What Must Have ‘The God of Death’ Said To My Grandmother


“When Yamraj, the god of death will come to take you, you will keep him waiting in order to complete a dress that you would be stitching then”, I would say jokingly and my sister would add, ” No, grandma will see him, and ask him if he got his dress ‘readymade’ from a store? and will say, “It is just not fitting right, give it to me and I will make it perfect for you””, to which my grandmother would agree, laugh for a fraction of second and dismiss us to resume her work – the work she loved till the very last breath – stitching beautiful dresses and doing exotic hand embroidery.


A ghagra made by my grandmother for her great granddaughter. My grandmother was 79 then.

yellogreen parkar1

I loved this ghagra so much that I was impatient to see my niece wear it and hence used photoshop to visualize the look.

Her love for embroidery was such that she would wake up at 4:00 in the morning (almost mid night for people like us) to complete some of the finest designs I have seen.


Hand embroidery

She would make dresses for new born babies to senior women and each of her dress is a masterpiece.

Frocks for little girls

I have been using one of the dresses she made for me for last 17 years and not a single stitch has ever opened. Now it has been passed onto my cousin who is 17!



 17 year old : both the dress and the girl (photo by Puja and Archita Khodke)

 I would take some really complicated designs to her and she would make them real! She was so thorough technically that she would turn some of my really complicated designs and weird imaginations into reality. In one such design of a frock for my niece (3 year then) and her great grand daughter, she used thirty meters of lace without making the frock heavy. This is how it looked:


A frock with thirty meter lace

She would use a thin cotton lining from inside especially for the dresses meant for babies and kids and make all the joineries seamless so that the joinery won’t scratch the tender skin.


Seam the difference: Blue joinery is by my grandmother and red of a ‘ready made’ dress (these days most of the ready made, store brought dresses also come with seamless joineries).

Party dress, head gear and bed sheet made for my niece 

The patch works she made blended so well with the main cloth that 10X zoom is needed to spot the patch border.

A dress with hand made patch work of traditional Dharwad silk saree border, and unorthodox balloon sleeves with broad cuffs. 

 She was so cool! She maintained a book in which she kept miniature dresses of all kinds of dresses she made. At 80 she would use Facebook, Whatsapp and Google like a pro!

<photo of the book>

Once when we were discussing design of a new dress, I got a phone call that I received hesitantly. After a few haan and hmm, my grandmother got annoyed and said, “switch off your phone and don’t waste my time”. That very moment I wished I want to age like her. That dress she unstitched and stitched for four times, and when I said it was good, she gave me a sharp look and said, “but not the best”. And in her signature style she made the best possible dress even if it meant doing it for the 5th time!


A Japanese Kimono style kurta made from Valkalam Silk Saree and salwar made from khan fabric. Note the bell sleeve and its border.

She would not let a single piece of cloth go waste. Once she made a dress for me and from the remaining cloth made a beautiful frock for my niece.


She was the reason, I loved to design dresses, because no matter what I designed her magic wand would make it look beautiful.



When my grandfather passed away, people would say that she will get back to her work and she did. She was rock solid and started her work again. She was not just a great artist but also an amazing teacher. She started her work and teaching tailoring to the girls in her neighborhood. On a fine morning she was teaching the girls the nitty gritty of tailoring, when the death god appeared and without a slightest effort she dropped the scissor and went with him, leaving the girls shocked and awestruck at the same time.

When I got the news, I wondered if she would have made him wait? But may be looking at her work, the god of death must have said,” Your husband has been complaining about our dresses, we need you to make the best dresses for us in the yamlok (the kingdom of the god of death). Will you come along?” and she must have instantly obliged 🙂


Nirupama and Sharad Godbole, my grandparents (flowers in the background are painted by her ;)).

I Wish we had photographed all the dresses she made, and it would have been a nice catalogue.

 P.S.  I hope to receive my grandmother’s skills and temperament in virasat (as heritage / inheritance).


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Rome wasn’t built in a day. Indeed! From Pantheon built in 126 AD to Trevi Fountain 1762 along with new buildings that are being constructed today, the city has so much to offer. Along with her history, art and architecture, this blog post attempts to capture the liveliness of this beautiful city.

Postcards from Rome (April 2017)

20170413_182507The Pantheon Dome from inside

20170413_174656Selfie time: Tourist at Piazza Navona

20170413_152546Julius Caesar and a Seagull

20170411_202342Temple of Augustus

20170412_172617St. Peter’s Basilica

20170412_174727From the terrace of St. Peter’s Basilica

20170412_130032Sphere at the Vatican Museum replicating the one on the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica (dome seen in the background)

20170412_180536Two in a crowd: kids enjoying at a fountain in St Peter’s Basilica


The School of Athens’ by Raphael .

