Monthly Archives: April 2014

Song of Hiawatha


Today my eyes are feeling very strained. I think I’ll just put some more photos of my garden and retire to rest them.

Is there something wrong? WordPress is not letting me upload pictures!

The problem with my eyes is that I wear only reading glasses and if I have been focusing close up for too long then my vision gets blurred for a while.

OK, not the garden, let me find some other photos I keep taking.

Nope, no pictures being accepted so I am a bit flummoxed.

OK how about a poem?

A random page from The Song of Hiawatha. How well did Stevenson know the Native Americans I don’t know, and how well were they represented in this poem, however, it is the most lyrical of blank verse that I’ve read. I don’t know too much poetry, though I read it a bit.

“And the merry Laughing Water

Went rejoicing from the wigwam,

With Nokomis old and wrinkled,

And they called the women round them,

Called the young men and the maidens,

To the harvest of the cornfields,

To the husking of the maize ear.”

So then I finally retire. Our house is hot and unpleasant. I checked on Mummy and asked how she was feeling about this awful baking we are going through. She says she is not warm at all. Her room is protected from the afternoon sun but the building does radiate heat at night. These are the bad days of summer. May is worse. Then we start looking out for the rains. I find that she is losing appetite due to heat maybe, so I made her soft scrambled eggs and a cheese toast which she ate thank goodness.

And I am on a diet! That is, reduced intake! Let’s hope it can be sustained.


Gardening Zen


Gardening Zen

This post is about something I am pleased to have accomplished. And that is making compost from scrap. It was a pleasing two hours I spent yesterday, mixing soil from the nursery with the rich, healthy smelling compost made over the last six to nine months. I had two containers going and when they were full of kitchen scraps, garden clippings, eggshells etc, I just forgot about it and when I opened it yesterday to find out how it was faring it was ready to use. I made some good looking mix and then in the empty container started off a new process. I also have a lovely terracotta container in three parts which I bought here in Pune. That will be the next lot I use, but not for months.

I bought a croton and some pink verbena yesterday. They look so colourful and gorgeous next to each other.

So lots of photos today. Most are fresh but some are from when the plants were flowering and have now been pruned.

I bought the hens and chicks plant and have to pot it into a better container. For now it is standing happily next to the mixed mini garden.

rock garden

Here is the verbena looking rather flashy!


The variegated Schefflera now has bigger leaves than when I bought it, my good soil of course.


The taller plants work as screens for privacy but do not block the breeze.

tall plants

Tht’s the principle at work in the bedroom balcony too but in summer the sun is fierce and the plants are really under stress so have to be maintained carefully. I have pruned some and cut some for propagating so there is a bit of an empty look. The view, not so clearly seen here, is of the solar panels on top of the serviced apartments called Oakwood, opposite our place. I am so pleased with the sight always.

broom bal

This is on the living room balcony. This piece of furniture used to be in the kitchen but when we had a pantry built it was moved out here to hold plants handsomely.


We call this money plant. Is this some kind of philodendron? anyone?


Newly planted croton. I am so in love with the colours.


here is a close up of the mixed soil and compost (the darker bits).


I stopped pruning this vine which gets pretty tiny blue flowers like mini morning glories but it is now refusing to flower and just going wild all over the place. That’s OK for now.


Here’s one of my containers for making compost – just an old wastepaper bin. That’s new stuff being put in to rot!


This well made terracotta three-piece container is for making compost. I bought it from Swacch, an organization in Pune which teaches and assists in the correct, eco-friendly way to deal with waste.

bin closed

Here it is with the upper compartment open to show the top layer of garden dry leaves and such. I do this to prevent smell and insects from getting into the kitchen waste. Please do remember never to use cooked food while making compost.

bin open

This section onwards are old photos of plants which have now been pruned. They will look lush and flower in a bit of time.



This was something I learnt from Pinterest. I cut a tomato in quarters and buried it in soil. It gave up some pretty seedlings and turned into a vine which gave me about twenty seven tomatoes. I was really pleased, I was.


Lastly, this is my Buddha garden which I made after seeing something similar a friend had done.

buddha garden

And this here is what I can see if I sit in my armchair by the door and look out. Not a bad sight, as far as I’m concerned.


