Monthly Archives: August 2014


Dialogue – Extended in Colours and Shapes 

This post is in reply to The Daily Post: Dialogue 

Dialogue is an engaging conversational exchange.

When it comes to photography, dialogue can be perceived as a consensual interaction between two images.

The pink and white colours of fresh flowers took my breadth away at  Ghazipur Phool Mandi, Delhi. Little did I realize there was a Dialogue extended in a fake flower arrangement at home. Thanks to Daily post!


A view of some stunning Arabesque designs at the grand Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Mosque that grace the marbled floor. Henna designs, I experimented with extend the dialogue of similar style. Islamic Art extends into Arabesque designs that use repeated floral and geometrical designs. It is popular not only originally in the Quran, but influencing architecture, Henna Art, motifs on clothing and wedding invitations.

Now won’t you have a frothy coffee with me, at the Emirates Palace restaurant and contemplate on the design ?


Dialogue – Extended in Colours and Shapes

Postcards from Piazza delle Erbe, Italy

Postcards from Piazza delle Erbe, Italy

If you are dreaming of a historic market square, cobbled pavements, monumental buildings and romantic side-walk cafe….then….THIS is it!

Verona, Piazza delle Erbe (market square of herbs) is a European market square, certainly with its own identity. Not only can you find fresh fruit and flower stalls during the day, but by night it’s doubles as romantic place, tinkling with light bulbs hidden beneath the canopy of umbrellas. Tourists throng this medieval city, all year round. None ever leave without setting foot on the Piazza. So what makes it unique? My postcards tell you stories.

Postcard: 1

Verona is often called ‘City of Love.’ Shakespeare’s love story of Romeo and Juliet was set here. Like hundreds of tourists, we too visited the courtyard of this 13th century house, Casa de Guilietta, belonging to Capello family to get a glimpse of Juliet’s balcony. A short walk from there, along the narrow cobbled Via Manzini led us to grand open Piazza! During the 14th century, the Romans gathered at this square to trade and communicate with neighbouring states. From here were  conducted forums and municipal communes. Later chariot races were held …hear that trot,trot,clump,clump and roaring crowds? Finally, it became a trading area for fresh herbs (Italian Erbe for herbs) and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Casa de Guilietta - Juliet's castle, Verona

Casa de Guilietta – Juliet’s castle, Verona

Postcard: 2

Affluent merchants and noblemen erected mansions around the square.They decorated the buildings with Roman columns, trellis-work on windows, elaborate floral motifs and period architecture. Today, the buildings rub each other literally, and in a colour competition. Orange, red, amber, pale white, yellow. Homes have turned into hotels or designer shops to keep them economically afloat. Yet! the aura and magnificence is exciting.

Bright coloured buildings surround Piazza delle Erbe

Bright coloured buildings surround Piazza delle Erbe

Postcard: 3

One important monument is the water fountain, dating back to 13th century. Created by Cansignorio, the Roman statue of the lady ‘ Madonna de Verona’ rises out of the ancient fountain base. Madonna is holding the city’s scroll in her hand. The sculpted figure dates back to 380 AD. Verona symbolizes wealth and beauty, in her human form. The fountain details with Roman figure heads, flowing beards and piercing eyes. Water spills forth from their mouth.

Tired tourists and hugging couples sat around the cool waters of the fountain. Children were running around, dancing in the light water sprays. The constant click – click of cameras reminded me of the present selfies technological age. Oh! I’d rather be witness to the click -click, trot -trot of horses’ hoofs, flowing Roman garments and piles of fresh fruit tumbling from wooden boxes into this historic market square!

Fontana del Madonna de Verona

Fontana del Madonna de Verona

Postcard: 4

As the summer sun dipped, the large white umbrellas suddenly came alive with bright lights. Such a romantic atmosphere! Stalls were brimming with souvenir bags, trinkets, scarves, aprons, bamboo hats, magnets, post cards and second-hand Italian fashion shirts.

Souvenirs on sale

Souvenirs for sale

Postcard: 5

See the red and green Pinocchio puppets dangling from the pole ? A must have souvenir from Italy for young children. Haven’t you heard the popular story of a mischievous Pinocchio and the poor carpenter Gepeto?

What do you think sold here in the 13 and 14 th centuries? Leather jackets, swords, Coat of Arms badges, cloth, antique jewellery?

Colourful souvenirs and tea cloths

Red and green Pinocchio puppets and Venetian masks


Venetian masks have a long history. They were often worn in aristocratic Venice, to hide the wearer’s identity. With opulence, parties and decadent activities, it became vital for a disguise behind elaborate headgear and masks. Made of paper mache and adorned with beads, fur, feathers and riches of gold and silver, masks add glamour. Today, there is a revival Art masks are worn at carnivals, costume parties, theatre, or used as unique wall decorations. Don’t be frivolous and start a promiscuous party!

