Author Archives: Payal

About Payal

A mom, a nature lover, a food hogger and a traveler. On a journey to explore my city Jaipur, its culture, food, festivals and its history.

The Art of Procrastination (and how I am a born master)

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This post is dedicated (or in less praising words-subjected) to the most important person of my life ‘Me’; and not to the better n more important thing–the Subject of My Blog Jaipur.

 

Its only 5 in the morning and I am up to start  the new book I picked yesterday, “Don’t Buy This Book Now!” by John Perry.  It is surprising  that I  am reading this quick (it has nothing to do with the books quality, mostly I take hours to finish a couple of pages of a bestseller) and, I am halfway through.   Well this post is not about praising my today’s reading speed, or to tell you that I read it because the book is Good–the book is brilliant without me giving it a certificate. So today’s post is about something else.

 

Quickly coming to the point–it talks about ‘ The Art of Procrastination’.  Of which I am probably the biggest artist and till very recently I had no clue what the word meant.

 

In Chapter One, the author starts with ‘Structured Procrastination‘. He quote a few lines from a column written by Robert Benchley for the Chicago Tribune in 1930, “anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.”  

 

Further adding to it the author says, “All procrastinators put off things they have to do “.

 

Procrastination

Procrastination (Photo credit: Reynante Martinez)

And as usual I said to myself, ‘ya ya I know’.

 “Procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, such as gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will recognize their files when they get around to it”.

 

What! Is that why I spend  much more than required time (i.e. 5 minutes for watering) in gardening my terrace garden?  Oops, the satellites do work, otherwise I mean how would Mr Perry know that I am strolling uselessly in my 10 x 5 garden doing fashionable gardening or gardening fashionably.

 

It is just because I can’t glue my butt to the chair when it is required.

 

I couldn’t sit and study for my school exams back then and, even now I’ve trouble completing what I set for.

 

Honestly, I didn’t start blogging for the sake of writing, but only because I couldn’t start with my II assignment of  ‘Writers’ Bureau Creative Writing Course’ , which I haven’t started as yet and its been over a year now.

 

And now when I’ve eventually set a task for myself, that is blogging, I can’t  find Inspiration‘  for the next post.

 

But you know what actually happens is, what Mr Perry has put in following lines in the simplest way it can be put.

 

” I think perfectionism leads to procrastination.  Many procrastinators do not realize that they are perfectionist, for the simple reason that we have never done anything perfectly or even nearly so.  We have never been told that something we did was perfect, nor have we ourselves felt that anything we did was perfect.  We think, quite mistakenly, that being a perfectionist implies, often or sometimes,  or at least once, having completed some task to perfection.  But this is a misunderstanding of the basic dynamic of perfectionism.

 

Perfectionism of the sort I am talking about is a matter of fantasy, not reality.

 

Here’s how it works in my case.  Someone wants me to do something, a publisher wants me to referee a manuscript, that has been submitted and involves giving an opinion —-immediately my fantasy life kicks in.  I imagine myself writing the most wonderful referee’s report.”

 

Well for me, I imagine myself writing the most wonderful ‘Blog’ every time I start thinking about writing one.  When I am writing an assignment, I fantasize it being published in reputed magazine even before I have sent it to my tutor at Writers’ Bureau.  And I am already receiving payments and more work and … then suddenly it poofs.  Back to reality, I haven’t even started.

Every now and then when I set out to write a blog post, I reach the top of  blogging world even before I type the title.  And I am receiving 50 likes and 100 comments and being picked up by ‘Freshly Pressed’ .  After spending an hour of day dreaming  what happens is that I end up not writing one.

Just because I set out to write a perfect one, and not because I want to write one.

The clarity came from the last paragraph of Chapter II.

“Often the answer will be that a less-than-perfect job will do just fine, and moreover it’s all I am ever going to do anyway.  So I give myself permission to do a less-than-perfect job now, rather than waiting until the task is overdue.  Which means I may as well do it now. (Or at least start on it tomorrow).”

It brings a smile.

I may write just to write and to be LIKED.

Good Day.

Be Happy.peace

 

Tripolia Gate and Chaura Raasta, Jaipur

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Private Gate that leads to the City Palace of Jaipur. This market is named after this gate.Namascar Friends.

