Bugger… April 16, 2013Posted by espritnoir in Uncategorized.
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What do you know? It seems that Beatles got it wrong, after all. Sometimes, love isn’t all you need…sometimes, it’s just plain baloney…
Ding Dong… February 24, 2011Posted by espritnoir in Uncategorized.
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Anybody Home? Anybody Listening???
Hmmm…What to do?
Some More Calligraphy Artworks… March 31, 2010Posted by espritnoir in 1.
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Just felt like putting these up as well…;)
Back after a while… March 21, 2010Posted by espritnoir in 1.
Hmmm…Coming back to this space, feels like coming back to an old home you once stayed in, a really really long time ago. You know, maybe as a kid. It’s familiar, yet so strange at times. Ever felt like that when you go back to your childhood house? The floor, which was so much closer when you were a tiny kid, is suddenly so far away. And the windows which you could barely see out of standing on your toes, holding on to the window sill…you suddenly realise you’ve outgrown that window. But someplaces you never outgrow. You just come back home, and after a few minutes, getting adjusted to the settings, you’re back on solid ground. Well, i hope this is how this turns out like…
Hi to all those who are still around! Been a crazy (mostly, in a good way) last six odd months. Married life is good. We’ve had our ups (mostly) and downs ( a few), but it’s going great … loving every moment of it…And no, the missus is NOT holding a gun to my head, to get me to say that!
But, more on that later. I’ve been trying to get a hold on something for a while now, and well, here goes. This is a test run for something new. Hope it goes well…
Well, I do calligraphy…i’ve done it since i was i guess 12 years old or so, and realised that hey, i’ve got a decent enough handwriting. Since i was a kid, i loved art, i dabbled in water colours and oils for a bit, but then i realised colour (shouldn’t be a surprise) were not exactly what loved doing. Don’t get my wrong, i love colours, it’s just that as an art form, i never could control colours, the way a real artist can or should. In most cases, they just didn’t come out the way i want them to. So, for a while i focussed on pencil sketchings, and i was pretty decent at it. Soon i moved on to caricatures, and stuff, and had a great time sketching and doodling funny faces on paper napkins and notebook covers, etc. But, it never was anything serious. I never had the confidence to pursue it as a serious option in life. Then again, if i have to be brutally honest, i don’t think i ever had an innate talent or enough of a committment for it, to pursue something that which i really loved doing as a passion as a serious career option. So, i never became an artist. No regrets.
While all this was happening, i always knew one thing. I loved writing. In my family, almost everybody has a fairly decent hand. Growing up, my sister was always the one who got more compliments on her handwriting than I did. In fact, i imbibed her style into my handwriting, but still she was the one who got all the compliments. Soon, that began to annoy the life out of me. I mean, even today, i can gurantee that if she writes a line, i can write the same line, and even she will not be able to tell the difference which line was hers and which one was mine. So, as a kid, i decided okay, enough is enough. I have to make my own mark somewhere, and so i started picked up calligraphy. The art of beautiful handwriting. And i’ve been doing it since i was in the 7th or 8th std or so. Like all other things, i used to do it in fits and starts. Tried it for a few months, till i was excited, then exams happened, so i tucked away my pens and forgot all about it for six months. Till the next time, i got all excited about it…This went on for almost ten more years or so…
So, what changed. 2 years back, i was walking down the streets of London. I was supposed to meet a friend, in the evening, and i had landed there early from Bournemouth. I was just walking around, near Piccadilly Circus, when I saw a small boutique shop selling calligraphy supplies. I just stepped in to take a look, and before I knew it, i had purchased about almost 70 pounds worth of calligraphy dip pens and nibs. It was a huge purchase for me, not just moneterily,but also was i actually going to commit myself to doing this seriously? Soon after, i started calculating all the miscellaneous calligraphy supplies i had gathered over the years. The first calligraphy kit, my parents got me from the UK (Osmiroid, really good kit, unfortunately, no longer made by the original company), the Sheaffer kits i had collected back in India, the supplies i bought in the UK, and you know what, I realised, i’ve spent more than 7,500 Rs (That was 2 years ago. Since then, i’ve nearly doubled that amount) on what I considered nothing more than a passing fancy. Was that justified? Didn’t think so. I always hated mixing commerce with something that i loved doing, but for the first time, i realised i was just putting money into something, and getting nothing back in return. Forget getting something back in return, i wasn’t even doing justice to it. So, i started practicing in earnest. In the UK, i had the time. I decided calligraphy had become too expensive an investment to just remain a hobby.
