The making of a beauty!

This oriental beauty is created using acrylic paint and pens. I have used motifs from the highly acclaimed Madhubani folk art from Bihar, India. When I was creating her, Frida Kahlo’s self portraits would come in my mind. I thought she would look somewhat like that. But as I worked on this project, it took a life of its own. Here is how she progressed..

Is she charming enough for you?

Fall Colors this Morning!

Fall colors greeted me this morning as I walked to drop the little one to school. The Sun seemed to be in playful mood as it lit and subdued the nature’s canvas at intervals. Thought of sharing the delights with you.

From my apartment

Yellow leaves everywhere

A glorious tree

Another sweet tree

A hillock celebrating Fall

I hope you liked them all!

Reliving History by Lake Superior!

No wonder the French named it Lake Superior! It took me two days to know the reason. When I first observed the Lake from the historic Glensheen Mansion this Fall, it looked serene, innocent and breathtakingly beautiful…as docile as an angel!


There was no trace of secrecy, aggression or passion, which it has been accused of for centuries.

However the following day, the Lake revealed it’s wild, stormy side… threatening us with its power and supremacy like a treacherous woman. The Lake certainly displays a superiority complex, hence the name!


Nevertheless, the charm of this largest lake in the world, which holds incredible history, mysteries and stories within and around its shores, is infinite. I am sure it exerts certain power on onlookers…I found it hard to look away from its bewitching presence!


Not far from its majestic shores stands the historic and hospitable Glensheen Mansion! It is filled with stories and anecdotes of the illustrious Congdon family of Minnesota, that once lived here.


The house museum presents the lifestyle of the rich and famous in early 20th century, America. Its antiques and artifacts are admirably preserved. (Portraits – Chester and Clara Congdon, the owners of the mansion).


Even the rugs, clothings, towels and tid bits have been taken care of. Ah, how great it would be to live in a mansion like this one with 39 splendidly decorated rooms, artistic gardens, boats and carriages…and a view to die for!


The present decor of Glensheen is almost identical to what it originally had been. We were first escorted by our lively guide to tour the Congdon boys’ rooms on the third floor and then we moved on to explore the girls’ chambers on second floor. The ground floor was the most magnificent, furnished with exquisite valuables everywhere. The sunlit Lake peeped at us through most of the rooms.


Every nook and corner of this mansion is worth a deep study!


The luxurious bathrooms were attached to most of the rooms and had stylish fittings.


We also met Evelyn, the almost 100 year old doll (with goat’s hair), belonging to one of the girls in the family.

The servants had their own rooms and dining space. The formal dining space was gorgeous and so was the breakfast room. I even pictured myself as one of the ladies of the mansion, wearing an embroidered gown, sipping tea from a carved silver cup in the breakfast room!

We went up to the attic with the guide and learnt more about Chester and Clara Congdon’s rare arts and book collection.

It is important to mention that an unfortunate incident happened here in June 1977. It involved the murders of Elisabeth Congdon, the youngest daughter of Clara and Chester Congdon, and her nurse Velma Pietila. The tragedy is not discussed during the tours in honour of the Congdon family legacy. However, several books have been written on the suspenseful murders.


As we strolled outdoor along the trails, landscaped gardens and water bodies surrounding the mansion, the morning air filled us with delight. My kids loved exploring the ‘castle’ while dear husband took some gorgeous pictures.

 When it was time to bid goodbye to the lovely mansion…nostalgia for the bygone era filled me. I felt hard to tear myself away from romance and history and come back to present. I felt as if we had become a part of the history!

We moved on to view other jewels in and around Duluth along the shores of Lake Superior – The Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, Aerial Lift Bridge, Maritime Visitor Centre.



On our way back home to Minneapolis from this memorable trip, the unpredictable Lake Superior took on the role of a gracious hostess, meandering with us for a while to keep us company…before disappearing out of sight…!

That deep inhalation of fresh air..


That day, nature invited me for a deep breath of fresh air. A lone yellow leaf entered my house and extended the loving invitation.

But there were too many other pressing invites too. There was the ipad enticing me to browse the net, and the alluring phone beeped constantly to connect and then the tv tried its best to fascinate me by playing my favourite film. And above all, there were loads of household jobs that demanded my immediate attention but I declined them all and accepted nature’s invite.

As I ran out of our apartment and inhaled deeply…every cell in my body laughed. Freshness entered my being, my eyes brightened and my skin rejuvenated.

Plump berries, wayside flowers and falling leaves greeted me. I had been breathing stale air for so long that I had forgotten what a deep breath of fresh air felt like. I took few deep breaths and wondered why I stopped appreciating the real things in life. Cuddly clouds, blue sky, yellow trees, stunning sunlight..what rare beauty! Minneapolis (USA), being the land of 10,000 lakes, offers soul soothing views throughout the year.

And the moment, I saw the glimpse of this lake amidst thick foliage – my heart sang ….

I sat on a bench browsing nature, connecting with squirrels and rabbits, entertaining myself with the vibrant natural life. How much I had missed this natural abundance! I had been taking these soul touching things for granted…it was entirely my loss.

After spending few minutes in the lap of natural splendour, I felt beautiful and revived.

I promised nature to accept its invite more often from now and got a fleeting kiss from sunrays…

Since then, I have got sucked back into the world of gadgets and stale air and not kept my promise with nature. Technology has once again claimed my life but I need to go back to nature to feel beautiful, loved and glorious.

I cherished that little stolen date with nature…for that deep inhalation of fresh air had literally taken my breath away! Hope to relive that simple yet wonderful day once again…

The legendary caretaker of the hidden castle!

  

“Few knew about the castle hidden inside the island.” But whoever visited it marvelled at the history and architecture of the place.

Almost everyone noticed him too. A grand old man, busy cleaning and polishing the floors. He looked a part of the setting – cold, dark and mysterious.

He knew more than anyone else about the untold secrets of the past. But he chose to be quiet for the sake of his masters.

His young masters had migrated to a foreign land and he was not expected to work anymore. Yet, he continued doing what his forefathers did centuries ago.

Locals spread all kinds of stories about him. The scariest one was that he had been long dead and his loyal soul was serving the castle!!

He never reacted to any claim or story, he just worked!

(This story is a tribute to Satna, the caretaker of our ancestral home in a village in Jharkhand, India. He was a short, dark man who spoke very little. Since boyhood to old age, he served our family. He was a loyal and dutiful person, who reported daily to work come what may. He embodied the very essence of Karma Yoga – to attain perfection in action to live a fulfilled life! He passed away a few years back but we will fondly remember him always.)

This story is a part of the wonderful ‘Mondays Finish The Story Challenge’ by Barbara Beacham. She provides us with a photo prompt, the first sentence, and approximately 150 words with which we are to use to write our story. To take up the challenge click here – MFtS