From today I wish to focus just on the walled city and it’s happening.  To start–a little briefing about the architectural plan of Jaipur. The geometrical design of Jaipur has three parallel markets, the Kishanpole Bazaar,  Chaura Raasta, and Johari Bazaar.  All these three Bazaars are joined by innumerable Raastas (alleys) at right-angle.   Today, we will set foot in the Chaura Raasta which is the central market.  Its entrance is called the New Gate.   But here I am standing at the end of the Bazaar that meets the Tripolia Gate, which is a private entry to the Royal City Palace.  Today, I am not focusing much on the planning as it requires lot of details.

The Hind HotelWhile facing the Tripolia Gate  if I rotate my camera anti-clock, right on the corner is the old Hind Hotel.  One of the very first hotels that came into being in the city of Jaipur, unfortunately it doesn’t function anymore.

Further I move and you’ll see this old Eatery called the Khandelwal Pavitra Bhojnalaya,. It displays “Recommended by Lonely Planet”.  Though I haven’t tried food there ever, but now I’ll do it soon to share with you all.  Interestingly, any pure veg eatery is called ‘Pavitra’ that means pure and Bhojnalaya is Restaurant.

Khandelwal Pavitra Bhojnalayatourist enjoying Rikshaw ride in JaipurJust as I was admiring the Bhojnalaya I caught in my camera this group of foreign tourist taking a Rikshaw tour in the walled city.  It surely is an interesting travel mode, also quite adventurous!  Fun! I personally love and recommend it to all the tourists.

Tourists who visit Jaipur Bazaar have multiple things to do, but I usually visit for one sole reason, to eat a ‘Samosa’. One of the most famous snack in whole of India.  For us it can be eaten as a breakfast, post breakfast, lunch, post lunch, as a tea snack or as a cola snack.  Usually, we don’t think before having one (unless one has an upset stomach).

So let’s go the most famous Samose-wala of Chaura Raasta, the Samrat.    Every market, every lane has there own very very famous smosa shops.  These triple shop run under same name, selling Bread Pakora, Kachori, Samosas and also Jalebis.  The LMB sweet shop about which I did a post couple of months back is globally recommended by tourists.  But apart from that there are numerous not so fancy Halwai (sweet vendor) shops that sell incredible Indian sweets and snacks.  And they are a must try for any tourist who want to actually taste the local flavors.

478This one in particular has been around for almost a century.  The best part about them is, they just sell what they can make best and seems so unaffected by modernization of F&B.

Samosa and Kachori

Honestly they are not the best looking eateries but surely they make the best tasting Samosas.  Up in pic you can take a closer look of freshly deep fried snack variety.  In simple words, the round ones are kachories i.e. dough balls filled with either dry-roasted very spicy pulse or a masala of onions.  Samosas are the pyramid-shaped deep-fried thing that have essentially potato, green chilli, and green coriander.  There is not much variation throughout the country.

Now if you feel it is going too hot for the palate, just step into the third shop on the right hand corner and order for a plate of  freshly hot piping spiral jalebies.  Jalebies are made of flour-always spiral shaped (though size varies) and soaked in sugar syrup.  They are really juicy and incredibly simple.

I am not a great fan of the 5 star restaurants serving Indian Dishes, though there are some very good places in Jaipur for dinning, but I don’t like them getting too focused on transforming the simple dishes into some fancy plate of creamy thick curry.

These snacks are completely safe for anyone who loves hot spicy food.  Just avoid taking chutney and curd over anything and nothing will go wrong.  Also, vegetarian food is always safe and mostly harmless.   If you have fewer reservations regarding the look of eating places, you’ll find innumerable eating joints in India.

So for the moment enjoy the pictures till you visit my city of Jaipur.

And here comes the bonus picture.

the fellow citizens

Be aware of these free-spirited cows that wander the roads along with all of us.

Good Day.

The Karma Yoga

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Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to ...

Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in Kurukshetra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Namaste Everyone.

 

Apologies for being so irregular with my posts.  May be my initial excitement of writing about my city evaporated too quickly and also I got swayed from my starting point of interest ‘Local Food & Flavors of Jaipur’ .

 

I felt jammed and stationary, no inspiration, no words.

 

But nothing stagnated except me.  The Doodhwala (milkman) arrived everyday in his whitish cotton Dhoti-kurta  right on time no matter how chilly the morning was; the modest street dogs never stopped running around in the street; the wandering cows never seemed unhappy; the Dhobi family (a young couple &  3 children) came everyday to open their wooden desk workstation, tirelessly steam-pressing cloths of the neighborhood  and earning a livelihood.

 

Only I seemed to have all the big valid reasons in the world not to write.

