Dear Snow, here again?

Dear Snow,

I love you when you visit Minnesota by the end of November. And admire your smooth stillness in December-January, but your visit in October is…ummm… not so welcome. I am still enjoying the colorful loveliness of autumn, with yellow-red trees and dreamy sunlit landscapes. Please let me take in the delights of Fall while it lasts.

Come back later, dear snow. Won’t you? Bye for now!

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Paw Things#1 – Meet Happy the Puppy!

I am dog agnostic. I wish them well but I keep my distance. As a child, when a dog was around, I would sit on chair or bed with my feet up. So a fortnight back, when the lady in a pet store welcomed me with the line – ‘Here comes Mommy,’ and tried to hand me a pup, I was unnerved. Good lord, I, the mother of a pup???

Well, it was dear husband’s birthday and he and the kids really wanted a cute, cuddly, furry baby. They were all bustling with excitement, so, I couldn’t say no.

I felt I was making a mistake. Adopting a puppy was a huge, huge task! All my other plans were at risk to go awry but then I was up against three dog lovers in the family. And I didn’t want to look like some vampish, scornful lady….think Lalita Pawar!

Warning bells did ring when an unknown old lady came very close to me and whispered- Good luck with that! It was a well meaning warning since she had understood my hesitation. But I did not really pay heed to it and went with the flow.

We adopted the two-month old puppy, bought all puppy things, paid the fees. signed papers etc etc… And named him HAPPY SINGH since he was adopted on the occasion of ‘Happy Birthday’.

The real struggle started in the car. The pup wanted to wrestle out of my hand and explore around. And I was scared so I was holding him too tight. I thought he would bite me but he didn’t. Somehow, we reached home.

Happy is not potty trained. So, you can imagine the struggle again. Plus he was on deworming medicine. First two days, hubby kept cleaning huge messes as I struggled to get used to the new smell and resident.

My sisters and other family members were like – But you never cared for any dog!!! On my husband’s side, everyone loves dogs, so they were excited.

My kids were super happy and they kept goading me to be happy about Happy. I noticed, hubby looked tired but enjoyed being around the pup. Only, I felt differently.

When Monday came and the three Dog lovers left, the onus fell on me completely. Every hour I took him out to do his business. Thankfully, he complied. But it was all new to me and loads of extra work.

When the kids returned, they ran straight to Happy. They had accepted him with open hearts. And the puppy loved back. Only, I was the mean one.

Tuesday, I struggled again. By night, I felt completely exhausted. I counted days for weekend to come.

A thousand times, I thought of returning the pup. But something about Happy is so endearing that I couldn’t take the decision despite all the struggle.

By the end of the week, I and him felt little settled.

This week began with struggle again but Happy is a quick learner. And he is doing well. Only I have not gotten used to his playing with me. It is bit rough but husband is training him.

As I write this post, Happy is waiting for me to take him out. This new episode has been challenging but overall I believe that Happy has come to us for a good reason.

He is a sweet puppy and I am slowly accepting him as a part of our family.

Images – My phone

Just a Thought – The gap is the link?

When we see the glow between branches and watch the sky behind tiny clouds…when we enjoy the crevices in mountains and the moment before sunrise…

when we focus on the surface of a painting, outlines of human forms, the rest in a musical note, the space between words, the stillness joining two sounds and…the pause… linking two breaths and when we meditate in between chaos…we experience, there is something about the interval……the pause!

What is the quality of the pause, the gap? Is the gap the link to that? And why do we always ignore the gap?

Images: My Phone

OXYGEN

A visit to Mystery Cave at the Forestville State Park in Minnesota, US, was filled with OXYGEN and adventure. There was not a soul in sight and coupled with zero traffic, this trip turned out amazing. And the onset of autumn looked terrific! It was a nice getaway into nature and beauty. Check out the pictures.

About the Mystery Cave, Preston, MN – “Discovered in 1937, Mystery Cave is the longest cave in Minnesota – spanning over 13 miles underground. It is a network of passages that was dissolved by moving water.

On the tours, you will travel the subterranean paths this water has taken, seeing many of the features that make up Mystery Cave including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, fossils, and beautiful underground pools. Parks naturalists lead your tour through various portions of the cave and explain its history, its features, and how it was formed,” according to the website.

