Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

In between the earth and sky


My daughter happily soaring in between the blue sky  and grass-covered hills of Dalhousie (Himachal Pradesh).

Dalhousie a small town, named after the British Governor General in India Lord Dalhousie, was developed as summer retreat by the Britishers around five hills of state of Himachal Pradesh(India). With around 600 hotel which include private villas and bungalows, this is a favorite tourism destination. Dalhousie  is between 6000 and 9000 ft above mean sea level.

Though it has many tourist attractions but we were there for only few hours and all we could manage was horse ride and para-sailing.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art


The state of Rajasthan, India, besides being known for its rich royal history, havelis, forts and palaces is also the home of miniature art. Mostly the miniature art depicts the royal processions, besotted royal couples, hunting expeditions, Lord Krishna’s mythological stories. Very few artists dare to create erotic art and those who do, do so in explicit details. I happened to see those paintings but since I can not upload any content which is ‘adult only’ hence I chose these miniature paintings for this photo challenge.

THE ARTIST: Mr. Kanu Swami

The artist : Kanu SwamiMr. Kanu Swami has known fame well now. Besides creating the miniature art of animals, trees, royal processions etc. he is well-known for the erotic miniature art which he keeps under wraps and shows it off or sells only to the genuinely interested people. He says, “People don’t understand the beauty and do not let me paint in peace”. He has sold a complete set of twelve paintings titled ” Kamasutra” for INR 15000 each to an European gentleman who visited his shop within the premises of Jaisalmer Fort. Despite fame and fortune he is quite a humble artist. He though able to afford a better bigger studio/ gallery for his work, is quite happy with his small shop cum work desk.

A little of my art too:

My vanity got the better of me and I am tempted to show off a few of my art work too. 🙂 So here I am with three of my drawings too. The prompt says “Art is not just paintings or sculpture….” but I couldn’t let this opportunity go without flaunting my handiwork.

Art in the nature: The nature is full of beautiful shapes, colors, sizes of flora and fauna. If we really take out time to sit back and appreciate what the nature has to offer, we are dumbstruck by the sheer variety. I got a few leaves, flowers, grass etc framed to capture the beauty and nature’s ‘work of art‘ .

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

In the Indian culture people of all faiths believe in thanking God almighty for smallest of the wish. At some places like the Salim Chisti Dargah at Fatehpur Sikri(Agra), the culture is to tie a thread near the prayer hall and when the prayer is answered the thread has to be untied. At Ajmer Sharif Dargah people offer a chadar(sheet) made of flowers or silk or ordinary cloth according to their means.

The photographs are of a temple in Nainital where people tie bells of various sizes to show their gratitude towards the God. Hindus ring bells in temples and chant hymns in praise of God during all prayers. Again the sizes vary as per the capability of an individual.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

All things yellow….the bright, shining, gleaming, golden, sprightly, joyous, spirited color!!



Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

I know I am very late for this post….the whole week is almost over! To be honest I had lost interest in weekly photo challenges because I observed that I was not writing any thing else and whole week went off waiting for a new photo challenge and the comments from fellow bloggers. Though it was fun…in fact some good bloggers boosted my spirits by nominating many awards  and that was soooooooo satisfying ! But I was not getting new visitors…..that was making me seriously doubt my writing ability. And so I stopped participating. However, a few months back a mail from eof737 asking about my well-being and the concern made me feel perked up (thank you so much “eof737”) . I realized that by not writing I was not only loosing out on some probably new visitors but also the ones who were reading my blog!! Now I am again trying to reach out to bloggers old and new with this weekly photo challenge.

Lunchtime is one such event at our home when the three of us are seldom together….my daughter does not come back from school till around 2:30 p.m, my husband has no fixed time of returning home from work. All of us eat at our own convenient times. Today was one of the rare times when all of us sat down at dining table and had lunch together. Even our dog “Buddy” stretched down near the table content  that all were at home and safe!

The lunch menu was simple regular home-made food : dal (lentil gravy), paneer-simla mirch(capsicum and cottage cheese), bathua raita (plain home-made curd or yoghurt with white-goosefoot/pigweed leaves), chapati/roti (indian wheat bread) and basmati rice. Though  there was nothing out of the ordinary in the menu but it became special because we all were at home!

I am fairly good cook and quite proud that I can cook not only Indian food but can manage a few of the Chinese, Italian, Mexican and Thai recipes too! I like watching all food channels ( and I am myself surprised because a decade back I loathed kitchen and all chopping and cutting and forever upset my mom!). But taking advantage of the photo challenge today I am posting not only the photos but also the recipe..

1. Capsicum and Cottage cheese:



1 large onion(  finely chopped)

2 large ripe tomatoes (finely chopped)

2 medium capsicum (cut into big chunks)

150 gm cottage cheese (bite sized squares)

1 tsp garam masala (1/4 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp black pepper ground to a powder)

Heat 2tbsp oil in a wok. Cook onion till transparent. Add tomatoes, 1/2 tsp turmeric and ground red pepper powder and one slit green chilly. When the oil starts separating add capsicum.  Once the capsicum softens add cottage cheese, salt and garam masala. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve!

