Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Wedding Dance

For quite sometime, I wanted to do something different than what I usually sketch or paint and just a few days ago, I came across this image while browsing Internet and I knew that this has to be definitely tried.

After returning from work yesterday, I picked up my Canvas and drew the outline of this picture. At first I thought to leave the sketch as it is and paint next day but couldn't resist from throwing colors in it. At around 9 PM I sat down with my set of brushes and colors and started painting this. Around 2:30 in the night or should I say morning, my work was done and I was ready to sit back and relax.

In between,  once I thought to stop and continue next day but couldn't do that. The end result is not same as the reference I used but from a painting stand point and for a beginners level I guess, I did a Okay job :)

 






Saturday, June 2, 2012

Make Friends with Words

Don't worry, I am not pulling you or talking about Spelling Bee contest :). Many of you must be familiar with the famous viral game of "Words with Friends".

Thanks to Zynga for adding social networking in games like Scrabble, Chess, Hangman and many more.

I was never a big fan of Scrabble, definitely not without a dictionary in hand but I used to play with my grandfather (mom's dad) during my summer vacations. He just loves it and till date plays amazingly smart. Just about an year ago, I downloaded this cute little free app on my iPhone called Words With Friends and started playing it. In just few days, I was playing with at least 20 people and was even giving a fight for money to some. Ah, I wish there were money and betting in this game too.

Well, the thing is, the game has a very intuitive interface, easy and quick to understand and get playing. You can easily get hooked up to it and trust me for a person like me who has built up insomnia problem, can keep himself or herself occupied round the clock. The game allows you to play with multiple people at the same time and at your own comfort and ease. You play your move and wait for your opponent to play. If you don't get bothered by push notifications, you can enable it so that when your opponents play, you get notified about your turn or just keep it disabled and play all your pending turns when you launch the app.

The most interesting thing about the game besides the game itself is the chatting feature. Just tap on top right corner button and yohoo, you can talk to the person you are playing with. It is such an amazing feature in games like this. It allows you to interact with your opponents and after few moves and chat messages, you not only get hooked to the game but to the person also. At least I got hooked to many across the world and now some of them are good friends too. Like this one lady from London, UK, who has been playing with me for last 8 months every day and we both are playing almost 2-3 games in parallel. We chat, discuss our day to day life, kids, work, weather, ups and downs, places, adventures, etc. etc. etc. and then if someday one of us doesn't make a move, the other person checks upon by sending a message if everything's alright or not.

Imagine, those old days (well not so old but now with technology so advanced, sounds like ancient) when people used to interact or chat using Yahoo messenger, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, etc. and how do they interact now, Whatsapp, Viber, Skype. Gone are those real ancient days when letters and telegrams were used. They definitely sound like things from Neanderthal era now. Technology is a very interesting dimension of Life, though it comes with its own issues too, yet it is amazing. You can be at places where you can probably be not physically, you can interact with people you can't see and you can learn about things you don't even have accessibility to and all this can be done with some fun added to it.

Making friends has never been so easy and simple as it has become now and all thanks goes to such interactive things integrated with social networking websites.

Make friends, life is too short to make enemies and play Words with Friends :)

PS: I am not marketing or selling the game. It needs no selling, it attracts people on its own. For people who don't have smart phones, not to worry, if you have Facebook, you have Words With Friends app there too.

Hardwar in Chicago

Hardwar or simply put Hari Ka Dwar (Hari is one of the many names by which Lord Vishnu - The protector of the Universe is called in Hinduism and Dwar means Gate so Hari Ka Dwar means Gateway to God) is a pilgrim, a Holy city, located in the northern India, for majority of Indians who believe that a visit in Life is all you need to cleanse all sins of life and be free of evils.

Fortunately, I was lucky to have lived in the midst of such a religious place and complete my Masters. Before you go way ahead in imagining things, I didn't do my Masters in Religion or Spiritual Philosophy :), just that my college was located near this Holy city. People who have been to Hardwar know that living there means breathing, eating, walking and sleeping with Religion and Spirituality. You need it or not, you will get the taste of The Almighty in some or the other way. You step out few blocks in any direction and you will see temples, shrines and schools teaching and preaching religion and divinity. After spending an entire year in such an environment and away from home during my Masters, I kind of became used to it but somewhere down the lane I lost the importance of this realm. For me it was all routine and day to day thing, nothing fancy-shwancy about it, in fact I used to go to Hardwar only to feel relaxed and enjoy the site of the great river Ganges and feel the serenity by the touch of Ganges water on my skin.I must say that attending the evening Aarti (prayers) near the banks of Ganges is worth a Life achievement and one should at least be a part of it once (not necessary to be standing amongst millions of people, you can stand far at distance and still enjoy it).


After I completed my Masters and returned home after 3 years, I got sucked up by the city life, long travels and boring work routines but never got enough time to look back and miss anything. Then I moved to US and my destiny brought me to Chicago, The Windy City. This has been my base for last 5 years and who would have thought that I would find a little Hardwar in Chicago, thousands and thousands of miles away from India. The place I live, is all surrounded by Churches and it would be no exaggeration if I say all 4 corners are gated by God. I don't even have to walk 2 blocks and I have God's home.

If I am still missing him (The Almighty), I just have to drive few miles in any direction and I can be with the Indian version of Gods. Six miles to South West and I have Sai Baba temple (an old church turned into temple),

12 miles south and I have Venkatesh Temple (built by South Indian community but dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara (another incarnated form of Lord Vishnu or Hari),

12 miles west and I have Swaminarayan Temple (BAPS of Chicago Suburban) again dedicated to primarily Lord Krishna along with other Hindu deities.

And if I drive a little far for about 35 miles towards South East, I have The Hindu Temple of Lemont (again dedicated to Lord Krishna and other Hindu deities).

At approximately 10 miles, there is a huge Jain temple (Jainism is another religion, I would say a philosophy like Buddhism but older than Buddhism on timeline) and then there are mosques and cathedrals, etc. all around.

I sometimes wonder if I am sleeping and dreaming and when I would wake up, I'll find myself back in Hardwar. I wonder if I ever moved anywhere or is it The Almighty that is following me everywhere I go.