If you are ever in the area and you have kids above 8, do not miss this one! Wishing an Oxygen filled week to you too!

Small Things#23 – Trier is the best!

Have you heard of the word Trier? Probably not! The word Trier is rarely used in conversations. Why? Because we are so obsessed with tags like ‘Winner’ or ‘Loser’ that ‘Trier’ has been pushed out into irrelevance.

The word got new perspective after watching the latest Hindi film ‘Chhichhore’ with family. The older one watched with interest while the little one cosily slept on papa’s lap.

‘Chhichhore’ like Aamir Khan’s ‘3 Idiots’ presents all shades of college life. It juxtaposes past and present of the main characters (team of losers in a hostel) to underscore the importance of trying. It is an emotional, fun film with a message that ‘Trying is more important than winning or losing’.

The older one got excited about the film and created a way to express the message (check the image above). And appreciation from his teacher was icing on the cake.

And it got me thinking – why is winning so important that trying does not count? What is wrong in losing? Losing is important for learning, right? And for experiencing life? Why do we push our kids harder and harder that life becomes nothing but a competition? Why don’t we simply say to our kids – Be A Trier instead of Be A Winner?

So many kids as well as adults would not take drastic steps like committing suicide or getting into drugs, if obsession with winning ends.

Not only kids, ‘being triers’ work for us too. It kind of reminds me of the powerful concept of Nishkama Karmayoga ie desire-less action!

I guess we should try working on ‘being a trier’ and then probably the word will find its way back to relevance and conversation.

Masala Dialogues of Hindi Films!

Mere paas ma hai! This morning, #Twitter is abuzz with ‘bhari bharkam’ cliched, melodramatic dialogues of Bollywood that were once created to inspire intense emotion, nostalgia and ardent admiration. But these days the audience get tickled and chuckle at the excesses! Replying to Tara Deshpande’s Tweet about sharing favorite Bollywood dialogues, #Twitterati reacted with enthusiasm. Sharing some of my all time favorites!

 

Those iconic dialogues are tadka of our masala films. Whistle, whistle and more whistles for these!!! Which is yours? (To read, what Twitterati has to say – go to @Tara_Deshpande

(Images courtesy Google)

Looking for Stories in an Oriental Painting

One Sunday morning, when I bought this old painting on an impulse, I just knew that it was a copy of some famous oriental painting.

The rich dress of the bride, the slave making a garland, patterns on the carpet, jewelry and other small details gave enough clues. That’s why I did not mind the price. After carefully bringing the painting inside the house, the researcher in me began to google.

And bingo, I found it – Preparations for the wedding of the Cherif’s daughter in Tangiers by José Tapiró Y Baró. The painter (1836 – 1913), was a Catalan painter; best known for his watercolor portraits from Morocco.

This was the original painting, which I found on Google. José Tapiró Y Baró was one of the first to settle in Tangier, Morocco, to find inspiration from day to day lives of the people there. These kind of vibrant paintings were quite famous at the time and his works, especially portraits were very detailed and intricate despite having water color as the medium.

The backdrop of the painting was the wedding preparation of the Cherif’s daughter. Cherif means Sultan or nobleman which means the bride in the painting belonged to a noble family.

The story captured in this painting took me to places in my imagination. Who was the groom of the Sultan’s daughter? What kind of life she had after marriage? She looked shy and demure in the painting. How was she in real life?

Look at the intent with which the slave is making a garland. What was the story of this slave?

And who was this maid adorning the bride? She has nice ornaments on which means she would be quite up in the hierarchy. She seems to be darkening the eyebrows of the coy bride, the Sultan’s daughter.

There are many more questions. But two questions baffled me about this painting. First, who was this figure? The Sultan himself, sitting on a chair?

Another most important question, for me, is – Why is the painting, which I bought, not signed? It is unusual because generally everyone loves to put their names on their works. And although my painting is a duplicate, still it seems to be done by some master artist, considering its beauty. But why has he not put his name there? Very baffling! Also, I had thought that my painting was done in Oil but I am having second thoughts now. I guess it is water color just like the original one.

For now, my search is still on! The painting definitely has many, many stories hidden in it. And I am loving the experience of unraveling the layers in this lovely work.

And you can help too! If you know anything about the painter or the painting, please let me know. I will be very grateful 🙏🏻