Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beyond the wall: A memoir

This is my second wall painting and this time I wanted something to accommodate the wonderful pictures on my vacations. So here we go with the picture tree.
Steps to do similar wall painting
1. Choose the picture you want to draw or think of a free hand design to go with the theme 
2. Select a big enough wall which is not hidden by furniture, curtains or book shelves in the room
3. Make sure the wall is well painted, a wall with stains would not be the best choice for your hard work
4. Draw a draft sketch on the wall while keeping in mind the scale of the image. Grids will help you keep up the scale
5. Also sketch the details like branches, leaves and other design as it is in the picture
6. After the sketching is done, check the whole picture once again and whatever modifications needs to be done, do it before starting to paint
7. Use oil paint colors (not the water colors or the fabric colors, they don't give the same getup). You will need the required oil paint tubes, brushes of different sizes, turpentine/linseed oil
8. Start covering the major areas like trunk, branches etc. If you are doing a free hand painting, finish coloring the major blocks of the whole painting and then move to more delicate and intricate work. This has two advantages. Firstly you can scale up as per the look you want and secondly you want your painting to look grand and delicate at the same time. And you also need to space out properly the picture frames you plan to hang on the branches.
9. When you paint, you need to take enough colors and be uniform with the direction of strokes. Oil paint colors are a little more difficult to work with, so avoid reworks as much as possible.
10. When you want to highlight the photos, its always a good idea to use a single color. It will give a monotone base to the wall and at the same time enhance the look of your pictures
11. Let it dry for 3-4 days and the wall is ready to embrace your memories in the form of your photos
12. Photos you select should preferably be framed  in basic color photo frames. I prefer black, champagne and silver frames
13. If you prefer changing photos after a while,make sure you use changeable picture frames
14. You are all set to nail the frames on the wall now. Play with your imagination and make your wall shine with golden memories of your life. Because every picture you hang there is going to tell something about your life which you would want to cherish forever

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Incredible Bharat!! ATITHI DEVO BHAVV

Our culture states "ATITHI DEVO BHAVA". And we Indians take it quite seriously, especially if the atithi is a foreigner. Whether in his country he is a criminal, carpenter or a cowboy. If he is a foreigner, everybody around him tries to charm him and be friendly with him.

Recently, I went for a boat ride in Munnar, Kerala. There was a long queue of 50 people standing in the hot sun. Behind me was a plump guy in his early 40s flashing his Prada shades and Arabic accent. He was trying to communicate with some Indians with sign language and few English words he knew. Soon few more people joined the conversation and he had more admirers. In that super enthusiastic junta, there was a gentleman who was so keen on making our guest comfortable that he called another gentleman who knew Arabic language. This gentleman had stayed in Dubai for some years and could speak broken Arabic. It was amusing to see all the heads turning left to right with the rally of conversation between our country's guest to the Dubai return VIP. Others standing had no language problems, but they hardly greeted each other. But when we have a foreigner around, we have no barriers.
Haven't we all seen the innumerable foreign nationals welcomed in our film/television industry? From Laura to Leonne, all are still our VIP guests after spending years and earning millions in our country.
And remember those devotees in the temple/ashram's wearing cotton saffron attire and rudraksh beads necklace who are made to sit in the front rows? And also that British/American well-dressed senior manager who visits from your head office and your boss continues to treat him like God, even in the informal evening dinners.
Like all the foreigners think, all Indians are poor, uneducated, snake charmers. We Indians feel all foreigners are millionaires, smart, geniuses whom we should always keep happy. No harm in following a great tradition, but lets follow it for our own people also. Lets welcome our neighbours equally open-heartedly as we do the strangers.
On a lighter note, the biggest irony is that we consider all foreigners as Obaama and they consider all Indians as Osaama. #NothingSeriousAboutIt

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why I don’t want my kids to get married?

