Archive for June, 2011

My great granddaughter has arrived….

June 29, 2011

We had three doctors in Ocala this time, so I cannot fault KTB for arranging to have her delivery here….

This must be the first time a newborn travelled in checked luggage, as the family flew back to St.Louis yesterday!

Games that we play…..

June 29, 2011

Being a large family has some great advantages; playing games (alas, until 2 am each morning) is great fun and we don’t need any other form of entertainment at all!

We’ve been playing



and the variation I learnt, called “Snatch” or


(which is quite different from Bananagrams)



We have not yet got around to playing


as the age variation in the family members precludes a “level playing field”…

But by far our family’s favourite game is


It is not easy to get opportunities to play this game, as a minimum of six players are needed (and all of them should be interested in playing it, too!) Our family is very addicted to this game. I learnt it in my childhood from the family of Alamelu Mami (I learnt many wonderful card games at their home in Kolkata), and have also passed on a liking for it to the Shaffer family, to whom I introduced the game when they visited in 2000. Another problem is that each game lasts about 45 minutes, going up to beyond an hour if there are 8 people (there were, the last two days!)

Since we have people of varying ages and approaches, it becomes a hilarious compendium of smart moves, forgetfulness, mistakes, and sudden recollections of other games played in the past.Idiotic jokes, witty remarks, red herrings, teaching the younger ones the nuances…all form part of the enjoyment of this game. I still do not know how or why this game got its name!

I often feel that companies need not conduct exhaustive interviews…just playing games with the candidate will give a very good idea of the person’s…er…personality.

On this board games post I must also mention Vinit and Surabhi Bhansali who have always thrown open their home most hospitably for board games, and at whose place I’ve spent many enjoyable Sunday afternoons!

Many of A’s friends used to visit me even after she’d gone to the US to study, and we would have regular evenings of board games….most of these friends are in the US themselves, now, and are too busy with careers and family…but the day will come when they get back to board games once again.

I also remember a board game parlour called Brewhaha (a pun on Brouhaha) which was very popular in Bangalore. It no longer operates in the old location in Koramangala, and perhaps it’s closed down.

I’ve included Wiki links for the games…but reading about a game is just not interesting…one has to get into a group that’s playing the game, and learn it!

Out of the aircraft window…

June 26, 2011

I always love having the window seat, but on the flight from St.Louis to Orlando, I got only an aisle one. Yet, as I saw the sun sinking in oranges and reds, I started aiming the camera….and the gentleman in the window seat (the middle one was vacant, luckily!), a paralegal from Orlando, asked me if I’d like the window. I accepted with alacrity!

st louis one 240611 air

As the plane gained height, I looked out to see the iconic Gateway Arch of St.Louis:

2 stl air 240611 arch

<lj-cut text="more aerial photography)

We left the mighty Mississipi behind…

3 stl air 240611 rvr

The aircraft wing was a steady feature as the dusk deepened:

5 stl air 240611 wing

The light on the wing was a comforting beacon that the flight was going well (there was a lot of turbulence):

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Evening shaded into night, and the twinkling lights of many cities showed themselves below me, as we flew onwards:

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The colours of a sunset or sunrise, from an aircraft, are (I feel) really incredible sometimes….

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Flight to Florida, 240611

June 25, 2011

We got here very late and this morning, got up to find the house full of immediate and extended family….and it feels good to catch up with everyone again….some of my relatives I am meeting again after long years!

And to remove any doubt that we are in contact with the world…here’s the array of laptops on the counter of the open kitchen!


Laptop manufacturers ought to give our family volume discounts….

The bharata nAtyam performance is later today (it’s about 1pm now, and the performance starts at 4pm I think)…will post about it later.

Meanwhile, photos-from-the-air, of a lovely sunset and landmarks of St.Louis, are


Visit to Principia College, Elsah, Illinois, 220611

June 24, 2011

I’ve posted a lot of photos of the visit, to my Facebook album; you can use your FB account to view them


It was a day of serenity and peace; upon the hillside, hearing the soughing of the strong breeze in the leaves of the ancient, majestic trees, KM sat for a rare moment of calm and quiet:


I loved the idea of an architect (Bernard Maybeck) making a small house to practice his experiments and make his mistakes; indeed, this small building on the Principia campus is now called the

Mistake House

….that’s something I wish every architect would do!


The Chapel is a beautiful building, on the hill, overlooking the (now swollen) Illinois River; and I loved the symbolism of two paths leading to the same chapel:


I do hope you have a Facebook account, and enjoy my account of the visit…must be wonderful to be educated in such a beautiful place!

Off to Florida in while, where there will be a huge family gathering (about 30 family members, apart from friends!) for our niece’s arangEtram…I don’t know how much internet access I will have, or how much time I will have for it, either!

