landscape in the 1,000 piece puzzle series.

Only wish they had added a pamphlet of the landscape inside the box since all the images on the box  had some text banner or the other hiding areas of the landscape.

And now to figure out how to store this!

 

Bazaar

Despite the mall culture overtaking the metros, road-side bazaars still continue to flourish in India!

In a pre-occupied world of her own!

In a pre-occupied world of her own!

She made me buy a bunch in return for the photo

Colourful Bounty! She made me buy a bunch in exchange for the photo

Unlike mumbaikars, residents of Rajhamundry are bashful at being photographed

Unlike mumbaikars, residents of Rajhamundry are bashful at being photographed

Inspired by Shanavas’s collection of Bangalore markets. Wish to have a more extensive set of photos of bazaars soon. 🙂

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