Venetian masks

Venetian masks

Postcard: 7

The Piazza had plenty of fresh summer fruit stalls. Apricots, strawberries, nectarines, grapes and melons. Dry fruits like Date, figs, plums and berries too. Italian cuisine uses lots of fruit ingredients in desserts like tarts, cakes and jams. There is an old saying ‘Good cooking begins at the market’ and Italian cooking relies heavily on fresh produce – fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil. History tells us that the Romans traded pomegranates, olives, fish, wheat grain, lemons, winter cabbage and potatoes at this market.(Courtesy: Wikipedia).

Fruit stalls

Fruit stalls


The tower or  Torre dei Lamberti, is another important monument. Its tower rises more than 84 metres in height, suddenly seeming to dwarf the high poles of the umbrellas. ‘Lift your head to the sky’ said a tourist…then you will see the clock on it. In 1779 the clock was added, and there are 2 bells on this tower. Torre de Lamberti, a piece of Romanesque Art, has withstood time and natural elements. Silently, like a grandfather, it has watched the market grow and change, as time moved on.

Piazza Tower behind market stall

Piazza Tower behind market stall


The Casa dei Mercanti or Merchant’s Chamber was erected in 1210 and housed important merchant’s and meetings. Earlier made in wood, it was damaged in fire. Freshly renovated it stands at the corner picture-perfect in magnificent red stone, adorned by a portico facade of semi-circular arches and mullioned windows. ( Information courtesy: Wikipedia). The windows reminded me of the architecture style at Alhambra Palace, Spain and Mughal architecture in India. As you travel, you connect the dots of cultural influences, don’t you?

Historic buildings decorated with lights

Historic buildings decorated with lights


Lastly, here is an Italian Ristorante menu card. Relax those tired legs and sit at one of those elegant cafe surrounding the market on all sides, just like all the tourists. Order a glass of Amarone or Prosecco wines, a regional speciality. Fancy some gnocchi or tagliatelle pasta? You cannot think of Italy, without food, it is central to the heart of Italians. You cannot think of food without a market! Bon Appetit.


                                                            A tavola non si invecchia. – Italian proverb.
Translation: At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.


An Italian menu card

An Italian menu card

What do you think of my postcards and writing style? What was unique to this market? 


Veena S. and (2013 -2015) reserves the right to all content and photos for this personal blog. If duplicated or copied, kindly give credit to author Veena S. and blog:

Awards – Liebster Award

Awards – Liebster Award

Nomination for Liebster Award.

My blog began as personal writing space. Ideas, photos and experiences had to find the right space and creative pursuits. Besides, I  also wanted to learn the use of technology. Thanks to family and friends, they were my first readers and critics. I survived! Since then, entering the blogosphere has been a rewarding experience, with viewers slowly increasing.

Today, I woke up to a wonderful surprise I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award. It’s so motivating, but it also means ‘Do your best’! Thank you SmritiModi for nominating me.

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing.

Liebster award photo

Here are the answers to the 11 questions Smriti put up for me (and other nominees)

1. Tea or Coffee?

Surely it’s a cup of filter coffee, as they say in South India. Freshly roasted and ground Chicory seeds when added to coffee beans gives it a bit of density. My dear friend in Chennai – I hope you will read this…and invite me over for coffee!:) Let’s sit back on the verandah and hear the birds chirping while we sip coffee.

2. Beaches or Mountains?

I’m a water person. Mostly lived nearer to the sea and sand. I love morning walks, barefoot on the soft sand, a bit of sunshine on my face and the cool water touching my toes. Harmony in Nature.

One with Nature - soft sands caressing my feet

One with Nature – soft sands caressing my feet








3. Backpacker hostels or Luxury hotels? (assuming you have the money)

I would love to try Backpacker..I understand it’s a great way of meeting people, finding new company to travel or eat with, and get some real-life travel tips. YHA hostels? 

4. What is your favourite food?

Ahh..this is a tricky one. I have a sweet tooth and I love chocolates and ice creams. So it’s a creamy, New Zealand Boysenberry Ice cream with chunks of ripe fruit. 

Boysnberry Ice Cream

Boysenberry Ice Cream








5. Which city would you love to live in?

Having lived in many parts of the world, If given a choice I’d like to live in the quiet town of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The cool temperatures and gentle people are positive incentives. Who knows I would either be riding a humble Tuk- tuk or sit majestically riding an elephant – Thailand’s national animal. 

