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Change Your Frame…… Of Mind

Men get naughty (from being naughtier) at 40 & we women after our post glorious years of flowering & bearing fruits finally get to be… Nutty. After all that we have endured till mid lives – puberty, monthly curse, childbirth, PMS, peri menopause, please add ‘surviving’ if you are from India… when we are finally ready for that well deserved break, comes the gala(read gaga) event of all – Men O Pause (for their own good).

I am not yet menopausal, but know for sure that the hot flashes, sleeplessness, cravings, mood swings, memory loss, night sweats… though misleading, are nothing like falling in love. If anything, its our hormones falling out of love with our body & mind. One can say its like a rebirth, this time God is not the creator, unfortunately Devil fits the bill.

Although being ‘gaga’ has its pluses, like getting to be totally oneself & conveniently blaming it on mood swings… do practice caution, if ever the swing unhinges, it’s gonna be one nasty fall. You don’t have to be menopausal for it to unhinge… present day scenario can cause anxiety or depression even in an ever smiling Quokka*. Nobody is spared from its clutches – be it a child, teenager, middle aged or the elderly. Gone are the days when biological transitions were to blame, these days our ‘want more & then some’ lifestyle is enough to push our hormones to the edge or cause our chemicals to jump to death.

Ironically, in a country where folks throng hospitals with the dexterity of ninjas to get CT scans done to treat a common cold… mental illness is still a taboo & people suffering from it are still considered abnormal, weak kneed, social outcasts… & of course ‘possessed’. Not that we can expect anything better from a ‘secular’ nation where being gay is still a crime.

We should understand that mental instability does not sprout from a tree nor is it acquired by disgraceful acts. They can develop due to many biological or other factors and can be controlled & cured with medicines; in fact I cannot understand why it should be considered any different from other physical ailments. Thoughts come from the brain and that brain is very much an integral part of our body. The reasons for getting depressed or anxious can be the same as for any other disease. For example, indigestion can be caused by a change in weather, acid imbalance, stress, hormones, slow metabolism, genetics, wrong diet, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, etc… and so can these same reasons cause anxiety and depression too.

I absolutely believe in treating diseases the natural way, all pranayam & meditation, but not always. Imagine having a bad bout of loosies & trying to cure it thro’ – looking at the bright side or standing on your head. Mental illness too cannot be ‘cured’ by personal strength or sheer willpower alone. It needs proper treatment.

We women still get to use ‘body transitions’ as a shield against the stigma associated with mental illness. What about those young minds who are suffering silently… & when it becomes unbearable take the ‘forever silent’ route?? The highest rate of suicide in India is among the age group of fifteen to twenty nine. When are we going to help, communicate, teach, support… & love them unconditionally, with no strings attached?? When are we going to accept, treat & cure mental illnesses’ ??

All this talk is making me & I am sure you guys too, depressed. So let me try & get us into a better frame of mind, say by browsing thro’ these handcrafted frames, where happy memories can be stored forever.


A naturally curved piece of driftwood frames this beautiful picture.


Stuck together a few pieces of driftwood for this fab frame.

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Glued driftwood discs onto a wooden frame.

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Polished a slice of hollow wood for this unique frame.


Used some some bark of an old tree to create this frame.


Got hold of some vines to tie up this frame.


Cut up some salvaged planks to nail this frame.


Cut and crafted some bamboo for this super frame.


These frames might hold-

memories kind,

Of golden days old-

left far behind,

Family, friends and-

precious finds,

Elixir for a happy frame-

of mind.


*QUOKKA- a wildcat which seems to be smiling at all times.


Rote is not the right Route

reshma phone photos 18 jan 14 598 - Copy

I have a huge respect for beauty queens. Apart from the fact that they look gorgeous, it’s their confidence & presence of mind that I most admire. Always had a starry eyed fascination for the beauties, but the new found respect for them, I gained it after having to ‘sashay in their stilettos’ in one of the beauty pageants, an Army organised one.

