Neelu.

Our older sister wanted a cat. So she got one. And that should have been the beginning and the end of the story, right? Well, not really.
This cat was a Calico, with patches of burnt sienna and black on her body and head.

I was about ten years old when Neelu came to the homestead. I fell in love with it. OMG! I would talk to her, and cuddle her, and feed her and play with her. Going to school was a big drama. I thought that my absence from the home for all those hours would be agonizing for Neelu. I believed that she would run away or die, or some such thing. Many a time the nuns at the school would catch me day dreaming and haul me up for not paying attention.

I just couldn’t help it. She had the most alluring eyes and she would purrrrr every time she saw me. How could I not be mesmerized by her?

Then she started getting fat. And she didn’t look that cute. I heard from Sulaiman the domestic help, that Neelu was carrying babies in her tummy! I couldn’t believe it. I asked my mother what was wrong with Neelu. She confirmed that Neelu was indeed expecting kittens.

The slut!

And one morning when we were getting ready for school, mother showed us the litter of beautiful furry kittens, all meowing and making a racket. I just stood and stared at them. Throughout that day I thought of Neelu, and wondered how she had “betrayed” my love and now was a mother.

When I returned from the school, I went straight to where she was in the morning, tending after her babies. I expected her to be in the same position. But she was not there. I asked all the maids and the cooks and the gardeners, and no one knew where she had gone. But they didn’t care either. I was beside myself. One of the maids was feeding the kittens with some milk, while I pined for Neelu.

Then it dawned on me that Neelu had gone to her husband to inform him that he was now a father. I wondered if they celebrated. I wondered how they must have been so happy to have as many kittens as she did, and wondered if he had come to visit the new born kittens. Once I figured that out, I was more satisfied and went to mother and said, “I know where Neelu went! She went to let her husband know that he is a father, and she will probably bring him over to visit the kittens!” My mother glared at me and asked me to go to my room and finish the homework. The minute I turned my back on my parents, I heard this thunderous laughter from that room. I didn’t know what had happened.

In the next few days the kittens were all given away and Neelu was free to go about the house and garden. I continued to love her that is, until my nephew was born. Oh Dear Lord! How could a little baby wrap its arms and legs and body around my heart?

I betrayed Neelu. My love changed overnight towards my little nephew, and continued to love him until I left the shores of India, and he got married some years later. Just thought I would share this story with you all, and tell  you that I am such a fickle minded admirer!!

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A Cairn

High up in the mountains of Norway, there is a memorial of sorts. I saw this photo taken by Mazeeepuram, during her climb, and it spoke to me as if a mother was holding a child.

I hold you to my heart,
my head on your shoulder,
dried tears of ages
forming tiny boulders
ageless and eternal

You hug my broken body,
and I cannot raise my head
the snows will come and go
we remain untouched
Mother and child!©

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Quincy Artists Guild

The Quincy Artists Guild had their first Display at the Cheryl Loatsch Studio last night. It was such a wonderful evening, with so many patrons and art lovers, who attended the inauguration. Here are some photos of the evening. Some of the photos were taken while the place was being set up the day before. All thanks to Cheryl Loatsch for allowing us to paint in her place and allow us to display our work there, AND, be gracious enough to hold the reception. The event was such a huge success. The Mayor inaugurated the event, and there was TV coverage to boot. I am so happy for all the help and support I received. Thank you to every one who brought food and snacks and A Million thanks to Tricia Schlipman for the amazing flower arrangements. I request Quincy friends to go to the C L Studio and view the work. It will be on till the 26th. We sold several pieces and there are still some amazing paintings that are available.
Zakiah Sayeed Ali
President QAG.

This is what I posted on my Facebook page. I am sorry I have been busy for almost three weeks, taking care of all the arrangements, getting the paintings ready. Just didn’t have a relaxing time to sit and write on WP. There was a constant worry in my brain about, what if the whole project falls flat on its face. It was however, an amazing affair,, with more than a hundred people attending the event, and more than a hundred paintings to view. There were some amazing ceramic pieces also, which I am sorry I didn’t take photos of. There was enough food for all to share and enjoy. I had made Samosas and ordered Baklava trays, and other members had brought a cheese and meat, and vegetable, and cookie trays. It was a grand evening with TV coverage.

Now you know why I was AWOL. Thank you to all of you who were concerned about my absence and the kind enquiries. Love you all.

Cheryl made this logo for us. Isn’t that nice. I love the burst of colors.
Some of the paintings. The one with the red matt around the painting was done by me. It is titled “The face of India”. I loved the the painting of the little girl at the end, done by my friend.
Some of you may have seen this painting before of The Whilrling Derveshes. I had seen them in Istanbul and incorporated Arabic Calligraphy. This painting sold. Was very happy about it.
I painted the Eiffel Tower, two weeks back. I did it along with a teacher on line who recommends “float your pigment. I loved the vibrant colors.
The small painting of the “water Carriers” has my signature under the matt. Many people liked it. Didn’t sell though. On the same table there are hand made chains and earrings made by a friend. I think M got a couple for Saadi and Shelley.

