Monday, 19 October 2015

In The Land Of Bond, Ruskin Bond!

Coco never ventures out without his fleet of little cars, and he never leaves a place without getting us to buy more cars. It was quite usual for us as we ended up buying this pack of six vehicles at the mall road, Mussoorie. Last weekend we visited the queen of hills and stayed overnight. In the evening, after we reached our place to stay, we refreshed and went ahead for a long and leisurely stroll on the mall, where the above mentioned shopping for cars took place.

 As far as I remember, I have always loved hills. They have their own smell, their own charm and they never fail to mesmerize me. It is quite another story with Coco and his dad who get motion sickness during curvy hilly drives. His dad though, remains fine when he is driving the vehicle, but the child in my arms constantly threatens to throw up, which is quite a spoiler for my love of hills. In any case, before we move out of this place which overlooks Mussoorie, I wanted to visit Mussoorie in a relaxed manner and not for only a few hours like we did earlier at many occasions. So we planned a weekend at Mussoorie which is a 30 km drive from our home and set sail. 

It was gaiety and gala as usual on mall road, and as we neared Cambridge book store at the far end, I suddenly remembered it was Saturday, the day of the week when Mussoorie's very own celebrated author Ruskin Bond comes and meets his fans. I felt a rushing sensation that I get when I am excited and proceeded to enter the bookstore. But my hopes died down as I glanced up and down the aisles of an empty bookstore, except for a single salesman and the owner on the counter. 
We stayed for some time, looking at books, not courageous enough to ask anyone, and as a few other people also arrived, we gradually came to know that Mr Bond comes between 3 pm to 5 30 pm or so. Oh, if only I had known! At 5, I was happily chatting away with a senior couple at our guest house over steaming cups of tea, overlooking a deep gorge. Anyways, the very courteous owner at the bookstore allowed me to click a few pictures of the store. I was also extremely happy to find that they keep scores of signed books by Mr Bond for sale. At least! 
So we bought a few story books for Coco, and one signed book of Ruskin Bond, and very grudgingly exited the store. The enthusiasm with which people were talking about Mr Bond, the excitement about his books and the fanfare were all testimonies to his great work. I was a little crestfallen at not being able to see him, even when I had the opportunity, and I wished him a long and happy life, out of sheer fan-love.
Aww, so much love! Later, I gazed at the signature for a  a few minutes, before falling asleep beneath a cozy comforter in the chilly Mussoorie night.

After the bookstore, our next stop was Kalsang, the favorite Thai-Chinese food joint of the foodie tourists, where we beat the chill in style, with spicy lip smacking food. After having our fill, we strolled on the mall road for a while where Coco caught the fancy of a group of bubbly and noisy young people, among many others, as it always happens wherever we go. So he had a long round of photo shoot with these boys and girls. Sensing the presence of too much energy to deal with, Coco's father left the pram and watched as we all clicked away.   
We returned to our nightly abode after an ice-cream (I know, in the chilly weather!) and a couple of strolls on the mall road. Though I was tired by now, and sleepy, I read quite a few pages from my newly acquired book and fell asleep dreaming of adorable hill ghosts, Bond style... 

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Ambitious Rooster's Secret

This post has been published by me as a part of Blog-a-Ton 56; the fifty-sixth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. 

Jumpy was an ambitious rooster who lived on a huge farm, with various other animals. Though he lived with them, he never considered them of any importance, since Jumpy was ambitious, you see.

The tall, handsome rooster with lovely multiple coloured feathers and a bright red comb took pride in his being ambitious and a cut above the rest. The cows fed on grass all day and were milked twice, the sheep were for wool, the chickens were for eggs and the pigs were for meat. But Jumpy had an important job to do, which was to wake everyone up, so that they could begin working. Thus, he was full of self importance and pride. His only friend on the farm was master's dog, because the dog had a high status, like him, or so he thought.

Now, we must also know why he was ambitious. While the cows grazed all day and the pigs rolled in mud, and everyone else just went about their day as they were meant to, Jumpy had some dreams. Everyday, he saw the sun coming up in the sky, the clouds travelling here and there, and birds flying, the eagles chasing pigeons and the flocks of migratory birds doing their seasonal movements. He imagined he could fly in the vast, open sky some day. Every time, he looked up and remembered his dream, he would be giddy with happiness and pride and go jumping all over the farm.

'If only they knew,' he thought secretly, 'that there is a life beyond this farm, and there is so much to do, but they do not know, and they cannot even think like me. they have no imagination and no ambition. Stupid animals!' 

