Marapachi is a wooden doll, usually acquired as a male-female pair. These dolls are made of a special kind of wood commonly found in the forested Tirumala hills. The carvings rendered on a block of wood is minimalistic, a few strokes capture the mood and temperament of the doll and give a character that makes the doll real for those who own it.

There is a strong family tradition attached to the possession of marapachi. These dolls are handed down generations, there is always a couple of marapachi dolls in each family coming down from a few generations. 

Strangely these are not dolls that are given to children as play objects. Marapachi dolls are given to a couple during marriage and that is why the male-female pair holds significance. Playfulness that seals a meaningful relationship is signified through this gift.

My marapachi dolls  are rounded, exhibiting flab and paunches and sporting a mischievous smile. In my sketch, I have rounded the dolls further, the female doll appears like the mother goddess of fertility from the Indus culture. I have sketched on a dark brown tinted paper, using wax crayons.


The storm that brooded over the sea, that lay coiled in the currents which touched the land, had rendered quietness in my garden. Today a querulous crow sat on the wall demanding pigeons, that made homes under air conditioners, step out. The crow entreated dragon flies to bounce the morning sun off their lacy wings.

Slowing Down

“The key is to be here, fully connected with the moment, paying attention to the details of ordinary life. By taking care of ordinary things – our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth – we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair, we are expressing appreciation: friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything.” ~Pema Chodron

Fiona writes in her site Writing Our Way Home : “We want you to start paying attention to ordinary things, and to extraordinary things. We want you to notice the burnished colour and metallic texture of your pots and pans. We want you to appreciate the menthol smell of your toothpaste and the feel of the brush on your gums. We want you to look at the stars.We want you to become intimate with myriad things, and to be friendly towards them. We want you to slow down and fall in love with the world.”

True, writing and painting, for me, is a process of slowing down.

Last year I participated in this exercise of taking time to look at one thing at a time and writing about it or drawing it. When I began this I started paying attention to the corners in my home that had stayed in darkness, I was peering at the cracks in my tea mugs, the discolouration on my walls. I paid attention to people around me with greater sensitivity, was sympathetic to the agony of the woman, who lives in the apartment above mine, trying to grapple her anger. Paying attention works at more than one level for me.

It is January again and I am participating in the River of Stones. It is a way to connect myself to every small thing around me, remain mindful of every grain that makes my tall heap.

Day 1

Today I painted this humble cotton bag given to me by a friend. This bag was made by the students of Rasa. Please go here to read about the wonderful people who made this beautiful bag.

I store knick knacks like hair clips, ear studs, bangles in the bag. I hang this bag close to my dressing mirror.

Green like emerald depth of the seas