Sunday, 30 September 2012


This is an odd sort of poem. I'm not quite sure what to make of it.  I'm also finding it very hard to process the fact that I wrote this twenty years ago! I feel very mortal! Old. And somewhat disoriented. Is the past really so far away?

I remember that I wrote it after attending a Bharatnatyam recital in Bahrain. The dancer's name was Kalyani, and she was brilliant. She was not a young woman, I recall, and when she danced she gave off this incredibly sexual, sensual aura. (Perhaps I am her age now, but I think the resemblance ends there!)

It's not a personal poem:  the words didn't reflect my feelings for this dancer. I suppose her performance inspired me to dream up this little story and put it in words. I find the jagged flow and breaks in the wrong places interesting, because they seem to bring out the crazed angst this man feels.



I didn't want her to dance.
Her sari was green and gold,
the curve of her body
clear to me beneath its
heavy folds.

Don't dance, I said. Dance
Only for me.
Isn't that enough?
No, she said,
and picked up her make-up

I hate red lipstick.
I despise black eye-liner.
I would rip the flowers
from her hair
if she would let me.

The lights dimmed and
the curtain quivered.
I stood at the end of the
hall watching
the scent of anticipation
rising from the backs
of their oily heads.

They applauded,
they joined their palms
in namastes or bowed
into adaabs.
They did not dare touch
her, I knew
the power of the deftness
and the softness of her fingers
the invitation in her eyes
her lips, her every move.

I would crush her
(for this is love)
burn her in my flames
cut her to pieces if she'd let me.

Afterwards, she cast
aside the bells from her
and gave the rest to me.
The paint that stained
her palms and soles
remained to taunt me.
I washed the dust off her
feet, and kissed them.


I wonder who this man is supposed to be, this obsessed, tortured chap. And I wonder how this poem related to me, as it must have in some way, but I can't find the connection. Can you?

(written way back in 1992, first posted here in 2008, edited and re-posted today)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Blown away.

As I typed this title, I was already worrying that in today's crazy
world, people might think this post is about a bomb. Actually,
in more ways than one, it's quite the opposite. Bombs destroy.
This creates and connects.

I went to an exhibit at my favourite art gallery and was absolutely
blown away by it. It was the most creative, clever, endearing and
picturesque exhibit I've seen in a long time. It was beautiful and
simple and it wasn't only art, it was literally "art, earth, ink and soul"!
How could I not love it?

The artist is Chang Yoong Chia of Malaysia. Sadly, I didn't get
a chance to meet him, but am so grateful that I got a chance
to see his work, and just in time too. I managed to catch his
exhibit, The Botany of Desire, just an hour before it closed!

I walked in to the gallery and this is what I first saw. That's
my friend Suresh, leaning against the wall. We went to art
college together. For a year, anyway. Then I dropped out
(refer my darkest poems) while he went on to finish, and later
even became the principal. He was a very principled principal.
The gallery is his, and part of his NGO that supports and
encourages young and upcoming artists - local, national
and international; rural, tribal and urban. He has residencies
and so we get to see the most wonderful variety of art, and meet
the most wonderful variety of creative people.

The photographs I've taken don't really do Chang's work justice
(took them with the camera on my phone!). I couldn't resist
taking a picture of each and every leaf, and I wanted you to
see them all.
Chang blended Malaysian shadow-work with his experience of
Bangalore - those are actual leaves both on the screen and the floor,
from Lalbagh Botanical Gardens - and created a whimsical fairy tale
of sorts, from what he learned from his early morning walks there.

These are close-ups of two of the leaves. What you see is the silhouette
of the cut-out leaf, backlit. I thought they were quite lovely enough
as they were, but then Suresh walked me behind the screen. That's
when I got blown away - here is Chang's story, in pictures, in words,
on leaves. Enjoy!

by Chang Yoong Chia

 by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia

by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
by Chang Yoong Chia
 Aren't they lovely? Everything about them enchants me. The skill
of the cut-work on the leaves, the style of the illustrations, the story.
I love the way Chang brings in little nuances of Bangalore
life  - early mornings in Lalbagh (the gates open at 5 a.m.
for walkers, joggers, and yoga enthusiasts) - parents going
for broke over the obscenely lavish Indian wedding - the history
of the tree - the call centre - the squirrel and the Brahmani kite.

