Creativity project roundup – What I did between February 12 and February 15

Well, I have been super busy this week and was earlier unable to post details and relevant pictures. I am attempting to combine everything in a single post…

February 12 – I devised a new fitness plan for myself. I NEED to focus on gaining my muscle mass and build endurance. Given the changes in my schedule that I expect from coming week onwards, I thought I had to think up something like a fitness schedule. Weight loss if it happens will be incidental. I also need to add more proteins and fiber to my food.  I’ve set a goal of running/walking 500 kms over next 45 weeks (By end of 2013). A mix of running and walking simply because I want to slowly build my endurance, having known my capacity first. In fact, I HAD embarked on this plan on the same day, promptly felt sick the next day and spent couple days recuperating! So I have now made several changes, so that my strength and endurance develop gradually.

February 13 – This was Ganesh Jayanti day. The birthday of Hindu deity – Ganesha. I had an apt activity for the day. My husband believes in performing puja every day and while we do have a periwinkle plant which bears flowers regularly, many a times we don’t have flowers to offer to the deities. So I had thought of creating artificial embellishments which could be used in place of flowers. So I created little maalas of two types. For these, I went to the local mall and picked out standard items. It wasnt thrifted at all. These items are fairly standard and reasonably priced…



These maalas are quite tiny – so I kept a glue stick in the picture so that their size could be seen in perspective. Though these are tiny, they took quite a long time to make. Especially the one with beads. Because while I have used double thread to add in yellow beads, I have used single threads to add in red ones and added 2 red beads every time in each thread (I am not sure if I am explaining well – but anyone if at all interested can contact me for details) – plus these beads were tiny and it took forever to string them. I initially had used a needle, but then I thought of singling and doubling alternately and so it was relatively easier without needle…

February 14 – Continuing the earlier step of getting to know a few gals within the vicinity, I invited them for a function at my place. Menu was simple – pav bhaji and gajar ka halwa, but we spent good time chatting and getting to know each other more. I also arranged for small mementos – this was to be ‘haldi-kumkum’ function, a typical tradition amongst Hindu married women. So planning, inviting, shopping and then cooking and hosting took up the entire day…

February 15  – New? it was my anniversary. Wrote quite a few letters. To various important people in my family. One was hand delivered and others will be going through snail mails… Not intended to be shared here. Period.

All in all, apart from this, all these days kept me super busy with various guests dropping in at various times… busy, exhausting week.  But a fun week indeed.



Mirror mirror on the wall…

[ D ] Edgar Degas - Madame Jeantaud in the mir...

[ D ] Edgar Degas – Madame Jeantaud in the mirror (1875) (Photo credit: Cea.)

I don’t remember the first time I peeped into the mirror. But as far as I remember…

Initially it always showed me a gangly kid. One who looked older than her age, with thin long limbs, protruding belly and wild curly hair that did not belong in the family. It reminded of several bullying incidents by the playmates, of being called a ‘junglee’, ‘porcupine’, of hair being pulled, being teased endlessly by own cousins and coming home defeated, to peep into mirror and wonder why I looked like this – so different from my own family…

My parents sometimes noticed this – me starring into the mirror and trying to pull my hair straight. I always told them why…They never taught me to retaliate  but always assured me – that I looked pretty. That my hair was different than others and the kids tease me because they were just curious. To all the parents, their kids are obviously the most beautiful beings on this earth, but I think my parents’ reassurance worked for me in some magical way….the mirror at my home became a source of comfort, it would show me in better light than any other mirror. Ever…

Several years went like this – I would look into mirror only to find blemishes and went through what can only be called a super awkward childhood+teenage+young adulthood. Majority of it, self – imposed, due to insecurities out of experiences from people other than family..