Majestic Elephant in Chiang Mai

Majestic Elephant in Chiang Mai

6. Who inspires you?

I have always been inspired by my father or Baba as we children fondly call him. In many ways he has guided my path, in good times and tough ones. A soft-spoken person, very caring and attentive to his family needs, always a helping hand to his brothers and sisters. Growing up in a meagre and at times harsh childhood, has left a mark on his outlook to life. ‘Charity and help’ are two words that come naturally to him. His sharp brain is put to good use. Today, at age 85+ he still keeps learning – uses the computer and Skype. Of late, his latest toy is his new iPhone! Keep it Baba – I wish I keep half of your spirit and energy at 80 years! 

And Aai – we love your caring spirit – you taught us to look after people, however good or bad their behaviours are. 

Namaste -Aai and Baba

Namaste -Aai and Baba







7. If a day had 25 hours, what would you do in the additional hour?

Sleep and me just don’t go together. And blogging is eating up into my sleep. So that’s another disciplinary no! One extra hour would be spent in Nature….watching birds in the gardens, smelling roses, or just hugging a fat tree trunk. Yes, its’ therapeutic too.

Bird watching near lakeside

Bird watching near lakeside








8. What would the name of the movie based on your life be?

One Year, One City’ 

You don’t believe it? Well, I can upload photos of my travel diary, address book and names of friends I’ve made all over the world. I’ve stood the test of time and patience. Above all, it was a great experience to understand so many different cultures, food and languages. My blog tells you all about it. 

9. What is the one thing (single most important) you itch to do in life?

Tear paper endlessly! Really – it’s almost becoming rare with the new technology. Whatever happened to childhood days and summer holidays when we could crush and tear old newspaper ?  Newspaper tearing was fun paint it, tear to make confetti. Or play a game – Who makes the lengthier paper strip? 

Fun - tearing toilet roll

Fun – tearing toilet roll








10. What is holding you back?

Energy management – a delete button to clear away negative, wasteful thoughts. This will create more useful time and energy 🙂

Delete Button

Delete Button






11. What is the one piece of advice you would want to give all your readers?

I like the Nike advertisement – Just do it!  There is no tomorrow, no age bar, no shyness. If you ever wish to try something – Go for it! 

Just do it!

Just do it!







That’s it, I’ve answered the 11 questions.Hope my friends can connect to some ideas and have a laugh.

Here are my nominees (New bloggers with less than 200 followers…and growing!)











Ah…this treasure hunt for blog nominations is exhausting, and time is tight. But I’ve tried. That’s it for now.

Here are the questions they have to answer:

  1. In three words tell us about your interests and activities.
  2. Why is blogging important to you?
  3. What is your favourite music ?
  4. If you could turn back the clock, which is the time period you would favour? Why?
  5. What motivates you?
  6. One favourite food you would like to tuck into, if you must eat in bed.
  7. A friend in need is a friend indeed – share an experience
  8. Which is the latest gadget / App /techno product you are using? How does it help you?
  9. What advice would do you have for new bloggers ?
  10. Stand with your eyes closed in any one place of choice. Now open your eyes – tell us about the first thing you observed? Does it tell us a bit of your personality?
  11. Finally, you pop one question for yourself. A free bird! Let’s see what comes to your mind.

This was  an interesting task. To be awarded is one thing, but finding other nominees, and asking questions is another. It’s Sunday …I’m going to laze in bed…or rather do some gardening!

Enjoy your day!



Textures – Taking a Different Perspective at the Fresh Market

Whoever thought a market is just all about buying onions and potatoes? Or sorting out a bunch of crispy lettuce from under the mound of greens? There is more than just the mundane at a fresh market!

There is colour. There is pattern. And,… there is Texture That’s what came to my mind, as I read this week’s The Daily Post Photo Challenge on Texture. I took a different perspective while buying my weekly groceries, ie. exploring texture.

As Natalie (from the Daily Post) says ‘This is a great opportunity to look at the world in a slightly different way — along with looking at things from new angles, zooming very far out or very far in are both great ways to create texture and pattern in photos.’

Here is my entry.

Texture: Coarse vs. Smooth

The ubiquitous tropical fruit, Coconut has a grainy, coarse tough outer shell. It protects the soft, milky white flesh inside.

Just like in the coconut, the hard coarse covering hides the soft inner flesh, so too sometimes people can be very kind and loving deep inside, but may appear hard and rough on exterior. So ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’

Coconut shell




Broken coconut - outer shell and inner flesh

Broken coconut – outer shell and inner flesh










Do you like the texture of a coconut ? What analogies come to your mind? 

Now, let the onion skins speak  a little too.

Texture: Crispy, flaky – Natural vs. Man-made

Yesterday I bought a bag of Onions, little did I know I would use them for a photo challenge.

I liked the crispy plastic netting of the bag. Never to crumple -plastic. But when flaky onion skins scattered all over the kitchen floor, to make a colourful mess 🙂 I remained calm. Just brought out my camera.