My gardening implements consist of an old kitchen knife, my kitchen scissors for light pruning. I cannot work with gloves, they drive me crazy so I just let mud get on my hands and then wash them and apply moisturizer. I do have a hardy pair of secateurs though and they are used well to keep things in control otherwise there would be a jungle out there. It’s all very hit and miss though and I have had to learn from many, many mistakes. I have learnt a lot from Pinterest. There are gorgeous photos pinned which inspire a love of garden growing, lots of hints, lots of good advice and ideas.

I’d like to tell you all that my sister has a gardening blog. It’s on wordpress too and it’s called



Liebster Award

Award second liebster-award

I am so very thrilled to be nominated by Lydia Devadason for the Liebster award. And pleased to get it a second time. Thank you very much Lydia.

Lydia has these eleven questions for me to answer:

1.What inspired you to start a blog?

  I really do like the interactive nature of blogging. You don’t just write, you know the minds of your followers and you admire theirs and other’ writing and photography and other skills.

2. Do any of your close ‘real’ friends blog?

    No, but my sister does and one friend in Australia is thinking about it.

3. Have you had any strange, embarrassing or frightening blogging experiences?

    No, none at all, thank goodness.

4.If eating at a restaurant, what would be your favourite meal – with or without dessert?

      Probably pasta with some vegetables and a cheesy sauce.

5.If money was no option, what would be your perfect holiday destination?

     I would love to go to Italy on a luxurious holiday.

6.If money was no option, what would be your perfect evening’s entertainment?

     A nice experience of theatre on Broadway in New York and then a great dinner. I don’t really have very fancy ideas!

7.What’s your favourite word?

     I think it’s a swear word and that’s “bloody”.

8.What quality do you think friends appreciate most in you?

     Possibly I’m uncomplicated.

9.What personality characteristic do you find the most off-putting or irritating in others?

      Not being able to admit or compliment someone’s talent.

10. How would you like to be remembered by those you care about?

       As someone who cared to let them be themselves

11. What is your favourite holiday destination?

     My children’s homes in the US!

My nominees for the Liebster Award are:

1. Journeyman

2. The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

3. Laxman Prajapati

4. Presents of Mind

5. Confessions of a Readaholic

6. The Fallen

7. Just Some Dish

8. Broadside

9. Quoth The Wordsmith

10. Just Be V

11. Ana Linden

Nominees these are my eleven questions:

1. How difficult is it to think up eleven questions?

2. Did you grow up close to grandparents?

3. What is your favourite film?

4. Do you spend too much time online?

5. Where is your favourite famous monument and what is it?

6. Do you like to remember friends’ birthdays?

7. Do you vote in elections?

8. What is your favourite breakfast dish?

9. What is your favourite non-primary colour?

10. Have you ever been on a cruise in a ship?

11. What do you think you excel in?

And that’s it. Hope you enjoy this all as much as I have. Now I have to get down to letting you guys know!

I am having problems with getting connected to my nominees…something wrong somewhere. I will try to let you know as soon as I can.

Liebster Award!

Food, Blessed Food


Food, Blessed Food

Today I had a look at how much I weighed and got a terrible fright. Hugely overweight. How has this happened I’m moaning and complaining, I hardly eat anything (not true of course), why have I started putting on weight? And other such nonsense.

I wanted to write about how we have cured the, or should I say the one and only bedsore, so far, that Mummy has had to suffer. I will write about how scary it is to find one and how to treat it but I have got completely distracted by this weight issue.

The reason maybe that she developed this sore was that she had lost a lot of weight at the end of last year, was refusing to eat, and was really bony. Maybe a pressure point developed because of that. On discovering it we went into action and had to work out how to improve her food and her appetite and her nutritional balance.

To give her vegetables and fruits is all very well but she has to want to eat them. As you can see from the photo, the dish looks pretty bland. But in it I’ve added all sorts for flavouring, some ginger and garlic paste and some coriander leaves, some pepper and salt. She does not like chilli. So that’s one meal a day which she has without trouble only if I blend it and she can drink it down.


I got this tin of supplementary food powder so that I could add it on days I was uncertain about how well she was eating. As I’ve already said earlier she has porridge of oats in the mornings with a mashed banana in it.


