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Year End 2019: Finding Meaning in the Memories


The year 2018 goes by. Another sunset. Another year to collect our memories.

Sunset 2019

Photo courtesy: Ulhas D.

What ARE memories? Memories are the mental capacity of reviving or retaining facts, impressions, events of people and places, or recalling numerical facts. However, on an average the worst memories stick with us, and the pleasant ones seem to slip away too fast. The importance of memories lies in the emotions and learning that takes place. Isn’t it befitting then, to shake out and share some memories at year end? By sharing we make our bagfuls lighter.

Here are some memories dear to me that gave me an ‘Áha‘ moment, enriching me.

On Events: 

What a wonderful way to begin the year! A surprise birthday party for me made magical with food, laughter and fun with  cousins. Traditional greetings and a game of story telling  involved everyone’s participation. Lessons learned in gratitude towards all the wonderful people in my life!

Visiting family and friends is always a great way to relax. Opportunities to exchange ideas, savour cultural differences and try varied cuisines. Remembering that ‘adjustment factor’ is key to living amicably. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans’ is a wise old saying.

Endless memories of constant caring for our elders at home coupled with recent death of loved ones has been on front burner. Dealing with petty needs, practicing patience, understanding the psychology of demential behaviour are just some eye openers in caring for aged. The fear of being incapacitated and immobile tends to snatch away the self esteem and interest in their life. As for us – It is an honourable chance to do our good Karmic duties and negate any residual loans in Life. Ónce they cared for us, now its our turn to look after them and be part of the cycle of Life.

Both pleasant and mentally tiring memories come to mind. The few pleasant interactions and short conversations, singing, reading to them made life more beautiful for both of us. The faint smile and the frail hand that reached out lovingly brought tears to us both. And memories of feeding a ripe mango and sweet kheer (milk and rice pudding) that dribbled down onto the shirt brought back my own childhood memories of being fed caringly by my parents.

Related image

Photo courtesy:

Then there are recent memories of attending my differently abled niece’s Talent show. Seeing these children perform with musical instruments, do traditional dance and learn a new language just demonstrated their grit and determination to learn as well as enjoy. Well done!

Can you recall any memories of social inclusion and work that you may have done?

On Friends and Relatives:

Friends, laughter, food, sharing thoughts and a shoulder to cry on -this sums up what friends are for.

Because of you I laugh a little, cry a little, talk a little …more‘ Thank you to EACH one of you, my dear friends. It was you who  comforted me when in pain and chided me when erring! (and I know some of them will be reading my blog post). Sitting in the warmth of your company, sipping tea or being fussed over with delicious home cooked food, or having discussions on storytelling and gardening- you inspired me!

On Skills Upgrading:

To stay young and fit, sharpen your memory’ is an old saying. True, as you age, the neurons in the brain shrink and you loose the ability to remember facts, names. One way is to keep learning, staying abreast, developing new hobbies, meeting new people or solving brain teasers. ( I’m nervous to upgrade to a new mobile phone and learn/unlearn many a function). Don’t laugh please!

Observing screeching parrots and noisy Cockatoos in one of the parks sparked a new interest. Time to buy sketch pencils, colours and a drawing book, I thought to myself. Since then I’ve been recording bird facts, observing and feeding birds, searching You tube tutorials, and sharing my book with friends and school children. Be inspired, get creative!

Here is a simple bird story for you.

The Peacock And the Crane

Storytelling is another tool in my cap. Just like reading, listening to stories brings numerous benefits to children. It improves listening, recall, imagination, public speaking and becoming creative to make up own stories.

What are your memories of Grandmother stories?

Good stories surprise us. They make us think and feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that a PowerPoint crammed with bar graphs never can.”

Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, The Storytelling Edge

On Blogging: It’s been a wonderful journey since 2014 to date. in my first year I did not know the ABC of creating or writing a blog. Memories of late nights writing and erasing a post, getting stuck with a writer’s block or even crying over unsaved work make me laugh a bit now that I am more experienced. Phew! I survived. I learned. I’ve grown a bit. see here. for my blogging journey.

Let me stop here, for the bag seems a bit lighter now after sharing. Surely the memories have taught me many a lesson and because they are my very own…I can always tuck into them whether happy or sad.

It’s time to hear some of your memories of year 2018. Did they change the course of your journey?

Photo credit: Jeanna Gabellini  htpps://

                 Wishing you all a very Healthy and 

                      Peaceful New Year 2020.



New Year, New Growth


My first blog of 2018 is an entry on ‘growth‘ by Daily Post challenge. Here’s wishing all my readers a Happy New Year!

