Craftsy Giveaway Winner & Friday Feature: Faces of India

We have a winner for my Craftsy Giveaway: AM! Congrats! I do not have an email address for you. Poornima! Siri. Please get in touch with me by email indianfoodrocks at gmail or by using this contact form. Please include your Name and your Email Address. Since I took so long to announce the winner, I will give you until Thursday, June 26, to get in touch. Hurry! I want you to start exploring Craftsy right away!

Last November, I made a quick trip to India, and what a trip it was. I went to attend the wedding of a dear friend as well as handle some pending business, and ended up meeting a whole bunch of friends — some for the first time, like Anjali Koli. I have known Anjali online for over seven years. She and I were both Red Checks at St. Anne's High School in Fort, Bombay, albeit years apart. Anjali has always held me spellbound with her stories of the Koli culture. The Koli community are the fisher-folks that brave the rough seas in and around Mumbai to bring prized catch to ever-demanding customers.

I have memories of going to the fish market with my mother, afraid and in-awe at the same time. Anjali took me to one of the markets from my childhood and the fisherwomen did not scare me anymore. Instead, I chatted with them and laughed at their stories, while they smiled for my camera.

If you are so lucky as to be in Bombay, you might want to check out the Koli Culture Experience with the best guide there could ever be, Anjali.

Where: Colaba Fish Market, Bombay
What: Fish and beautiful fisherwomen, and Anjali.

anjali
Anjali

May be Long

Have you entered my Craftsy online class giveaway? I have extended the deadline to May 25. Go ahead and enter it now!

May is the longest month in the calendar. Not just because it has 31 days. It is the last month of the school year, heralding all kinds of end-of-year activities. From recitals to picnics to award ceremonies to graduation and graduation parties. And, BolderBoulder. Several events are packed into each weekend. I would like an auto-pilot for this month!

In between all the necessary stuff, we try our best to pack in the unnecessary but fun stuff. Like the Erie Balloon Festival. This is a 3-day festival held in the neighboring town of Erie. My friend, Lisa, and I go every year and we were there last year, too.

Lisa is High Maintenance
Lisa is High Maintenance

Hot air balloon
Up

Back with a Giveaway!

Some of you noticed that I had stopped posting. Thank you for that. So much happened right from the night of my last post — a huge stag leaped into the side of our then brand-new plugin-hybrid on the freeway, leaped back over the median, caused an accident, and was dismembered — to the end of the year and beyond, that with each event, my mind whirled and the words stopped flowing. I wrote but it seemed disjointed; incoherent, even. So I chose to go silent without a message, except a brief announcement on my Facebook wall towards the end of last year.

My silent blog did not bother me as much as the nagging feeling that I failed to deliver on my promise of a 10th anniversary giveaway in which all my readers could participate. But the best thing about a blog is that it doesn't matter. I'm the boss and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. Even though we are well into the 11th year of IFR now, I am still going to have my final 10th anniversary giveaway. There are actually three giveaways: one for the readers of my blog who comment on this post, one for my newsletter/email readers (I will have the newsletter out soon), and one for my Facebook fans.

What am I giving away? A creative online class on Craftsy of your choice up to a maximum of $30.

Why? Because I like to keep my promises, however late I might be.

How? Same deal as last time. The rules are that there are no rules. There is no need to go blue in the face creating more noise than there already is on the social networks. If you want to, however, that is your choice! Simply leave me a comment on this post telling me what crafts you enjoy and how you plan to work that into your summer. That's it.

The giveaway will close at 11:59pm May 23 25, 2014. I will randomly pick a winner and post an announcement within a couple of days of the deadline. I will give the winner a few days to get in touch with me, failing which I will find another winner.

I will be sending out a newsletter to my mailing list with a second giveaway as well as announcing a third giveaway on Facebook — both Craftsy classes up to $30 value. If you entered the giveaway on my blog, you can still throw your hat in for these two giveaways. The modus operandi will be slightly different on those two platforms though.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Craftsy in any way. This post is not sponsored by Craftsy nor has Craftsy approached me with an offer. I do have a friend who works for Craftsy but that's where the association stops. My friend has not asked me to post this giveaway either. It is entirely my idea.

Photography continues to remain a passion and a huge stress-buster for me. I will leave you with a couple of my favorite photos of the Taj Mahal in the early morning light, that I shot in December last year.

First view of the Taj Mahal
breath-taking first view

Taj Mahal at sunrise
glowing marble at dawn

Now, you do your bit and enter the giveaway by telling me about your favorite crafts and how you plan to indulge in them over summer, ok?

Magic of Kindness

Thank you for your messages and emails asking about us in the aftermath of the disastrous flooding in Boulder County, Colorado. We were very lucky and did not have any water in our home. The day it all began was Back to School Night and we were at Medha’s high school until late. We left one car in Boulder so that we were all in one car, heading home past 9pm. We had some minor scares on the way but nothing significant. Once home, we realized that leaving one car in Boulder was probably not the wisest decision as we left it in a parking lot that was very close to Boulder Creek, which rose dangerously through the night. A brand new car, at that! Luckily for us and our new material trapping, there were some surges in our parking lot but it did not flood, unlike most of the parking lots near the creek. We drove in and out of Boulder quickly, and, thanked our stars and the grey skies for sparing us. My town, the City of Louisville, saw some damage, our golf course became a wide raging river, leading to a collapsed bridge downstream and wiping out several parts of my favorite trail. But it was nothing compared to the devastation in the mountain towns, Boulder and Longmont. The road to recovery is long but it has been pretty darned amazing how the community has risen to the occasion and given back at every step. Thank you for your concern and your kindness. If you would like to help with the flood relief, please donate to The Great Colorado Flood Relief Project.

My friends on Twitter and Facebook know that I can talk about little else but the Boulder IFS Food Film Festival, especially Jadoo, a British-Indian comedy that I will be introducing on Saturday, October 12, 2013, at 7pm in CU’s Muenzinger Auditorium.

Boulder IFS Food Film Festival Program
mobile phone pics of the BFFF13 program

My friends, Meena and Shashi, as well as two talented high schoolers, will be offering henna designs for a donation before the movie. They will be there from 5:45pm to 6:45pm. All money raised will be donated through the Boulder Balvihar to Help a Child, an Indian charity that provides academic scholarships to underprivileged children in India.

Henna at Jadoo will be much better than this!
It's a good thing I won't be doing the henna!

If you are local, please consider coming out to support us!

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Every year we chant:
Ganpati Bappa Morya
Pudchya varshi lavkar ya!


And before I know it, it's here again! My favorite God, my second favorite festival, my favorite foods to be made but so busy that I have no time to make chavde or the more traditional modaks.

I do have a coconut waiting patiently in my refrigerator. I plan to use that to make the stuffing for karanji and offer that to Ganesh.

We celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi at Balvihar yesterday where some of our kids made clay models of Ganesh.

Clay Ganesh
Ayesha's near-perfect Ganesh