My favourite leaves are the squirrel, the queen and the call centre.
Which are yours?

My favourite part of the story, though, is the last leaf. I can't wait
for Chang to come back and tell us more.

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Timid Painter.

What I like best about decluttering is finding things I'd forgotten.
Which tends to be most things I find. These are my first attempts
at watercolour, from back in the 90s or maybe it was the late 80s
(I've forgotten that too). I decided to go to a class held by
a Bahraini artist. This was my first tentative attempt:

I have uploaded it as "Small" because it's hardly worth looking at,
and yes, it really was that faint and timidly painted!

From my second attempt, I realised that this is supposed to some part
of Bahrain's coastline, with seagulls flying overhead:
There they are again, those seagulls .. I think I was learning how
to do something called a wash, and getting the sky and the sea right.
I don't think I succeeded, although they are at least identifiable in this one.

My third painting rather surprised me (today, I mean. I'm not sure
if it surprised me back when I did it). I think it's painted off
a photograph I took years ago on a visit to Mysore. Somewhere
near Tipu Sultan's summer palace, if my memory serves me
correctly? Which it frequently does not. Anyhow, I like this one
so naturally I uploaded it as "Large".

Hang on. I see palm trees. Maybe this one is somewhere in Bahrain, too.

Yes. Nothing profound today. Just decluttered pictures. And
unsuccessfully-decluttered memories.

Thursday, 20 September 2012


When the last tree falls,
the only rain will be
in the eyes of suicidal farmers.
Their salty irrigation will make the crops cringe,
wither and die, and leave the earth barren.

But these empty fields will not be wasted.
They can be our graveyards,
and the tree stumps our tombstones.
Then one day when we finally connect,
when we ARE the earth,
perhaps something will grow again.

But none of us will be there
to witness that birth.

(edited and re-posted from 2010)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Personal autumns.

I was looking at a lovely post about autumn on 5 Precious
Things, a magical blog by artist Ruthie Redden, and it struck me
that in my life, I have never experienced the season of autumn.
In Bahrain, it was always either summer or winter. Here in
Bangalore, I have both those, plus a spring of sorts, and
a monsoon season. We also have wedding season and mango season
and several festive seasons whenever Christian, Hindu and
Muslim festivals somehow end up overlapping, and the whole city
seems to take a week off.

But no autumn.

Some of the trees here remember their heritage, though, and have
their own personal autumns. Irrespective of the local weather
they shed their leaves when they feel it's time. The mahogany trees
outside my window do it. Last month they decided winter is over.
Now they're getting ready for summer.

Their tiny, delicately fragrant spring flowers have given way to
these humongous potato-like pods,  which will soon crack open,
and send winged seeds of dark brown whirling to the ground.
And then, I think, it will be autumn. They set their seeds free,
giving them to the world, knowing that most will be swept away
or burnt, that few will ever birth into new life. And instead of
celebrating their personal autumn with yellow, orange, red or
purple, they simply drop their leaves. All of them. And stand tall
and naked, mourning with dignity through their winter. Only
for a short while, though. For the mahogany trees, spring comes quickly.

I have never thought about autumn much, perhaps because
it was a season I missed. The season that stands out for me
is winter. I despise the cold and the dryness. And I have
my personal winters, too, times of feeling stripped bare,
empty and vulnerable. But I never paid attention to
the personal autumns that must have preceded
each winter in my life.

What if there's a message in the mahogany trees' autumns?
What if they are saying to me:  winter is inevitable. Be like us. 
Let go of the past. All of it. Just let it drop away, don't linger, 
don't try and hold on to it. Don't try to paint it with colours 
of hope, cheerfulness, passion or regality. Don't let your heart 
linger over its beauty, or ache over its lost opportunities. 
Just let it go. The only colour for us is green, the colour 
of new life. Winter is inevitable, but so is spring.

It doesn't sound like a very cheerful message. But their winters
are the shortest I've seen, and then they are alive, again and again
and again. They create. They lose. They mourn. They never give up.

I think it is time for me to experience a personal autumn, a mahogany autumn.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

No idea.

Absolutely none. It just looked beautiful to me 
and I had to take a picture of it.

Monday, 17 September 2012

In praise of Grannie-panties.

Thongs? Lace? G-strings?
No more! These are the days of
XL and comfort.

