Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Water World Wednesday - Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head - August 29, 2012

Well, Jaipur is having quite a bit of rainfall now....two months late.  
Monsoon season should have arrived when I did, on June 23rd -
but, until about two weeks ago, there have been only a few 
intermittent showers.  People have been lamenting the dry conditions,
both townspeople and farmers alike.  

A few days ago, rain came down in a furious crescendo, with booms
of thunder and lightning illuminating the skies.  It started in the afternoon
and continued all night.  Sadly, many homes in low lying regions of
Jaipur were flooded and there were several fatalities.

Subsequent rains have been less traumatic, except for flooding the
streets and creating puddles for delighted children.  I've never seen
such raindrops, though!

It started out as a light rainfall

The drops became bigger and bigger

And, in some areas, the drops were the
rain continued on into the night.

Please join us with your watery photo!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Thirty, Where Have the Years Gone? - August 27, 2012

"Come on", I told my husband.  "It's time to go to the hospital.  Where are
my slippers?  Come to think of it, where are my feet?" I couldn't see them 
over my protruding abdomen, wishing then that I had listened to my
obstetrician's constant reminders to curtail my food intake.  I did manage to
deliver this fine young man, without anesthesia of any kind, nearly nine
pounds of him, and I now outweigh him by 45 pounds - in spite of taking 
off nearly 35 pounds during my India stays.

Since my computer crash destroyed my huge supply of photographs, I am
posting only two shots of Alex, taken from two previous blogs which you can
see at these links.  One is his baptismal photo:

Here you can't see his hair, held down by the the strongest gel made.  He had
a cowlick you wouldn't believe!

The other picture is on his wedding day to the lovely Laura Winterhalter.  It has
been wonderful having her in our testosterone laden family of males.  Not only
is she a beauty, she is as nice as can be.

I am blessed to have Alex and it saddens me that I have spent less time with
him than any of my other boys.  He moved to the Sacramento area right out of
high school to start school at UC Davis, then switched to American River 
College.  He has been collecting credits ever since as he tries to decide just
what he wants to do with his life.  First, he got started out in some kind of 
opthamological engineering ( I think that's what it was ) at UC Davis, then 
switched to ARC and got his AA in fire technology.  Next, he told me he thought
he wanted a degree in chemistry, now, after taking a couple of economics
classes this summer, he thinks he might do a double major in math and econ.
Well, whatever...I would just like to see him graduate - but he pays his own
way, he and Laura bought their home, and, more times than a few, he's loaned
me money when I needed it.  He's a smart, kind, loving young man and I am
so proud of him.  He's learned to do a good job of cooking the turkey at 
Thanksgiving and he's been my champion on many occasions.

I've said it all before in my previous blogs so this time, I'll just keep it short and
say, "Happy birthday, Alex, I love you and I am so proud of you.  As I used to 
embarrass the heck out of you yelling at your football games, KEEP PUSHING!"

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Monsoon Merriment - August 24, 2012

At long last, Jaipur had a torrential downpour which lasted all night and
well into the next day.  School was cancelled and my landlady had her 
two grandsons to watch over. I was at my computer, enjoying the 
downpour on the roof, listening to the happy screaming of little Vishu,
who often sits patiently with me as we search the skies for returning 
peacocks.  Today, however, fully clad, he was splashing joyfully in the 
huge puddles created by the rain.  Since there was a great "swimming 
hole" right in front of my room and I could take photos from the dry comfort 
of my porch, I called him over.  He was most obliging and I got some delightful 

Whenever I have my camera out around Vishu, he has to perform Hindu dances
for me.  He is such a character ...AND he is a pretty good dancer, wet or dry!

When he didn't have a toy boat available, Vishu was very creative and put
his shoes to good use!

Sadly, that night, Jaipur experienced massive rainfall which caused the worst
flooding since 1968 and several lives were lost.  Even with this amount of rain,
the late beginning of monsoon, has not been of much benefit to farmers who
needed water for their crops much earlier in the growing season.  However, for
animals who were dying of thirst, this brought some relief.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mellow Yellow Monday #187 - Sari Shopping, A World of Color - August 20, 2012

While in Chandigarh in the Punjab, my friends took me when they went shopping 
for saris to send to their daughter/sister who lives in Australia.  It was a whirlwind 
of beautiful colors,sparkles and amazing choices.  

I am participating in Mellow Yellow Monday #187 -
add your yellow shot and join in the fun.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Camera Critters Meme #228 - There's a Lot of Buzzing Going On - August 18, 2012

Outside the bathroom window at my friend's home in Panchkula which borders
Chandigarh, India, these bees ( wasps, hornets ) were busily at work on this
hive.  Sadly, a couple of days after this photo was taken, a large section of it
had fallen.  They were busily adding to the remaining piece.  Needless to say,
the bathroom window remains closed at all times.

I am participating in Camera Critters #228

Add your critter shot to join in the fun!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Flash 55 - All Aboard - August 17, 2012

He lies there waiting patiently,
Two can climb aboard, 
But it would seem the camel,
Is being just ignored.

Could be the guard upon his face,
Makes people feel afraid,
That should they choose to ride this steed,
They might need to seek first aid!

A needed day of rest.. perhaps for the very best?

