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Sunday, August 06, 2017

On Friendship Day

On friendship day, I have to thank all my good friends who prop me when I am feeling down. Who share their good news with me because they know I will be happy for them. Who share my craziness with me. Who eat all my experimental food and love it. Who encourage me to write. Who are courteous to my parents. Who can talk to me for hours because they like our conversations. Who remind me of the goodness in me. Who give me an opportunity to be affectionate and hence improve my emotional well-being.

There are too many to tag in this post. You know who you are. And when I think of you, I believe I have been very fortunate when it comes to friends. Sure, I have met people who manipulate and lie, but they are not my friends. And they are not in my life. We choose our friends. And that free will makes relationships so strong. You don't 'have to' anything for your friends, you do it because you want to.

Of course, there are challenges of being 'best friends' in adult life. Sometimes, we judge compatibility based on income, lifestyle, ages of kids. If you are married, it has to be good vibes from four different people, which makes it even more challenging.  Maybe we should judge our compatibility based on our beliefs, our creative pursuits, common hobbies instead.

I have faith that there are good people in this world. And I want to give them my time. I want to foster an environment that encourages them to let their guard down and confide in me. Let our hair loose and be our silly selves at least for a couple of hours. There is always a chance of betrayal. But I hope that every person values true friendship and has the maturity to identify one when they come across it. Don't be a situational friend. Be a,' Call me when you are in the Emergency Room' friend. But don't abuse that privilege either if you are on the receiving end. 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Why are we friends?

Some of my friends replied:

Soma Basak
Because I like you

Shweta Yadav
Because you are a girl with imagination! And you use that to be creative! That's attractive!

Chandrima Roy
We were classmates and got along well back then and it good to stay connected now too though through FB.  Given a chance, I would definitely meet u.

Tanuka Bhattacharjee
We met for the first time in Dibyendu Sir's house, and we jelled along right from the first meeting. I found you, Jaya and Bijaya to be very simple, jovial and friendly...And gradually started counting all three you among my friends.

Priyanka Mehta
We became FB friends as we all do as a half remembered acquaintances.
We became actual friends as we liked the same things, felt strongly about certain topics and overall loved what the other was excited about.

And then I like your soul, who you are as a person and you're someone I definitely want to have in my life. There's always a flow of beautiful energy full of affection.

Of course, I love your food, makeup, and selfies

Suryatapa Chakravarty
A story a day, that's how it started, ages ago

Saikat Bose
One spring evening, as you ran a high temperature, you decided to venture out in the chill, to witness two wandering souls slowly walking towards each other... As you rolled up your eyes in despair watching the slo-mo action... You decided to kill the guy walking from the other end...   the reason that the guy is still alive and is typing this... shows the souls of dragons are still alive. That's how the dragon souls met.

Sonia Dey
Because you are one of my best critic and that badass personality I am in love with!
LoveShow more reactions ·

Swati Kar
Because u r an independent lady, were a nice senior to me and I love reading ur food blog.

Sejuti Sengupta
Only because we could get drunk on JP Licks's Kahlua ice cream

Raikishori Ganguly
Years ago you showed me two fingers & asked me how many fingers I saw.... You taught me to reflect & nudged me to think beyond the obvious but we were friends long ago... It feels like we were born friends!

Soumyajit Dutta Roy
Let's just say I was a misogynist pig back then (when i was 14 / 15) ..and Raikishori Ganguly and you helped me change that view...

Paramita Paul
Bcoz u r a well wisher and not my enemy

Sudeshna Ghosh
Because you are you!

If I am ever feeling sad, I will always come back to this post to remember how my friends found me. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Judging the book by its cover

I was talking to a retail employee at Giorgio Armani at Westfield where I asked him the difference between his experiences in retail in Vegas and in Silicon Valley. 

He mentioned that here people walk in wearing their summer shorts and flip flops and buy the most expensive stuff in the store. If anyone is dressed, they are either salesmen or going for an interview. In Vegas, where a lot of people are attending conferences and conventions, most of the customers are shopping for a replacement suit which they had ruined the previous night.

I had to laugh at how true it is. I love to dress up when I go out, but the culture here is definitely not the reason. If you go to Castro Street or Santana Row, you will often see people in sweatpants. Some of them own start-ups and are worth in millions. Yet, when you talk to them, they are like regular people. No airs. Only when you refer to their area of expertise, you realize their capital is their knowledge. 

If I have learned one thing living in this place, it is- never judge a book by its cover.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Metamorphosis

My father is rereading a short story collection by Kafka. We remembered the time I had read 'The Metamorphosis' when I was in standard IX. My father had advised against it, 'Wait for a couple of years.' I went ahead anyway, thinking, what could a novella do? I had nightmares the night I read it. And developed an irrational fear that I would turn into a cockroach (my translation of a monstrous vermin)

Maybe we should just enjoy the story in its absurd realm. But to draw parallels, I think we fear to become irrelevant to our loved ones. The most absurd thing was probably how indifferent his family was about his transformation. But I thought of it this way- what if a man met with an accident, became invalid and a prisoner in his own body? Wouldn't he be in the same predicament as Gregor Samsa? 


