Friday, December 31, 2010

Giving and Sharing

I did these two variations of the greeting card that was sent out to supporters and friends of Sukriti Social Foundation, a disability service organization founded by my sister Sowmya Simhan. The text (in Tamil and Hindi) is a verse, in the form of fable, about giving and philanthropy. Roughly translated, the verse states: "When an elephant eats, the bits and pieces and pieces of food that fall of its mouth feed thousands of ants". The elephant being a large creature, eats a lot. The ants, being very tiny, need very little to survive. The barely noticed  little morsels of food that dribble out of the mouth of the elephant, provide sustenance to thousands of small creatures. 

As I was reading the verse, I was thinking of Bill Gates who has pledged millions of dollars for humanitarian causes. As the world's richest man, the money he is giving away is still pocket change for him, hardly likely to make a hole in his bank account. Yet, it is making a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people around the world. Of course, not every one is Bill Gates with millions to spare. But, whatever we give or choose to share, has the potential to make a difference in the life of at least one person. 

Happy new year and best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2011.

Tamil verse by Kumara Gurupara Swamigal
Hindi verse by Kabirdas

Many thanks to L.N. Srinivasa Krishnan for locating both Tamil and Hindi texts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Set of Decorative Boxes

I rather like these new boxes decorated with absolutely amazing handmade and Chiyogami papers.  I love Chiyogami papers. Some of the designs are so gorgeous, they give a stunning 3D look to the surface. Here are some of the boxes made with chiyogami paper, available at my Etsy shop.

Thanks for visiting. All these boxes are available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's the Season

Being a Hindu I do not celebrate Christmas in the obvious ways. But, I have always loved the holiday season. The colors, lights, the shimmer and the sparkle make me happy and in some way or the other bring out the creative spirit in me. Here is my response to the Mixed Media Monday Challenge "It's the Season".

Happy Holidays and thanks for visiting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ma and Masi Together

Part of my ongoing exploration of South Asian literature, this mixed media artwork was inspired by Anita Desai's Winterscape, a masterpiece on cross-cultural minefields.

Sometimes,  I have the students in my Cross-Cultural Perspectives class read this story. It is a perfect case study of the infamous pronouncement of Kipling, "The East is east and the West is west and never the twain shall meet". In a span of 20+ pages, Desai lays out every cultural trope: our culture/their culture, our norm/their deviance, to name a few. Just when we assume that we know where the story is going, Desai being a master storyteller that she is, pulls the rug gently from under our feet. In the small act of taking a photo of Ma and Masi watching the snow together, she makes Beth cross a cultural border and, gives her a glimmer of understanding of how her Indian husband came to be raised by one sister while born to the other. It is an understanding that comes not from rational processing but from something deep, almost mystical. Beth's impulsive act to get it on the camera may have been as much to capture the moment as to remind herself that she understood.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yoga Art Veera Bhadrasana or Warrior III Pose

The Veerabhadrasana III or Warrior 3 as it is familiarly referred to is the most difficult of the three warrior poses. It is a dynamic pose requiring strength and balance. In this asana, the heel and toes of one leg are pressed down while the thigh muscles are pulled up. The other leg is stretching back strong while the two arms are lifting and stretching forward. The whole body rests on one leg for stability while the other leg and the arms are stretched for balance. There is pull and push, forward and backward movement between the arms and the legs. The interplay between the arms and the legs demand concentration and heightens the awareness of the body.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Today's Breakfast: Tomato Rasam and Baked Lijjat Papad

Since, I don't like cereals or eat eggs,  breakfast has always been a challenge for me. So, I am always looking for  healthy, filling and preferably spicy breakfast food. For a long time, I ate, like Punjabis, roti and vegetables for breakfast. Lately, I have started on tomato rasam and lijjat papad--the first one is a pure South Indian dish and the latter is a pure Punjabi delicacy. The combination is a 100 percent spicy dynamite! I am wondering why I did not think of it before.