I took this picture the day before the event. Cheryl and her team are setting up the place.
I painted these crows a couple of years ago. It was sold even before the event started. Five people wanted to buy it yesterday, but were told that it was sold.
This again you may have seen before. I had taken a picture of these men in a mall in Dubai. Titled it “Brothers”, and painted it a couple of years ago. This sold last night.
And here is the Frangipani/ Plumeria blooming on my deck. My friend sent two saplings from Palm Desert in June. I gave one to Saadia, and kept the other one. I am so excited with the leaves and the blooms. I hope it survives indoor during winter.
A friend took this photo of mine last night and sent it on WhatsApp. I didn’t know how to transfer it from there to WP. SO I took a photo of the photo and pated it here. And that’s the end of the story.
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Saturday Cooking.

Cucumbers, and tomatoes, and okra and eggplants. If I am not growing them, the friends are, and they supply their produce to my doorstep. Of course there is reciprocity.
The oriental eggplants are just going to town in my garden. Lots of okra and tons of tomatoes. A friend had brought a bag full of cucumbers.

So today, I cooked.

Cucumber salad with pepper flakes, toasted coconut and crushed peanuts etc. was really really good. Home grown vegetables are so tasty.

I had a large bunch of Swiss Chard; I made a dish with red lentils, and onions with a serrano chili and different spices, cooked with coconut milk. It turned out really tasty.

Swiss chard with lentils.

The garden is producing a lot of eggplants. I cooked them with pickling spices(Indian), and it turned out great. I added a few okra to this also, and I loved it. This was the first time I cooked eggplants like this.

And finally I made pot roast. Same old recipe, nothing new. We had just that with some fried rice and the cucumber salad. A good meal for Saturday. The other dishes, we will use the rest of the week.

Hope your weekend is going good.

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Hibiscus.

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HiBiscus

Saadia has become a Master Gardener. These are the blooms on the hibiscus plants.

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Unwanted Mail

Unwanted Mail

How many of you get trash in the mail. Bekaar envelopes that fill the mail box. Many of them are asking for donations to this foundation of that charity event, Some are genuine and I usually send something to some people who are doing good with cancer research or the Shriner’s Hospital. But I do it just once a year.

I have noticed that if I send a check to one organization, they probably pass my address to every T D&H (that would be Tom, Dick & Harry for you).

I would pitch them in the trash bin, all of them, or burn them in the fireplace. But recently I have thought of something else. I am happy to tell you, that I take those envelopes from various places, and with a sharpie, write on the envelope, “Return to Sender”. The mail person takes them away, No question asked. The envelopes are not opened, and I will continue to do this.

Yesterday M got about ten such envelopes, from St. Judes, Shriners, various other joints, known and unknown, from the Scouts of America to Disabled Veterans. Ten thick envelopes. On each of them I wrote, Return to Sender in big bold letters and voila, they were gone.

It is not that we don’t donate. We do– to certain organizations, but the problem is that they keep sending the requests for more and more and more, over and over again. I wonder if they think we have a money tree. I love to help people who are in need of help. Honestly, I do, and would do anything to help children and people who are abused, or are in dire need of help due to various problems. But getting five to seven requests each day from the people whom we accommodate yearly, is a little too much for me.

I am wondering if I should do the same when I receive the monthly bills from different companies….. Naaah, I don’t think they will like that.

That’s all. That is my rant for the week!

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First sunflower of the Summer.

I didn’t plant sunflowers this year. This lone plant grew from the wanton seeds of last year, amidst the roses. It is huge and the plant is over seven feet tall. The sun was behind the clouds, and the day was cloudy. The flower faced the east regardless. 🙂

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Fireworks

I generally do not take pictures of the fireworks. This year, we were at the country club for the fourth of July event and after a good buffet, just stayed on for the boom booms. What impressed me was the tree line which was clear and cloudless that evening, filled up with haze and smoke as the fireworks continued. Here are some pictures of that evening.

You can just barely see the white haze at the bottom, creeping up.
That’s about it. Glad I was not sitting too close to that to smell and inhale that smoke. It was fun to watch it.
Have a great weekend.
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Paintings and Plumeria

While the cataract surgery sort of made me lazy to do much, I made up for the laziness by painting a few things.

A snow scape. This is from a book of watercolor paintings.
I saw this photo in a furniture shop and liked it. Took a photo of it and came home and painted it.
Beach fun. I like to paint sky and water and the reflections.
A flower in the grass. I used metallic paints here.
Crocuses in snow.
Wild flowers.
Blending colors. I had taken a workshop for just the blending of colors on faces and buildings. This one is a result of that.
This a Clematis that had fallen on the grass in the backyard. I brought it in and pressed it on the art paper while it was still sort of damp. The color came out well and I enhanced the lines. The Clematis was really that big. Loved it.
An old Pantry shelf.

And finally I want to talk about my Plumeria/Frangipani. We used to have these at home and would make leis of the blooms, or stick one single one in the bobby pin in our hair. I had confiscated a sapling from Hawaii in the nineties, and brought it over and planted it in the ground, without thinking about winter. The sapling lived for a couple of months, and had leaves, and then November came and it just died. It was so sad. Recently a friend sent me two large saplings of this plant from his garden in California. I gave one to Saadia and kept one for myself. It was in a planter on the deck. Three of four days back I noticed green buds at the end of the stem and yesterday, I saw the bloom. I was on cloud nine! First time for me in the US to grow this and smell its fragrance and see its beauty.

Love the rain drops on these blooms. What Joy! I am so blessed.

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