She likes this fruit so it’s easy to get through breakfast. They get ripe rather fast in the heat and we have to keep buying them every two-three days since more means I have to turn it into cakes and banana bread, all of which she eats with as much fuss as anything else. I want to try semolina porridge too if she would eat it.


Other fruits I have to disguise and put together with ice cream in her dessert section! Or I make a milkshake – that is when I add the food supplement because a milkshake does not feel like much food.

And I have been giving her eggs and fish too. Sandwiches, scrambled eggs and tuna fish etc.

And making cakes and cookies and pasta. That’s the whole problem.

She likes pasta, but I LOVE it. I make such a large quantity so my mother gets enough and then we sit down to dinner and that’s it, appetite (mine) overcomes all sense of proportion and common sense too. And I have been making carrot cake, soft, smooth, yogurt and sugar carrot cake, for her, er, me. I think I’ve consumed more than she has. I’ve made chocolate bread pudding and banana and chocolate chip bread, and cookies with butterscotch bits. The chocolate bread pudding I last made when my kids were at home and it is really easy to just have helping after helping. I have not been taking pictures of these goodies. Food pictures are very dangerous for me. When I’m looking at photos of those fabulous baked dishes on Pinterest I get up and go looking for something in the fridge. My friends are consoling me by saying it’s your thyroid, or it’s hereditary or whatever, but I think it’s my mother’s diet.

I wish she would like these things as much as I do. Or that Uday would polish them off, but no, they are just nibblers. Well, not to be too unkind to myself, all these treats HAVE made Mummy better, even if she has them in smaller quantities than I do. She is certainly more lively, more articulate about what she wants or not. If only I had more self control. Carbohydrates and sugar together are my undoing.


My daughter called today and when I told her my weight I got such a long-distance firing from her and ordered to the gym and to exercise and perhaps try, at least, to control my hunger pangs and shrink that tummy and along with it appetite. I went downstairs, raced around the building till I was sweaty and tired and hot, it is this disgusting summer that’s making me even more inactive.

I am of course, in a quandary, how to keep giving Mummy the kinds of food that have obviously made a difference to her and yet eat less of it myself. I’m thinking about it. I think checking weight regularly is part of the way to control cravings and obviously, doing much more activity. Suvarna is on leave so I have been a bit more active housework wise, otherwise I tend the garden, make beds, clean the bathrooms and tidy up or clean closets, do my sewing and altering, etc. I don’t think this is very hard work and I am thoroughly ashamed to admit it. I cook mostly in the early evenings after she has gone and I have the kitchen to myself, or at about eight o’clock after I come upstairs from my so-called walk. I like to keep cleaning as I cook and she does everything afterwards, so the counter is full of a million things and I find it confusing. She does not like the trips I keep making to the kitchen if she is in there so we give each other space.

I am sure that I can conquer this problem. Others have done it, including a blogger I follow who has just run the London marathon. It needs a fresh take on the whole business of eating and this blessed food is not going to get me to be a useless lump. I am going to note the nutrition as well as the calories consumed, and, basically, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. That is a note to myself. Wish me luck.

But before I go, HAPPY EASTER. Have a really blessed day.

(“Blessed” is a common adjective used among my community in place of say, “cursed”…it’s a way I guess of being genteel or something, from days gone by and was very common to describe some nuisance activity or thing especially when I studied in Convent schools, long, long, long, long ago).


Election Day Blues


So I didn’t get to vote today and neither did Uday, who got out at 7:30 to go check voter lists. He got back around 10 a.m. and we let Sharada go to vote. Lakshmi had the whole day free so both of them managed to vote. All my friends here did too. I joined Uday after Sharada got back and we went from polling station to polling station looking for our names. Some had one Dhavle, some had none, some had a longer list of them, some a few, but none of those Dhavle’s were us. Needless to say I was very downcast and sorry that I did not get to do my duty as a citizen…through no fault of my own.

s main rd

Polling usually takes place in government schools and teachers often do voting duty. They sit all day at tables with lists of voters and in the sweltering sun were exchanging chatter and being very sprightly about it all. I managed a few photos. In one booth I got yelled at by some policemen – for some reason in India, you can’t take photos of official things and processes. I asked why but there was just general yelling. I waited and took one more and then there was hell of an eruption but I calmed the police guy by saying I was writing about my experience in a blog! He was quite OK with it, but just gave me an official scowl for the record.