It started the day you happened to glance across at your panties on a clothes-line, and realised just how large they are. Rocked by memories of how you giggled at Mummy's huge knickers back when you were an anorexic teenager, it took a moment or two to recover.

Chocolate helped. Chocolate always helps.

That's when you had to come to terms with the truth. You recalled that time when the laundry wasn't done and all you had left in your drawers (pun not intended) were a few racy remnants of a wonderfully misspent youth. What did you do? You chose to wear the B-side of one of these granny panties rather than pull on one of those beautiful but deadly itchy scraps of lace.

Even if you were destined for an accident which would have Dr. McDreamy undressing you and seeing what you left home in. Even if you were destined to bump into Salman Khan in a lift and overcome him with unbridled passion (hopefully reciprocated).

The grannie-panties won over all fantasies, dark or delightful - or dark AND delightful, as the case may be.

This, my friends, is when you knew for sure:  you are finally a grown-up.

(This is an old post of mine from 2008, edited and re-posted)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Disgusting treatment of the labour force.

I couldn't resist doing this! Now that I think of it, it serves as
a good example of how misleading the media can be, when
they don't show us the whole picture.

Actually, Mast Kalandar serves up food that's anything BUT gross.
It looks like a fast food restaurant but you get hot fresh delicious
North Indian food. My favourite is their chola batura, washed down
with some yummy lassi.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Spirit River: If only it wasn't so cold.

Today I took a little dip into Spirit River. A virtual dip, I mean.
The name intrigued me. Also 'spirit' and 'river' are two words
I ... well ... I just like! I'm not sure what I was expecting,
something wild and tribal I think. Instead I found a tiny little town
with great big farming machines, somewhere in Alberta, Canada.
Someone in that tiny town visits my blog, so I decided to pay them a visit.

I didn't find the actual river. But, courtesy of Google, I took a trip
through the town and its history and its happenings. I tried imagining
what it would be like if I was actually there, not just looking at it
through my computer screen and imagination.

First of all, I would be very very cold. The winter photographs
looked a bit like the Christmas cards my parents used to send out
years ago. And I would be very brown. Everyone else in the town
is white, with very rosy cheeks. I did click on a picture of
a Greek Orthodox church to see if there were any Meditteranean
skins to keep mine company, but no, everyone there was white too.

"Everyone", in the case of Spirit River, refers to a little over
1000 people! Just 1000 people. It sounds better than New Zealand!
(Whenever I get fed up with the crowds of humanity I can't help
but encounter in Bangalore, population how-many-million?,
I dramatically announce that I am moving to New Zealand
where I heard there are more sheep than humans. I like sheep.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I am agoraphobic. Travelling down
the road is hard enough. Getting on an aeroplane is not currently an option.)

But I digress. So there I am, little brown me with my nearly
bald head, in a snowy town of 1000 snowy-white people. Yet
I don't believe this would be an issue. Every face in every picture
is smiling. And they appear to be very happy people. They have
huge expanses of clear blue sky above them, fields of green
(outside of snow-time, I presume). Their lives seem to be full.

If I were to create a story from all the pictures I looked at,
this is the story I'd tell:

When they're not farming, they play golf. They ride horses
on the trail, whatever that is. They have parades and ride around
in the most gorgeous antique cars. My, how those cars GLEAM!
Absolutely stunning. Their motorcycles are all polished and lovely, too.

They win hockey tournaments, and go curling, whatever that
may be. I'm assuming it's some sport played on ice, although I think
it would be more fun if it were a more energetic version of spooning.
They plant trees and they garden; soon they will be swimming.
In a heated pool, I hope. They have knights and an unlimited supply
of ducks. They're in touch with God and they sing with glee,
and though their history may not be monumental in the global
context, they treasure it.

That was my favourite part of Spirit River:  visiting its history.
It was a bit like reading Little House on the Prairie and  
Anne of Green Gables at the same time. I saw little barns
and cabins that could actually be lifted up and transported
on wheels to new venues. I saw grain elevators that looked
as though God had plonked down a few giant milk cartons.
I saw a lovely evocative photograph of Pearl and John Jarvis,
seated in a field in 1932, and my mind is already imagining
a story to go with it. I saw the Molinga triplets and wonder
whatever happened to them, and if their descendants are still
out there, giving birth to multiples. I looked at the Whites,
playing musical instruments in their home, and thought
how similar we all are - tens of years later, thousands of miles
away, I do the same thing with my friends (minus the violin).