Well, that was then and this is now. For the last two years, I’ve been having a blast, with the calligraphy stuff. Now, i’ve been investing more than ever into it, time and money. So, my wifey says to me, ‘Wow, you should get this stuff printed. You could actually do it as a professional artist’. I go, OKAY! WHAT IS SHE THINKING! I can’t be that good. I’m no artist. But she sounds convinced. So, i show my stuff to a friend from work, a wiz with cameras and an excellent amateur photographer. He goes, “Wow, that’s great. You should do something about it” and promptly asks me to do my first serious piece of artwork for himself. So, it took my ten days to do it, but i finally manage to do it and he loved it! And i loved the feeling of being an artist, even a really tiny, small one in a vast pool of talent out there.
So, i decide, what the heck. I think i will do it. I’ve never done any serious bit of calligraphy for anybody else, but for myself. Why not put my money where my mouth is, and ask people to see if i’m really any good at all? So, presenting for the first time ever, EspritNoir, part-time blogger, and now part-time Calligrapher…!
Take a look at some of the samples i’ve worked on recently, and let me have your opinion. If you think, they’re good, do let me know. If you think they’re just useless, do tell me. I don’t know what i’ve got here, but i want to find out…!
This first one, is the piece i did for my friend at work. He’s been a real help in the past few months, constantly egging me on to do new things and try out new ideas for my calligraphy. He has this put up in his daughter’s room, and i really liked his choice of words. It felt great to write this, not only cause it was my first time writing for somebody else, but also cause the words were so powerful, i actually had to think how i wanted the final result to look.
This second one is a small poem, written by my wife’s very close friend, as a sort of a marriage gift, when our marriage was announced. We liked it so much, we decided to put it as a part of our wedding invite. The words are beautiful, and well, the words just wrote itself…
What do i hope to achieve with this, you may ask? It’s so much easier to work in photoshop and corel, and get the same printed in your favourite font, some may say. I agree, but then, what’s the fun in that! So, what do i want to do with this? I don’t know…as yet. But, if you do have a favourite piece of poetry you would like to gift somebody, as a framed artwork, or would like a set of bookmarks with quotes from your favourite authors written on them, or maybe even personalised visiting cards with your details done in calligraphy, do let me know. Maybe we can work something out…
This is EspritNoir, the calligrapher;) signing off for now…cheers…
Activity Checklist… August 31, 2009Posted by espritnoir in Miscellaneous.
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3) CHECK! CHECK! CHECK! THANK THE HEAVENS, CHECK!!!
4) Work in Progress (WIP)
5) Hmmm…Why the hell not as yet, i wonder??? *Devilish grin* Maybe tonight!
6) Check for Kerala. Many more pending.
8) WIP. Happily!
9) Oh, definitely Check!
5 Checks, 3 WIPs, 1 activity lined up for dawn tomorrow, and only 1 pending!
I think that’s a damn good record for all the things i was excited about and planned to do post the wedding. Especially in the time frame of less than a month. Soon, time to add more things to the list…:)
Thursday, August 6, 2009 August 6, 2009Posted by espritnoir in Uncategorized.
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Saturday Night Starts Today…!
“What are you excited about???” August 5, 2009Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....
Asked the soon-to-be Mrs. of the alter-ego of EspritNoir, ie. me.
STOP PRESS!!! Yes, to clarify to those of you who didn’t know. I (or at least the alter-ego, who doesn’t go around by the name of EspritNoir, or any of the other really weird names I have for myself) am getting married! Tomorrow, to be precise. To this lovely girl, who only did one major goof-up in life. Falling for me! Not that I’m complaining. I don’t think i could have got any luckier, and I mean it! I’m just happy that my erstwhile girlfriend for 3 years, fiancee of 6 months, and soon-to-be-Missus (for those of you who are wondering, yes, all three are the same woman!) and I both made our way in life together, which was a great but not-always-easy ride. And the one thing I’m sure about is this : Having seen each other’s best and worst sides, not to mention all the paraphanelia and baggage we both have carried along into the relationship, and still accepting each other with the same love as three years back when we first got together, we now know that we’ll be prepared for anything in the future…! So, cheers, to that.