Taking a different perspective on Texture. Thanks to the Daily Post Photo Challenge.

Onions scattered on the floor

Onions scattered on the floor


onions skins

Flaky Onion skins

And here is a close up. Don’t you feel like crumbling them with your fingers?









What do my viewers think about my perspective ?

Can you suggest some other fruits and vegetables that have similar textures? 









Textures – Taking a Different Perspective at a Fresh Market

World Palate Recipes – ANZAC Biscuits (Australia and New Zealand)


World Palate Recipes – Australia and New Zealand

There is nothing more Australian or Kiwi than the Anzac biscuits (and the Pavlova!). Bite into these delicious, crunchy, chewy oatmeal biscuits with a hint of coconut and you will understand why the women of Australia /New Zealand made them historic. Yes, and they are still baked for charity every year.

Anzac biscuits are associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. ANZAC Day is celebrated on 25th April in both countries. Biscuits were baked and sent by wives of these soldiers, the ingredients chosen so that they would not spoil easily. The biscuits would keep flavour and freshness while being shipped overseas. During the World War 1, the aim of the Army  (ANZAC corps)was to land at Gallipoli and capture Constantinople (now Istanbul). To date, a ceremony takes place at 10:15 am on 25th April, at the War Memorial in Australia and New Zealand.

After the ceremony, families place red poppies besides the Memorial’s Roll. Women still bake Anzac biscuits for charity and distribution on this special day. Here is my friend Debbie and family, from New Zealand sharing their photos. The medal and red poppies are traditionally worn in remembrance. Thanks Debbie!

Famous Anzac biscuits (lovingly called bikkies), can be made using a recipe from Edmond’s Cookery book.

Here is my revised recipe from Australian Woman’s weekly. I reduced the amount of desiccated coconut. I did not have golden syrup so I had to add few extra drops of water, else the oatmeal crumble was a bit dry.

Anzac bikkies – Australian /New Zealand cookies


1 1/2 cup rolled oats (flaky or smooth)

1 cup flour

3/4 cup desiccated coconut (if adding slivered almonds, reduce coconut as desired)

1 cup brown sugar

8 tbsp butter (prefer rich creamy variety)

2 tbsp golden syrup or honey  (optional)

1 tbsp. baking soda

2 tbsp. boiling water (this is essential tip!)


Sift the dry ingredients together, lightly airing them while sifting. Add baking soda to boiling water in a cup, set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter lightly, (add syrup or honey), gently add the water /soda mixture and see the bubbles rising. Turn off flame, keep stirring and the bubbles will soon settle. This mix will soften the dry oatmeal be patient.  

Heat oven to 190 degrees for 10 minutes.

Pour into the oatmeal crumble and blend gently in cake mixer or use wooden spoon if working by hand.

Tip!- As I had not used syrup – I found the mixture very dry, so I added few drops of boiling water.

Line butter paper on oven try or prepare with light grease and dust with flour. Take an ice cream scoop or wooden spoon, scoop out a ball of dough mixture and pat on a tray, leaving wide space between. Bake about 8 -10 small biscuits at one go ( or 5-6 large ones).

Bake for 10- 12 minutes, till edges turn golden brown. Centre remains bit soft. Cool on wire rack. A healthy snack is ready.

Anzac biscuits

Anzac biscuits

Is there a specially dedicated food towards war heroes you know ? Any baking tips on these biscuits you would like to share ?

For another New Zealand recipe click here.


All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) Please see copyright disclaimer.





This post is in reply to the challenge: Daily Post Photo challenge 

Living in the UAE has its charm. I love the Date Palms and their hardy trunks. Chopping away older palm fronds of the tree, leaves behind a stubby base, which makes a distinct pattern on the tree trunk. Trace your finger to find a zigzag pattern line, or relax under its shade and see the deft plantation worker zigzag his way to reach the top fronds.

Date Palm trunk

Date Palm trunk

Simple things at home can ‘add’ to simple pleasures in life. My daughter recently bought a pair of new canvas shoes. A proud owner! Most children, when young, struggle to zigzag their shoe laces correctly. It’s a fun learning moment, isn’t it?

Zig zag shoe lace

Zig zag shoe lace

Last, but not the least. Everyone knows about the traffic in Mumbai, India – on the road as well as the airport. On a recent visit, I was faced with a challenge to zig zag my way to the counter, pushing my own trolley between the trolleys and barricade lines near counter. Patience! I told myself. That’s when I looked up at the beautiful design on the ceiling – lights making a zig zag pattern 🙂

Mumbai airport - new terminal

Mumbai airport – new terminal

Surely, there’s more to learning and observing when one takes the other than straight route – go ZIG ZAG!

For more zigging zagging articles on WordPress click here.

Finding Your Way Through a Zig Zag