30 June 2007

From Berkina Faso

The south westerly winds were blowing profusely. It rained accompanied by thunder and lightning. That was how it was when I was in Newark, New Jersey walking down the streets. To escape from the rain I entered a store which carried African delights. They carried masks, fabrics, pottery, little sculptures, jewellery and some other things that a typical gift store would carry. The women wore a head dress - a pink cloth wound tight around her head. Not even a hair could be seen. She wore a white tunic and a long flowing skirt. Her skin was tight and she was very lean and pretty. I am sure she was a dancer some where. My five senses were in action - my eyes took in what ever I saw, I heard whatever she said with delight - about countries that I have never heard of, the smell of incense was invigorating. I touched some of the pottery - all hand made, the fabrics were amazing - beautiful color combinations. I had to buy something now - something that will remind me of beautiful moments. It was made in Berkina Faso.

29 June 2007

World Citizen

He was born in Bangladesh and raised in Pakistan. He says his ancestors were from the northern part of India. He has married an American, whose ancestors are from certain parts of England and Germany. They have a little girl - her ancestors are from the North, East, West and Southern part of the world. Isn't she a world citizen?

My friend is a collector of antiques from the 'mughal' world. This round box was a gift from him.

25 June 2007

Happy Saturday.

Part I
I had a chance to meet some very interesting characters on a drive 45 minutes north. Surrounded by the woods and the hudson river - they were their usual self and looked very proud to own the land. I felt very jealous. Guess who were they - A squirrel, a deer and a snake.

Part II
A Korean lunch and a jute bag made in India added extra color to a very fine day.

22 June 2007

Industrial toys galore

It is not a good sight; the demolition, the rubble, the dust, and most of all the workmen working away to pull something down or construct something anew.

Experimentation in creativity has never been a pleasant sight . Go to an artists studio and you will see her covered with specks of paint on her clothes and in her hair. Writing is the loneliest of crafts. When the jewellery designer designs her jewellery, it must be a vision she hit when she was in the not so nice places to mention on the screen and the fruits of creativity are on display for the world to watch and enjoy. When the musician compiles music she goes through various phasis of satisfaction, gratification, highs and lows, until she hits the perfect notes - the process has never been in the exhibition to watch.
The city is in transition now. Hotels and residential buildings pulled down, huge foundations being laid for large shopping malls. The grapevine also mentions that they are demolishing a huge warehouse to make way for a park. ( I will believe it when I see the park) They have broken ground for a stadium and a school.

Construction and demolition are not new to me since my father was in the process of both as an agent. Thankfully both B and I adore the industrial toys that aid in these process. We watch them and wonder how the industrial designer came up with these. The humongous toy is a sight to watch, especially when in action. I like it more because there is no human toiling away . It goes easy on the operator. - a push and a pull button. And the toys come in nice colors too - Yellow , the most popular of all, Orange, Blue, Green and purple.

What do you like? The artist in action or the final product in all its splendor?
(Image from the caterpillar website)

21 June 2007

An Ode to my next door neighbour.

Knock.. Knock .. Knock... He goes. Sorry, that should be Bang ! BANG ! B-A-N-G. If we do not open the door in the next two minutes he will call our name, and make sure we have heard and should open the door NOW. If we still delay in opening the door he will ask one of his parents to call us on on our cell . Polite and decent as they are they refuse. So he does the next best thing - He leaves a note at our door , on a big piece of paper lest we miss it.

Mr Young is a 6 year old bundle of energy trying to live life king size and makes sure that everybody else around him lives the same way ! Inspired by his love to paint, B picked up his paint and brush which were catching dust. Scissors and scotch tape are an essential part of its tool kit when in comes to making his art .It is the only time he can sit in one place quietly, but his brain is racing ahead to make the next move.

He can multi-manage and delegate, all at the same time. At one point - he was asking his mother to sew, made sure that B is carrying out his "to-do's for him" , held me captive for discussions on his 6th, 7th and 8th birthday party and made another list for his dad. When his mother gave him a time deadline to go home he negotiated for more time since she did not finish the sewing project for him. A default planner, he ensures that he has plan B and plan C ready if plan A fails. His dictionary does not have the word,"NO". He once convinced a nurse in the hospital to remove the plaster around his hand, though it was not very safe .