A year of growth in strength:physical, mental and spiritual.

In growth there is positive energy.

In growth there is a change.

In growth there is a new beginning.

Here is the link:

‘Growth is the only evidence of life.’ John Henry Newman.

Our apartment window sill is home to two warm pigeon eggs. It’s exciting to see them grow and be incubated.Though pigeons are a nuisance, to see the eggs hatch will be interesting.

‘All the flowers of tomorrow, are in the seeds of today’. 

Chinese proverb

Our kitchen garden gives us plenty of exciting opportunities to witness growth. As a new leaf sprouts, we await the flowers. As the flowers bloom, we await the bees. As the bee arrives we await pollination. Growth and change. Soon the flowers will turn into seeds ( pods of broad beans in the photo).

How do you plan to grow this year? What new beginnings are you undertaking? 

Dated: 23/1/2018

Fellow bloggers and friends requested for a more recent ‘growth’ photo of the hatched eggs. Here it is…..still growing. I decided to add it to this same post.

hatched chick

older chick

Kaleidoscope 2017: Photo Quiz


The year 2017 that was….

It’s almost year end! Everyone of us has had their share of keeping the resolutions, bonding with family and friends, reaching out to community, travel, shopping and other needs of life. Some fun, some tough. Only moments that have challenged our strength, patience and sanity test us longer.

‘ There is not much growth when the road is smooth. We only grow when we face challenges that strengthen us from within and out.’


As a year-end post, here is a quiz for you. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading up and enjoying the photo stories all along. Here’s a quiz.

How well do you remember year 2017 photos?

Your prize:  A small crochet item for the first person to have correct answers posted in the comments box below.

  1.   Which city is famous for this fruit? What sweet is the city famous for?


Where did I capture this notebook seller? What items are sold in this market?


What is the plant that is used to make this decorative item. What is the decoration called?


Kitchen gardening is our latest hobby. Which vegetable did I grow and make this curry? In which countries does it grow?


Yummmm…A ‘chatpata‘ snack invariably sold on Indian …….? What does the word ‘chatpata’ mean?


It’s heart warming when friends cook and share their recipes. What is this preparation? When is it specially prepared?


These flowers are used to make orange dye. Name the flower and the blog post that describes this.

Easy? Hope you hear your answers soon. What would you like me to add in my posts next year?

        Wish you all a happy and  

      successfull New Year 2018.

Stay strong, stay calm…be happy.









Big Thank You to my Reader’s


       Yippee…I’ve just published my 120th blog post.


Numbers do not mean anything, they say.

All the same without an audience, me an amateur writer would have nothing more motivating than you. The blog began 3 years ago as a ‘time filler and learning to use the computer meaningfully.’ Somehow along the way, curious friends and bloggers began reading and following 🙂 Thank you to each on of you!


Image result for thank you images

In Pursuit of Self Awareness … 2016


This morning on my walk, I looked up at the tall Eucalyptus or Nilgiri tree. It soared high. A faint aroma from the leaves filled the air. Parts of the old, silvery bark lay on the ground below, while the tree almost weeped as the trunk was peeling away. Tender, beige new skin making its appearance from within.

Nilgiri tree bark

Nilgiri tree bark

Taking in the aroma, a thought passed my mind. Can I too shed my old, negative and weary thoughts? Can I bloom with rejuvenated spirit into the New Year ? Can I too have aroma in my life and share it with others?

Come December, another year closes upon us. We are busy with resolutions, reflections, travel plans, financial notes, meeting our loved ones, doing charity, finish reading a book or adding the last row of stitches to the cardigan … a rush to complete the unfinished!

Year 2016 brought me a fair share of happy and challenging times. Quality time spent with family, caring for elders, learning new recipes and listening to (other’s) travel tales (for a change:) Crochet, books and friends brought the respite during stressful moments. Reciting my stotras or prayers while making small hand made gifts made time meaningful.


As a girl, I remember standing in a queue to buy movie tickets or sugar from the ration shop. That was in 1970’s! Of late, standing in long snaking queues outside banks or ATM’s seems to be the need of the day in India. Thanks to the bold move of de-monetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 by the government, the country is bent on eradicating corruption and black money. I admired volunteers who distributed water and biscuits to tired people in the long queues as well as praising the over worked staff. Reach out wherever and when, don’t wait for some exotic place.

India’s Currency Crunch:What are People in the Vegetable Markets Saying?

New Year, new ideas, new resolutions! But how many do we really succeed at? Well, at the beginning of 2016, I started a new series:Focus 12 with much excitement. Apologies, dear readers. I have not completed the intended 12 posts.

