Art · Artwork · Blogging · Illustration · Journaling · Sketch · TRAVEL

Old town road

Lancaster is an old town. Nearly 250 years old. The layers of history unfold in the Victorian buildings, row houses, arterial roads. For a friend’s farewell, we, a group of eight, headed to this historic town, on a whim. The two-hour drive from Newark, Delaware, to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was a breeze. The tough part was finding a parking spot in the downtown area. The roads looked clogged, dotted with cars on either side. The houses stood next to each other, generously sharing their walls. 

Our Airbnb was a three-storeyed apartment in white limestone. A stark contrast to the rest of the houses that were dark, dingy, and supported by layers of stained bricks. Inside, the decor was straight out of an IKEA catalog. Chic chandeliers, tall lamps, rustic dining table, minimalist artworks, and artificial plants. Warm yellow light reflected on its white walls, white comforters, white tiles and our pale faces. 

Fully furnished, well-equipped, and smart locked (the main door) — the house could be called ‘modern’, but for the toilet doors, which, akin to pre-1970s architecture, lacked locks. The fireplace switched on with the touch of a switch, and wax-less candles brightened up the room. But the ceiling, much like in Victorian castles, extended forever; and the floors groaned at every step. The bedroom doors had to be shut using a chair, and the attic beds baked under the morning sunlight. Next to a nice round Google Nest rose a wooden shelf with rows of cutlery that no one could reach. The kitchen opened to an alleyway, that led to a private porch from where you could see the popular-in-the-past grid pattern of streets spread out. 

On an evening, we drove to the Central Market and filled out carts with ambrosia apples and apricots. Built in 1889, it the one of the oldest continuously run farmer’s market in the United States. We walked along the paved roads in the downtown area, and saw expensive cars chasing one another, groups of youngsters hopping from one bar to another, and rows of ancient buildings trying hard to blend in with the new ones. Of course, some couldn’t, like the Lancaster Prison building, which stood out like a king’s abode in an otherwise modest town.

In the night, we heard passersby and speeding cars on the street below; in the morning, we woke up with the chatter of kids in the playground nearby. When it was time to go, we caused a traffic jam, our car swallowing up the entire road, waiting for our friends to get in. When they did, we drove away from the old town, past several Amish carriages, farms and bakery, onto younger suburbs — content to know that we could always go back a couple of centuries in a couple of hours.

Art · Artwork · Blogging · Illustration · Journaling · life · Lifestyle and Food · Sketch · TRAVEL

When in State College

I. Go to Big Bowl Noodle House, and order a plate of curry fried rice with fried tofu. Chew on the crunchy tofu pieces, and say a quick thanks to all the soy beans in the world.

II.Once your tummy is full, it’s time to sit in a darker room and reflect on life. Head to Chronic Town, order an Adios Hookah, and pair it with a cup of Garuda—vanilla, honey tea.

III. Now, if you plan to stay back, then get a good night’s sleep at The Atherton Hotel, and wake up early to stand in the already snaking queue outside The Waffle Shop. Don’t fret, or get vexed, know it in your heart that it will be worth the wait.

Art · Artwork · Blogging · emotions · Illustration · Journaling · life · Life in general · Sketch · TRAVEL

Hit the road, Jack

Road trips are the best.

One: You don’t ever feel stagnant. You are moving forward, constantly. Red lights are temporary.

Two: You never have to stop eating. There is nothing else to do. Eat your Twinkies, chocolates, and chips. And sing along Ed Sheeran’s and Justin Bieber’s “I don’t care”.

Three: You are a kid again. Playing peek-a-boo with the sun, racing the wind, and following the moon.

Four: You can discuss the most disturbing thoughts here, and your partner would listen. Nobody is going anywhere.

Five: You can shift from “doing” to simply “being”.

Art · Artwork · Blogging · Illustration · Journaling · life · Sketch · TRAVEL

Sky, a canvas

A second road trip to Ohio in less than a week. This time, we started just when the sun came up. Trees turned from blue to green, and houses from grey to brown. We drove, a light brown bag of sandwiches and Terra chips next to our feet. Every once in two hours, we stopped at a gas station, sometimes to feed our car, sometimes to simply buy a Hubba Bubba. For the rest of the journey we blew big bubbles and saw the world turn pink from inside it. We took turns to be at the wheel. While one steered, the other reclined the passenger seat all the way back, and watched the world pass by at 80 miles per hour. Trees, poles, bridges and birds moved at dizzying speeds. Above them, like a dream, floated soft fluffy clouds. If you looked hard, you saw faces in it. A kid, a monster, a man swimming, a woman sitting. All evasive, quick to hide. And just like a dream, they passed. What remained is the clear blue sky. Our only constant as we drove along an ever-changing landscape.

Art · Artwork · Blogging · Events · Illustration · Journaling · Sketch · TRAVEL

The Lights Fest

We were a little apprehensive before we reached Kenneth Square in Pennsylvania for The Lights Fest. Widely advertised on social media platforms, with pictures of people holding beautiful white paper lanterns – a warm glow from the fire lighting up their faces – we were sold on the idea of participating in it. So we booked our tickets almost two months in advance, but never received a confirmation, a fact that we failed to check till a day before the festival itself. Now, there were news in a few sites that the festival was a scam. A little tensed, we took our chance and wrote to the official email id of the fest that we would require our tickets (thankfully, I had the order number). In no time they got back to us with our tickets. It was no scam after all. We breathed a sigh of relief. The next day, at about 5 pm we started to what was a wide wide green field dotted with thousands and thousands of people. Some laying on their beach spreads, some others, under beach umbrellas, some even under proper full fledged tents. The spot buzzed with activity, with children playing around with their plastic helicopters, and adults patiently waiting in long queues before the waffle stall. And when the sky turned black, we were asked to let our lanterns free – all at the same time. “At the end of this countdown,” the anchor on the makeshift stage, announced. So we lit our lanterns, and let them drift into the black sky. Hundreds of them floating like a sea of stars. All our apprehensions flew away with them. This was one of the most beautiful events we ever attended.

My article about The Lights Fest was published in the media this week. Please find the link here.

Here are some photos from the fest.

IMG_20180623_184544
This was the sight at 4 pm. As the sun dipped the crowd increased, as the ticky torches lit the aisles a warm yellow

IMG_20180623_200255
We were encourage to write/ sketch on our lanterns. So I sketched the couple that was sitting right in front of us. 

IMG_20180623_204314 (1)
Just a few more hours to go.

DSC_0058
The gang that we went with.

IMG_20180623_213517
The lanterns finally in the sky. It was, believe me, quite a sight.

Life in general · Nature · TRAVEL

Back from Poconos

It’s summertime wanderlust. We have been travelling every weekend ever since the sun got brighter and days got longer. This also explains the brief dry spells before every new post. We just got back from Poconos last evening after spending a couple of days pampering ourselves in a house nestled in the deep lush woods of the scenic town. In the mornings, we let our bodies float in the hot bath tub for hours, and in the evenings, we sat by the fireplace having good old campfire s’mores. Sometime during the day we walked by the different shades of green outside, and caught sight of adorable bunnies, squirrels and deer. Ludovico Einaudi’s tune complimented the sound of the crackling of wood, as we warmed our feet, and drained our wine glasses, by the fire. In the patio, under the warm sunshine, we delved into the question of existence, the purpose of life, and dreams. The conversation was washed down with swigs of cold grapefruit shandy. A little over a two-hour drive back home later, we unpacked, and continued to savor the beauty of Poconos that lingered in our head. It still does.

img_20180603_175920
Our little place of stay at Poconos