The artist portrayed his contemporaries to represent ancient Greek philosophers. For example he portrays Leonardo da Vinci as Plato and Michelangelo as Heraclitus. At the extreme right of the painting the person looking towards the audience (us)  is the self portrait of Raphael.

20170411_200031Capitoline Hill

20170411_191635Windows Outlook: Looking out of the window 😉


Space for a quick chat: Gentlemen enjoying a chat over an ice cream in the middle of a street

20170414_162407Chasing the bubbles: Piazza del Popolo


Florist and tourists at Campo de Fiori


Fountain at Campo de Fiori. (There are many water fountains like this across the city that provide excellent drinking water. The water in these fountains flow continuously thanks to the ancient aquaducts ).

20170413_161014Market at Campo de Fiori

20170413_174303A street

20170413_164215Foodies welcome: Food displayed at a local restaurant

20170414_163556Street musicians 

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A Swedish Winter

Postcards from Sweden: Stockholm, Täby, Kiruna, Nikkaluokta and Abisko National Park (November 2016)


Riksdagshuset (The Parliament House), Stockholm



Strandvägen, Stockholm



Gamla Stan, Stockholm



Nordic Museum, Stockholm



Stockholm City (Photo: Sagar Behere)



Fika‘: Coffee, Rulltårra and Pepperkakor



Life as usual: Grindtorp, Täby 



Ride on a sled to school :  Täby 



‘Snow lamp’ :  Täby 



‘Snow tulips’ :  Täby 



View of LKAB mine from Kiruna 



The LKAB museum: 500 meter under ground (world’s largest underground iron ore mine)



The LKAB museum: 500 meter under ground (Photo: Sagar Behere)



Town Hall, Kiruna (Kiruna will be relocated two miles to the east in perhaps the most ambitious urban relocation project so far this century)



E10 from Kiruna to Abisko



Train station, Abisko



Abisko National Park (Photo: Sagar Behere)


9Northern Lights over lake Torneträsk, Abisko National Park (Photo: Sagar Behere)

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America …it’s different!

American dream is, ” that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone” as described by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America (1931). Well a lot of data and analysis will be needed to figure out if the dream has been realized but living in the USA one can definitely say America..it’s different! and this is how it is different.

As one enters the United States (while still in the aircraft) one starts experiencing the difference as crew member announces landing of the aircraft and informs outside temperature in Degree Fahrenheit.


Degree Celsius ….> Degree Fahrenheit  

Vehicles take right side of the road so the driver sits on the left side of the car unlike India where the traffic uses left side of the road (well 65% of the world populatin drives on the right side of the road).

20160619_125409Right Hand Traffic or Left Hand Drive

Distances are measured in miles and speed in MPH (miles per hour).

20161101_151346Speedometer (mph) and Odometer (miles)

Likewise  (mass in technical terms) is quantified in pounds (lb) and ounces (oz) versus Kilograms (kg) and grams (gm); volume in Gallon versus liters.

Chocolate slabs lb and milk half gallon

There is no standard selling price.For instance, same grade of petrol or gasoline is charged differently by different companies. Same grade of gasoline from a particular company is charged differently in different locations within the city.


Gasoline prices from gas stations across the street

The manufacturer does not specify date of manufacturing but a ‘sell by’ date is mentioned on perishable goods like milk, egg, bread etc.

20161101_155955A ‘sell by’ date

Also some of the day to day words and phrases are different here. For instance a take away or parcel meal is ‘to go’. A speed breaker is referred as a bump, a manual transmission vehicle is referred as ‘stick shift’ (denoting the gear shift lever).

America …it’s different but different for all those who have some other country to compare it with. In fact each country is different in its own way, it is the people who look at it with different perspective.


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Unique Marathi Literature From My Memory

Marathi literature is a treasure. With a history of over thousand years, here are some of the precious jewels I had an opportunity to behold.

*: Translation in English available

  1. Children’s Literature

skjxsManache Shlok* (A dialogue with the mind): Simple, effective and powerful shlokas (verses) to introduce kids to have dialogue with mind. Composed in 17th century A.D. by Samarth Ramdas, the 205 verses train the mind to deal with different emotions like fear, anger, sorrow, happiness and can help improve emotional quotient. Traditionally kids in Maharashtra have been reciting Manache Shlok every evening, at twilight, sitting in front of a glowinglamp.