But as I grew older, I would realise that the mirror at my home showed me the best than any other mirror – the mirror in the school / college/ friend’s place/ relatives’ place / even a public place… I remember, if I felt shabby in the ladies common room mirror, I would just look at myself once more at home to wonder why  – because I looked okay. Not shabby at all… Every time, the mirror at home always worked for me, never failed. It showed a smooth skin, alert brownish eyes, the big teeth that I had, looked just a perfect fit to my jaw in there…and my curly mop of hair just rested fine there. Turn of curls sometimes even looked beautiful – no frizz, no out of control wig like it looked elsewhere….I looked just okay, like any other girl of my age…I just felt fine. By that time, the mirror probably knew me as well as my family. My nature, my true self – Which was unknown to the most of my peers  . .Over the time, I stopped feeling ugly.. I felt okay. I looked okay. Even while pursuing MBA, when I was amidst of the hottest and heppest girls ever, I looked okay. 🙂

I don’t remember when ‘I look okay’  – turned into ‘I look fine’. Eventually, I came to terms with my looking and being my own self. I guess I started accepting myself. My thoughts, my nature, my conflicting natures, two sides – a shy geekish one that loved to read books and reflect on life and a more daring one, that wanted to experiment more with life and make a statement. I am not sure today which of these survived or what have I eventually become into, but I guess for last few years, my mirror always makes me happy when I look into it. It remains better than other mirrors, as always, even here in Indonesia, but now I don’t look into this mirror for reassurance. I don’t need a mirror for that. Yes, I might not be beautiful or glamorous for that matter, I am me. Good old me. These days, I feel the dimple on my cheek is more prominent than it ever was and I look more my age than I ever looked before, my hair is more tame than it ever was…. I am at peace with myself……

I haven’t given up

On the creativity project.

Just that I’ve had no time to blog about it for past couple of days due to unexpected engagements.

Will try and post tomorrow.

Bye for now

Crossword time

Creating a crossword puzzle was always on my list. In fact, I am not exactly new to it. During my MBA, I had created several such puzzles. But its been almost 7 years since MBA (WOW! That long already) and making such puzzles had always been something that I relished, especially theme based puzzles.

So I decided to pick up ‘places in Indonesia’ as my theme this time, to create this puzzle. For this, I wrote down all the places in Indonesia that I could remember and then looked up a bit on them. Some of these places, I have already been to so there was no need to check, but others, I came to know a lot about. I also thought this was a very interesting thing to do because I came to know many things, especially about the other major islands in this archipelago, such as Sumatra, Nussa Tenggara and Kalimantan of which I had almost no information, except for those place-names.

pradswordThe clues:


3. Group of islands famous for their spices

5. Kalimantan’s major urbanized place

10. an important cultural center in central Java, going there alone would be too alone

11. here lies the eighth wonder of the world, the holy land of Buddha

12. home to universities and hindu temples in east Java

16. a politically dynamic part of northern Sumatra

17. Capital of Lombok

19. A group of three islands near Bali and Lombok famous for the underwater sports

20. A major cultural center located in south – central part of Java, still has a king and prefers horse drawn carts to taxis

21. A sonata was heard in a movie… host to reveral factory outlets of garment brands


1. Indonesia’s third largest city and is based in Sumatra

2. Capital of Sulawesi

4. Capital of Indonesia

6. the house of dragons

7. Important place in south Kalimantan

8. an important international port on the eastern part of Java

9. the cultural go-to place in north Bali

13. Capital of Bali

14. famous for its Botanical gardens, a distant suburb to Jakarta

15. The huge part of island in eastern part, which is still inhabited by primitive tribes

18. Jungle where they still are discovering new species and forms of life


I will be sharing this quiz with many of my expat friends here. Answers to be posted later.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen…

Someone has said that….and how truthful is that statement! Having decided to pursue  this creativity project, my mind is on overdrive these days and everything that I see first subconsciously passes through a ‘can this be useful for creativity project’ scanner….

