Candy bar lady

I just loved this story about a “candy bar lady” and wanted to share it with all of you:

“It was just after 5 o’clock when the girls and I dashed into the grocery store. I normally avoid buying groceries during rush-hour, but we had a window of time during Christian’s basketball practice and decided to hurry in for milk and a few other staples.

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We filled the cart quickly and headed to the front of the store. Despite the hour, at first glance it looked like only the self-checkout lanes were open. Quite a few customers had clustered at the self-checkout, so the girls and I passed those lanes in search of a cashier. We found one cashier, but she had turned her light off, so it looked like she was closing her lane. A couple of aisles down, we noticed a newly-lit lane, so headed that direction.

When we reached the lane, we were surprised to find a single buggy but no one in sight. As we were about to back out, a petite silver-haired lady passed us. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said with a friendly smile. “They said someone would be here in a minute.”

I checked the time, a little worried that we would not be able to check out before we needed to head back to Christian’s practice. It didn’t look like the other lanes were moving quickly, though, so I decided we would stay put.

Moments later, a cashier hurried to the register. The pretty teenager looked a little frazzled as she keyed her code into the register, but she brightened when she noticed the woman who was ready to check out. “Oh, it’s you!” she said with delight. “I was hoping you would come through my lane.” I assumed the two were friends until their conversation continued.

“We always love for the ‘candy bar lady’ to come through our lanes,” the cashier continued as she scanned a king-size Snickers Bar. “The other day I was so hungry; I was really wishing you would come through.”…….

Please, read the rest of the story @ A Little Loveliness

Kagitha Sirpi Ramesh

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Long, long ago, when I was part of the Chennai blogging circuit (and owner of the now-hacked and deleted URL http://www.rachelchitra.wordpress.com) I was quite familiar with the members of the Chennai Bloggers Club. It was quite an active club with the members meeting often for lunch-cum-discussion sessions. One of my professors in Madras Christian College Ms Caramalin A Sophie was also part of the club.  She blogs at Che Sara Sara and was a very active member of CBC and once or twice tried to get me interested in the same.

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So it was quite a serendipitous discovery to re-discover the blog of another CBC member Aarti Krishnakumar. I especially love her post about one unusual auto driver she met. The story starts very close to my childhood home (which is also R.A.Puram, Mandaveli, Chennai).  It was a little late in the night, and our blogger heroine was walking down the road on her way home, when she spotted an auto. Mid-way, the auto-guy said he’d reached his home and if it was “okay” with her, he’d like to drop her off there. Aarti also happily acquiesced and got off…only to find the auto guy following her. As she turned with a little trepidation (Oh! God-what-to-expect-now-with-an-unknown-man-types) …the guy tells her that since she’s a woman and walking all alone at that time of the night, he didn’t have the heart to drop her off and offers to drop her home.

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She gets in and she starts chatting up with him, when she realises that the identity of the chivalrous auto driver is none other than the famous Kirigami expert Kagitha Sirpi Ramesh. “Kagitha” means “paper” and “Sirpi” means “sculptor” in Tamil and this is the sobriquet the Chennai media have given him.

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I always love stories of chance encounters and quirky fate. And Kagitha Sirpi Ramesh’s story is the “stuff of legends.” He started snipping away with his scissors and created masterpieces long before he even knew of the existence of the word “Kirigami.” He says till date he has made nearly 7,000 such pieces – quite an entry for the Guinness Book of World Records. Despite being featured in umpteen number of Tamil TV Channels and local newspapers, Kagitha Sirpi Ramesh has still been unable to surmount the red tape surrounding applying for the Guinness Book of World Records.

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In his talk with Aarti Krishnakumar, he expressed his frustration in not being able to properly showcase his art form on his blog as he is not tech-savy. He asked her help in figuring out the nuances of blogging and Aarti also put up an SOS on her blog for web help for this talented artist.

I was sad to see that even after so many years  his blog hasn’t improved in appearance…

But on the positive side, Ramesh is still a very nice, affable, approachable human being, who is very happy to teach his art form to all who are interested. So the next time, you are in Chennai, do drop by his studio…you never know, you could later boast that you were taught by a Guiness book record holder 🙂

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Contact info for Kagitha Sirpi Ramesh:

+91 9841240152
Email:- kagithasirpiindia@gmail.com

Facebook:-www.facebook.com/kirigamikagithasirpiindia.ramesh
Kathiga Sirpi Ramesh_Hindu article

Incredible Decors Pondicherry

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(Image courtesy – Incredible Decors, Pondicherry)

I love every aspect of entertaining – the fun with people, cooking the food, decking the house….for many of our family celebrations I used to be the unofficial party decorator. I still remember how I decked up the place for my grandfather’s 80th birthday celebrations.  I was just recovering from a minor surgery and was being generally petted and feted by all. So as part of the family’s efforts to cheer me up (though I didn’t need any cheering up being quite happy with the streams of delicious food and piles of awesome books coming my way) they got me everything on my long, much-needed list of craft supplies. So with streamers n piles and piles of velvet paper and shiny paper (craft terms and items only to be found in India) I set out to make the place sparkle n glow.

I made loads of silver n green n red paper flowers and strung them all over the house with the streamers at vantage points…Someday I guess I’ll even scan images from our old photo album and put them up….And boy was I peacock-proud n pleased when people asked my grandparents if they had got some professional to do-up the place for them. And even as I head towards my 30s I still get enormously excited at the thought of how a little bit of flowers, streamers, balloons and oodles of creativity can transform your-everyday space into that magical world of celebrations.

So, I was really happy when I came across these gorgeous interior sets created by the event management team at Incredible Decors, Pondicherry….they are so the last-word in opulent, grandiose Indian luxury wedding celebrations. I would really advise you guys to check out some of the incredible sets they have created, as they are quite a feast for the eyes.