I read about the fire of 1921 and wonder if the whole town
burnt down, and then I think that if it had, there must have been
something special about the place for them to want to rebuild it.
I read about the young man who died horribly when a combine
harvester accidentally poured a load of grain over him while
he napped in the empty box of a grain hauling truck , suffocating
him. But I also read about people from this tiny town - young
people who had left and moved on, and now, decades later,
are finding cousins and grandparents all around the world.

I even found real estate listings of big sprawling spreads
of land and beautiful wooden houses. Within my budget, too!
Clean air, happy people (and not a lot of them!) and wide open
spaces. Apparently they age extremely well. I saw one picture
of a white-haired lady busy on top of a ladder, painting the church!
They keep their cars clean, and they recycle. It looks like heaven
from here. Even the curious fact that this town of 1000 feels
the need for a taxidermy shop could not put me off.

But ah, if only it wasn't so cold. (Well, that and the agoraphobia).

Friday, 14 September 2012

Post No. 2 on Russell No.3

"The supreme principle, both in politics and in private life, should be to promote all that is creative, and so to diminish the impulses and desires that centre around possession."
- Bertrand Russell

I'm not sure what impulse led me to pull Mr Russell's book off the shelf at the library, but it was this quotation on the back cover that made me bring him home. The timing was almost too perfect. I'd just finished watching an interesting little documentary, The Story of Stuff. It was one of those things that makes you want to slap your forehead and cry, "But of course!" when you encounter something that's so true to you, but you haven't quite been able to get your head around.

Mr Russell is like that too. I've often thought about these things - the value of creativity, the irritating and until now couldn't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it way that advertising strokes our insecurities, the stupidity of war, the stupidity of men at war, the stupidity of men, and the resulting stupidity of women - but I haven't been able to organise my various strands of thought as Mr Russell has. He does it so well. (I should warn you, if you're planning to dig in to one of his books, that he uses a lot of big words and large solid paragraphs, and there is not much dialogue and "things in inverted commas" to lubricate the reading journey and make it easier).

This one sentence of his inspired me to start reading Why Men Fight, and inside the book I keep finding many more such sentences - each sentence speaks volumes!

When I look at this sentence in particular, it reminds me of something that had got my knickers in a twist a few years ago. It was after I started therapy for healing from my experiences of childhood sexual abuse, and I'd begun to realise something. A lot of my therapist's "prescriptions"* for healing were linked to creativity:  Read a book. Sing. Draw. Exercise. Listen to music. Breathe. Dance. Get close to nature. Make. Laugh. Believe.

And it struck me, these things that were so healing for a wounded adult, were all the same things that were given so little importance in school. Sports. Choir. Playtime. Art. Craft. Games. Poetry. Moral Science. Needlework. Literature. These were the subjects that only mattered a bit more if they had the potential to bring in trophies. But if there extra classes, or exams to prepare for, these were the things that were dumped to the side so that we could be better schooled to get better marks.

We thought - and I assume most people still do - that school was preparing us for life, for "the real world"* we'd have to face once we were grown-ups. For some years now, I've been thinking that school failed us. Not any one school, not my school in particular, just school in general - the traditional method of schooling that's focussed on competition and percentages.

They taught us all this stuff and we went out into the world and we live and we love, we work and drink and try and think, we save not enough and we drive too fast and when the world starts to sicken us it's not the sciences or theories or historical dates that save us. It's the stuff we were told wasn't that important.

If only our schooling had taken what kindergarten started with, and expanded on that. How different would the world be? I sometimes like to imagine that in some alternate universe, Adolph Hitler drew and painted and it was enough and he lived happily ever after and let everyone else do so too. Why not in our universe? It's too late for Hitler, but what about the rest of us, and the children to come? Are we going to squash that most holy of gifts - to create - and turn these magical beings into people who never think they're good enough, who who need a bigger car or a smaller butt, a new job and nothing old? 

That one little sentence at the top of this post:  it spoke of all these things to me. What did it say to you?

*got the inverted commas there? You're welcome.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Check out the alphabet.

Have you noticed the pages I've added to this blog (on a ribbon
at the top of the page). Each of them contains an alphabetic list
of places - the places my readers come from. Every so often,
I check the map at the bottom of my blog, and update the list
with new visitors' locations.