It was quite something to see the spectacle, only it wasn’t much of one. There were no long queues, no hundreds, let alone thousands of people so one wonders about this wave, really, that our media is predicting. However, in one place I did notice that the paper we have to sign before we enter for casting our vote had a number of exact same signatures. That’s all I got to see of anything untoward, and I wish I had got a picture! In this booth where there was a long list of Dhavles, the lady would not let us scrutinize it, and a guy who was willing to help got shouted down, really shouted down by her. I wonder why!

I spent time looking and asking for our names too and Uday tried because he speaks much better Marathi, it’s his mother tongue, but no joy anywhere.



getting advice

This election official asked us to go and check in a certain place “one last time”….I wonder why “one last time”!!!

school again

On another unhelpful note, a police van driving around with gimlet eyes on innocent folk used a microphone to authoritatively chase off men who were trying to make a good day’s living selling cold things like drinks and ice-creams and sugar cane etc. I got a photo there but the guy was chased off in no time as the van approached and the police inside started scaring them out of shape. In India people who sell things by the roadside are a menaced lot.

thirst quenchr

our road

This is the road that we live close to, usually very busy with traffic going by at speed.


pingle wast

It was a really horrible hot day with the only pleasant thing being hardly any traffic. I got some street shots as we were cruising about from booth to booth hoping our names would turn up somewhere. The tables everywhere were besieged by ten-fifteen people asking where the hell their names were. One worker said please find my name soon as I have to get back to work.

sugar cane juice

That’s a sugar cane crusher in the distance. I was one harried woman today. Even my husband kept hurrying me so I was desperate to get pictures that showed the scene as I saw it.

So that was that. The electoral process as we call it here is still going on and stretches into next month. On May the 16th votes will be counted and we will know what is going to be the result of this huge operation. I was going to vote for Professor Subhash Ware who is an Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Pune for the Lok Sabha.

I got this photo of Professor Ware from the AAP facebook pages that I have been following. He is a soft spoken, very distinguished person with a lot of experience in working for social causes. This party has attracted hundreds and thousands of people like him, people who are tribals and have worked in human rights campaigns and have suffered awful indignities, people like Medha Patkar who is an eminent social activist, people like a top policewoman Kanchan Bhattacharya, who a TV series was made about and so many, many, others. Out of the picture are the many people freely volunteering their time and who exemplify citizens who want to work for the betterment of the country by not just criticizing but by joining politics to make things work by their efforts.


The Aam Aadmi Party is distinguished by these Gandhi topis that they wear saying “We are the common man”. They have captured the imagination and enthusiasm of many people especially social activists, middle class folk and also some people in varied artistic and corporate positions. But their main supporters are the huge amount of working class and the huger underclass of people who get totally ignored. They have found something that resonates with their lives in the rhetoric of the Aam Aadmi Party candidates. The criticism is that they are “inexperienced” but then shouldn’t we give them that experience?


Hot day

This is a new party, fighting for their right as political representatives with an anti-corruption plank. They do not have the funds like mainstream parties have, nor do they have the support of the media who mostly behave as if they do not exist. That is why I read articles from Kafila, here on our very own WordPress and have a link for you to see if there is anything we can possibly do in the future if  not now, for making our election process, and in fact any political process, free of corruption and lawlessness.

s main road

Under the Banyan tree in the distance are the people who sit with the lists of voters. There are plenty of folks shooting the breeze as well but most are there to vote and go. Up the road is the polling station where there was a decently long line. And where my friend, who had been on the phone to me while I was sleuthing  around, finally found her name. Lucky her. And that reminds me, my friend Lucy was listed as Lucky Fernandes, so I wonder if I was there hidden under some pseudonym.

It is not a happy ending of a long awaited day for me and my husband but we plan to give it such a fight to see that we are on the rolls as soon as the registration starts again, this June, we hear. And there are still some 28 days to go during which I’ll be cheering on this party, which by the way, I have become a member of.

To end my story today perhaps this link to the Kafila story will make more sense and give an idea about how society and officialdom sometimes go hand in hand to prevent honesty and openness in this hugely populated ‘democracy’ they call India.