 For your knowledge, an Army wife is required to have more qualities than any Indian mother-in-law would ever want in her daughter-in-law, in fact more than Rajni in ‘Bahu humari Rajnikanth’. Along with being the ideal wife, mother, daughter-in-law, home maker, hostess, entrepreneur… we are required to walk the ramp too. So in the year of 2006 amidst trying to strike a balance in life, there I was being trained to compete for the Strike Queen Crown, an affair no way less grand than Miss World. The training lasted for nearly a month; how to walk (visualising there are mines on both sides helped), how to talk (all those flowery talks to get into the good books of the mom-in-law helped), what & what not to eat (imagining all those malnourished & starving kids helped), what to wear (my trademark dosa sized bindi helped narrow it down to a saree) & some. I would like to say that I came out with flying colours & won the crown, but sadly that’s not what happened. When it came to what to say, the answer to that final question simply but resolutely refused to fly out of my mouth. In fact even flies refused to make any buzzing sound, although I stood there transfixed with my mouth wide open like a fly catcher for a shameful amount of time. To cut the long humiliating story short… I finally overcame my stage fright & must have mumbled something right, because I ended up bagging the second runner up sash & crown.

That was years ago. Now after years of kids, thyroid, epileptic fits, hyper acidity & many lifestyle diseases… winning the crown seems to be impossible, but I can for sure answer questions with more insight & wisdom. You don’t believe it? Come on then ask me the most frequently asked question in a beauty contest – ‘if you had the power, what is the one thing you would like to change in our country??’

Pat would come the answer… Our ‘Education system’. What use is education if it does not make our & others lives happier & more meaningful?? Although our genes decide our basic nature, education is what moulds our character. After spending all those precious years of our childhood & youth inside the four walls of a classroom, one should emerge more positive, aware, spiritual, compassionate, unique, disciplined, tolerant, honest, confident, creative, peace loving, contented, nature bound, skilled… & totally in love with ourselves. But what the current education system gifts us is a bunch of life style diseases, depression, suicides, crimes, corruption, poverty, terrorism, global warming & much more. It’s not that I do not believe in the goodness of people, I do, in  fact I pride myself on being a good human being. But if I don’t nourish & take care of my soul, I can feel the ‘not so good’ side of me emerging. That ‘nourishment’ & ‘feeding of values’ along with bookish knowledge is what schools are supposed to be providing – how to live and make a living. But unfortunately in India, the pure souls of children are getting malnourished & at the same time overburdened with all that rote learning & rat race, leaving them either in a rut or eternally ‘power & money’ hungry. Kal Yug is here to stay if we don’t change our current education system & lay stress on ‘learn more’ than to ‘earn more’. All that ‘mugged up’ degrees & diplomas we proudly hang on our necks, all in the name of a ‘better life’ will ultimately choke the ‘good life ‘ out of us. The only thing worth hanging on our necks, these days, are some statement neck pieces… & I will provide you with those. Take a look…

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Saved some bamboo pieces from a North Eastern lamp shade and threaded them into this simple, yet elegant neck piece.


A ready made embroidered patch saved from an old suit and stitched on to a ‘bukram’ base sees the birth of this bib necklace.

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A metal frame, painted golden, was made by a local blacksmith, to hold the picture of a Rajasthani queen. Strung along with some pieces from an old necklace make up this stunning piece of neck wear.


A quartet of ‘chillums‘, along with a trio of pom poms and some shells and beads make up this chilled out piece.

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A Gujarati waistband, a favourite among Dandia revellers, reveals a different side to it as a statement mala.


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A section from a broken hip band, stitched onto a thick cotton string and embellished with some beads makes this hep neck piece.


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Different cloth pieces, stitched around a couple of old neck pieces and teamed up with the traditional ‘Taveez‘ (empty) to create this rustic looking two tiered neck piece.

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Pasted a cut out Warli art piece on a Taveez. Covered the edges of the Taveez with quick drying terracotta clay. Further, stitched them onto a piece of braided cloth, along with a sapling pot and  a pom pom, for this ethni-chic neck piece.


Got two loops welded onto the ends of a Dhokri art piece, attached it to a braided cloth string and added some brass ghungroos to make this classic piece.



Salvaged some terracotta pieces from a broken wind chime and attached them to this braided cloth string to make this awesome piece.

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Created a cloth pipe and filled it with round beads, taking care to secure each bead at both ends to make them look like cloth beads. Attached a satin rose to give this neck piece a fine look.

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Used an antique bun pin as the pendant for this gorgeous pearl mala.


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For this fab choker, firstly made a stiff base using bukram. Attached an out dated necklace onto it…. As simple as that. You can attach old pieces of jewellery to make your own statement pieces.

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A simple oxidised jewellery piece was attached to this Gujarati cloth piece to make this one of a kind Choker.

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This colourful neck piece is made out of crochet buttons stitched together. Rudraksh beads were added to make it look spectacular.

Make them, wear them, look good & fight for the better good. Sound education will ensure a sound mind & an even sounder Nation. Sounds good ???