Bells…and some jewellery, Bell Convention, 230611

June 24, 2011

We went to see the bells exhibited at the Bell Convention yesterday, because

Gordon Barnett

makes exquisitely-designed bells, and was exhibiting, too.

For photographs of the various kinds of bells we saw, go to my Facebook album …

click here

if you have a Facebook account.

Gordon told us that there were only two or three bell-makers, most of the delegates were bell-collectors. And he was no exception! As we walked around, we all drooled over one particularly well-wrought, chunky anklet…but it was Gordon who went ahead and bought it! Here it is, rather incongrously on his sock-and-sandal:

anklt flsh 230611

I took this one with the flash:

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I do think that well-made jewellery is the poetry of adornment!

I learnt about mechanical bells (the kind we still see in Government offices in India, where the officer presses the button on top, and the bell goes “DINGGGG” to summon the peon), crotals (no, no, that is NOT scrotal spelt badly, but the shape is certainly ball-like…it is like the “maNi” we have on our bharatha nAtyam shalangai), and though I’ve seen ThanjAvur “thalai Atti bommai”, this was the first time I saw “nodders”…where the clapper of the bell, below, extended above the arch of the bell as the head of a nodding figure! Here’s a video I took of a nodder:

In another room, called the “Behold” room (where more bells were exhibited), there were several bells up for auction (people could write down their bids) and being raffled too.

We had a very enjoyable and informative evening, and though I am afraid I will never be an avid bell-collector (the bells didn’t “speak” to me the way some of the collectors described!), I did enjoy looking at the variety of bells.

Gordon tells me that from an attendance of 1400 people in 1977, numbers have rather dwindled to 170 or so this year.

You can go to Gordon’s blog if you

click here

I am still very curious about how these bells are packed and brought from all over the country, and abroad (there were delegates from several other countries, too)….but that must wait, I suppose!

Sometimes, without photos…

June 23, 2011

Today was overcast but there was decent light, and it was mid-morning when I decided to go for a long walk. I went to Danny’s Hide, by about 11.30am….but I could only see the mother mink swimming back and forth; once she had a crayfish in her mouth, but she dipped under water before I could get a shot of here.couldn’t stay very long though, had to leave.

I went to the other bridge (opposite the Boat House) hoping to see some goldfinches, but wasn’t successful there, either. All I got at Danny’s hide was this small (and obviously common) butterfly, would any ofyou happen to know the id?

un id b'fly one fp 230611

I heard a woodpecker in the prarie area but it was too well hidden. Also, I think the minks got scared off with the lawn mower that appeared….but the barn swallows had a lovely time, flying about all around, catching insects on the go as the grass blades flew out and up. The aerial ballet was beautiful to watch! Just didn’t feel like lifting the camera, so…it’s only words!

bfly two fp 230611

Post for my “buttering through life” friend Rohit Girotra!


June 23, 2011

I am, in general, a happy person and prefer to believe that difficulties will sort themselves out, and when I see a random poster somewhere that says the same thing, I love it!

everthng will be alrigtht 220611 principia college illiinois

This was in an art studio in Principia College, in Elsah, Illinois.

No specific contact point for appreciation…

June 23, 2011


has recently given unlimited storage of photos and up to 500 videos for non-commercial users; and I went to their home page looking for a contact email or phone number that I could call/ email and express my appreciation of this…and they don’t seem to have a “compliments” form, just an “abuse” one….that’s so sad…! Well, I’ve used the “feedback” form now, to convey my thanks….

Friends and visits…

June 23, 2011

Prelude: Two snorers (KM and KTB), two yakkers (AM and HS), and one thrasher (KTB)= woken up from sleep and hopeless to get back!

It’s been great to have ‘s cousin

Stephen Silha

and his partner

Gordon Bennett

over for a few days, as they attend the Bell Convention here.

I don’t often post what others say about me (better to hush it up, I feel!) but here are Gordon’s words about me, in early 2005, when they visited Bangalore for the DnA wedding….

“I already had a strong intuitive connection with Deepa, having met the mother of the bride first through her series of informative & entertainingly preparatory emails, beginning more than a year earlier, to explain the traditional wedding we are about to celebrate. She is a woman of rich texture, matching her writing style with a strong sheen of thought & sometimes sparkle, but more like the glow of unpredictable magma, flowing from a depth, yet involving much air & light.”

A bit more of “hag-ma” than “magma” perhaps….!

We went to visit Stephen’s old college, Principia, in Illinois; we had a wonderful day, and an account and some photos are


I’ll post a few photographs here, too, later today….meanwhile the next week promises to be very hectic, as we travel to Florida on Friday, for our niece’s arangEtram. I wrote about the preparations


We are going to be about 30 family members, and it’s going to be chaotic! I don’t know about internet access, or the time for it!