Rewind Circa 1990

It was obvious today more than ever how things have changed over the years. Today I met and interacted with four dozen 20 year olds at a local college. We had one thing in common between us. The year 1990. They were born the year I graduated. The similarity ended right there.

The 20 year old from 1990 is a technology savvy woman of today. She networks, blogs, browses, greedily reads updates on subjects that interest her, shares memories of a pre- internet era with her peers, has the best of both worlds.

The 20 year old woman of today is a confident, no nonsense, I-know-what-I -want-from-life person. Exposure to global lifestyles, choices, products, and the internet seems to have made its indelible impact. A far cry from the 20 year olds of the 1990's.
Despite the ubiquitous internet in everyone's life, these women seemed not to use the internet much except for social networking. They knew of Orkut and Facebook. Beyond that zilch. I expected them to be active bloggers. I was surprised not many were inclined to writing anything at all, leave alone in a blog.

Fast Forward to Circa 2020. When the bunch of today's ten year olds , that include my daughter, will have grown up to be 20 year olds.The world is at their feet. Only time will tell if they will be a different crop.

Apple – October 2002 to February 2010

fairyI knew of her only for a year. I met her only about half a dozen times. Including yesterday, at her funeral.

There she was neatly laid out in a white coffin, laced with white lace. She herself was dressed in a white frock with pink roses around her waist. She seemed at peace. Her eyes were closed and she was upright. Almost as if she was asleep. Except that I had never seen her sleep. When Apple was awake she was talking. She talked about her friends in the neighborhood where she lived, a dog which was so friendly that it always wagged its tail at her, her drawings of little fairies and the imaginary stories she weaved about them. She loved drawing fairies. Especially the ones with sparkly wings. She loved drawing them out in her note book and giving them all detailed clothes and accessories.She always had new drawings to show me, each time I visited her. I could only see her when she came to the hospital for her chemotherapy. She braved it all. All 17 cycles the first time. The cancer came back giving her a brief respite from treatment. Long enough to have a taste of being back in school for a month. She went through another 5 cycles of chemo, a surgery when they removed her rib and another 4 cycles to make sure that the cancer was nailed and it would not come back. But it did. Less than a month of her last chemo session. Before you knew, her lung collapsed and so did she. All in a matter of ten days after the PET scan revealed the metastasized cancer.

I had a premonition that she would not be around for long. Some one once told me ‘follow what your heart says‘ and that is what I did. I planned a visit to the city where she was, to give her a pep talk one last time, spend a day reading a story to her, or find out what else she had drawn or maybe even meet the friendly dog that wagged its tail. But it was not to be. By the time I reached the airport, I got the news.

It was not easy to see her lying all quiet and still in a coffin. Not a place for a bubbly little girl full of promise. Her life had not begun at all.

Potpourri of people

When I went to the ritual Sunday morning walk-talk session with a dear friend this morning, there was a potpourri of people who crossed my path. They ranged from lungi clad 60 plus year old men jogging with their lungi’s tied up high around their waist, a woman in a bright yellow Kanchivaram silk with a matching bright sunny morning smile plastered on her face, a tall lady who carried herself well that we assumed she probably was a doctor taking a break from pulling an all nighter, the regulars who come dressed in faded tee shirts and mismatched tracksuits,another septuagenarian with ear phones smugly over his ears and a little cotton shoulder bag that housed the ubiquitous iPod, another retired gentleman who probably ran marathons in his hey days who was racing ahead of everyone, a gang of loud mouth followers of a white dhoti clad local administrator and us.

Hopefully we fit into the surroundings and did not stand out.

Acrylic on canvas – finally!

It seems I have made quite some progress since my first class in November 2009. My art teachers finally decided that I was ready to try out acrylic on canvas this week. I had a list of things from them to shop before my first attempt. I picked an easel, paints, brushes and another palette. They warned me that acrylic paints dry fast and that I had to watch out for unclosed paint tubes and bottles. My first acrylic subject was – no points for guessing – vegetables.

I chose an orange, a radish and a capsicum. The final version here shows an apple. To cut a long story short, it was replaced since I did not have the colour chrome yellow which was critical to capture the coloration of the orange. So Augustine replaced the guilty orange with an apple. It was hard work. First of all, this was the first time I was drawing anything using an easel! So to draw at the angle that it was precariously kept was a strain on my wrist. Victoria kept reminding me that I should avoid supporting my wrist against the board. At the end of the sketch I realized that I had made deep impressions on the canvas with my pencil. I was told that I had to use the paints as an opaque medium so as to camouflage the pencil lines.

The final piece looked like a dream. Even though a trained eye will find only flaws and no great artist will be fooled, for me it was nothing short of a masterpiece!

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Black board and Glassmarkers

This was an interesting class in art. I sketched the helmet using a glass marker on a black board. I have left the picture incomplete. The helmet was the object to be captured. The trick was not to draw the helmet but only highlight the wall, the floor and the portions around it so that the helmet will be outlined. The white coloration in the helmet are the highlights from the window. Interesting technique this.

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Charcoal Sketches

CharcoalCharcoal SketchAnother Charcoal sketch

This was another class that I had to be done with before I moved on to the real thing- Acrylics on canvas. This was only to get myself familiarized with how charcoal pencils work on paper. The experience was similar to that of pencil sketching. Here are a few of the sketches I managed on the sketching- with-charcoal day.

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