Monday, January 05, 2009

If Ganesha could speak..

...he will perhaps tell the story of Umreth. In regions throughout India, it's considered auspicious to have a Ganesha at the entrance of your house. Here in Umreth, he is carved right on the door frame. These are some of the doors where I found very intricately carved Ganesha along with beautiful, perhaps Arabic inspired design.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fading art

Umreth is one of those places that has a rich cultural history. It used to be very famous for a particular type of wall paintings. By which I mean, paintings ON the outside walls.

The paintings are colorful. I don't know the type of colors they used, but my guess is some earth-based colors. The use of what is called Khadi seems prominent in these. The doors and windows surroundings are adorned with the characters I know nothing about.

The subject of these paintings seems to be rooted in mythology or perhaps popular kings. Why were they painted ? What is their significance ? The questions I don't know the answers to. I was told that artists in Umreth specialized in this type of wall art, and were renowned in the state of Gujarat for it.

Sadly, this special art form no longer seems to be practiced, or valued for that matter. The colors are fading, the details unrecognizable, and the walls themselves coming apart. Perhaps there are still some of those renowned artists left somewhere to pass it on to the next generation.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Walking the past

The streets in Umreth are narrow, barely wide enough for one car to pass. And yes, there are cows roaming about these streets. Just walking here makes the past come alive. This is the area both my grandparents grew up in. In those years, I am sure it must have been much livelier.

The doors and windows are handcrafted and are absolutely beautiful, as evident from this ancient door.

In a typical house, there is a patio outside the door, which is about two ft up from the ground level. The second floor has a balcony from the room, and on top a flat roof. A flat rooftop is an essential part of Gujarati lifestyle. It's used for things like drying mangoes to flying kites. Also getting to the second floor or the rooftop through those wooden stairs is nothing short of an acrobatic exercise. Keeps you agile, you know.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Where the time stood still

This winter when I was in India, I paid a visit to my ancestral town. My grandpa took us to the neighborhood they used to live in. Most houses were locked. The owners have long left the charming little town to make it in a big city and have seldom looked back. I was stunned to see how beautifully and artistically the houses were made in those days.

I'll try to present a glimpse of what I saw and experienced while walking in the "poles" (streets in old Indian towns, much like in old Europe) of this town. Here are two photos that give an idea about the intricate carvings.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bhopal Gas Disaster : Where is Justice ?

I just read this news on BBC about a Bhopal Gas victim and activist committing suicide out of frustration and thought I should share it -

It has been 20 years since the disaster and the justice is nowhere on the horizon. Those who were responsible have never been held accountable and the people continue to suffer. It gives me chills to think what this man must have endured in his life since childhood! After campaigning so hard for the justice to the victims, he couldn't see any fruits of his labor or hope that he felt compelled to end his life. As far as this tragedy is concerned, unfortunately, "humanity" is just another word in the dictionary...and concerned people like me and you can't/don't do anything more than signing online petitions that don't make any difference ! sigh.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Red and Green

A restaurant with a lovely view in the Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen. I will post some more pictures that show the "gardens" part of Tivoli. Very touristy, but a very pleasent place.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The little mermaid

The little mermaid in Copenhagen, a brainchild of Hans Christian Andersen. She is situated on the harbor of Copenhagen so peacefully, staring at the ships in the distance with sad eyes, where she has lost her love forever.

The statue was commisioned by a person named Carl Jacobsen in 1909, who was fascinated by the fairytale, and created by the sculptor Edward Eriksen.

Changes in the blog

I have changed this blog from India to 'The warmer side of life' to include pictures from my travels to other warm places in the world also. This will include pictures from almost everything from Puerto Rico (in all seasons) to other colder places during summer.