Focus 12 : Markets as Fun, Outdoor Classroom

Focus 12: Feel, Smell, Eat What’s in Season at the Market.

‘At the table with friends and family, you do not become old’… an Italian proverb.

Indian hospitality is known for inviting people to their homes. In fact, it’s rude not to burp after a meal in some communities, as it shows the host has not fed his guest sufficiently! At home, I’ve been busy trying out new variations to old recipes. The fruity twist I gave to a simple kheer, rice pudding was delicious. Though the kheer doesn’t freeze /stay fresh for many days, the pulpy sitaphal or custard apple lent a good flavour.

World Palate Recipes: Nawabi Style Sitaphal Phirni ( Custard Apple and Rice Pudding)

Festivals add cheer, colour and uphold traditions. Be it Halloween, Diwali or Christmas.

Year End and Festive Christmas Markets

Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

As we fill our own homes with twinkling lights and invite family and friends to plentiful food, a thought goes out to those in need – homeless, disjoint families, children of war zones or devastating earthquakes. Now’s the time to look up worthy NGO’s and organizations and make our contributions. Share and care.


That brings us to Christmas and New Year. The bright red Poinsettia, in my neighbour’s garden is in full bloom, its red leaves(bracts) adding much Christmas colour. The story of a poor boy who offered roadside weeds to the God in church is a remarkable story of pure love and humble spirit. It was those weeds that bloomed into red and green flowers, known as Poinsettia!


Dear readers, fellow bloggers, family and friends.

May we all try to emulate the Eucalyptus tree. 









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!



Someone asked me – If you are writing about your travels – Why did you choose something mundane as local fresh market? Why not – popular tourist sites, food of the country or clothes people wear?

Well, isn’t the local market telling you about all this and more? The history, culture and food all put together ? I asked.

Every market is so unique and bubbling with activity, it’s only when you look beneath that layer can you spot the cultural identity. The market too is a great tourist spot on one’s itinerary. The colours of fresh produce are brighter than on canvas, the sounds of vendors so concentrated upon the selling activity, the fresh produce is so diverse across the oceans, the seasons spell tell-tale signs upon the clothes people wear and the fruit they buy at the market.

So why not write about markets? What do my readers think?

And, look what I stumbled upon….some other bloggers /travel writers are writing about culture at markets too:)

I hope to carve a niche for myself in this BIG, BIG blogging world out there.

Happy reading!




Other Bloggers

Hooray! My blog received the 2000 th viewer today!

Hooray! My blog received the 2000 th viewer today!

Dear readers (and fellow bloggers),

My blog primarily began as a wish to create some meaningful pastime for myself and a trip down memory lane. Filled with a desire to learn new things, acquire new skills and to over come technological apprehensions, I set on my journey last year.

Hooray! Today I received my 2000 th viewer. One from UAE.

Thank you EACH one of you! Without your support, my achievement would mean very little. YOU make the difference.

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.

– Napoleon Hill



Creating a Gallery with Readers Contributions


Pictures tell stories. And sometimes powerful ones too!

Let’s do this together !  Readers, please send me ONE photo of a market scene – fresh market, supermarket counter, vendors pushing their carts  or maybe even a toppled vegetable cart! Include a short caption or verse , if you wish.

My next blog post will be a collage of reader’s contributions.

When there are NO words, one is compelled to search the picture /photo for something that sparks interest or expression, the creative brain get’s activated.

So get going- see, click and send.

My email is:


Gallery of market photos


Thank you dear readers, for the inundating emails, comments posted on the blog and FB messages.

Such an overwhelming response on this latest UAE blogpost ! Your encouraging words and praises have touched me. I may just take my laptop to market and show the ‘heroes’ their faces and stories 🙂

Sit back and wait, as I freshly bake some breads and cakes for the upcoming UAE recipe.

Grand Zayed mosque

Grand Zayed mosque

Till then, Sukhran, a Thank you. Enjoy Abu Dhabi.

Big Thank You, Dear Readers

About Me



My name is Veena. Thankyou for stopping by my blog. It’s a place to put collected photos and stories from the many places I have travelled to. My special interest is  visiting fresh produce markets. Why? They piece the cultural -culinary- local life like an ongoing live movie, ever unfolding.

Travel broadens the mind.

It all began in 2013…a creative writing blogging journey and learning to effectively use technology. 

Year 2020: Past 60th birthday:) Revisiting and editing my earlier blogs, to make them crisper, neater and shorter.

Piazza Tower, Italy. The market stall