Yesterday, I was low and just to divert myself, I went for a stroll+ window-shopping trip to a mall near the house. My eyes got drawn to a shop with trinkets . These days, I have noticed, I seem to be subconsciously looking for DIY inspirations everywhere. At home, when I see even smallest throw-able things such as shiny silver chocolate wrappers, I start thinking whether they can be used in any way….I’m not sure that’s entirely good because hoarding trash cannot always be a good idea and there is a reason why people throw away trash… anyhow.

So I came across this trinkets shop and just went in there without consciously thinking anything – just to look at those colourful things. Maybe I expected to feel better. This shop was inside out (including its Neon Banner) pink, targeted mostly at teenage girls of course, and selling overpriced items. I took it in with a very critical eye (Than I ordinarily would have). Eventually, I decided to leave. Just as I was leaving, I saw this beautiful paper bag made out of a batik gift wrapping paper. Indonesia has a beautiful batik motif tradition and even gift wrapping papers come in a variety of batik designs, some of which are very beautiful. I just couldn’t resist checking its price tag. I was flabbergasted to know it was being sold at some 30,000 IDR. In Indian Rupees that would roughly translate into Rs. 150. My experience so far is, having converted into INR, everything is twice as costly here. Eg: Onions are IDR. 24000 a Kg, which is Rs.120 in INR and twice the cost of onions in India, viz Rs. 60 per Kg. Probably onions are selling at less than that currently, but I have seen this calculation work in many other instances. Therefore, if anything is costing more than twice the Indian price (when converted into INRs) is really a costly item for me. Anyhow, this logic apart, even if that bag would be sold for INR 75 in India, I would never have paid that much for it. Looking at the bag, I thought I could easily try to replicate it at home.

I came across a gift wrapping shop – yes, there are even gift wrapping shops here, something that probably doesn’t exist in India in  middle class or upper middle class areas and probably will take another 5-10 years to come up… Anyhow, I went to Carrefour  from there and bought supplies – namely a gift wrapping paper with batik design. This one is cheap at IDR 2300 viz Rs. 11.5 in INR terms. I wanted this to be a trial and hence I bought a very basic paper. The papers with better designs are obviously costly  – probably ranging between IDR. 5000 – IDR 10000 here – (in INR 25-50).

The only things that I used are – gift wrapping paper, 3 newspaper pages to add thickness to the paper, a little card paper at the bottom, and strings made out of white thick ‘nada’ thread. I even dipped the ‘nada’ into turmeric to make it yellow. The end result is the picture below. Probably angle is not right, but the bag doesn’t look broad at the top and tapering at the bottom as this picture shows. It is uniformly rectangular. My camera started showing write error so all the other shots I took cannot be read.


Supplies: A gift wrapping paper, glue, small card-paper, two ‘nada’ threads, newspaper (I took 3 pages for the thickness)

In conclusion – A paper bag. Not bad when I consider how much of a big Z I am when it comes to all such things. If this project is improving my eye for all such things then I’d say it would be great….Also, total cost of this would be just IDR 2300+ whatever those two threads and 3 papers from newspaper would cost. So all inclusive,the price would be at most IDR 5000, which is one – sixth of the sale price that I saw… *happy* 🙂

Bis bald, Gute Nacht…

Creativity is a function of happiness…

I have to say that creativity in my case, is a function of happiness. The motivation to write anything now is very low. Past 3 days have not only been very busy, but the outcome that these days led to wasn’t the one that I was expecting. I am disappointed. Low. Some sort of inertia has now settled in. Which is why I did not carry out the activity that I actually had planned for the day. I did however end up tutoring a kid.

I started the day with Bahasa Indonesia lesson at Swapnil’s work place. It commenced today, and will go on for another ten days. We got to learn a variety of words, phrases, information about Indonesia in general, which was good. Also a new activity obviously…

 As I returned from there, a friend messeged to know if she can send her son over so that I can teach him few tricks that I know…I thought it was a better diversion from the constant self – criticism and analysis that I’ve been doing since yesterday. Anyhow, at least the kid was entertained.

