Monthly Archives: January 2016

New Series on Markets: Focus 12


 As we begin a new year 2016, I’ve thought up new ideas, new perspectives of learning about the markets. Here is a new series.  


For each month this year, I will present a closer look at certain objects  around markets. Be it fruits or flower arrangements, weather or stall set ups. Something’s has to be unique isn’t it?  Otherwise all markets would generally be the same: tables, stands, fruits and vegetables, baskets, vendors, chaos and noise.

No, no…there’s much more. Focus!


 1.  Historic Buildings around Market Places

Markets are just a common meeting place for trade and business. Through the centuries, every town or city has evolved and matured socially, culturally and historically by placing the market at its centre. A place to feel the buzz and hear the pulse of the town as people gather together to buy and sell, be it daily or weekly.

Europe is famous for its piazza and its historic market squares. Some are literally hundreds of years old and cherished till date. Though mostly selling fruit and vegetables, often they double up as festive Christmas markets.

Piazza Del Erbe, Verona.

Historic building backdrop for open air market in Verona, Italy

Historic building backdrop for open air market in Verona, Italy

This open air market in the square in Verona is elegantly surrounded by colourful residential buildings as well as historic ones too! One side are the lemon, red, orange and pale yellow hued wall to wall buildings. In contrast, stands out the large brick coloured Casa dei Mercanti (house of rich merchant). This is on the south side, gets more sun. Beautifully crenallated with majestic arches on the floor level and a double window arch on the upper floor, marks a significant architectural design.

Northern side is the high bell tower, a characteristic of most European towns to keep a constant mark of the day and time of the year. The most charming monument here is the Madonna Verona, Fountain of Madonna (1368) in the centre where tourists and locals can relax their tired legs or a place for the children to play and frolic.

The variety of colours, architectural plans and a market full of colourful and artistic face masks, scarves, fruits and candy stalls were an melange of contrasts!

Bangle Bazaar near Charminar, Hyderabad.

Street shops near Charminar

Right next to the historic and majestic Charminar, is the ever popular chudi or bangle bazaar. To date, the over crowded street and tight row of shops presents a claustrophobic and buzzing atmosphere. It’s English name is a translation of two words: char means 4, minar means minaret. This imposing mosque, predominantly in Islamic architecture was built in 1591 by erstwhile Nizam rulers of Qutb Shahi dynasty. Dare to climb up…its more than 150 steps!

The surrounding predominantly Muslim area caters mainly to bridal accessories like shimmering textiles, embroidered sarees, and fancy jewellery and lac bangles.

Barenplatz in Berne, Switzerland.

Federal Legislative Building, Berne. Switzeraland

Federal Legislative Building, Berne. Switzerland

Summer or winter, sun or snow. The weekly market fill the streets from Barenplatz  to the opposite side, Bundeshaus square. The entire area spreads from the Berne Bahnhoff station to the majestic Federal Assembly building. The market has stalls of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and assorted bread, well situated to feed the hungry commuters alighting from the nearby train station.

The backdrop of the stately building with the towering green domes, sprinkled with lines of golden paint and a decorated frontal façade of pillars presents an aura! The west wing was started in 1852, and the east wing was added in 1884. A total of 38 Swiss artists /architects are responsible for its creation, chief architect being Hans Willem Auer.

Blois, France.

Ville de Jacobins, near weekly market,Blois France

Ville de Jacobins, near weekly market,Blois France

The medieval town of Blois, that was once the playground for archery, relaxation and sporting events for the aristocrats, was much destroyed in WW2 . With much restoration of its classic stone buildings the town has sprung back onto the tourist itinerary and cycling event track.

The weekly market shifts from one area to another thus covering the entire town and supporting its residents. The vendors move their stalls and produce each day. Bread, cheese, and coffee tables are plenty.

Ville de Blois Les Jacobins stands at the other quieter end of the town market. A solid square building in soft toned stone and characteristic sloping, dark coloured roof marks a statement. Recently the place has been converted to a museum.

What did you think about this new series? Any suggestions?


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



World Palate Recipes: Beetroot, Red Grape and Onion Raita

World Palate Recipes: Beetroot, Red Grape and Onion Raita

           Beetroot, Red Grape and Onion Raita


Beetroot specials are strictly for the roots lovers! Well, say it’s an acquired taste. I can already hear some family members groan and ask ‘Eee…w, Why beetroot?’ But for me, I love the intense colour. The mild, sweet taste and health benefits are extras.

Beetroot has many minerals like potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, B6, folic acid and carbohydrates. Works well to cut blood pressure, increase stamina and iron (haeme) in the body therefore relieving any pain.


Beetroot and Onion Raita

Beetroot and Onion Raita


3 medium size beetroot

1 small onion

Few Red Grapes for garnish

2 sprigs of Coriander or Mint

200 gm Yoghurt (as desired)

Rock salt, Salt, chilli powder as per taste

1 spoon olive oil


Boil the beets in just enough water, so as not to waste any nutrients while discarding left over water. Cool and peel. Chop finely or grate it if you wish finer consistency. Chop the mint /coriander. Finely chop onion, after removing top and bottom ends and peeling off skin.

In a medium bowl, tip the yoghurt and stir. Add in olive oil, salt, chilli powder, rock salt ( all as desired). Whisk well lightly.

Put the beetroot and onions. Stir them in well. Add a few chopped Red grapes, reserving few for garnish.

To garnish: Place 2-3 full Red grapes, a sprig of coriander or mint, and some onion rings. Drizzle with little olive oil…its healthy! Serve as accompaniment with brown rice or Naan. Or use as a dip.

Stunning colour and crunch of textures makes it a favourite at anytime.

Beetroot raita and rice plate


Remember to leave your comments, even if your don’t like beetroot:)

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




Circles: Daily Post Challenge 2016

Circles and spirals in Art: Rangoli floor design

Welcome Rangoli floor design: Art representation in Circles

                   Happy New Year 2016.

Circles add meanings and interpretations in our daily life. Circle denotes continuity, eternity, revolutions.  As a New year dawns, it ended another. A circle of new beginnings and endings. 

Let’s visit more circles with reference to

Circles are the most common shapes found everywhere: In the universe (Sun , Moon) Nature (flower centres, tree girth rings) Math (geometric shapes, wheel), Art (domes and designs), food and cooking(plates, containers and round fruits), at Kindergarten Circle time activities, toys and sport (ball, hoops, rings), etc. They lend a meaning in spiritual life too (cycle of birth and death, drawing of Mandala, magic circle of life, God is everywhere in the  circle of Universe).

 Maynard James Keenan wrote, “A circle is the reflection of eternity. It has no beginning and it has no end – and if you put several circles over each other, then you get a spiral.” 

Photos from my archives speak about circles.

Cooking on circular boards

Cooking on circular boards


Food and cooking: Soaked apricots in a circular steel vessel

Circular utensils and food items


Traditions and Spirituality: Chinese zodiac sign

Traditions and Spirituality: Chinese zodiac sign


Aesthetic Math: Palm straw hats

Circular shapes in everyday articles


Math makes sense: The Wheel

Math Shapes and circles


Using Circles in Architecture. Backdrop of circular cloud formations

Architecture uses circular designs and Circle shapes in Nature


Significance of circular designs and ritual plates during ceremonies

Significance of circular items in rituals and ceremonies


A new dawn. A new circle of life

A new dawn. A new circle of life

What are your interpretations of the circle?