Sign up for Life – again!

Learning is LifeLearn blog

Summer vacations are on in India & as usual parents (including myself) have a long list of the things/skills we want our children to accomplish in the short window of 2 months. There’s Swimming, Cycling, Skating, Drawing, Robotics (the ever-growing list of skills) to be learnt. But what disturbs me is that parents who want their children to learn so as to live creative fulfilling satisfying lives, do not spare a thought about their own life or growth. For a lot of us, our learning stopped with us becoming adults (and more so post parenthood for we had another life to be responsible towards).

Learning comes with the requirements of taking time out, moving out of your comfort zone, facing your fears and dealing with new situations and people. Some of us can’t even bear the thought of trying out something new 🙂 When I suggested to a friend of mine to take up cycling recently, she was appalled and said “Pagal hai kya! Nai re baba, I’m happy watching my serials at night and sleeping peacefully. Who wants any change?”Anything new is viewed with fear, suspicion and even ridicule. I’ve often heard comments ” You suffering a mid-life crisis? ” 🙂 So we want no risk, just happy to be left alone to continue leading that predictable life.

But that’s not life. What about living life to the fullest? Isn’t to Live – actually to Learn & Grow throughout? Isn’t it important to continue our evolution? Learn new skills, New matter, Feel New emotions, Meet New people?

Try and remember that thrill when you first learnt to balance on that bicycle or swim without that float. Wasn’t it exhilarating? Wasn’t it something you just kept doing over and over again till you were exhausted? Get that zest back in life (for time is short)-pick up a new hobby like photography or music. Or take up trekking or some new form of fitness. Or join some new art/ yoga group to meet new people. Learn driving now if you haven’t so far – same goes for cycling or swimming or even skating. I know that a lot of us do some new things once in a while  & change our routine but I mean Doing something that tests & challenges you again and again & makes you feel young and new.

Every learning still gives that thrill – you just need to sign up for life again.


One Tree Hill – have you found any?

Nature amazes me and so does our Earth. Some mountain formations are so awe inspiring that one wonders if they’re man-made. But in such far flung isolated areas and with such imperfection (i.e no symmetry) that one realizes it has to be natural.

One such wonder to me (though I’m sure there will be some scientific explanation to this) are ‘One tree hills’, where for some strange reason one finds only one tree on top and none other. Is it because this one took up all the resources (like cactus they say) or that it dared to do what none of the others tried or could?

I look for these and shoot these. Would love to see more pics from the community here and the location would be an added treat. This one shot here is in the Sahayadri hills in Western India close to Nasik.  Earthy – Earth


Of chipped Cups & the story they tell

IMG_20160514_153257Recently I was in Nasik at my mom’s place to drop the kids for their annual summer get together at my Mom & brother’s place later. It’s an annual ritual for the kids to go to my brother’s place for my younger niece’s birthday and from there to spend time at Nani’s (maternal grandmother) place for some fun and change and of course to spend time with their grandparents.

We were having chai in the garden that morning in Nasik (oh yes, my parents have a sprawling bungalow in Nashik with a beautiful garden and a kitchen garden too, something that we can only dream of in Mumbai), when my husband remarked that the tea cups we were drinking our chai in had been the same for the past 10 years or so. Before I could jump to the defence of my parents he smiled and said “It’s so surprising that these cups don’t have a single chip, whereas we are changing cups every 2 months, isn’t it? “I must say I was rather pleased by this remark but that set us both thinking as to why it was so. We live in Mumbai where people’s routines are set like clockwork. The Bai (maid) comes at 12 noon, the cook at 11.30 am. My husband leaves at 7.45 am (if it gets to 7.50 am, then traffic is sure to shave off at least 30 minutes from office time.  You must be wondering what this has to do with the cups? Well, what it tells us is that in Mumbai if my maid chips cups every 2 months, I am willing to excuse her cos she has to hurry thru her job to move to the next house she cleans and if suppose I do reprimand her, I’m certain I’ll be left without a maid for a month! And do you know what that means? It means complete chaos. That’s how living in Mumbai is. All balanced precariously – a minute here and you miss your train. You reach office late and miss a meeting. Your boss gets another reason to set you down. You have another reason to scream at your children/spouse. Your kids slowly refuse to talk to you or listen to you. Your husband and you start to have fights on anger management. And so, we take a deep breath & say chipped cups are just FINE, we’ll change them every 2 months.

Learning about art & life from our Artisans

I’m from India and we have a lot of native handicrafts and I work in the field of handicrafts because of my love for people and creativity. But for these artisans who create beautiful handicrafts, creation is not just a means of self expression but an essential activity for survival. Most of them who reside in rural India, are solely dependent on their craft for their day to day living expenses since they do not possess any other skill. Further, women who have traditionally been neglected & uneducated are left with little other means for survival and financial independence. My artisans who make patachitra paintings, handloom stoles, paper mache articles are each unique people..

They sit in the heat without fans, painting, weaving or working at the furnace (for Dhokra products) tirelessly. You don’t hear them complain. Give them constructive feedback, new designs to work upon, point out processes that can be modified and  watch them strive towards it in the good faith that all improvements will help bring in more work.

The fact that they leave aside their everyday worries, come for meetings & take pains to grow in their chosen professions is commendable. They remind us that the things we take for granted (such as easy money & a good life) are to be cherished and if possible shared.

We salute them. Admiring our Artisans – Admiration