Creating Stuff


Creating Stuff

Today is the 15th of April. The day after tomorrow, our state, Maharashtra, goes to the polls for the General Elections and I hope to vote if all goes well. I will have a lot of interesting things to report that day. Of course we will have to make sure that someone is in the house with my mother when we go out because if queues are long we may be waiting some time there.

In the meantime, I have photos of things I do and have done some time ago which is a collection of some handiwork. The first photo, sorry it is so blurred, is of a small pillow I made with our initials in large and our names worked in smaller alphabets. It’s neat to tuck under one’s neck while reading. There are other photos of things that I like doing. Firstly, it saves a lot of money making stuff and then, you can use things you have around the house to make things that go together. First up another set of pillows. We call them cushions in India. These are in the living room.


I have some old photos of a sampler bag I made years ago and named it ‘floor of the rainforest’. It has some imaginary botany though.

Downloads- 21 Mar 10 033

'floor of the rainforest' sampler bag, made donkey's years ago...


I make hand bags quite often and keep them carefully!

Downloads- 21 Mar 10 034

This one is made from a shimmery fabric and has sequinned flowers applied. These days I store precious things in it.

Downloads- 21 Mar 10 061

I made this one in the US using a tote I bought from Michaels and a fabric paint pen.

Below is a textile piece made from pieces of a sari sewn onto a thicker base fabric and edged with embroidered strips and with four chain stitch triangles completing it. It is a contemporary take on traditional textiles. I use it as a piece of glamorous fabric to drape on my sofa.

Talu- Saree etc 003

Susan's projects

A floor cushion made from drapery fabric and using embroidered pieces with metal trimming. It is stuffed with cotton wool.


A dress I made for my grand daughter a few years ago. I have made many but the pictures aren’t all available.

Downloads- 21 Mar 10 006

This is a drawing done from an advertisement for hand-cream or something.


A dress I knitted for my grand daughter while in the US. My American nephew in law was the only one of the younger generation who knew anything about knitting and it was such fun to have him listen to me explaining how I created the ruffle at the hem, how many stitches I cast on and so on!


I had an assortment of handmade glazed tiles and used them to cover an old table which was falling apart.


This is a picture I made for an empty wall by using printouts of the background and of the sketch from the Internet, put them together and into a frame that was lying about the house. I rarely throw anything away.

Exilim Downloads- Anya- Jan 10 009

We were going to a wedding with my small grand daughter. I made her a silk Indian style dress and since my daughter did not want to put metal on her ankles (silver anklets) I made these out of some trimming. She was enjoying a good snooze at the wedding when I took this photo.

And that’s it for now about what I fool around doing with my time.

This Is Pune


Out and about in Pune, to do things and see places.

My mother can’t go out at all but she knew Pune very well when she was a young woman doing her secretarial training here in the 1940s. She would tell us about what a charming part of town the area close to where we live was once upon a time, with banyan tree lined streets and sleepy lanes, and bungalows set back in large grounds. She herself stayed in the YWCA and only saw this place a few times. Where we live now was long deserted farmland which slowly became urbanized. Pune is a larger place in 2014 with growth in all directions. We go to a lot of different places and of course everyone has seen malls, stores etc so no photos of those from me.

The fresh looking tomatoes, onions and coriander are from pictures my daughter took of a street food stall, long ago, when we went out together one evening.

In those days Main Street, which used to be one of Pune’s stylish shopping centres, was turned on Saturday evenings into a walking plaza. It was fun for people who could buy snacks and even get free wi-fi for their computers and the best thing was that there was no traffic. But eventually the shop keepers complained that their businesses were affected on these evenings and ultimately these unique events were put an end to.

Here are pictures of my favourite local snack. It is called bhel puri. Made from puffed rice, mixed with green chutney and tamarind chutney and with all these fresh ingredients (seen in the main picture) stirred in, it is DELICIOUS.


This is the bhel puri stall and


this is the stall chef getting the ingredients stirred vigorously together. Most people use stainless steel utensils for such preparations as they are tough and clean and don’t let chemicals into the food which can happen when sour ingredients such as lime and tamarind are used.


These are other garnishes that go on top and make it more flavourful.


Here is another expert making a different kind of popular snack. Probably aloo parathas, if I’m not mistaken.


This is water provided for anyone who wants it. It is a custom to do this in many parts of the country and quite a common sight (though maybe less now, in the more ‘stylish’ localities). Well there’s more to the walking plaza but so much of it for now.