I just made a new….

Remember that every good friend was once a str...

Remember that every good friend was once a stranger☺☻ (Photo credit: Vijay Bandari)

Friend. …yes, a new friend..

Before I delve into the details, a back story is in order:

2 nights earlier….

It was 10.0 pm and we were sitting in our drawing-room watching some TV program. There was a knock at the door. Half expecting to be the watchman and unable to guess why he would knock at such a late hour, I opened the door.  There stood a young Indian woman with a child of around 3 tagging behind her. As soon as I looked at her, she said in fluent Marathi, “मी तुमच्या वर राहते. माझ्या मुलाची pant तुमच्या gallery च्या कठड्यावर अडकली आहे. मला ती देता का?” – translated into English this means – “I live in the flat above yours. My son’s pair of pants is stuck in the railing of your balcony. Can you please retrieve it?”. I said, “Oh”, and went to check for the said item – barely registering the fact that she was speaking in Marathi, my mother tongue. It was there, the garment, nestled between the grill and the AC’s compressor. I handed it over to her. Before anything else could be said, she said thank you and turned back. I stood at the door, certain odd things about this encounter started registering:

  1. How in the world this lady knew we spoke Marathi?  – India has 26 national languages and we could have belonged to any of the other language groups.
  2. From her looks, she did not seem Maharashtrian (a Marathi speaking person). She looked more like a north Indian to me and in that case her request in Marathi would be extraordinary.
  3. She did not introduce herself at all apart from telling us that she lived on the next floor, in a flat above ours. She did not ask us our name either.
  4. So did we – we did not ask her name or tell ours. We did not invite her in.

We were perplexed for few moments but soon decided to kill the suspense. Being short of time (probably last time this fortnight), I chose to do it today. Those who know me would also know that I am not exactly an outgoing person and I don’t go out and make friends, my friendships happen gradually. So going out and knocking on a stanger’s door and introducing myself would be totally anti-me. But I decided to do exactly that today. Yes, I hesitated a bit earlier. But then I convinced myself that the maximum that can happen is the lady shutting the door on my face and that was okay because she did not know me personally or I, her and it should not matter. I wasnt exactly sure if she was staying in the flat above me or above my neighbor, because in either cases the garment could get stuck in my balcony…

With some curiosity I knocked the door. At first there was no answer. I knocked again second time, louder this time. There she was. I introduced myself. I said, I was sorry I forgot to introduce myself the other day and that is why I came. She called me in and the rest was history 🙂 We chatted. For almost two hours. Turns out, she knew we existed because of a common friend. That is how she also knew our mother tongue. She is not a Maharashtrian, as I correctly guessed, she is a Gujarati, born and brought up in Pune, a city in Maharashtra. She thanked me for having taken this chance to come, because she herself would have felt quite awkward doing such a thing and we never would have gotten to know each other. As I left, I invited her over for a smallish function that I am holding for my new friends soon.

It was fun getting out of comfort zone. It was bit awkward for sure, but definitely enjoyable, especially, because S, my new friend too responded in the manner that I wanted. All in all, happy outcome.

Anyhow, does this qualify as a creative project activity? I think it does. I got out of my comfort zone and made an attempt to make friends with a stranger. How many times do we do that regularly?

The idea behind creative challenge was to get out of my daily rut, my comfort zone and experience something new. Do some new things, create, think – different from my usual way. There was creative writing (and some more will come along), Objects..(DIY, banner) and I felt why should human relationships be left alone? What all these activities also do is create a unique experience every time. That’s what was my objective – to make my own life interesting. So today, I set out to make a new friend….and new friend, I did make!!

Gute Nacht, bis bald.

Hujan hari ini…

English: rain

English: rain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sekarang Hujan besar!

Aku tidak bisa lihat gedung depan rumah saya.

Hujan sangat besar…balkon saya banjir….

Mendung banyak…ada kilat…angin suara…..ohh… ini badai…takut aku!!

