Delhi Details: Tomb of Safdarjung

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Soon one will see Delhi again. It’s not my home but I have an obligation that needs me to be in the city before heading to the real home by the sea. Nearly everyone who’s been and hasn’t been here, hates this city and it has a bad reputation for women’s safety too. Delhi is frustrating and chaotic yes but it’s also the city of a little magic. This moment in front of the Tomb of Safdarjung is etched in my memory. It’s difficult to explain in print. The sight of a dazzling but clearly neglected landmark, bus loads of tourists and school children rushing past the stone walls, some asking me to click their pictures, I comply. I watch the children scramble on the tomb of the vizier, disrespectful and oblivious to the sanctity of the space. Elsewhere they engrave their names into the stonewalls with sharp stones or a permanent marker suffices to stamp the monument with their devnagri names. First-world foreigners are dumbfound and document the disgrace with their cameras. Strange I thought. Shouldn’t the tomb of a be part of the art and architectural framework we need to preserve? I try to ignore the selfie-taking marker-using students and continue my study of the few flower motifs left on the floor, the rare imperfect symmetry and the stunning ceiling that have been spared from the wrath of time and markers. The tomb of the vizier is still surrounded by cackling and turns into a theme park. I stop one of the children running around the tomb and ask him if he knows anything about the vizier. Sure enough he knows nothing. He points to my camera and asks for a photo. “Only if you let me tell you about the vizier”, I said. He agrees. I rapidly show him my sketches and before long I’m surrounded by these young neat uniformed children all ears about the Emperors. They immediately ask the others to stop the cacophony. Pleased, I continue and they seem entranced by my story and the details of my sketchbook. Afterwards I spend a good fifteen minutes taking pictures that I’ll never be able to send. But it makes them happy and keeps them away from destroying the monument, so I continue. 4 or 5 overburdened teaches come to call it a day. Least bothered about the learning experience of the excursion. Then they all jump into the dozens of rented buses and drive off. All alone at the monument is thrilling, a thousand birds fly overhead, the floral motifs and stucco work seems fresh as ever and the anti-chambers that lead to the tomb are radiant. A brief respite for him and me I thought. It was difficult to pull away.
Present day: I taught a class on the Emperors, thousands of miles away from Delhi. I was dubious of the reaction. Would they be as interested as the boisterous uniformed children? Would they stop the random and trivial and listen to my story? Well, most gave me the attention required for a good grade. And a handful seemed entranced. For that I was thankful. Wonderful I thought, all the inspiration that came out of that one moment could be bottle up and used to make other terrific moment.
It’s been six months now and I reflect on the number of buses that brought more boisterous children to see the “tomb”. How many markers and stones attacked the monument? All this I’ll know soon enough on my next visit to the city of Emperors.

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Hand made with love

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As you grow older you realize the importance of handmade goods. They’re the ones made with love and passion. You start to look for the quality of few things rather than quantity of stuff you’ll just dispose of in some time. I’m starting to see my Mum’s point of “investment pieces”. I didn’t break the bank for this scarf but the quality of the silk is admirable, handblocked and dyed in one of my favorite colours. And my BFF gave me those amazing handmade journals made from handmade paper :) Love you M. |FR. Ce n’est qu’en grandissant qu’on se rend compte de la valeur de l’artisanat. Ce sont ces objets qui sont faits avec l’amour et la passion. On commence à chercher pour la qualité dans peu de choses plutôt que la quantité des objets d’une courte durée. Je commence à comprendre le point de vue de ma mère qui dit mieux investir qu’acheter. Cet écharpe ne coûte pas chère mais la qualité de soie est formidable, les dessins sont faits par une technique d’impression ancestrale de l’Inde (l’impression par bloc de bois/hand blocking) et elle est teintée en bleu (avec un côté fané que j’aime). Les 3 carnets sont un cadeau de ma meilleure amie, aussi fait mains avec du papier fait mains :D

Sea of Poppies | Un océan de pavots

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One of my favourite books, Sea of Poppies, styled here with the most magnificent poppy offered by our dear florist actuelflors. | ‘Un océan de pavots’ par Amitav Ghosh, un de mes livres préférés, vu ici avec un magnifique pavot de actuelflors. Revue et livre à découvrir ici

Shades of home

Staying away from home can be tough! I miss the delicious food, my pets, the sea, and most of all my dysfunctional family! I wont be going home for christmas which is seriously sad :( My mom offered to pay for my ticket home but once I checked the prices, they were sky high! the cheapest return ticket Paris-Bombay is 1200 euros and it should cost a minimum 450 euros! I really don’t want to waste all that money and knowing my mum, she won’t ever let me forget it! I also need to buy a camera. I’m considering investing some money on a good professional camera. Since I was not taking the ticket offer from mum, I asked her to spend some of the cash on a camera. I’m still awaiting a response. hmpf!

Presenting Indian Culture

The first slide of my powerpoint presentation :)

Finally something constructive to do! A well known Business School in the North of France has invited me to make a presentation on Indian culture. I had worked on a similar project with one of the business schools in Normandy. This time the theme is “Beyond Cultural Barriers: Business in Modern India”. I love the idea of taking down cultural boundaries and I jumped at the offer when it came my way! But as always something exciting in France, will come with tons of paperwork. The seminar is taking place for three days only and I’m supposed to submit a

  1. Curriculum Vitae  
  2. a RIB (bank identification) 
  3. copy of passport 
  4. copy of “carte de séjour” (legal staying permit) 
  5. copy of social security card 
  6. copy of “authorisation de travail” delivered by the Prefect of Police 
  7. Salary slip (if working elsewhere) 
  8. Diplomas and school certificates translated in French ?
  9. “Authorization to undertake extra work” from current employer ?
  10. And finally the most confusing/entertaining of the lot, “un extrait de casier judiciaire” which is basically a background police check done after you put in your application for the document online. The confusing thing though is that the document is given only to people born on French soil. How does one work around this ???

Et voilà the documents required to make a powerpoint presentation in France! oui, c’est la vie!