When I tell him that coke is junk, he smacks his lips and comments," What to do? I love it". When I try on a new outfit and now knocks at his door for a opinion from his mother, Mr. Young will comment on my dress without mincing words - " This is nice. Are you going to a party? Is the dress new ?". - That's our kind and friendly neighbour.

20 June 2007

History - Lessons Untold.

It's History now. But don't we all talk about it every now and then ? Childhood memories, School and College days, graduation and so much more - stories of aunts and uncles, and neighbours too. They are all etched in our memory and told to our children as they grow up. They hear it with fondness and sometimes, "How many times have I heard this ?" Nevertheless, some of these stories may be passed on. The point being - we learn from what is in books and so much more what is not in them. We make our interpretations, inferences and draw conclusions. Consciously or otherwise we all take lessons from history.

19 June 2007

I'm not shy when it is time to eat fish and rice.

Oh boy, I hate to shop ! and I hate to shop groceries, but with one exception - Mitsuwa market, the Japanese grocery shop in Edgewater, 2.5 miles east of Union city. I can get lost in this place looking at everything and everybody. 98% of the shoppers are of Japanese origin and their shopping carts are full - and they are so thin - lean, I mean. So one day, I came back and googled the secret of being lean. And lo and behold -Fish, vegetables and rice is what they eat - 3 times a day or Is it 4? I gathered. Plus fresh fruit for dessert.Yoshiko, a Japanese women in my french class confirmed it. How disciplined! I embarked on my journey on this lean diet - and lost 5 lbs in a month. I am sticking to it , but a thought crossed my mind - what about the fish and mercury stories ? Don't they worry about this at all?

18 June 2007

War and Peace ! - South Westerly winds (contd)

From Broad street to Park Place it is a very short walk but the scene changes completely. The art has moved from the street to the walls of the buildings.

15 June 2007

South Westerly winds

I came home late yesterday. With the weather good and no traffic jam announcements, my husband was left wondering where his wife went. I was enjoying the sights of Broad street in Newark, a city south west of where we live.Adjacent to the Historic James street, Broad street captures the vibrancy of Newark, now emerging fast out of its lost glory. The above artwork on a city wall done by highschool-ers is a testimony.

14 June 2007

Echo !

Rabindranath Tagore, the artist and the poet said it better.

13 June 2007

Travelled afar !


Can you picture yourself in these beautiful creations of skilled artisans from lands far east? Semi-precious stones, pure sterling silver can be yours too. They are sold right here in Union city.

07 June 2007

Dazzling Creations

I was charmed ! Completely dazzled at the sight of these beautiful creations.
I know not the name of the architect who designed these and the year of construction is not etched on the walls nor is it listed in the archives of historic preservations.
I can't believe that mighty real estate agents have missed an apportunity to put a tag on this eye candy. And the price will be big when it comes , I guess. It is located on one of the bylanes so it is missed by many of the residents. Amidst all the other houses are these gorgeous row of houses which shines through. I am enchanted, Are you ?

06 June 2007

The Wall in Union city

As I enter the the city I gaze at this wall. Its one of the longest retaining walls in the city. The city sits on a cliff and was once upon a time a dense forest . Now the cliff plays host to many houses which perch on them and receive the magnificent views of the surrounding cities and the city on the other side of the river. The wall retains an old world charm. Do you have a favorite wall ? Where is yours ?

04 June 2007

Green

I have been in class all morning. And continue to keep my head in the books for an upcoming test. My eyes tire easily and I have to take a break now and then. On the next block where I stay is the Washington park in Union city. I walk over and my eyes enjoy the lusicious green that summer brings. It is raining today and the park is greener than it usually is.

03 June 2007

Through my window.

Union city in New Jersey is home to all nations in the world. Around 3 miles from New York city, this city is buzzling with people - hardworking people. When you go about town you will hear people speaking in french, spanish, portugese, swahili, hindi, russian, amharic and many more. Surrounded by Jersey City to the South and Hoboken to the south east, Union city is an amalgamation of diverse cultures. You can taste mouth watering home style cuisines if you visit. Music is the soul of the town.
"Variety is the spice of life", is very evident in this city. What is in your town? What would you want everybody to know ?

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