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In India there isn’t too much of that mingling with the crowd and visiting each table to talk with the guests. Most Indian weddings are quite formal affairs with the reception stage being the central focal point. Guests often have to line-up for nearly an hour or so as they wait their turn to greet the happy couple. Of course guests might also prefer to feast first (given that the average Indian wedding has a minimum of 30-50 different dishes – who wouldn’t want to?) before greeting anyone – but still eventually they will have to head back to the stage if they have to have that one customary photo shoot with the couple and the gifts. So the make-shift stage has to be quite large n sturdy (can’t have guests crashing through the woodwork) and as grand as possible as it reflects on the financial success of the parents and the social ambitions of their kids.

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The weding reception also has to be quite grand for another reason. In India most weddings are held in the morning or afternoon so that they meet with the approval of the family pundit’s idea of an auspicious time. Now given the normal run of work, kids’ school, traffic, etc, the average Indian householder would never be able to attend or celebrate any wedding. Attendance at the real wedding is quite low (given the ungodly, sleepy-sleepy hours they are held in) as the only people who can be forced at gun-point to attend such ceremonies are the super-close near n dear ones. So to accommodate the schedules of all the others – who come under the category of friends, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances, the neighbourhood “Jones,” creditors, plug-uglies, etc – wedding receptions are held in the evening.

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Most-people give the wedding a miss – the wedding sometimes being held in an inexpensive mandapam or in the nearest, available temple – with not too much thought being given for decor or flowers other than providing the groom n the bride with their respective bouquets and garlands. But the evening reception decor is a different world all-together – it has to be the biggest; it has to be the grandest; it has to be the best.

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In the case of Indian Christian weddings, attendance is almost as good as the follow-on reception as they are mostly held in the evening, say 4-5.30-ish.  At Christian weddings (given that most Indian Christians are not too bothered about checking horoscopes or an auspicious time)  most friends n colleagues get  that often-needed, one-hour permission from work and manage to crash at the wedding by the time the bride decides to walk down the aisle with the man of her choice or her parents’ (as the case largely might be) to the tunes of the “Bridal March.” Once people have attended the wedding they don’t feel too bad about hitting the food trough before going n greeting the couple standing on their grand-wedding-reception stage…also it gives one such a sense of virtuous superiority to be able to tell the other not-so-punctilious wedding guests what the bride was wearing and how nice the church was decked up.   So even at Christian weddings, the reception stage is usually a much grander affair than those flower-decked-arches and confetti–in-the-air affairs in church.

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And also since many Indian weddings even till date have the practise of writing “Moi” (cash gifted to the newly-wed) – one feels like one’s money’s been well-spent when we step into the grand world of receptions and can survey the flowers, the tulle sarees draped as curtains or to form bowers and more often-than-not compare it to the  decor at the previous weddings attended.

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Another funny aspect of Indian weddings is that sometimes the wedding reception is held the night before the wedding. So basically you meet a whole host of people who “Wish you happy married life” and for all intents and purposes you stand next to a guy who everyone greets as your husband – but he’s not quite…at least not till the passage of a few more hours.  And you even have nice lovey-dovey shots which the photographer insists on – Sexy man!

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Apart from making your D-day perfect, Incredible decors Pondicherry also help celebrate the special moments in the lives of our wee ones. I love the decorations the team has put together for kiddies’ birthday parties. I especially like the idea of how they have used smaller balloons to create flowers (stored it away at the back of my mind and you can be sure I’ll use it at the next event). I also like the idea of draping tulle to imitate pillars. Really nice!

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Sigh! So much gorgeousness! So much creativity! So now you know whom to call for that next big event and make it bigger, better and larger-than-life!

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Little Fingers

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I am not such  a big earring and necklace person…but with baby-ma around I’m constantly stocking up on trinkets for her.  I already have quite a small collection that my neighbours feel I’d be better off wearing NOW! than saving for her later. In India, there is something about well-settled, homey-homey matrons that makes them want other mommies also to follow in their jhumkha-wearing, bindi-sporting, bangles-flashing footsteps.  Anyway someday I promise to take the time for myself and dress up a little, but meanwhile I thought I’d leave you guys with some seriously drool-worthy stuff from Little Fingers.

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Given that I make ethnic jewellery myself, I really appreciate the artistry that goes into the making of these fun, but beautiful pieces of jewellery. Don’t you now want to pick up something from Little Finger the next time you are shopping in Chennai?

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Love anything that resembles felt beads and the violet chocker looks so ever-so nice!

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I just love the fun, vibrant colours they have made use of….so appealing!

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Feel spoilt for choice…wondering whether their ethnic offerings look better than their earthy, clay-ones or vice-versa…

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Totally love the stained glass effect of this earring

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Just love this set of clay roses…so abundant n gorgeous

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The above selection is totally appropriate for your average teenager – with angry birds in tow

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For a little whimsy…how about these sweet piglet earrings?

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Do check out their FB page! Its got more gorgeous, gorgeous eye-catching jewellery

Real-life, happy, happy ending

It’s very rarely in life that I come upon a beautiful, lovely story – in which most of the characters involved are well-known to me.  In this case, the story-cast included the historic landmark Hindu Chennai office, my former colleague B Kolappan, former colleagues at the Hindu and one unknown bird of prey.

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Lest I spoil the storyline, please read the original for yourselves at the Hindu’s website.

(Excerpts from the article)

 “But this The Black Kite spotted at my office evoked only pity. It could barely get up, let alone fly. My colleagues made a flurry of calls to animal welfare organizations, but to no avail. In their defence, it was a Sunday. The bird looked dehydrated and stressed, and I thought it would not see another day.”