Thursday, September 30, 2010

The discipline of art

It takes discipline to make anything beautiful.
Whether it's a sculpture or a painting, toenails (ha ha) or an apartment.
Even our relationships take discipline and practice to become beautiful.
Welcome to today's art lesson.
Life lesson.

We talked about Michelangelo this time. And the amount of discipline and focus he had to have in order to become the famous household name he is today.
If he hadn't drawn hundreds of practice drawing before painting his famous Cistine chapel ceiling, or sculpting the Pieta, we probably wouldn't know who he is.

So we practiced our drawing today.

And drawing, I must say, is way less messy than painting. :)
Actually, though, Michelangelo was probably really messy.

Anyhow, these days none of that mess remains. Only the final outcome of the mess and the discipline.

Such as the Pieta.
Ah the Pieta--to make something that beautiful, you've got to be disciplined.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kid friendly

Oh, the things kids are allowed to do here. Oh what they get away with at the malls.
Here is my small friend climbing on the store displays, talking to the mannequin, and playing with the decorations.

Adults are tolerant and eager to please children. There is a greater value placed on them as people, as an investment, as the future, than I find in the US.

As a child, I remember pushing strollers around in the Gerber factory store whenever I went there. One employee lady didn't want my brother and I to do that. I thought she was mean. I only liked to go the store when the nice lady was working. It was no fun to worry about being yelled at, but how could you know ahead of time who was going to be working any given day?

Well, here, my small friend doesn't have to worry about that. He can get away with anything.
Just see how big his smile is.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

That cheating gas man

When I arrived home today, there was a gas man in my house.
How did he get in?
Well, he showed my guest his badge and convinced him to open the door.
No worries there, I would have done the same.

He was making a mess, that gas man.
Throwing his trash around, walking in the house with his shoes on (I did scold him for that and felt somewhat vindicated in the release of frustration.)

Some gas company man came only 5 months ago, and I'm supposed to have 6 months before things start expiring. My memory of the last argument I had with a gas man hasn't even faded yet.

I told this guy that I didn't need what he said I needed.
He said that, yes, I did.
What he thought I needed for my kitchen stove was:
  • a new hose
  • a black spring thing to put over the hose --adamantly refused that dirt collector
  • a cleaning kit--have 2 or three I've never opened, so refused that
  • some metal put-over-the-flame thing that is supposed to make it use less gas--refused. But he made me watch the demonstration anyway.
  • and the megnetic gas saver--no, no, no, how I refused this thing, but he'd already put it on. And it was so expensive!
He then tried to charge me 250 for the hose, though the package clearly states 60-90rs. On top of that, his bill had a 150 service charge, for a service I never asked for.

After the gas man left, I apologized to my guests. "I'm sorry you had to see that," I said. Wish I could say, "It'll never happen again."
But, oh, it will. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Auto ride

I invite you to come along on an auto ride with me.
If the video feels jarring, that is only because it's accurate. This is actually a smooth, wide road without a lot of traffic.
On this ride, you can try out two round abouts. So if you've never done that before, have fun.
But for those of you looking for lanes in the road: stop trying.

India Gate

India Gate.
It only took me eleven years to get here.

Finally, I've seen it.
Along with every other tourist who comes through Delhi for a week.

Did you know there's a flame burning at India Gate? Neither did I. And I couldn't get close enough to see why.
Though this is what wikipedia says: it's the flame of the immortal soldier. There are some 90,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I and the Afghan wars fighting for British India, and their names are engraved on the gate.

This was one of my favorite observations: the reflection in the muddy water.
Especially in these days of flooding, the threat of dengue fever, and the mess over being unprepared for the Commonwealth Games.

I saw the figures on top of the gate and wanted to go up there. But it seems you have to be wearing the right uniform to be allowed.
Too bad.

This is what the gate says on it:
"To the dead of the Indian armies who fell honoured in France and Flanders Mesopotamia and Persia East Africa Gallipoli and elsewhere in the near and the far-east and in sacred memory also of those whose names are recorded and who fell in India or the north-west frontier and during the Third Afgan War."

So now. Been there. Done that.

Complicated park rules

Upon entering the children's park today, we were met with a set of rules.
Complicated rules.
To remember these rules it would take actual studying and memorization.

And then what if you were to apply them to something like this? Are there multilevels of rule in play? Who gets to use the whole of this jungle gym thing?

I thought it was helpful that this particular slide was clearly labeled. Shew, we don't have to go back an check the sign first to see if we can go down this one.

Apparently, these boys are too young for this A-to-B climbing thing, but are the mom's out of the age range to be able to help?

We didn't let the rules bother us--or maybe we're just rule breakers. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010


First, the blue sign:
There is all sorts of new signage going up around the city. Commonwealth Games promotion.
...they are coming...
...14 days, 1 hour and 58 minutes...