But, I digress. So, she asked me the really strange question about a week back. And I didn’t know what to say. Say the truth or lie? Coz, the truth was I really wasn’t excited about the wedding. It’s just too much hassles, over something, which in the end, becomes more of a stressful event, than a stress-free one.
Neither am i excited about the honeymoon so much as to be over the top. I mean, sure i am excited at the prospect of spending some great quality time with her away from the whole set of wedding crazed families. But, at the end of the day, thats what the honeymoon period is all about. Having fun, relaxing, enjoying each others company, getting tipsy, and getting lots of … uhem… cosy, intimate moments! So, that’s like a given. So, im excited about it, but is that what im most excited about?
Which puts me in dangerous grounds. I really can’t tell that to the Mrs-to-be…that Im not really that excited about the wedding, nor the honeymoon. I decide to take the plunge and tell her what im really excited about…
1) Waking up in the morning, to find her lying in my arms. Even if the added weight of her head on my arms, means that i have to spend ten minutes every morning to wake my arm from its dead sleep, it’s worth it!
2) Having coffee with her in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Black coffee tastes good, watching her at 6.30 am in a coffee shop around the corner, even better.
3) Not having to drop her home, after spending the evening in my side of the town. It will be the greatest thing in the world to just go home together once we’re through with our evenings.
4) Decorating our room and home together in the years to come. I’m sure the hole in my wallet will not as large as the lump of joy in my heart, as we add new things to our bedroom to mark the happy years passing by.
5) Playfully pushing her out of bed on a regular weekday morning. Just like that. To hear her scream when the stone cold floor hits her body! (Don’t worry, we have a low bed. So it’s not too much of a fall;)
6) Going with her to places i’ve always wanted to go to, but never did ‘coz it would never be the same without her. Kerala, Lakshwadeep, Goa, Sri Lanka, UK, the rest of the world. No place is too near, or too far, or too anything. I’ve never gone anyplace with somebody special. This should be a great start!
7) Showing her around UK someday. Especially Bournemouth & Poole. Munchies on Poole High Street, where we used to eat doner kababs, Chippy, the fish & chip shop i frequented, Poole Quay, Bournemouth Beach, the Uni, the place in London where i stayed for a night, and was reminded of Bombay. There are so many memories of me as an individual, that i want to share with her. I’m excited about that.
8) Sharing our dreams, and living them together.
9) Being hit by the ten ton scent of her freshly washed hair, and going weak in my knees. It may not be like that forever, but you know what, i really want to enjoy it to the fullest, till it lasts.
10) Creating new memories. Not as individuals, but together. As a married couple. With all the fights, and kisses, and hugs and punches, and warts and smiles and all.
I’m really excited about spending the rest of my life with her. Somewhere, on these pages, I had said, “Someday, I’ll be a Saturday Night…” Well, tomorrow may be a Thursday to some, but to me, it’s the start of my Saturday night…and i’m really excited about spending all (well, almost all:) my Saturday nights (and other nights and days) with the woman I love!
Bombay at war… November 30, 2008Posted by espritnoir in Random Thoughts....
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I don’t need to express to all of you, how dark the past few days have been for Bombay, and for India in general. What seemed like the possible plot of a high action movie, came true right before our eyes. And left in its wake a sense of destruction, desolation and anguish the likes of which Bombay, and for that matter, India has not seen in recent years. Innocent lives were lost. People’s sense of security and peace have been shattered. Those of whom who had the fortune of surviving this ordeal are probably scarred for life. And, last but not the least, Bombay may have lost one of its most iconinc landmarks forever. It is undeniable that at least to many of us, me included, the majestic Taj was – i stand corrected, IS – as symbolic an image of Bombay, as the Twin Towers were to New York. All i can hope and pray for is that the Taj is also rebuilt in all its glory, just as i hope our faith and trust is as well.