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Midnight in Paris

They say Paris is magical at midnight. I walked out of my hotel to experience that. After an unpleasant smell of what appears to be an open toilet for a homeless guy, I walked up to Pont de Grenelle, a  bridge across the River Seine.

I half expected some revelers from the past to sweep me back in time, like they do in the movies,  for a night with some of the greatest minds of art and literature. Hemingway, Picasso, Stein, Monet, Hugo- it didn't matter which part of historical reality. I imagined an enlightening conversation that would give me the unified mantra of life. A few phrases that would help me through every ordeal I ever face.

Then I look around, a family of refugees in the park, young people laughing by the river bank. The Eiffel Tower lit up like a million fireflies are climbing up and down. After everything the city has seen in recent years - all the showmanship by the terrorists to frighten the people and the head of states into reaction has yielded nothing. Because life goes on.

I believe the mantra I was looking for is: Be alive.

The Eiffel Tower at Midnight. Every hour from 9 pm to 1 am at the strike of the hour, the Eiffel sparkles like diamonds for 5 mins as the lights change from a continuous glow to a dazzling glitter. The lights go out after 1 am.


At Le Moulin Rouge (The Red Mill)

It was a lavish extravaganza featuring pirates, an Indian princess, classic can-can dancers, circus clowns, miniature horses, a talking dog, a gorgeous woman dancing in water with pythons (my favorite act) and three specialty acts. We decided to go at the 11th hour and were not disappointed, even though I have seen several shows in Vegas.

 The Notre-Dame is a medieval gothic Catholic cathedral


The Louvre Pyramid

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle


In the heart of the Emerald City, Seattle, there is a glass art exhibition showcasing the life's work of Dale Chihuly. Born in the Pacific Northwest, Chihuly began experimenting with glass blowing in 1969 and later traveled to Venice to work at the Venini factory on the island of Murano. The world famous Murano glassmakers still lead the world in the art of glassblowing.

I first saw a glass museum on our way to Niagra Falls with my friends on a 4th July weekend, way back in 2008. Then, SG and I received two gorgeous Murano glass centerpieces in 2010, as a wedding gift from an Italian family friend. I have left it for safekeeping with my mother-in-law unless we find a nice spot to house them.

In 1976,  Chihuly had a head-on car accident in which he flew through the windshield, got severe cuts in the face and got blinded in the left eye leading to his loss of depth perception. Then in 1979, in a bodysurfing accident, he dislocated his right shoulder. Chihuly relinquished his gaffer position and let others work on his designs. He started to communicate his vision by drawing forms which became an important part of his self-expression. In an interview in 2006, he said,'Once I stepped back, I liked the view.'

Glass Forest
Organic forms created by letting glass down from a ladder

Mille Fiori (a thousand flowers)
Inspired by Chihuly's mother's garden
Mille Fiori, in Italian, also refers to a type of honey gathered from several flowers

Growing up in Tacoma, Washington, Chihuly often beachcombed and found Japanese fishing net floats along the beaches of Puget Sound. The Ikebana and Float Boats were inspired by this childhood experience.  In the mid-1990s, he was in Finland when he threw his glass forms into the local river near the glass factory there.

One day, Dale woke up and said that he wanted to hang glass chandeliers in his favorite city, Venice. He had seen a chandelier in Barcelona in a low lying ceiling. It inspired him to make the chandelier series.

Similar to a floppy bowl I made in BAGI, these art pieces are clouds of bright color

A reflection of the Seattle Space Needle on a glass ball in the garden

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Letter from a Leaf

I attended a writing workshop yesterday at The Arsenal by Lita Kurth, the co-founder of Flash Fiction Forum, San Jose. We did several exercises, one of which was to pen down either an autobiography of a leaf or a letter from a leaf. I chose the later. I would like to share the first draft with you.
Dear Ma,

It has been a while since I last saw you. After the gardener had pruned some of our sisters with his gigantic shears, we lay on the ground for hours in the scorching heat. Some of us crumbled and gave up. But Tessa and I kept hoping for a spot of rain.

A young woman with purple hair picked us up and took us home. She put us on her writing desk and started sketching details of our anatomy. Occasionally, she touched or smelled us. We were delighted to be there.

But soon her art project ended, and she threw Tessa away. I did not see her after that. The woman put me in one of her notebooks, and now I live across one of the poems she wrote about love. One day, I saw her weep. Her tear drops fell on a few lines of my neighboring poem and smudged a few words. When she closed the notebook, I got a black stain. But I don't mind. I had seen the woman when she was most vulnerable, and I think it is a privilege.

Don't worry about me. I'm living beyond the lifespan of my other siblings who fell to the ground the day we were pruned. Sometimes, it makes me feel guilty. But I think you'll be happy to know that I survived.

Your loving daughter,
Gina