Secondly, the blue sky:
I would have cropped this picture to focus in on the sign, but the friend who took it text-yelled at me not to. The blue sky is monumental, she said.
And well, yes, it is.
We've had several days of no rain, but it's back again today.
And so are the leaks and water spots on the wall.
So a sunny blue sky is a beautiful sight.

Friday, September 17, 2010


This is an interesting picture.
Ah juxtaposition.

Prostester upon protester, and a giant advertisement.
Hanes: Comfort you can feel. Royal Concept.
The words do not match.
What comfort? This is a picture from the center of Kashmir with the feel of dissatisfaction, not comfort.
Royal concept. Is that what freedom is?

There are a lot of images coming out of Kashmir these days. Some of them very disturbing. Others heart rending.

And there are some angry people there who might be confused about the object of their anger. The rocks being thrown come closer to home than I would wish.

A part of my heart will always belong to you, Kashmir, but can we please stay focused on what it is you really want?

My tickets!!

Two exciting deliveries two days in a row!
Today my tickets to the Commonwealth Games arrived. They're so pretty.
I've been tracking them online, so I knew they were due to arrive today, but didn't know if they would really show up.
They did!

Sixteen days, two hours and five minutes to go...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Art is happening

There is art happening in my house.
How cool is that?

Eight young friends came over today, we chatted about Mondrian (famous for his reductionist works) and the elements of design--namely line. And then everyone created their own masterpiece.
All very unique.

I must say, though, the lesson seemed a lot like "how to make a mess".
But that just means creativeness is happening, right?

Wrong address


Can you believe it? It has finally come.
I've been waiting for months.

The mailman came to my door a few minutes ago and asked if it was my name on the envelope. The address had the wrong house number. He said he's been trying to deliver it there for the last 3 weeks, but the people at that house tell him there's no such person. So very cleverly, he decided the foreign sounding name might belong to the foreigner and he came and asked me.


It was only yesterday that I had a conversation about where the card, supposedly mailed out, had gone. I thought that since I had the email notification and the number I was issued, that they could just look that up and and make me a new one.
No, they could look up the number and access my name and account, but for a new card, I'd have to apply again.
But I'm so glad to be saved that hassle.
The card is here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I have been considering the word "unrest".

It all started because I read this article about the government leaders in Delhi scheduled to meet regarding the situation in Kashmir. It mentions the "three-month-long unrest".

So, in contrast I took the word "rest" and equated it to "sleep"--because that's the kind of rest I like best--and then thought: Kashmir hasn't slept in three months.

What if I hadn't slept in three months?
I would be hurting.
I would be frustrated.
I would not be thinking clearly.
I would be angry.
I would be stretched far beyond my limits.

It was supposed to be a holiday this weekend. It's Eid. The end of Ramadan fasting. There should be lots of eating and celebrating and visiting friends and relatives.
Instead everything is shut down, and the protests continue.
And violence.
If you burn the electricity office--I think to myself--then you can't pay bills, etc., your power will be shut off, and then where will you be?
What kind of Eid celebration is that?

Listen up, World: Kashmir is begging you to pay attention.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It is well

It's been... one of those days.
Near the end of it, I went up to the roof to see the sunset. Because I could see from my balcony that it promised to be a good one, and a rare glimpse of sky in these overcast monsoon days.
It was.

In the noise-ridden city of Delhi, the rooftop was a sanctuary of quiet. Perhaps the traffic and people sounds don't echo off the buildings as much when you're above them.
Whatever it is that makes the hush, my whole being welcomed it.

The last rays of September 10, 2010 lit up the sky.
And it. Was. Glorious.


Inwardly, I groaned.
There is a gaudy temple in my view of the skyline. It was blocking the sunset I wanted to see in full.
It's spires marred the beauty I longed to be unblemished.
I wanted perfection.

I wished for a view from higher up, so I could see over the temple silhouette.
But I was already on the roof. And I am earthbound.


All is not well with the world.
But in this moment, all is well in this place.
In this moment, all is well with my soul.

I can choose to set my gaze on things higher.
And I can remember that no matter what turmoil is around me or within me, there is a deep Source of Peace which calls to the depths within me.


A confession: I am addicted to the computer.

A week ago, my computer crashed.
Wonderfully, I had backed it up the day before, so the data lost was not much.
But what was extremely frustrating is that there is no tech support from Friday 6pm until Monday 9am. And the crash happened around 9pm on Friday.

It wasn't until Tuesday that I was brought a new hard drive. Since then, I have been installing, updating, and restoring EVERYTHING.
What a time consuming and exhausting job.