But amidst all this, a few thoughts come to my mind. Like all other Bombayites, I too cheered and thanked the men in uniform for all their bravery and for putting their lives on the life, so that we could feel a little more secure about ours. The Mumbai and Maharashtra police, the National Security Guard, the marine commandos, the Army, the Navy, all those who put themselves in the path of a bullet deserve credit for their role in making our lives a little safer tonight than what it was last night. Be it outside the Taj, the Trident, Nariman House, CST station, Cama Hospital, outside the airports, railway stations, or at any crossing and signal in Bombay. I felt more safe yesterday going back home, than i felt the day Bombay was closed down due to the riots over local politicians being arrested. However, in all of this, I fear that once the initial cheering and euphoria dies out, we will soon forget their bravery. After a few Indian victories in Cricket and a few hit Bollywood movies, we run the risk of forgetting all that these men in uniform have done for us in the last few days, and we shall soon get to the point where we are brazen enough to complain that these cops take Rs. 100 everytime we break a signal and question the discounts the military gets in army canteens. I feel that we should thank these men in some way, before we forget.
A bigger worry is that we also run the risk of forgetting all that has happened in the Bombay since the 26th. We, me included, get too involved in our lives to remember that something like this ever happened in our city. Because we have seen it on the television so many times, in the news in other countries and in the movies, in my opinion we run the risk of being desensitised towards it days after it has happened. We just think “It’s something that happens inside the TV. It doesn’t affect me.” But it does, and if it doesn’t, it should before our apathy kills us. And even then if it doesn’t, I think at some level we are dead already. I think all Indians, at least those of us who call Bombay our home, need to visit “Ground Zero” and see for ourselves what has happened there. Unless we see it with our own eyes, we will never fully understand the trauma of those who lived to tell the tale, and we will never realise that today, more than ever before, we need to stand together as a city, as a nation, as one person and scream out in one voice, “WE WILL NOT LIVE OUR LIVES IN FEAR! WE ARE GOING TO MOVE AHEAD!! AND WE WILL STAND UNITED AGAINST ANY ENEMY!!!” We cannot be consumed with our petty differences anymore. We cannot put up with a North – South divide, we cannot allow our politicians to break us further based on religion, language, caste, economic status, or any other grounds. We all have said it before, and we all have heard it before, but it’s time we started acting up on this for a change. It’s time we learned NOT TO FORGET!
I am sorry for venting out my feelings out to you in this manner. I had a similar outburst in front of my family last night, and i think the after-effect of the outburst that remained with me all night, has forced me to share my views with you. I would like to propose that we, as Indians should put our money where our mouth is, and do something to thank our heros in uniform for whatever they have endured for us. In whatever way possible. Be it monetary, in kind, spiritual, time or any other way, that benefits them the most. In my limited capacity, I have proposed an idea, but I am sure it can be bettered and I would appreciate it if a thought was put into this, and a plan is worked out. But the critical thing is doing something. Now is the time to do, and not debate, and discuss.
Also, i feel that everybody must visit the three battlezones within the city – The Taj, The Trident Oberoi and Nariman House, and pay homage to those who succumbed to terrorism. I think this must be done, before these buildings are rebuilt and the blood is washed away from the streets and our collective memories. I genuinely feel that to finally understand how real the threat is to our people, our city and our nation, we must see with our own eyes and feel with our own heart, the pain, the anguish and the terror that has engulfed our city today. If we do not, once again all of us, me included, run the risk of forgetting the shocking incidents that have happened right before our eyes. I understand again that not everybody may feel the same way about this as I do. But i sincerely feel that if we forget this incident, we will forever desensitise ourselves to the most important thing that binds us today – Humanity. And we may have to think twice before we call ourselves Human Beings again.
A Concerned Citizen and a Human Being
Here’s wishing all Indians out there a Happy ID15… August 15, 2008Posted by espritnoir in Random Thoughts....
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Spent the first ten minutes of ID15, (I think more people celebrate Independence Day if it had a cool sounding alternate name, like ID15!), listening to different renditions of the Indian National Anthem…I must say, I haven’t heard the anthems of too many other countries, but seriously, if ever there were an Olympics to determine the most inspiring National Anthems of all times, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ would whip some serious butt. I know there are too many detractors, ready to pounce on an opportunity to have it changed to something else. But, the way I see it is, I really don’t care who it was written for, and for what occasion it was created. All I know, is when I hear the first few bars of the music, and the opening words ‘Jana Gana Mana’, I feel proud of my country like never before. To me, it stands for more than the occasion for which it was created, and for whom it was meant to be sung originally. To me it stands for everything that I love about my countrys, potholes, corrupt politicians, warts and all.