Though Jumpy was snobbish and unfriendly to the other animals, the animals loved him. He was their rockstar. They were in awe of him, and they talked of him in hushed tones, praising his sophisticated mannerisms, his handsome physique and his charismatic personality. The cows wanted to cock-a-doodle-do like him, but only a 'moo' came out whenever they tried to imitate their worshipped hero. The sheep wanted to get rid of all the unsightly, dusty wool and to have lovely multi coloured slender feathers like him. All the hens wanted to be with him and sighed with desire upon seeing him. The pigs desired to have a bright red comb like Jumpy, and rolled in muddy swamps to hide their embarrassing looks. While Jumpy, basking in the glory of his own aura and mystery, knew very well that he was the handsomest creature on the farm, and walked tall with conceit, his chest puffed in self-admiration.

Once, thinking about his flying dream, Jumpy could not sleep all night and dozed off in the wee hours of the morning. As a result, he could not give his wake up call and the animals woke up late. To their dismay, they saw Jumpy sleeping. They huddled up, worried and sad. Everyone had their own theory for Jumpy's unusual behaviour.

'Probably he has bird flu,' said a worried pig. Pigs know a lot about flu, as we all understand.

'No, that could not be right. Jumpy is the healthiest rooster I have known.' The head-cow opined. She was just back from an animal-rights convention in the capital, which had effectively got beef banned all over the country. 'I think he is sad because no one fights for chickens' rights. It is still being served, and there is no likelihood that it is going to stop in near future.' 

'Oh, I know just what is wrong with him,' chipped in the black sheep, 'I think he is worried that the fasting season is getting to a close and his life  might be in danger. We all must talk to him and assure him.'

'Jumpy is not afraid of such things. Probably he needs a girlfriend, and he will be all right,' said one of the coquettish hens, fluttering her nictitating membrane.

'Woof, what are you all doing here, wasting time? Don't you have work to do?' The dog walked right in the middle of the group. 

'Mr. Dog, we were wondering, what is the secret ailment that is bothering Jumpy. The farm is so lifeless without his energetic cock-a-doodle-do, and his enthusiastic run all over the farm.' said the head-cow.

'Oh, it's no secret. He was up all night, chatting with me about his dreams. Do you know, he is such a revolutionary, he wants to fly, high up in the sky. Though he is a flightless bird, he is a bird nevertheless. You all are his neighbours and still have no idea about his life!' The dog growled. 'Now stop dallying and get to work everyone!'

Everyone nodded. They could not do a lot in any case. So they decided to leave Jumpy alone and went on doing what they did daily. 

A few guests arrived on the farm that day, and as we can easily guess, they had a sumptuous meal of farm fresh chicken curry and hot steamed rice. 

The next morning, as the animals woke up grudgingly, without the wake up call again, they saw  the dog burying something deep in the ground. They decided that they should ask him to talk to Jumpy and convince him to stop this lackadaisical attitude and resume work. They were missing Jumpy too much and were really worried. As they stood in a semi-circle near the dog, he gave them a smile.

'Hey folks, its great news. Jumpy's dream of flying came true. He has left the farm and has gone to fly with the other birds.' Said the dog, slyly, as he covered the last bone with dirt.

The animals, happy for their hero, went on doing what they usually did. Jumpy's secret had become Jumpy's legend on the farm now.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked">here
. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following">Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 04.

Friday, 2 October 2015

August Craftathon: Wrapping Up!

I still have stuff remaining from August that I intended to show here, and that could have taken another two or three posts, but as I realized it is already October, and I am kind of getting tired looking at the same old stuff again and again, I thought of making this as a final post, and posting all the remaining stuff here. Additionally, I want to write about other things also, and that would happen only after I wrap this up. Fancy making stuff in one month and spending the next two months talking about it!
The pic above has the inside of the card, it's envelope and the paper bag, which was described in the last post. The envelope for the card was fashioned out of a card sheet, using the simplest pattern from the internet, as shown below, and was decorated with a few quilled leaves and paper roses like the paper bag. 
The last thing that was reamaining to do was to make a folder to be placed for the chief guest at the ladies meet. Now this was something that I had not done last time (Read about the last time here ). I was given a ready folder to see and find what type of folder was expected. It was made using a simple office folder. I did the same and cut an office folder to size, covered it in handmade papers of my choice front and back and decorated it in my signature style, using hand cut paper flowers, even used the paper lace from last year's card in this one. 
After delivering everything on time, as I was catching my breath, I came to know that two more folders were required. With only a few hours in the main event, I was not left with much choice, and I reached the venue, carrying a bag full of my craft supplies. On the senior most lady's advice, I used the two hand drawn circular backgrounds (from this post) and scribbled some more on the empty spaces of the two sheets, while all the other ladies were decorating the place. Then these two doodled A4 sheets were hurriedly pasted on two plain office folders and voila! We had everything ready.  
 While the main circular sheet became a green grassy field with giant leafy plants in the centre, the doodle for special personalized invitation got a colony of pretty little houses on a elevated ground, with a red fence. I would personally love to live in a cottage on a hill, and I guess that reflected in this hurriedly drawn doodle, because tiny cozy huts and red fencing were all that I could think of on that chaotic day.