Downloads- 21 Mar 10 030

I spotted this mural painted on the side of a railway crossing’s little cabin. It is close by here. This Hindu god’s representation like this is a rare sight. I had never seen anything like this before. Now a little shrine covers the space where the dogs are so they are out of sight.


This is the Aga Khan palace in Pune where Gandhiji was kept under house arrest by the British during one period of his agitation against colonial rule.


The prisoners lived very simply. Mahatma Gandhi was also lodged at a different time in Pune’s famous Yerawada jail, it’s most famous occupant. For his satyagraha and non-violent and civil-disobedience movements against the colonials he spent great amounts of time incarcerated. Just a reminder in case I give the impression that he lounged around in luxury. These were the bare furnishings – the desk is meant to be used while sitting on the floor.


Kasturba, his wife, and some close aides also shared the house arrest with him.


School kids starting young to learn about the history of their country. They were such a joyful little bunch with good natured teachers looking after them.


The city is surrounded by low hills. This view is from the farmhouse of some friends.


Closer to home is this tree where the crows gather. They are most interesting.

affectionate chat...


And last but not least, this beautiful moth who got inside in December 2012 when we were a houseful, my kids and grandkids and Mummy and us all in this house. We switched off the lights and put the balcony light on and soon he was outside where he belonged.

That’s a smallish glimpse of Pune. I hope you enjoy it.



Visitors for Mummy


arati with mummy
Today my mother had some visitors. My niece who has come to Pune from Delhi on some work is staying the night with us. She is a lively girl with a love of family stories and having a good laugh or two. She looks so happy in the photos I took of her standing near her grandmother. The young bring a kind of uplifting of the soul. I would definitely feel terrible if I could not ever have young folks to chat to. There is so much going on in their lives.

m and a
Another visitor today was from Delhi too. This was Mummy’s friend and colleague when they worked together in the same organization in Delhi in the Nineteen Eighties.
Mummy’s friend met her husband through my parents when she would visit their house. Both these friends have lost their life partners now. She sat next to Mummy holding her hand, smoothing her forehead and telling her about her family, her kids and grandkids.

Mummy gets occasional visitors. Friends from our building who are all around my age will drop in sometimes and Mummy will respond to a hello or a bye bye. My sister in law will come sometimes too and chat with her cheerfully.

Another niece who is married to an American came year before last with her American in-laws. It was quite something to see her Mother in law interact with Mummy, who loved her sweet chattiness.


I inserted this photo of a plant that I pruned quite daringly, not sure what would happen. I just did not like the way it was becoming so extra tall. And it is now a wonder of flowers. But that’s by the by.
I have actually somehow lost the post that I first wrote, I don’t know how and am having difficulty remembering what I had written. I have stopped writing notes and just try to compose posts as I do emails when I write them to my kids. I wonder if this is not such a good idea because once lost something spontaneous in it is hard to replace.

All I can remember of what I wanted to close with was that the visits cheer everyone up. The younger folks have more interesting news for us than we have for them I’m sure and the older ones come with their compassion and affection for us which delights and makes us go all yakkity yak.

I had taken some pictures today of Mummy watching TV before she goes to bed, sitting up for her daily change of position. This changing positions is very important for bed ridden patients and I have to devote a post to that.

My friends and relatives constantly ask about my mother’s health and well being. I think people are basically so kind and their love nourishes me as well.


So bye from me for tonight. I hope I am more capable next time.

This Old House



The house as it looks in the present day.

denis photo

The entrance with Denis’ official photo

garden now

The garden – one of the angles

classroom on the verandah

There is a classroom on the verandah where we would gather

dining room furniture

The dining area on the verandah. They have kept all the old furniture in good shape.


Extensive plantings along the wall.

deb in garden

Deborah in the garden.

from trees

Fruit gathered from the trees all around the garden.

lots of mangoes

Laden with fruit.


The porch with nice stone paving.

lantana and periwinkle

Festive looking flowers, just enjoying the sun’s warmth.

some of the girls with mother teresa

Some of the girls with Mother Teresa. Years ago my parents asked me to make the covers for these chairs. Felt so nostalgic.

some of the girls

It is a simple yet comfortable home for these girls from destitute families. They were a laughing and energetic crowd.

white roses

We took white roses to plant near the grave.