As I type this, I realise that I’m sitting in the country that ruled us for 300 odd years. Surprisingly, I don’t think I feel any particular ill will towards the British anymore. Easy for me to say though, I don’t think I lost anybody in the constant struggles to win our human rights back. As I continue typing this, I remember a line from a good movie, “Saving Private Ryan”. After most of the team sent to rescue Private Ryan from the Bay of Pigs had died, in trying to keep him alive, Tom Hank’s character, said this to Matt Damon, who played Private Ryan. “Earn it, Ryan. Earn this.” Although we just inherited it and have for most of our lives taken it for granted some people really did fight for our independence. I hope someday, as a country, as a united people, we earn the trust of those who laid down their lives, and all that was dear and precious to them, just so that we could have a better future.
Here’s wishing you a Happy ID15! Wish you have a safe, independent and successful life, wherever you are. Cheers!
Silence, please… July 27, 2008Posted by espritnoir in Miscellaneous.
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High heels; Flats; Rubber soled sneakers; Platforms; Trainers. But concentrate a little more, and you can recognise certain patterns.
Confident strides in high heels; The decisive walk of formals; the shuffling steps of trainers; rubber soled sneakers pacing the same few yards over and over again; the dragging of the flat soles on the concrete; the thumping of the platforms on the pavement.
Walking sticks. Doors opening. The opening of a crisps packet. Crisps being eaten. The unfolding of a newspaper. Announcements. Jangling of loose change in somebody’s pocket. A trolley being unloaded from a train. Luggage wheels squeaking on the ground. Opening and closing of the train doors. A train horn hooting. Bottoms sqooching on benches to make room for more bottoms attached to various bodies.
Inside the coach.
Ventilation. The slight sigh of air brakes releasing. A distant horn. Plastic bags rustling. Muted whispers. Turning of the pages of a newspaper. Coughs. Somebody putting his hand inside his jacket pocket. Jackets being removed. The sound the train makes when it passes through a short tunnel. The soothing rhythmic sound of the train’s motion. The sound it makes when the coach you are in passes over a switch point. The crackle of the plastic sticker on a Coke bottle. Opening of a Coke bottle. The coach doors gently banging shut. Sniffing. The rustle of my pen scribbling across the page. Me keeping the pen down on the table in front of me. Me burping suddenly (Sorry!). People on cell phones. The cap closing on a Coke bottle. Creaking of the train coaches. Crossing a bridge over water. Gurgling noises. Keys jangling in the air. The vooshing sound the train makes when it passes a station without stopping. The ‘dede de dah dede de dah dede de dah’ sound when another train passes by the train I am in. The drivers announcements. Guards whistles. Laughter. The slow rhythmic sound when a train takes off from a station, before it picks up speed. It lasts for a minute or two, before it settles back to the soothing rhythmic pattern back again. Jewellery.
Me getting up. Footsteps shuffling to the door. Luggage wheels squeaking behind me. Doors opening and closing. The ‘ting’ of the door when it opens. Me getting off.
It’s amazing how many things you hear in a 10 minute halt at Southampton station, and the subsequent 20 minute train journey to Poole, if you stop bothering with everything else, and just listen to the world around you. I realised that after about the first 50 sounds or so, everything is more or less a variation on the same. So, what’s the big deal about it, you ask? So, I could hear what was happening around. But what good did it achieve? Well, it made me realise, that we have this amazing gift. To be able to listen to everything around us. To isolate every sound if we chose to and concentrate on what is happening around us. But, how many times do we actually listen?I for one had often hoped that I got a raw deal coz the powers that be didn’t give me any super human abilities. What would have been the point of having super hearing abilities, if we don’t even make full use of the some of the most basic human abilities we have taken for granted over the years.
Before that journey, I thought only Superman had the ability to isolate a sound and identity its source. For that half hour period, I realised later, I was Superman.
Try it sometime.