2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Virtual Paintout encourages artists to use Google Street View to find interesting locations and subjects to paint. Every month a country/location is suggested in the site. For the month of April the artists are exploring Bulgaria. I walked (virtually!) the streets of Bulgaria and found this run down house in the Kardzhali province an interesting subject to paint.


bulgaria painting

Kapaleeshwar Temple

Last weekend I went sketching with a young artist Kalpana Balaji. This is my first sketchcrawl with a fellow urban sketcher. We had infact planned to meet the previous weekend but the rain played spoil sport.

On Saturday we met at 3.30 in the afternoon outside the eastern entrance of the Kapaleeshwar temple in Mylapore. The temple was closed, so we sat on the thinnai of one of the houses and sketched the beautiful doorway and all the activities outside the temple – people were waiting for the temple to open, the flower sellers were setting up their shops for the evening.

Then the temple door opened.

Inside the temple we sat on the warm stones of the praharam and sketched the shrines. Devotees trickled in; a calf from the gho shala and two pea hens, unmindful of the people, came out briefly for a stroll.

For most part of the evening we worked in silence. Our legs went numb sitting in one position. We took a walk and went near the mandapam. It was getting dark and I had time for just one more sketch.

I am an Urban Sketcher

The Process

In the month of January I participated in the ‘River of Stones’ which is an exercise to look at everything around with great attentiveness and mindfulness. I wrote everyday  and I sketched the common things that I saw around,  starting from my house – the cup of tea that I savoured after a day’s work, my balcony that oversees a beautiful tree, my terrace garden… I posted my drawings here in this blog. Last weekend I wanted to put together these paintings that were a part of the ‘River of Stones’ exercise in Issuu. I enjoy painting and writing, but I look at putting them together as a collection, as a chore. I hurtle through this process. I quickly scan my drawings, work on the photoshop and upload on my blog without giving this process a thought.

This time I wanted to go through the process mindfully, bringing it all the attention and love that I give to the act of painting itself. I found out that my computer at home does not have the Acrobat complete version, I have only the Adobe Reader. This means I cannot convert my photoshop files of the sketches into a PDF file with multiple pages. I decided to import my photoshop files in a pagemaker file, then convert it into PDF. This took some time, I did not get impatient. I am happy with what has come out in Issuu. See here: http://issuu.com/umags/docs/issuu


I had a fruitful Saturday, got a bit of cleaning done at home before the day got too warm. I junked my old crockery, floated little flowers in  beautiful saucers that were chipped (don’t have the mind to throw these away), converted a few blue ceramic soup bowls as candle holders, dusted the plates, dishes, tea cups, bowls that were in good condition, wiped those that were grimy and as they dried got myself a glass of chilled orange squash.

A Parenthesis Of Quietness

There is nothing like coming home to an empty house after a busy day at office. Such an evening, when silence hangs in the drapes of the curtains, urges me to parenthesize my day in quietness. I make a cup of milky tea, read Pamuk or just do nothing at all.

Garam Chai And Samosa

This tea stall on the tree-covered Greenways road is a favourite haunt for auto drivers. The smell of kadak chai and hot samosas fill the air. The drivers take respite between savari with masala chai and crisp samosa, and they are in no hurry to resume duty.  I do not blame them. I drew this when I waited for a driver to finish his tea to give me a ride back home from work.  

I am an urban sketcher