 

Just then I read this Shloka from Bhagavad-Gita as it says:

 

“Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction.  A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.”

Even my lovely city kept getting older, bigger and stuffed with every passing moment.  It got 286 years old this year.   A home for almost 67 lakh people and may be the same number of birds & animals.

And I missed out writing about so many interesting things.

So with hopes and inspiration renewed I hope to come up with some interesting posts soon.

Till then.  Bye.

 

 

 

Wish I was a Kite..

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Wish I was a Kite..

Wish I was a kite..

flying up up in the sky..

dancing with the wind; not worrying about somebody looking at me with hunting eyes..

unaware about the cruel ugly hearts that exist..

believing in the fellow kites,  enjoying my flight..

 

I wanted to write something about Makar Sankranti , festival now known specifically for Kite flying.  But I’ve been clouded with this negative mist that I am not able to see anything beautiful around..

I am so shaken with the recent events in my country that I am just not able to write about anything nice about ‘My India’..

Being a woman is  such a beautiful feeling.  But one thing that she lacks most is ‘Freedom’.

Freedom to move freely on the streets without being followed.

Freedom to laugh without worrying about giving a ‘Wrong Sign’.

Freedom to enjoy long walks without keeping in mind the time to return.

Freedom to move without being noticed…

Freedom to be just her..

I am just not being me lately…

But the teacher whose name is life has all shades and hues..

And has the magic to turn black into blue..

Have a Happy Day.

Be Safe.

 

 

 

Wonder shops of Jaipur

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Wonder shops of Jaipur

Do you wonder what a world!!

I always wonder.

I love to admit that I am still mesmerized by the world… Even if it is just my world that I’m considering-where I’ve been eating, walking, sleeping, feeling, I think living.  Jaipur has so much to offer to a storyteller (that I wish I was), to a camera, to anybody who loves life.  It is definitely (and thank God) not a night city.  It is a day city, wakes early-sleeps early.  In winters very early.  The only thing that can make a Jaipurwala remain awake is either Diwali or a Marriage party.  We don’t waste our good-night-sleep for any damn thing except that.

zaika 025If you feel it seems very very conservative–may be it is.  But fortunately my city doesn’t seem to be a part of the blind race of becoming LA, Dubai, Bangkok or some great ‘Night-life-wonder’.  It is just Jaipur. An old fashioned, laid back, non-happening city but nice.   Interestingly it seems to be rejecting pub culture or discos and multiplying the new genre of festivals.  Food, fashion, jewelery, craft, art, music, dance, literature.

There is one coming in January ’13 –Jaipur literature festival.

Jaipur Lit Fest

Jaipur Lit Fest (Photo credit: Paras Chopra)

And surprisingly, even for the most non- happening ones (like myself) it still has something.  Like our Wonder Bazaars.

See this shop full of beautiful brass utensils.  brass iteam shopsThe other day, I was strolling in the markets (for no good reason), just for pleasure.  And to my delight I crossed these tiny shops with millions of utensils stuffed like brass flowers.

Enlarge the image to see the items in close–tongs, diyas, temple bells, wind-chimes, what not all.  Wonderful craftsmanship.

If you ever visit to Jaipur,  make sure to come to Tripolia Bazaar for these wonder utensils.

The bazaars are a visual delight.  But do watch your step!.

Enjoy! Be Safe! Be Happy!

Good Day!

Post Diwali Darkness..

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Lighting during the Tihar Festival season.

Lighting during the Tihar Festival season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been struggling to understand the significance of festivals all my life.  I created this blog because of this reason only.  I thought I’ll share the magnificence of the celebrations.  The importance festivals have in our lives rather in our culture.  How, why, when, where?  And in the quest I realized that I know too little to offer the world.

Past 18 days precisely saw 5 days of massive celebration of Diwali and almost a whole month of shopping extravaganza–for everybody.   All during this time I felt like writing about this, that, what, not!! But everytime ended up pondering, why celebrate anyways.  There is so much of hatred in the world, so much of poverty, millions of people who have nothing and here we are spending exuberantly on firecrackers, lighting, clothes, jewellery, sweets, flowers…….just name it!!

I keep asking people what makes them spend so much.  All say we want to celebrate.  It is once a year (Really so?). It is a family  get-together time. It is the biggest festival of India.  It is significant for Hindus (…) !!  Ya ! Ya !  Agreed.

But a simple answer came from my mother.  ‘It is time to celebrate life’.   ‘To forget the miseries and celebrate the beauty and blessings of Life.’

