Archive

Tag Archives: London

There is something about girls and castles. Or maybe it’s just me ….
Having heard (and read on Tripadvisor) so much about the Windsor castle, I decided to finally give it a go on a lovely cold Monday morning. Owing to the fact that it was a Monday in January (not mid-term) I presumed the crowd to be thin. But to my surprise, if the number of people on a Monday is anything to go by, I can only imagine what the weekends would be like.

The train journey from London to Windsor and Eton Central is pretty fast and the little two coach train that greets you at Slough is just plain adorable. That said, don’t be fooled by Google map’s efforts in getting you lost in Windsor. Give the convoluted Google route a miss and follow the clearly marked signage around the town to find places. The castle is pretty breathtaking in itself. Quite literally overflowing with English opulence. It’s a pity you’re not allowed to take pictures in the state rooms but then again maybe there lies its allure. The audio guide is an absolute must and takes one through the castle and state rooms pretty swift. Though I have to say, I was a bit disappointed by the ‘doll house’.

Not so much an art lover, portraiture per se, I have to admit, some of the Van Dycks were absolutely spectacular! The silk in his paintings are still gleaming! A little walk around town and a quick visit to Eton later, I was back in London.

A day quite well spent.

p.s. Stopped at a little cafe by the river called, The Chocolate cafe. They had the most delicious apple pie and hot chocolate.

Advertisements

Ever since I saw the documentary, The Artist is Present, I have been a fan of her work. Maybe not in the exact form but the essence of it, intrigues me. Since the film, a phrase that she’d said had remained with me “it is the public who complete the piece.” Being an interaction designer myself, the words rang in my head. Humans are key and yes, art could be inclusive instead of being the exclusive kind that only a few get. So when came the newsletter announcing her 512 Hours at the Serpentine, all else had to wait while I scrambled my way to be of the fortunate few (160 to be exact) who could go “empty” to her.

While I must say the experience wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined it to be, 512 Hours is undoubtedly less sensational than The Artist is Present. Divided into three chambers, it felt a bit like participatory meditation. Being an Indian myself, the concept of closing one’s eyes, blocking the external world out while working on one’s senses isn’t a new idea. Given that I was subjected to it public unsettled me. Is that what performance art is about? Being touched even in passing by Marina Abramovíc I am forced to acknowledge the power of someone who has spent her entire life in performance art.
It is a show I would highly recommend to anyone who’s up for not-the-conventional gallery visit.

 

The Wallace collection recently hosted an exclusive Student’s night, an after hours access to the galleries with guided tours and activities. Situated at Manchester Square, the beautiful bungalow [manor’s more the word] houses the most regal rooms I’ve ever seen!

Each room in the color of a royal shade gilded with gold. Later, it was revealed that each of the rooms had been covered in silk manufactured from Paris and not wallpaper, as many of us had expected.
The guided tour was actually quite engaging.
A painting is just a painting on the wall until you know the story behind it.
The lady who took us around narrated the beautiful stories behind each object. Too bad it lasted only 20 mins. I was hoping she’d go on forever.
Lady Pompadour was a vision herself, gliding around the manor in her French finery answering questions. Venetian mask making workshop was almost over by the time I reached it. Chocolate animation was rather interesting but a lot to take in, in two hours.

A glass of wine, fine company, breathtaking art in the backdrop of romantic London weather… an evening well spent!
[also included aimless wandering resulting in 2 extra pounds on my way home]

London has it’s fair population of Indians. So it didn’t come as a surprise when the Mayor of London decided to celebrate Diwali at London’s famous Trafalgar Square. In a sea of grey, more than 30,000 people braved the chilly and extremely windy day in London to witness a colorful extravaganza.

Headlined by Anoushka Shankar and a spellbinding performance by her, the programme also included a medley of traditional Indian dances and Bollywood numbers followed by a traditional aarti to wrap up the night.

Anoushka Shankar

traditional-indian-dance

Bollywood

Being away from home is hard enough, and to be away while everyone back home is celebrating the biggest festival in your faith … that’s something else!

Empowered by a London tube map and the findings from Google search, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I braved the weather in search of — Durga Puja. As luck would have it, I found one just a few minutes walk from King’s Cross Station.  The London Durga Puja Committee at Camden Centre is full of hearty Bengalis who welcome you with open arms and a good laugh.

Durga Puja is the celebration of Good over Evil. Legend has it, when the Good (Gods) were attacked by the Evil (Asuras), all the Gods got together and created the mighty Goddess Durga and empowered her with unique powers (and weapons) from each one of them. The Goddess fought brave against all the Evil (Asuras) and killed the Evil king, Mahisasur who disguised himself in the form of a buffalo. Every year she descends to the Earth to visit her worshipers with her children, Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth), Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of literature and music), Lord Ganesha (God of luck and prosperity) and Lord Kartikeyan (God of warfare). The five day celebrations are marked by daily pujas, offerings and much fanfare in the East India state of Bengal.

I cannot even begin  to tell you how happy I was to have found myself amidst the familiar … the language, the colors, the faces, the jewelry, the bindis, the costumes … I was HOME.

Durga thakur
What is a Durga Puja without the quintessential ‘bhog’?! Just a few steps away from the main puja center laid a buffet of Kosha Mangsho (lamb curry), Chicken Biriyani (spiced rice), Daal (lentil soup), Phoolkopir tarkari (cauliflower curry), Aloo Kabuli Chana (masala chick-pea), Mango Chutney, Pickles and Rasgullas!!!
Bengali food HEAVEN! 😀

bhog
As they say in Bengali “Ashche bochor abaar hobe” (… till next year)