Aku tunggu di rumah aku untuk suami aku…

Semua orang kembali dari Kantor, tapi terlambat mereka, karena macet..

Ohh, mau makan gorengan….selalu waktunya hujan….

Atau teh jahe wangi….

Benar, makan gorengan dengan teh jahe wangi 🙂 🙂

Lebih, makanan dan minuman sekarang. Sampai nanti….

Thats my exercise for the day. A short note in Bahasa Indonesia. It is a creative challenge enough…without being time consuming. I am already learning this language, but I need a lot of practise. Today, I decided to write ten lines in Bahasa Indonesia. Of course, most of the weather – related words I had to double check with my maid who had come in the afternoon, and with some of my friends on the group chat – but it was a great exercise, because ten relevant (to each other) sentences have emerged, which are not concerned with buying, bargaining or asking for directions… which are my only occassions of speaking Bahasa Indonesia….

I had made a couple of local friends…but unfortunately both had to move out of Jakarta… and the rest of Indonesian friends are my husband’s who always speak to me in English…any hoo… time to sign off….

Selamat sore….sampai jumpa….

I am a closet DIY enthusiast…

I am saying that sarcastically. I am not too sure about ‘DIY’ as a subject in general.

Generally, mentioning in ‘craft’ and ‘Pradnya’ in same sentence can give many people seizure. So I avoid that risk. I am really BAD at it.

I have quite a many things to do through this creative project, so I wasnt short of ideas, but I was short of time. That is the only reason WHY I have attempted this. Please forgive me.

I have made a bookmark. ………

Now go ahead and laugh. I too laughed when I thought about it. The last time I had made a bookmark was in class 2 I think. In higher classes, we had complicated projects….

This was not meant to ‘suit my own purposes’ , ‘level of difficulty’ wise. The reader who commented on such lines on my previous post also knows very well, how I literally ‘suck’ at art and crafts… in fact I wanted to avoid this. I even toyed with idea of coming up with ‘Haiku’. 🙂 🙂 Trust me, Haiku  – coming up with three lines (relevant to each other and metaphorical / poetic) was never as difficult before….. 🙂 🙂 Well, given the time constraints obviously, I did not spend much time on it of course and moved on to this… bookmark … (I can see those readers who know me personally chuckling here 🙂 )

Of course, I made rules for this – I gave myself only 5 minutes to look up any thing that I would have normally thrown away – but now can use for ‘artistic’ purposes. I timed it.

A cardpaper from mobile phone box, 3-4 laces and a transparent pouch that earlier contained a shampoo sample.

A cardpaper from mobile phone box, 3-4 laces and a transparent pouch that earlier contained a shampoo sample.

I spent next 15 minutes making this. The pattern I thought up immediately. There were no multiple patterns in my mind. So this hardly took any time.

Without further ado, I present to you –

:)  it sure serves the purpose...

🙂 it sure serves the purpose…

My first ever craft project since probably class 6 or something (after which ‘crafts’ became an optional subject and obviously I gave it up… )

Please be kind to me….

In conclusion – DIY opened up a whole new avenue for me. While it might not be pretty / sleek and all, it definitely IS a bookmark, and usable at that. I was happy overall about the way I was able to come up with a pattern almost immediately. I have even used a sort of technique etc there, with which I modified one of the components… Makes me want to try something like this again. Indulge me if I do…Who knows, over the time, my ideas and skill of hands will improve… 🙂

Auf wiedersehen.

All new and improved


It is done! The creative activity for the day I mean…

My blog’s new header. Yes, making a header is not comparable with writing a skit I agree, it is something that requires you to think and create though. For my current creativity project, that is the only criteria. Also, its not a random image at all. It is a collage of handful of those images that I loved out of my ‘life and time’ in the east.

I expect to be busy for next 3 – 4 days and hence now must think about similar activities, which will consume lesser amount of time. Though they will be making me think nevertheless. Adios and good night…