Archive for the ‘beanstalk’ Category

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St. Andrews Church, Cubbon Road © Anuradha Prasad, 2016 

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1 MG Mall, MG Road © Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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1 MG Mall, MG Road © Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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Holy Trinity Church, MG Road © Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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St. Andrews Church, Cubbon Road © Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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St. Patricks Church, Brigade Road © Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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We descended into chaos. There was no time to think or plan as we were swept into the tide of people. At a distance a mosque of white spires and domes rose like a dream. It was 7a.m.

Bundles and bundles of roses lay spread on the streets. Red was clearly the favourite.

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There were occasional daisies, lotus buds, garlands of asters, marigolds, and sandwiches of multi-coloured flowers and round leaves.

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Lines of Holy Basil garlands were strung on chipped walls and rails. On another side, the pavement was heaped with spengeri, which is commonly used in flower arrangements for that touch of green and artistry.

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Most of the flower market circled around a mosque or dargah. It was a small green and white structure with a moon and star rising over it. A smaller, concrete moon was inscribed with Urdu script.

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The flowers made way for vegetables and fruits – trays of eggplants, peas out of their pods, okra, and ginger roots. A broken and forsaken toy car hinted at the presence of children.

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We were in the middle of monsoon. The misty rain got heavier and we took shelter in a building. It was business as usual for the vendors; they opened their umbrellas.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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A door opens into a shadowy space, a potter’s workroom. Strands of sunlight that manage to permeate the space reveal a man at the potter’s wheel. Light bulbs attempt to brighten the small space, an artificiality that is not lost, that seems to further alienate the daylight flooding the streets outside. Against one wall is a high shelf holding figurines; the painted one holds a cigar in his mouth. Next to them is an altar with lamps lit.

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Shelves and trays around the room are filled with pots and other creations. Like these tiny Ganesha idols, only one of whose eyes have been shaped on the clay.

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Clad in a t-shirt and shorts, the man sits before a potter’s wheel. His hands remain at work while he watches television. Next to him is a pail of muddy water. An assistant bustles around; he disappears into a smaller adjoining room, bringing more clay, carrying the tiny pots outside on pallets where they can dry out in the sun.

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The potter says he has been doing this work for forty years now. That is all he is willing to share before turning his attention back to the television. His practiced hands are covered with dripping wet clay as they hold the spinning wheel.

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Almost magically, a tiny pot is formed. It is hard to pinpoint how it is created and when it is completed but the potter’s hands seems to know it all too well.

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The tiny clay pots are set aside; still wet but no longer formless, no longer liquid clay. An assistant whisks the pallet off once it is full. Neither exchanges a word. Outside, the last of the wet clay dry as they are sealed with a kiss from the sun.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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Smack in the middle of Pottery Town: pots, towering and miniature idols, kilns, and in no particular order to the process, people at work.

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A man spread mud on tarpaulin and laid it out in the sun, before proceeding to knead the mud mixed with water.

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Finished Ganesha idols in all shapes, colours and designs wrapped in plastic covers lined the streets. They were waiting to be loaded in trucks and distributed across markets where people who celebrate this festival buy them, worship them, and finally immerse them in lakes and tanks.

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A dilapidated building was actually the kiln that is used to fire clay.

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Down a narrow lane, a man and a woman were at work. Laid out around them was an army of tiny busts of Goddess Gowri, some painted, others waiting their turn.

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On the main street, a man sat outside spraying paint on a Ganesha idol. He held each idol on a work stool. Once an idol was uniformly sprayed with pale coral with no trace of the naples cream base, a woman would quickly remove it and replace it with a plain idol.

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Next to them, an old lady sat painting Lord Krishna and his companion Radha. Mother Mary holding Infant Jesus stood by their side.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

The title is borrowed from a short story in Isabel Allende’s The Stories of Eva Luna.

 

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” – Wallace Stevens

My father and I would walk up the monolith. At the top, looking out at the other side – an expanse of trees that emanated a frail, lonely, abandoned air – he would tell me about the tiger who lived there. As my eyes searched for the tiger both apprehension and anticipation would grip me. That was thirty years ago.

I stand here once again, alone. I look for the rock sliding into a tree copse. Ah, but memory is fickle. The scene exists only in the child who believed in the tiger lurking among trees. And she is still in there waiting for the sinewy cat to show itself.

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The Lal Bagh Botanical Garden is an ornamental garden. The monolith that has been classified as a Peninsular Gneiss is 3000 years old. It is 7am, the sun is still choosing the day’s colour for the sky, and the place is already crawling with people and a few dogs.

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Atop this rock, sits one of the watch towers erected by Kempegowda I to mark the limits of Bangalore. The city outgrew these limits a long time ago.

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A child runs down the hillock barefoot just as we did as children. It is easier with your shoes off, and the rock feels both firm and cool against the feet.

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There are morning walkers who are catching up on gossip post-walk. Groups of tourists are guided by tour operators.

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Some are trying to meditate. Like this man who sat away from the crowd. A plumeria tree with buttery blooms stood a little distance from him.

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Vidhana Soudha, which could once be seen from a certain point, is no longer visible. Instead there are hazy, nondescript buildings rising up in the distance.

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Solitude does not wrap you here. How then will the tiger appear? It is time to go.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

“Wabi-sabi teaches us that we are in a constant state of change and we must value that which is in the moment.” – Keri Smith, Living Out Loud

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016