I am participating in Friday Flash 55, the
brainchild of that debonair Mr Know It All,
aka G-Man.  Join this wild bunch.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mellow Yellow Monday #186 - Yellow Swan - August 13, 2013

Though it is definitely below its usual water level because of the deficiency
in rainfall from this year's monsoons, Chandigarh's Lake Sukhna, at the
foothills of the Himalayas, is a delight for young and old alike.  Yesterday,
paddleboats were out until after sunset.  One of my favorites was this
yellow swan.

I am participating in Mellow Yellow Monday #186.
Add your bit of yellow to join in the fun.

Monday, August 06, 2012

- A Visit to Bhawanipura - August 6, 2012

Yesterday evening, my good friend, Ajay Singh Shekhawat, the front desk 
manager at my favorite Jaipur heritage hotel, the Umaid Mahal, honored 
me by inviting me to his home.  Bhawanipura Village is about a two hour
drive from Jaipur, depending on traffic, and it is, indeed, in the country.  
The air is clean and fresh, there is no pollution, and it was a lovely escape
from the big city.  I had a wonderful time.

Our traveling foursome consisted of myself, Manoj, a taxi driver frequently 
used by the Umaid Mahal Hotel and Manoj, an architect friend of Ajay's. 
 I think I amused them with my nonstop comments and frequent 
admonitions to motorcyclists who were not wearing helmets and my own 
dismay at the lack of seatbelts in the back where I was seating.  I was told 
we were heading out of the city so they weren't necessary.  I gave them a 
forensic nurse piece of my mind!

We passed through wide open spaces, with lovely trees, and cultivated 
farm lands.  Shortly before arriving at Ajay's home, we stopped so he
could speak to some friends.  I took the opportunity to get some 
photographs.  One was of the gentleman below who did not, at all,
object to having his face photographed.  Ajay translated for me since he
only spoke Hindi and explained I was going to post it on my blog.  

By the time we got near Ajay's house, it was after 6PM.  After all my days
of trying to photograph a peacock, as we passed the empty house where
he was born, we saw a peacock on top.  He says it has now been taken
over by peacocks and he, jokingly, called it "The Peacock House".  I was
glad to get this single shot.  I could hear more calling out - they have a 
really sad cry - as night darkened.

At Ajay's home, we were warmly greeted by all the family.  Of course, the elders 
spoke Hindi and I could not understand them - but there was no mistaking the 
warm smiles and feeling of welcome.  The children, initially shy, spoke some 
English and curiosity soon got the better of them and they gathered around to see
the strange American woman!

Ucchavkanwar, Ajay's mother, set about preparing chai but first milked the goat.
This was a first for me...REALLY fresh milk for my chai and it was delicious.

I thought this little goat was so cute.  I felt sad, though, because he was chained 
just far enough away that he couldn't touch his mother.  Poor fellow.

That cup of chai with the fresh goat's milk was just delicious.  

Here I am with Ajay - it's our first picture together.  I'd never seen him in casual
clothes before, only in his Umaid Mahal Hotel front desk manager attire.  He has 
been an extraordinary friend to me in Jaipur, always looking out for me and coming
to my rescue whenever needed.  I have him to thank for my new ground floor air
conditioned lodging, among other things.  I hope he knows how much I appreciate 
his friendship - and not for just those reasons.  He has such a good heart.

This is Ajay's mother, Ucchavkanwar.  Can you imagine having to write 
her name on a lot of forms?  I always felt a bit sorry for my boys, 
Alexander and Jeremy Vukasinovic - and that's why I did NOT give them
middle names!

A family portrait....Ajay's mother, father, grandmother and, of course, I had 
to get into the picture as well!!!

Ajay with his uncle.  I loved Ajay's shirt...with purple flowers.  I told him I like a
guy who will wear pink or purple, and flowers at that!!!  Reminds me of Hawaii!!

We went to Bhawanipura the day after Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi Purnima which
is a festival celebrating the relationship mainly between brothers and sisters.  The
sister ties a rakhi ( sacred thread ) on her brother's wrist, symbolizing her love and
prayers for his well being and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her.  The brother
offers a gift to his sister, then they feed each other sweets.  You can read more 
about this festival at:  Since Ajay
wasn't home for Rakhi, his sister, Saroj performed the ritual while we were 
there.  Unfortunately, for some reason, my flash chose to stop working during that
time so I have no pictures of the ceremony!

Ajay and Saroj.  Their mother must be so proud of them.  They look like 
Bollywood movie stars!

Aren't we a colorful bunch?  Thus far, I haven't purchased a sari.  They look so
complicated to wrap.  I gotten three kurtas and pants and I'd like to get a salwar
suit.  We'll have to see about the sari, though, when someone has time to give
 me "in depth" lessons.

Here I am with Ajay's daughter.  She looks a bit wistful here...maybe
because I took her away from her homework.  Her dad lives at the Umaid
Mahal Hotel and only gets home for an overnight about every ten days. 
With so many extended family members around, though, she is well
supervised, regardless.  Most Indian families are multigenerational.

Here are my three traveling companions - our driver, Manoj, Ajay, and 
Mahan, Ajay's friend, who is an architect in Jaipur.

It was a truly wonderful day and a delight to have been invited to go to
Bhawanipura to meet Ajay's family.  I loved being in the country.  I had
some other great pictures to post of another country visit - to Bhankrota 
to see the family of Sunil Choudhury who was one of my floor mates
when I first moved to Jaipur.  Unfortunately, those photos may be lost
forever in my computer crash.  I hope Bharat Kshatriya may be able to
help resurrect them.  Now that I have a working internet, there is a whole
realm of possibility open to me!!!