Saturday, 25 January 2014

People at the Park

There's a park close to office and its although it's tiny it is really wonderful to see all kinds of people from all walks of life enjoying the greenery and shade. One of the few public places that people can go to that is free and green. Its a great place to observe people and do human figure sketches too. 

Here's a drawing session in progress. The back of the park has a bunch of tables and stools. Its called "chess square" and there are people reading, studying, catching up. Its lovely.

This tree is near the front entrance. Lots of people with laptops! Discussions. Its quite a lively place. Apologies for the page-marker getting in the way of the scan! I have a new scanner :) and I'm getting used to it.

And of course... a park doesn't take care of itself now, does it?

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Church of Our Lady of Light

Lets skip a bit back to Madras. After so recently sketching the Sao Sebastian Chapel in Panjim, I suddenly thought to myself that the Luz Church is literally one minute away from my office and I have never visited. So there I headed yesterday morning. It's the oldest surviving church structure in Madras and has 1516 proudly embossed over its main doorway.
Sunday mass was under way so I chose to sketch from outside. Once the mass was over I was soon surrounded by a gang of young girls. They were very eager and enthusiastic to watch me sketch and chattered away non-stop to each other. They spoke in Tamil, which of course, is my mother tongue and I could understand everything they said, including the fact that they assumed I didn't know Tamil.
Here's a few interesting snippets of conversation that I enjoyed: (everything was being said in Tamil)

"Hey, look! She's drawing with her left hand!"
"Yes, see. That is why that tree which is on the left of the church is coming on the right side of her drawing."
" Hey, do you think she will show us the rest of the sketches in her book? I really want to see the rest of the sketches. You ask her. My english is not good."
" No! You ask Her. Pleeeaaase"
Giggling... pause...
"Ok. We'll ask her together. We will all say - (in english and in hushed practice whispers) Excuse me, can you show us your sketchbook"
"Ok fine. At the count of 3 - all together! One, two three!"
Dramatic silent pause.
A giggling collapse.
"Fraud! Cheee! Hey look! Look at her grey hair. She is old! We had better say excuse me aunty!"

Call me mean... but I didn't let on that I knew Tamil just so that they would go on being candid and I could keep listening in!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Somewhere between Christmas and the new year I took an early morning walk through the streets of Panjim - the old part of the city - just east of the creek. The previous day we had visited our friend Bhavana who now works at CCF and is currently putting final touches on a map of Panjim. Not any old map, but a beautifully documented detailed map that should soon be available to tourists. With heritage walking routes and lots of info. Bhavana walked us through some of the narrow winding streets herself and I noticed this Chapel on Rue De Natal near her office.
So the next morning I was there early sketching. I had my back to a smallish square which had a large well and a house looking out onto the square. At about 9 in the morning the front window of the house was thrown open and a middle-aged man stood at the window with a violin in his hand. He started playing the violin and never stopped. Not songs, not particularly melodious either... just a bunch of frenzied riffs. At length I finished my sketch, packed up and left. He was still playing away.

We walked a little more exploring the old parts of the city and found a street that was a series of steps. As we climbed higher and higher we could look back and see all the roof-tops of Panjim spread below us.
I tried doing a quick sketch but the street-dog territorial warfare and the sun started to get to me.

Retracing our steps we soon found ourselves back in the little square with the well. The violin music continued. It was almost noon. Old ladies passed by with baskets on their heads laden with fresh vegetables - greens, brinjals, radishes. They knocked on front doors that opened directly onto the narrow streets.

I couldn't help but sigh at the romanticism of old-city-Panjim life. Imagine daily door delivery of vegetables in a quiet heritage neighbourhood, with violin music in the background! Sigh. 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Goa.... finally!

Yes. I finally made it to Goa. Yes. This was my first visit to Goa. Really!
And it was amazing. It was everything I had built it up in my head to be. 8 lovely lazy days in the sun and sand and sea but also in the shade, and on a scooter scooting around, taking in the sights.
Lots of lovely people to meet, a mini-reunion of college friends. A very happy new year!
I managed to sketch quite a bit. Bliss! I inaugurated my first japanese fold Moleskine at Majorda beach. Majorda has a backwater formation and you can swim in the sea or wade in the back-water. The seafood and pancakes from "Blue-Waves", the beach shack we adopted were quite delicious.

And our entire stay was made all the more special thanks to our wonderful hosts - Garima and Roy who live in an old house in Moira. Obviously, having never done the tourist-hotel side of Goa, I'm not qualified to compare but something tells me I'm really lucky to have stayed here. Its a large house with a wide verandah. The two chair like seats that flank the entrance are typical of a lot of old houses in the area. The verandah is locally called a "Balcao" and has longer bench seats at the end too. We pretty much lived out here - breakfast, lazy afternoons and sundowners. The rest of the trip will come in blog installments as there is a LOT happening in my sketching life now :-)
And if anyone knows a better way of showcasing sketches done in the accordian fold format [any tool available on the web where I can scan it so you can flip through it online] please do let me know.
Happy new year everybody!