It's my way of acknowledging and appreciating your visits.
And it's also just fun, because I love making lists and putting
things in alphabetic order.

Do go have a look. Start with the page Thank You, World
and then click away. It's more interesting than you'd think.
Or maybe not. Maybe it's just more interesting than I'd think.

P.S. I also write posts that are inspired by my list - you'll find
them under the label "EARTH places".


Somewhere in between the big chunks of missing memory, I can recall a hand-made magazine called The Moron. I even have a copy of one issue, folded away safely in "my sentimental trunk". I must have been eight. Or nine. Or ten. And apparently, every so often - weekly? Monthly? I would produce my own little magazine. I'm not sure if I ever showed it to anyone. I have to rely on other people's memories for more information.

A few years ago, I met another school friend who told me that I had done the same thing a few years later, in boarding school. I would have been twelve. Or thirteen. Or  fourteen. I used to write the issues up, and she distributed them. That's all I know. I don't know what it was called, or what it was about.

I've lost a lot of my writing. I don't know much about it, except from the few scraps I've found here and there in old school notebooks. What I do know is that something in me had to write. Needed to get the words out of my head, put the words down, and then put them out there.

And then came many years when I couldn't, or wouldn't write. For work, yes. Buy Coca-Cola. Fly Gulf Air. Drive a BMW. These were easy messages to share with the world. Not like the words in my head and heart that were truly a part of Me, not a job, not a requirement.

Sometimes, of course, I'd get the better of Me, and write something anyway. And then another Me would get the better of that writing Me, and tear it up. I'd tear it up because I didn't recognise the handwriting. Or I'd tear it up because I recognised I'd put my heart down there on paper, and that made me feel too vulnerable.

But now I blog. I still do remove the occasional post (okay, MANY of them) but I can resist deleting them because I have the option to turn them back into drafts. Mostly, I write, edit a bit, and then take the leap. Click on Publish and let the world have at it.

I don't know what happened between those childhood years when I wrote instinctively and from the heart, and now. Fear, I suppose. It's dawning on me just now as I type this, that maybe middle age is not all crisis and creaking and worrying about cancer. Perhaps it's about letting go of the fear, and grabbing hold of myself again.

I think perhaps my blog here is The Moron of the 21st century. And that's a good thing for it to be.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The next best thing to jet-propelled.

 Always keep my eye out for interesting hand-painted signs.
They mostly tend to be oddly spelt notices of the "Child Bear"
variety (that's chilled beer, in case you were wondering), but
I like to snap up a nice illustration every now and then, like
this four-winged aeroplane I found on an old truck the other day.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Where are the GIRL philosophers?
Where are the artists, the writers, the leaders, the stars?
Why do the books still talk of man and mankind
When half of us aren't?
Why do I have so few role models?
My grand niece has more, now, than I did.

I did have a few.
But it's not enough.

Too many people who could have changed the world
Are probably in the kitchen or out fetching water.
Washing socks and faking orgasms to keep someone happy.
Finding real joy in their children.
Happy enough with what they have.

Not a bad life.
But is it enough?

Monday, 10 September 2012

Russell No. 3

The first was Russell Market:  memories of dark and damp, and of fruit and flowers. Of a sign that read "ANUS FLOWERS". Of pet shops that gave me the creeps, and frequently a sore throat. Lots of dirt and lots of people. I've long since left the first Russell alone.

The second Russell makes me feel warm all over. Some parts warmer than others. Oh, those sad soulful eyes. And those incredible mini-skirted thighs. Well, perhaps it wasn't a mini-skirt. I'm not sure what those things the gladiators wore were called, but Russell Crowe made them look gooooooood.

I was only five years old when Russell No. 3 died, and quite oblivious to the legacy he had left me. It took me 42 years to claim my inheritance, when I stumbled upon Why Men Fight in my neighbourhood library. I can only presume that the writings of Mr Bertrand Russell were being held in trust for me, until I was mature enough to appreciate them, and to experience them fully.

I love many books, and many authors. But very few of them speak directly to me, and those that do tend to be in poetry. Mr Russell's writing is no poem. It's solid, multi-syllabled prose. With some fiction, I can skip lightly through the pages. With Mr Russell, I wade slowly and carefully through each sentence. It's worth it. The treasures I've found! The treasures of his words, his thoughts, his theories, his ideas - I can't fully explain how deeply entranced I am. It's a bit like being in love! Everything reminds me of him, everything I see or read or hear is somehow connected to him now.