Prayers near the grave.

all of us

All of us after the prayers were said.

debs with father and sister

The sweet, kind people who look after the place with Deborah.

veg garden

They grow vegetables for their kitchen on this side.

veg garden...

More vegetables.

wall a

Sun-loving plants and a Christmas Tree.


A peaceful resting place.

max grave

Nearby is the grave of Denis’ beloved dog Max. The words describe him: Brave, Happy


After Mass and prayers at the grave we had a wonderful breakfast. My niece Arati,  her Mom my sister Jeanne, Mother Teresa, Mushtaq, our taxi driver and Debbie. They were so hospitable and affectionate.


I took this close-up of an appam. Gosh, they were delicious.


Then on the road to Hyderabad where I took this photo of an autorickshaw. This was a pleasant and nostalgic visit to a city and a village which has a dear place in our hearts.

Return to The House



As I wrote last time, we were going to the village to visit my father’s last resting place. We did make it there by eight in the morning, driving down that highway and it felt so surreal to be going there along that familiar route to reach Brahmanpalli when there would be no father or mother there to be enthusiastic about our visit.

As usual as the granite quarry at the side of the road appeared we saw the tall coffee factory which stands near by to that precious house. We were soon there and just in time for Mass. Everyone was seated and ready to begin. While I participated I also noticed the simple chapel made in what used to be Denis’ workshop. It was just the kind of place to give a sense of peace and contemplation of what this place had meant to all of us.


Later we walked out to the grave, surrounded with rose plants in bloom and decorated with gerberas and roses and with the flowers from the creeper my sister had had planted there earlier raised on to the edge of the white stone. Now a high wall surrounds the property with fruit trees and other plants lush and laden along its edges. We hope our white roses will grow and flourish too. It was a blessed experience and I have a lot of photos to sort out and make a large photo post with titles explaining what was the before and the now.


The Nuns had made us a breakfast of appams with channa sabji and chutney. The appams were soft, delicious and wolfed down by everyone. We called our taxi driver in who was happy to partake of the meal as well, made as festive as the Lenten season allows. The best part was the nimbu pani they brought out in trays to us as we wandered around the grounds looking at the changes. I did not, and I don’t think my sister’s did either, feel sorrowful or depressed to be there. It was humbling to see how the people there were making do with things left there and hadn’t glammed it up. It was still a simple home, but now with many more inhabitants. Seeing the place thrive with the happy girls rushing about was uplifting.


It would have been devastating if it had been abandoned, nor used to such good purpose and it was so heartening to see that there was a classroom, neat and clean places for the girls (all orphans or from poor families) to sleep and eat and do their daily tasks. My parent’s furniture was all there, kept in such good order and it was gratifying to see all the paintings, crockery, lamps, other knick knacks that were all neatly arranged to their usefulness here and there.

The Nuns left us alone to wander the grounds, the garden with exuberant bloom and the house now painted white looked cool and as much loved and maybe more cared for from when we were there.

We got back to Pune in the early evening today. When I told my mother that we had been there she looked slightly puzzled almost as if she did not know what I was talking about. I asked if she remembered it and she said yes. I stood thinking whether I should tell her more but I asked about Denis and she said I don’t know. I think there is something that she still thinks of or still visualizes but does not articulate. It’s possible but makes no sense to pester her about it. I did feel it important to tell her that their house looks like a happy home.

from trees

We got a great surprise of the gift from the Nuns of green mangoes (called Kairi) from the many trees. There is a dwarf variety planted by them, barely a few feet off the ground but bearing fruit amply. The old lime trees, about twenty five years are still fruiting year round, some ripe ones were lying on the ground and they gave us a large quantity of these as well. They have collected dried leaves and grass cuttings to place around the base of trees as mulch which will slowly turn to good compost over time. I plan to make some nimbu pani and a cool drink I make at least once in summer called mango fool and give this to my mother. The only thing that could possibly make me feel a bit dejected was that she couldn’t come.

It was an enchanting morning, our going back there a valued experience, so much graciousness and hospitality was displayed. We came away assured that it had indeed been a wonderful idea to turn this into a home for these abandoned young girls and women who would now be able to go into the world with dignity and hope.