Thursday, 22 June 2017

A Birthday Party in Sarmoli

You've heard of the saying, 'You can't have your cake and eat it too'? Well, I realised if you are a Hindu that's totally possible. Now, before you think this is a religious statement, (of course I am a proud Hindu) let me hasten to explain why  This year, I had a unique wish for my birthday. I wanted to celebrate my birthday with the Nature fairies in a forest and wanted the birds to sing my birthday song  Well, while it may sound like fantasy to some, I knew that was totally possible. The only hitch was that I also wanted to be with my favourite person that day- my husband who couldn't travel with me. So that is where being a Hindu came to my rescue. For us Hindus, we get to celebrate our birthday twice a year, one on the day as per the Gregorian calendar and another as per the Hindu lunar calendar (called 'tithi'). Both birthdays usually fall within a few days of each other. So I spent one birthday with my husband and the next day I was off to Sarmoli (about which I have posted earlier). So, on my Hindu calendar birthday, I went on this amazing trek-cum-birdwatching trip on the upper reaches of the Munsiari mountains, where I had only birds (hundreds of them), the snow capped Panchachuli mountains and the forest fairies for company. And just as I had wanted, I spent the whole day being enthralled by the beauty of the forest, reading a book, taking a nap on the flower strewn grass, and meditating, with the birds singing for me in chorus throughout:-) We even had a little party with me eating some delicious gobi-parathas and rajma which my host had packed for me while the birds snacked on insects and seeds around.  I cannot even begin listing the variety of birds I spotted, but I've drawn a few. To the left is the Yellow billed Blue Magpie, Rosefinch, Woodpecker, Verditer Flycatcher, and to the right are the Long tailed Minivet, Barbet, Warbler and the Black and Yellow Grosbeak. All the birds looked like they had been dipped in buckets of happy colours and sprinkled with some more for patterns  That's going to be one of my best memories forever. 

A birthday party in Sarmoli with birds. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Drunk on Rhododendron.

'Drunk on Rhododendrons'. That's the title of this illustration. While on most Sunday mornings, I make a perfect cup of coffee and sit in the balcony with a book and some great music in the background, today I did something different. I woke up early at around 5.45 and completed this drawing which I had been postponing forever! It is inspired by the rhododendron trail in Deoriataal-Chopta-Chandrashila peak, which I did last year, where I was literally drunk on rhododendrons- visually as well as the actual juice of the flower  Today is also the day when the Warkaris begin their annual pilgrimage from Dehu and Alandi in Pune, carrying the 'padukas' (wooden footwear) of the 17th century saint poet Sant Tukaram and the 13th century saint poet Sant Dnyaneshwar respectively, to the Vitthal-Rukmini temple in Pandharpur. This is almost a 800 year old tradition in Maharashtra which sees thousands of pilgrims brave different weather conditions as they sing and dance in a spirit of devotion to God. I was wanting to join them for part of the pilgrimage this year, but couldn't make it. Instead here I am, listening to Abhangs (devotional songs written by the saint poets), completing this drawing and hoping I can join them next year. Google up 'Pandharpur Wari' for some stunning photos of the pilgrimage. And have a great Sunday.

Drunk on Rhododendrons.

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