It's a wonderful adventure that I've only just begun. Is this just that usual inferno of lust that fizzles out far too fast? Or will it last? I think I need to spend more time with Mr Russell, and get to know him better before I jump into bed with him. Having said that, he is waiting patiently for me right now, on my bedside table.

So, impulsive lust or deep love? Only time and a whole lot of reading will tell. Oh, and guess what? I'm going to let you watch.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Old doodles

Found these doodles in an old diary that I was throwing out.
They're not the greatest (alas, poor deformed nubile youth!)
but I remember doodling these at work, some time in the 90s.
Although tearing up my writing is something I frequently do,
I tend to hold on to the doodles, because they're easier to look at.

I think these were inspired by Aubrey Beardsley's wonderful
illustrations for Oscar Wilde's poetry that I was reading at the time.
Oscar and I go way back. He was my safe place many many
many years ago.  But that's another story.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Not sure why.

I don’t know why they say it’s better to have loved and lost. The losing part is horrible. For all the beautiful memories, the loss stays with you forever.

I was in love once. Really, deeply, madly in love. We made promises about forever. I think we believed them. We would always be together. Then he decided to save my life, and so he let me go. I remember weeping in the toilet at my first job, in another country, wondering why he didn’t write. Every time I prayed, I asked God to just let him come to me in a dream, if nothing else.

I didn’t know that he read every letter, even the ones I wrote to my other friends.

Five years later, we met again. He looked at me and saw that he had saved my life, after all. The thing about saving other people’s lives, though, is that there’s always a price. And when I looked at him I saw that he hadn’t saved his own life in the process.

Was it supposed to be my turn? Could I have saved his life in some way, by letting him back into mine? I don’t suppose I’ll ever know.

I like to think that I did the right thing. Five years is not enough time to be able to stare the dragons in the face and be able to resist them. I looked into his heavy-lidded eyes, into the pinpricks that his pupils were, and I knew that I would drown in them, and not in a good way.

I didn’t let his five years of silence go to waste. He’d saved my life for five years. I said goodbye and made sure I kept that going.

I’ve been clean now for 25 years, 5 months, 5 days.

I dream about him now, sometimes. The dragons are always with him, even in the dreams. I tell myself I had a narrow escape. When he died, I told myself I had stopped loving him a long time ago, and I didn’t cry. I told myself I was lucky not to be the widow.

These days I tell myself that I don’t believe in love any more. And I'm sure I want nothing more to do with it. So I’m not sure why I keep a scrap of paper from 1986 with three little words scrawled in his handwriting. I’m not sure why I’ll hear an old song and feel betrayed by words we used to sing to each other, lying on a rock in Cubbon Park, stoned out of our heads, crazy in love. And I'm not sure why these things can still make me cry.

B 1965 - 1997

I will always love you, I would never leave you alone ...

We’ll live forever, knowing together that we did it all for the glory of love.

(from the song The Glory of Love, by Peter Cetera)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Mother Bunny.

I tried copying a Madhubani painting yesterday. I had underestimated
the art, perhaps because it's "tribal", almost childlike in its style
and colour, more akin to a doodle than, say, The Last Supper.
It was much harder than I expected. It would have been easier
with a thick felt-tipped pen, but I decided I had to do it with
paint and brush. This was my first attempt:

Today, I decided that I was more Mother Bunny than Madhubani,
and allowed myself to just paint as I felt like. As you may have
noticed from my blog, I like drawing faces, so I painted what
I remembered of the woman's face in the Madhubani painting.
I took the whole evening to finish this, and I guess my mind
was still on the library book I'd just returned,
The Land of Painted Caves, by Jean M Auel, because my head
was full of goddess stories and ancient history and life before patriarchy.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself until I started to feel guilty for not doing
something "useful". But then I reminded myself how important
it is for me to do just this - paint, enjoy myself - for my sanity,
my health, my pleasure.

Later this evening I started reading a book by Bertrand Russel, called
Why Men Fight. I'd forgotten the reason I picked it up at the library
was because I read this quotation on the back cover:

"The supreme principle, both in politics and in private life,
should be to promote all that is creative, and so to diminish
the impulses and desires that centre around possession."

So in retrospect, I had a supremely useful day.