Truly all we want is–happiness and if we don’t get it, we make it.  Festivals are more or less like this.  We create happiness, at least we create a stage for happiness.  We greet-meet (deliberately). We engage in gatherings.  We invite for card parties.  We dress up (best). We just do anything & everything to make ourselves happy. Only US.

Yes, only Us.  Though in the process we make a lot of other people happy too.  but primarily it is only we that we want happy.

English: An oil lamp made of clay used for the...

English: An oil lamp made of clay used for the diwali festival in India (Haryana). Deutsch: Eine indische Öllampe aus Ton während des Diwali-Festes in Haryana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All these celebrations are just to put away the hatred, we have for the people around, aside and light the lamp of hope and love.

But forget not there is always darkness underneath the lamp.

Just as this old Hindi proverb says ” Deepak Tale Andhera”

Happy Diwali.!

Cheers for Life.!!

Lok Rang — Folk Dance Festival

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Lok Rang — Folk Dance Festival

 

Namascar Everyone!

As I told you there is no ease to celebrations here in Jaipur.  Sweet winters have knocked on the doors of the city and thus begin the season of exhibitions.  Starting from October and resting sometime in January, Jaipur will see  a series Handicraft exhibitions and cultural fests.  Just enough to keep the Jaipurwalas and the tourists busy all winter.   Check this link below for the glimpse of Lok Rang the Folk Dance Festival 2012 that commemorated day before yesterday at The Jawahar Kala Kendra, our local cultural center.

http://jaipur.co/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/lokrang-celebration-in-jaipur/jkk7.jpg

No no this is no Halloween party, these artists are dressed in different mythological characters.  Here in India people know the characters by the way they are dressed.   Every mythological character has distinctive dressing style and it remains same in every story (almost thousand).  Well they  supposedly wore Divya Vastra  that is the divine clothing (doesn’t require dry-cleaning!!)

These artists are depicting some or the other divinity.   It would be too early right now to tell their mythological names and their respective stories.  But don’t worry will be sharing more with different contexts.

Its been 19 years since this festival started.  A nine-day long celebration comprising of evening performances by folk dancers from all over India, art & craft bazaar (market) and most of all lovely regional food stalls.

The place, Jawahar Kala Kendra has a model village with rural ambiance.  It is a hub for folk culture, Indian art, theater, exhibitions.  You’ll find exquisite handicrafts, local jewellery, furniture, paintings, traditional clothing, local toys.

For more photographs of the first day of the Dance Festival click the link below.

Lokrang-2012

I will be back with fresh photos and news from the festival soon.

Till then Namascar.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Happy Day!

Durga!! Durga!!

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Durga!! Durga!!

Durga! Durga!

Indian Exclamation (particularly Bengali) of saying O My God.! Though all Indians swear their words with God, but I just love the way a Bengali says–Durga Durga.  It sounds like–Dugga! Dugga!.

Rich Red–Color of strength..

I love the richness of culture that the people of my country bring in together.
There are characters (millions) each unique, with their own values, their views, their own feelings & expression.

People fill a land with vibrations.  An old Indian saying is, “Feelings make a stone turn into  God”. Meaning, a place of worship is sacred because of the feelings that are attached to it..

Day before yesterday was the last day for Navratri and fortunately I got the opportunity to visit the Puja Pandal  i.e. the community celebration of Bengali Hindus to worship Goddess Durga.  The first thing that hits when you enter an Indian worship place is ‘smell’.  The strong smell of Dhoop (a complex mixture of powdered wood with Indian sacred plants) enters yours nostrils and reach deep in.. It was all smoky, dense and mystical.

Bengali Celebrations are quite musical (well so are most of the other Indian celebrations) .  The devotees were tapping their feet and swaying in the loud, soul-churning music of Dhol and Kartaal.  

swaying crowd

It started with slow beats and kept on rising, rising..

Men & women were dancing.  Even the priest was matching the beat while swaying the  Diya (fire lamp) in circular motion to the Deities.

I felt like dancing myself.  Difficult to control a beat so powerful.  Unfortunately, I was not carrying my camera and thus I missed some beautiful shots.

It was almost a forty minute long puja. Amazing I must say.  An experience must to have.  I  always believed that if we don’t feel religious we shouldn’t do all these rituals.  But to experience the spiritual aspect of a thing, we need to let go of ourselves with the swing.

Forgetting of who you are and what you are doing at the present moment lets your soul  Feel.