Sampurna Panchatantra* (Animal Fables): This book consists of original Sanskrit text (composed around 300 B.C.) by Vishnu Sharma and its translation in Marathi by V.B. Tamhankar. Through animal fables, the book educates children in niti (wise conduct of life). Panchtantra are believed to be perfect bed time stories for kids to understand, reflect and contemplate on righteous behavious.

Balgeet (songs for children) :Toddlers are introduced to literature through balgeet. These songs explore nature, relations, animals, birds, places, things and emotions as relevant to children in fun and lyrical way. Balgeet stimulate children’s imagination, curiosity and observation. With technology balgeet are available on YouTube, App store and Google Play.

Novels –’Faster Fene’* a series of novels written by B.R.Bhagwat in 60s narratedetective and adventures of a kid named Banesh Fene with nick name Faster Fene. Plot of each novel takes Faster Fene to different parts of India with different mysteries to solve. Like solving mystery of ghost in Gujarat, terrorists in Kashmir and smugglers in Mumbai. The stories are full of adventure, humour, omprobable escapes and anxiety.

Shyamchi Aai* by Sane Guruji, Bokya Satbandeby Dilip Prabhavalkar,

ComicsChintoo by Charuhas Pandit and Prabhakar Wadekar.

MagazinesChampak, Thakthak, Chandoba

2. Performing Arts:kathakcostumemogul

Hindustani Sangeet Paddhati (Treastise on Hindustani classical music): A detailed study and discussion of the fundamentals of music, notation and technical explanation of 150 ragas of Hindustani music were documented by Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande in the early 20th century.

Kirtanrangini and Kiratan Prayog Prakriya: Kirtan or Keertan is an art of spiritual teaching or create awareness amongst masses through a peculiar storytelling method supported by music and poetry. Kirtanrangini by Panduranga Moghe includes various Kirtan compositions and Kirtanachi Prayog Prakriya deals with the fundamentals of Kirtan.

3. Culinary Art


Baravya Shatakatil Khadya Sanskriti: Food and diet in India during the 12th century A.D., its connection with health, and scientific method of preparations of various cuisines has been described in this book by Dr Varsha Joshi and Dr Hema Khirsagar.

Swayampakghartil Vidyan (Science in the Kitchen): Book by Dr Varsh Joshi describes the scientific approach in cooking.

Ruchira*: A definitive guide to Maharashtrain cooking. Author Kamlabai Ogale shares traditional recipes, she inherited from her grandmother, mother and mother-in-law.

4. Mathematics


Lilavati Punardarshan : Lilavati is a treatise in mathematics composed by Bhaskaracharya II in the 12th century A.D. Prof. N.H. Phadke constructed proof and derivations of several mathematical methods, formulae and translated the Sanskrit Lilavati in Marathi. English translation of this book is available by name Lilavati of Bhaskaracharya

Ganak Yantra Manav: Dattatray KaprekarA book by Prof. Dileep Gotkhindikar on Mathematician Kaprekar and his numbers was recently published. Kaprekar was a mathematics teacher and had discovered results in number theory and described various properties of numbers. The book describes discoveries by Kaprekar.


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Unusual Photos

Some funny, some weird, some adventurous, some kind gestures or simply put some unusual photos –


Brides and Bridegrooms enjoying a quick tea break at a roadside tea stall in Hanoi, Vietnam


Heard of tree house, first time saw a tree shop, Hanoi


Shop between rails: A lady selling grapes at Railway Station Nashik, India


Never thought cars would be so affordable in the USA that they will be used as garden beds! California, USA


The baggage of making money: A young student carrying an advertisement on his back, Singapore

Free Library: someone put a library outside their home and the plate alongside reads “Keep a book or return it or bring back one of your own Enjoy It” also translated in Spanish. California, USA


Who needs a ladder to fix a bulb on the ceiling of a petrol pump (gas station)? Nashik, India


Bumper to bumper : Four cars parked San Francisco, USA

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DIY Eco-conscious Living

Here are a few things I made from corrugated paper boxes and other junk. These are superb in function, easy and fun to make, arty yet cheap and most importantly environmentally conscious products for environmentally conscious people and their lifestyle.

Shoe rack from general packing box

Bedside table from printer box, shelf from cooking pan box

Flipflops from general packing boxes and id card string 


Dust bin or trash bin from coffee urn box


Pots for plants from half cut milk can and ‘use and throw’ plastic box


Pen stand from milk carton


Letter or bill organizer from partition from a cold drink carton


Well it does not need  fancy equipment, just a cutting knife, a good tape (I used Gorilla tape and transparent cello tape) a pencil and lots of brain 😉

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