2. Dal :



1 tbsp of each split black gram (urad chika), kidney beans (rajma), split and skinned bengal gram ( chana dal), pink lentil (masoor) soaked overnight and cooked till soft

3 tbsp paste of 2onions,2 tomatoes, 3cloves of garlic, a small piece of ginger

1tsp garam masala

Heat oil and fry the paste till oil separates. Add the cooked lentils salt, garam masala and 1 cup water( or more) Bring to boil. The dal should not be very watery nor like a paste…. more like a thick soup. Heat a little butter and add 1 tsp of cumin seeds till they splutter. Garnish with this butter and cumin  and chopped fresh coriander.

3. Bathua Raita:



2 cup curd/plain yoghurt

2 tbsp blanched and pureed  pig weed leaves

rock-salt, powdered sugar, salt, black pepper powder roasted cumin powder (to taste)

Mix all and chill. Serve with rice or naan or any Indian bread.

4. Chapati/Roti:



1 cup whole wheat flour

1tsp oil


Knead the flour to make soft pliable dough with water and apply oil. Make small rounds and with the help of a rolling-pin make a 6 inch flat  thin disc . Roast on hot plate. Serve hot with clarified butter.

Today’s lunch was quite satisfying and I look forward to more such lunches with the family…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

“Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution.”
Some say there are about seven people in the whole world who look similar ……but that is all it is! We are even different from our own parents, siblings…we do not even have same set of fingerprints. Each one of us is a different entity in the whole world. And, except the genetic hand-me-downs, each one of us has a different view of life, opinions, visions , aspirations, dreams, characters, destinations, destinies, plans to reach the goals……
As a child we begin our life as an unique living being and it is our duty to leave a mark…..good or bad. Every child has a unique innocence, appeal and expectation from the adults around them. Each child can be relieved in a specific and unique way of the fears and apprehensions….
A little girl
And, as the fears wane a unique peace surrounds which shows in the shining eyes and bright smiles of these innocent children…….
Only when we are happy and feel proud to be a unique human being then our mind creates a unique world where there is love, peace, equality, compassion and humanity… We build unique bridges to erase the difference, unite the world and connect the unfortunates to a world of opportunity……
Living Root Bridge(Shillong,India)

Living Root Bridge(Shillong,India)

 “Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world…if you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

An unusual thought came to me……. what if I stopped participating in the weekly photo challenges? Will the recent friends that I have made in this world of blogging still visit my blog? Will the traffic that I have enjoyed since last few months continue to grow? Will whatever I write make it eligible ever for the “freshly pressed post”? Do people really enjoy reading what I write?

This train of thought sent its feelers into my other relationships too… My relation with fellow bloggers may take a downward slide off and on, but what about the people whom I have known all this time? Will my younger sister ever again need some advice and help from me? Will my husband always stand by me? Will my parents agree with my decisions? Will my daughter understand my concerns? Will my friends forgive my occasional annoyance? WILL I EVER KNOW WHETHER THEY REALLY NEED ME? IS MY PRESENCE OF ANY VALUE? DO MY OPINIONS COUNT? 

Will I be able to make a mark in my lifetime or will I be a faceless entity on mother earth like these :

It is unusual to sit like this with our eyes not knowing where the path leads and such people lose their identity…. lost on others, their absence not affecting people around them… No!! what would that life be? I do not want it  like that.

Amid all this depressing state of mind, a sudden query from my daughter :

“Mamma, why does God create difficulties for us? Doesn’t HE love us?”

And my reply brought some sense back to my disturbed mind. I told her that God always loves us but just keeps testing us about how we handle ourselves in different situations, whether we are prepared for much more difficult problems. Its our responsibility to emerge successfully from trying times all the while keeping faith in HIM that he will not let us falter. HE will find some way to make our existence useful. We will flourish and enjoy attention from our dear ones just like this unusual palm tree:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Distorted

Britishers came to India posing as innocent traders and slowly spread like cancer throughout the country silently taking control over so many small kingdoms and looting the property and killing innocent people. They thought the natives were uncouth, uneducated and uncivilized. Thus they took upon themselves to improve the natives disregarding the faith and emotions of people. They introduced the English language besides Christianityrailways, British architecture and systematic armed forces. In fact the English language also  has a lot many words with their origin in India. Jungle, jute, cummerbund, dacoit, curry, nirvana, guru, karma etc are few such words.

The people of India have always adopted and adapted to all sorts of influences and personalized it to great extent. Even words of English language have  taken an Indian twist.

However sometimes those who do not have the privilege of attending schools interpret English in their own way. This gives rise to some very weird, funny and distorted English…

Can you guess what this placard says??? I bet you will be surprised to know that it says:

“Chilled Fresh Juice”

The sign was displayed in a wayside kiosk. The owner with his limited knowledge of the language and phonetics put up the sign to attract foreign tourists…. he got the spelling of “juice” right though!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ready

 A world without any problems…….relaxed and carefree,

 Forget your worries …..come play with me!!

If only humans were as emotionally secure as animals then they would also have been always as ready to enjoy as him. Our dog is always ready to play irrespective of hunger, cold weather, torrential rains …..anything, ‘coz he wants only love and love and love.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

Parents always strive to ensure the happiness of child, be it providing food, shelter or anything that the child may need because they always hope for bright future of the child and do not want anything falling short. Here are two set of parents who are full of hope for their off-springs:

Hopeful of finding enough food to take back home and feed the hungry mouths..

She carries a tired child tied on her back hoping to give some rest to the little feet and waits hopefully for a ride home…..