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 · emotions · Illustration · Journaling · life · love · Sketch · TRAVEL

To Ohio and back

To me, Ohio is about watching Steve and Maggie on Youtube; walking amid half empty bottles of milk, an assortment of toys and stray crayons; eating Kirkland’s ice cream bars and madeleines; and getting kissed and hugged by the three-year-old niece.

N and I drove to Stow, Ohio, on Saturday morning. We started around 5 am, when the moon, big and bright, still dominated the blue sky. It followed us, as we began a journey of 430 miles, passing three States. In Ohio, we remained within the comfort of home, even as winds picked up speed, and swayed the trees outside. Indian home food, Malayalam movies, and lots of catch and throw. In the night, once my niece was asleep, we watched the final episode of Game of Thrones, and went to bed, a little disappointed. But the morning brought the sound of happy laughter and excited squeaks from the little one.

We painted, stuck stickers, and watched a new series, Barbie’s Life in the Dreamhouse, on Netflix.  We took a little walk outside, but the wind swept her red cap away. So we walked back home.

After a heavy lunch, it was time to leave. We packed our bags, and started our drive back home. This time, there was no moon following us. Even the sun left us midway. In the darkness, guided by street lights, we crossed the 430 miles, and got back to our warm, cozy bed. Waves of silence slowly rocked us to sleep. Only to take us back to the effortless laughter of the three-year-old niece in Ohio.

March 2018 · Sketch

Beach side story: sketch #21

A bright morning. The sharp light of the sun fought its way through the blinds and coated the couch, table and the carpet with a soft yellow glow. Sipping a hot cup of Earl Grey tea at the patio, I caught sight of a tree that looked like a bunch of pink cotton candies strewn together. It has begun. Spring is finally here. Maybe it’s the tree, or the woman who was walking her pet, or simply the sugar in the tea, I turned to my husband, and said, “Let’s hit the beach”.

An hour later, we found ourselves in the car, dressed in shorts and airy shirts, and with a heavy bag containing snacks, beach mat, and lots of Calamansi juice. An excellent drive under the vast expanse of never ending cloudless skies. The sun was right above our heads, and the wind…ooh, the wind was a little chilly. Never mind, we thought, and rolled up the windows, and kept driving. But as we got closer to Rehoboth beach, and saw groups of people walking by, every single one in at least two layers of clothing, we realized that maybe, just maybe, it was not the best time to hit the beach.

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We parked the car, stepped outside, and in response to the first wave of cool air, thousands of goosebumps sprouted on our exposed skin. So we gingerly walked to the boardwalk — two under-clothed specimens, objects of everyone’s stare — and took two wide shots of the beach, before hopping back into the air-conditioned warmth of our car. From the rear view mirror we saw the pure blue of the Atlantic Ocean outlined by a strip of yellow brown sand. An enticing image, which like everything else in life, can only be enjoyed after a good amount of wait.

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This sketch is inspired by an illustration by Danish artist Zindy SD Nielsen. To see more of her works, click here.