With this blog I am trying to do the same. I am closing my eyes to the world that my eyes see and let my soul perceive..

Some may feel I am  overly in love with my surrounding. But that is what I am.

Loving the city that I once wanted to leave and settle elsewhere.

Loving the celebrations that I used to avoid as a teenager.

Loving everything that I missed out seeing and experiencing while being too busy becoming a person.

Good Day to All!!

Taste of Jaipuri Sweets–LMB

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Taste of Jaipuri Sweets–LMB

Welcome to the most favorite and world famous shop of traditional sweets in Jaipur, LMB the Laxmi Misthan Bhandar.

Phirnis  and Ghewar

Authentically Rajasthani Sweets.

Misthan as in Hindi means sweet dishes.   This store opened its door with this Brand name in the year 1957.  And since then it has been the landmark of Jaipur.

I bet every tourist that visits Jaipur, comes to LMB.  This picture shows the pile of Phirnis in front and Paneer Ghewar behind.

These below are traditional Rasgullas.

Rasgullas

They are small balls made of freshly curdled milk and flour, then soaked in sugar syrup.

A variety is available throughout India. Different version and different shapes are found in various parts of the country.

Here first in the row is Rose flavored, second is plain white, third is Kesar (Saffron) flavored and the fourth is a brother of Rasgulla— Gulab Jamun.

Glimpse of the shop.

I was accompanying a group of friends from Mumbai and was mesmerized as always.  Though my frequency to the shop is like twice in a month(minimum) but I am always happy going there.  Colorful Mithais, lovely crispy savories they have so much to offer.

Apart from sweets they have a full restaurant serving traditional meals.

This shop is situated in Johari Baazar, the whole of  market has either traditional Saree shops or Jewelry shops.  Johari in Hindi means Jeweler.  The master plan of the city that took its initial shape sometime in the year 1727, has three parallel markets. The Johari Baazar, the Chaura Raasta and the Kishanpol Baazar .

Wish to see the colors… Come and see here.

This  click is from one of the many many Saree shops that you’ll witness in Jaipur.

Traditional Indian Wear–Saree.

See the colors.

Colors compliment the sandy background of Rajasthan.

For us colors signify the essential beauty of life, which has uncountable shades.

These are traditional Leheriya sarees-a tie & dye method in which a mustard seed is used to make intricate designs and patterns.

Jaipur’s another famous thing– the Gota Work, i.e. borders made of golden colored threads.

Traditional Gota Patti Work

It is widely used in all ethnic wear.

Again something very typical of Jaipur.  The artisans work really hard to make these beautiful designs.

The Gota Patti Work

Festivals here are all about sweets and colors…  wear beautiful colors, eat and be merry..

Happy Day!

Confusions in the middle of festivals..

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Confusions in the middle of festivals..

Festivities are never at ease in India.
Festival holidays are much more than the total number of Sundays in a YEAR.

Ya! You are reading right..

Now as the Navaratri begins, quite a number of communities are involved in making preparations for upcoming religious ceremonies.

Nava-ratri are literally two words–first nava which is a Sanskrit word that means NINE and ratri means NIGHTS.

Nine Nights of Puja (rituals) and Celebrations. Though the Deity that is worshiped is same Devi Durga (Goddess of Power), but it takes different celebration in different communities and groups.

For the Gujrati Community Navaratri means Garba (Traditional Dance festival); for Bengali Community the Durga Puja is all the most important; for Punjabi Community nine day Sthapana (bringing the idol home and doing the rituals) of the Goddess.  Same is for Jaipur, for nine whole days the Goddess is worshiped in almost every hindu household. On the ninth day a feast is prepared and nine girls that symbolically represent the Nav-Rupa (nine-forms) of the Goddess are invited and offered food and gifts.

It is much more confusing to be there in the middle of these festivals and almost COMPULSORY celebrations, than what I’ve tried to write above.

Honestly, the celebration fever here is so high and so infectious that I bet if anyone can resist..  This is the time that the city witnesses the most heavy tourist traffic.

The markets are going colorful.

The houses are repainted.

The temples are being decorated.

The deities are smiling.

The ladies are busy making traditional festival sweets & savories.

The news papers and magazines are trying to compile best recipes for the festive season.

Everyone seems necessarily happy.

Well, the list is tooooo long. I can’t write in one post, look for my upcoming posts.  Also I’ll be trying to bring some pics of city’s celebrations colors.  As India is nothing without its colors and surely nothing without its CELEBRATIONS…..

Have a Happy Day!