But this what I have discovered in the process: I am addicted.
To email.
To immediate avenues of communication.
To instant answers to my questions when searched online.
To typing out my thoughts and saving them for later access.

Without the computer, I resort to making little notes here and there. Pieces of paper with my scattered thoughts accumulate around the house and in piles. Nothing is as organized as I would like it to be. And I can't keep track of which things I have completed and which I have not.
How did I become so dependent?

The good thing in all this?
I read two books and finished a magazine which has been waiting for me since April. So now I'm smarter and more informed.
Plus: I'm aware of my addiction. And recognizing it is supposed to be the first step, right?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beauty knoweth no pain

I agreed to have a pedicure.
If you know me, this is a rare. For several reasons:
  • I don't care to have people touching my feet.
  • The only other time I had a pedicure it hurt me and caused ingrown toenails.
  • The massage part hurts and leaves bruises.
  • In most cases, I do a much better job painting my nails.
Yeah. So. I went and had a pedicure. All the time telling myself: "Remember, Lindsay, these are your feet. Be assertive."

My anti-pedicure instincts are good, I tell you.

So while my pedicure companions either drank chai or were made to look like a baked potato (tinfoil on her head), my feet got soaked and filed.
The guy who gave the pedicure seemed competent, but these are the injuries I sustained:
  • bleeding cuticle when trimmed too close
  • side of my toe filed raw
  • and, of course, the bruises from the massage
Apparently, I'm a pedicure wimp.

All of this reminds me of the oft-repeated mantra of a friend of mine:
"Beauty knoweth no pain."
  • This is what you repeat to yourself when your new shoes are pinching and giving you blisters.
  • This is what you remind your friend when her new wool clothes itch.
  • This is what you moan as you pluck your eyebrows.
  • This is what you hope when your hands are covered in henna and you cannot feed yourself.
  • This is what you tell an 8 year old when she whines about brushing her hair.
  • This applies in the case of the pedicure. For me, anyway.

Ah what lengths we go to, all in the name of beauty.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Restricted items

I asked my friend if she had binoculars since we might need them to see the Commonwealth games events from the distance of our cheap seats.
She laughed.
Then I considered whether binoculars or cameras might not be allowed in to the games. Sometimes these restrictions sneak up on you unexpectedly--like no cameras or computers allowed in the movie theaters.

Well, I found a list of the things one may not bring to the games.
Shew, binoculars are not on the list. Nor are cameras.
Rollerblades and musical instruments are, though. Shucks, guess I'll have to leave those at home.
What's seriously disappointing, though, is that umbrellas are not allowed.
This is disappointing because question #51 on the Commonwealth Games FAQs is:
Are the venues covered if it rains?

and the answer is:
All venues may not be covered. However, utmost care is taken so that the seating area is covered from rain at most stadiums.

What if I have one of the seats for which utmost care was not taken?
Guess I'll consider it all part of the adventure.


No umbrellas allowed though, leads me to a tangential story...
A number of years ago, I was in Italy and a friend and I were going to a museum. Entering the museum the same time as us were a couple of British women in their 60s or so. At the entrance, was a sign telling us umbrellas were not allowed.
"Not allowed?" said one woman. "Whyever would they not let us take in our umbrellas?"
"What would we do with them?" asked the other, "Bash some of the art?"
My friend and I thought this was very funny coming from two very proper looking women with very proper sounding accents.
Could you imagine such women bashing art with umbrellas?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stone throwing

The protesting in Kashmir continues and the rest of the world hears very little about it. But for them, it is ALL there is to talk about.

The article this picture comes from says that women have come out to join the protesting and that their sentiments are: why shouldn't I throw stones?
Because those rocks come from the walls that built your city? Literally and figuratively.

But I understand that an unheard voice needs to find a way to be heard. And Kashmir has been unheard for years.
That makes people angry. That makes people yell and throw stones.
I watch video like that below, with footage put to the song Stones in My Hand, and I do not know what the answer is.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Free ride

This ticket gets you a free ride. How 'bout that!

We have entered Phase II of ticketing for the Commonwealth Games. That means the tickets I have purchased should be couriered to me shortly. And until today, I didn't know what else it meant.

Someone asked me if the seats were assigned or general seating and what else was written on the ticket--how early you should arrive for the events, etc.
I had no idea. Hadn't yet seen the tickets, I told her, because they weren't to be delivered until we entered Phase II.
How many phases are there? she wanted to know.
I didn't know that either. So I did some research.
Three phases. The third means you can also buy tickets at the box office while the games are taking place.
Phase II means my tickets should soon be in my hand, and while I was reading about that, it also said that travel to and from the event ticketed via metro is included. Cool!

Now will the venues and metro lines be finished in time? That remains to be seen...