Gratitude List – November 19, 2011.

For some time now, my father has been bugging me to get a hand rail fixed on the staircase leading to the two upstairs bed rooms in our home. He has been claiming that it is to help him climb up and down a few times for exercise, but I suspect that it is for other reasons. I finally yielded, and arranged for a hand rail to be installed after much difficulty locating a contractor and at a steep cost. It was installed on Saturday, much to the satisfaction of my father, though I personally miss the painting that was on the wall. Once I am mobile, I shall put up a Tanjore Mirror Painting there. I will no longer be subject to his nagging for the railing and that is a great blessing.

Since the base plates for the clamps for the railing had not dried after the epoxy put in on Saturday, my father was able to inaugurate the hand rail only on Sunday. His expression was worth the effort and expenditure incurred.

We had an unexpected guest for lunch. Luckily I had cooked a dish of chicken for my father, Mitali and Ranjan, which was polished off in double quick time.

That is Jesse from Tanzania and you can see from his expression how well fed he was. You can see Ranjan and Mitali in the background getting some ice cream for us. I took the photograph while sitting on my throne and while Jesse was waiting for his share of the ice cream. Mitali had this to say about the lunch in her comment last Sunday on my Gratitude List. “and now i too got to sample your culinary skills. Yum! The way you keep feeding me, i’m going to be a growing girl!”

My Monday was made for me with a mail from Magpie about which I have blogged. It is nice to be known as a Rose!

Tuesday started off with my being greeted by blooming jasmine flowers in our garden. The breeze was in the opposite direction and I could not smell the fragrance, but I am sure that people who pass by on the outside will be able to.

My friend Anil from Delhi landed up in the evening and spent a couple of hours catching up with all news. He had a flat tyre and a broken jack to tackle before he could make the trip by an autorickshaw and I am truly grateful that he took all the trouble to come over to spend time with me.

I had misplaced a large denomination currency note on Tuesday and had been at my wits end trying to figure out where I could have kept it. Now that I am very restricted in my movements, it was particularly frustrating that I could not remember where I had left it. On Wednesday morning, it miraculously just appeared by itself, without my having to search for it. And, you guessed it, in the one place where I should have looked and did not.

Later on, when Mangal came in, she discovered a package which turned out to be some sweetmeats that are my favourite. Anil had brought them and left them behind without me knowing anything about them. What a surprise they turned out to be at lunch time!

Wednesday wound down with Sandeep dropping in to tell me all about his trek to the Himalyas. I look forward to going with him next year.

Thursday morning saw Sandeep back again with Deepali joining too. They had chota hazri with me and it was nice to see them enjoying themselves. They have given two ideas for blogs which will follow next week.

Our help was late coming to work and I entered the kitchen for the first time to do a full cooking job so that my father could have his lunch on time. I was quite pleased as I think he was too, with the outcome. Our help arrived, but by the time, it was all over bar the shouting.

Friday gave me a very pleasant surprise early in the morning. I received a phone call from my cousin Sampath who started off by asking how my recovery was and then asked whether he could come to visit! He lives in Houston Texas and is visiting India and taking a diversion tomorrow to come and call on us. Friday also saw Mitali joining us for lunch and staying on till late evening. Just about dinner time, our neighbours Mohammed and Nazura landed up with some goodies for dinner saving me some cooking time.

All in all, a great week with many people who came into it, for which I am very grateful.

Butterflies and Jasmine.

When I wrote my post on The Butterfly I did not mention why the butterflies come into our garden. My friend and regular commentator Sandeep reminded me to make amends with his comment: “A similar looking butterfly seems to have made our garden its home. It seems to be partial to the jasmine flower, for some reason.” I shall post photographs of Sandeep’s garden soon.

We too have a few jasmine bushes which have been allowed to grow as hedges along the fence that borders our compound. The butterflies must be coming for these.  The photograph above is a close up and here are two other photographs:

Both the photographs were taken early in the morning, from the veranda where we sit to have our tea, read the newspapers etc. The top photograph shows the plants covering the North West corner of our compound and the lower one shows the jasmine flowers that have fallen on the paved ground. We have paved the garden rather than have a lawn as we keep moving potted plants around. The gaps between the stone slabs had thick grass growing which we have mowed down for the monsoon. Fresh grass will now sprout and cover the gaps with thick green colour soon.

The jasmine flower is blessed with a heady scent. When the breeze is from the right direction, the veranda and part of the living room immediately behind it get the scent and it is unbelievably enticing.

The jasmine flower is used to make garlands and the garlands are worn by many Indian women in their hair as an aid to beauty and for the perfume.

In the good old days (ahem!) we had an institution called the mujhra to which men of refinement would go in the evenings for some entertainment – the Indian equivalent of a night club! They would inevitably be welcomed inside by the Madam, with a garland tied around their wrists from long strands of jasmine stringed together.
The men would lounge around on thick mattresses on the floor, spread around the periphery of a hall and the dancers would dance in the center. The men would keep smelling the jasmine tied around their wrists in the belief that it enhanced their perception! Here is a very popular mujra scene from a famous Hindi film. You can see some of the patrons with the jasmine flowers on their wrists.