I know the title itself will raise a lot of eyebrows and people would have a lot to contradict me and a lot to support me as well. But I felt the pinning urge to write about it as whenever I raise this topic, people usually feel I am saying all this without thinking. And also they think that the reason why I am so vocal about this is that I have kids of age lesser than 5 years. So long way to go...
Frankly, as a kid, teenager and an adult, I never thought so much about marriage. It was part of the organic growth all kids have in our country. Eventually, you will finish your studies, and eventually you will marry and settle down. Yes, I still fail to understand what “SETTLING DOWN” is is all about. But yes, being brought up by happily married parents, there was no reason why I would think of marriage otherwise. And I am quite sure; my kids would also say the same about us. Then, why am I not so keen on getting my kids married? And why am I thinking about it at the age of 5 yrs?
There is a very strong reason for it. And the time is also the most apt to think about it. I will tell you why?
As soon as a kid is born, in India, we start planning for him/her. We start thinking about his safety, his comforts, and his needs. How are we going to financially support his upbringing. We go to an extent of having a marital insurance, education insurance for him. I am not against insurance, but my point is, we start excessive planning for the kids.
If it’s a girl, we buy all pink things for her. Pink dresses, pink toys, pink walls, pink clips and what not. If it’s a boy, we paint the town blue! So consciously or sub-consciously we make this divide of a girl and a boy. Why do we see 1000s of cars in a boy's toy room whereas a 1000 dolls in a girl's toy room? Don’t we have girls driving cars all over? OR for that matter guys seeking fashion and clothing as careers? We do. But we confuse our children by dividing their likes and dislikes as per their gender.
Subconsciously or consciously, we prepare our kids to get ready for our legacy, our marriage system. Learn some cooking; it will be useful for you. Keep your room clean, you should keep your house clean. Take some responsibility; you should be a responsible man. Sports are good, but you cannot go out of station for your matches. Don’t wear this, don’t grow your hair long, you are a boy. You should learn to adjust, life is all about adjustment. Keep others/family before you always, good girls/boys always care for others more than themselves.
When it comes to family name, we don’t hesitate to curb our kid’s desires. They might be great chefs, or great athletes, or great dancers, or for that matter just great with some musical instrument, but depending on the gender we prepare them for the future. If our kid is inclined towards spirituality, we get concerned if he becomes a yogi. If our kid is more into theater and music, we press them to concentrate on studies. We want Sachin Tendulkar's at home, but how many of us are ready to let go of their matriculation exams to let him go to play their test matches? We are concerned about the adventure sports our kids take up. We all love actress/models, but when our daughters want to take it up as a career, we think about their marriage, the society and everything that really doesn’t matter in life. We keep an invisible bubble all the time around our kids. WHY?
Every person is born with some talent, and they are unique. You as a parent have to give basic education and basic code of conduct of humanity to them. After that, whether he/she wants to fly, or drown, or sing or jump, let it be their choice. Don’t put the burden of your legacy on them. We all feel, we had much more potential in us. But more often than not, we blame it on society, or family or responsibility for not being able to tap that potential in us. "I would have been a great athlete, if I pursued running then"."I would have gone places, if I was allowed to take up modeling"."Today, I cannot pursue travelling, because I have responsibilities"."I am best at writing, but I have no formal training"." I was so good at cricket, but my father wanted me to be a doctor". All these are common statements with people of our generation.
What do we do to our kids? We pass our wishes, our failures, our dreams to them. 9/10 people who are "happily married" say that they are happily married because they have ADJUSTED to each other. Why is it so important to put our kids through all this? If it’s about security, there is no security in marriage. If it’s about love, there is more love before marriage than after. The social balance will go for a toss? What social balance are we talking about? Where most people have EMAs and divorces at the drop of a hat? If it’s about kids/family, what do you want kids for? For making your own compromised clones? And it’s not very uncommon to have single parents these days.
I feel, we should let them fly. Let them tap their potential. Let them decide what they want to be. Success or failure, they will be happy that they are what they are because they chose it for themselves. If earning money and pretending to be a happy is life, then animals have a better life than us. God has given us brains and talent to create genius and evolve with every generation. We have Einstein’s and Tendulkar’s all over, but we do not have an eye for it. If we free our kids from the pressure of their future, I am sure they can come out with flying colors. Education, marriage, job, family is a part of your life, not the life itself. Every day they can have an all exciting life if they choose what they want to do in life. And also if they choose who they want to be in their life. Does being a radio jockey excite them? Or they want to live a life of a traveler, wandering at different places. Or they just want to be a family person. Let’s just leave it on them and their destiny. It is another way of teaching them to live in present.
I am glad that I am liberated from the cycle of legacy and have the ability and inclination to detach my desires from my kid’s upbringing. I may fail; I may not be considered a good mother in the definition of parenting. And I may also possibly repent giving them untamed wings one day. But I want to take this risk. I want to teach them to live for themselves. To fulfill their own wishes without sacrificing or compromising their dreams. The compassion, humanity and love they need to be happy in the social society are anyways things which nobody can teach them. They will learn it from nature. What I want for them is a free sky to fly without the invisible wall of society, expectations, legacy and pressure. Whether I am right or wrong, I want to remain true to my instincts of a mother.