Diwali:Lights of India at Seattle center

Diwali is Festival of Lights! And to celebrate this festival we went to Seattle center organised by Sammamish Vedic Cultural Center. It was raining heavily with chilly winds but we were in full zest to get the homely touch. At the Seattle Center the entire area was filled with people, hanging lanterns and lighted Diyas. The whole atmosphere was colourful. It was a treat to get everything under one roof from melodious music, classical & folk dances, tasty Indian Food to painting own Diyas, putting Mehendi on hand and exploration with clay.

Without missing a second I was ready with my Moleskine Pocket sketchbook to capture these amazing moments. I went upstairs to get the entire view while my family explored other areas. It was my first time to sketch the happening crowd. Kids were running around wearing ethnic dresses, ladies with jewellery and sarees, the aroma of tasty food around and moreover crowd from all over the world. It’s beautiful to see this cultural amalgamation in home away from home!

The other attraction with long queues in the hall was Bajrang Bali Chai Stall. Being cold I too grabbed a spot in the queue to taste the hot Chai (tea) with cardamom and ginger flavour. It was soothing to the throat and yes! My second sketch.

The wait was worth for the hot chai! Continuous  performances were going on the stage of Bharatnatyam, Rajasthani folk dance and songs by kids and adults. Another catchy stall was Flat Indian bread which was prepared and served hot, then and there. It was great to watch ladies making these Chapatis(flat bread) so effortlessly and efficiently with beautiful smile on their face. The aroma of butter on whole wheat flat bread was mouthwatering. Cameras were placed and everything was displayed live-making of Indian Flat bread.

               

It was a pleasure to watch the Bharatnatyam dance. I did quick poses of the dance with Tombow brush. The rhythmic steps, vocals and perfect performance by performers was completely mesmerising. There was display of Madhubani paintings by kids and all painting materials available, to try on. My daughter painted her own Diyas and enjoyed Madhubani art. The smell of food was calling our tummy and we had delicious food. Before heading home I again went on the first floor and did an aerial view of audience watching the performance.

It was great Saturday afternoon, a complete festive mood, meeting new people and capturing all memorable moments at Seattle Center. Inspite of having no mood to leave the place we headed home carrying all memories of homeland right here in Seattle. The rhythms of foot steps by dancers are still lingering and ringing in the ears!!

Swan’s Trail farm

Still-life of Honeycrisp Apple

Fall is the perfect time to take a day trip to pick apples, partake in Apple festivities and celebrate the harvest. Washington state produces almost 60% of the nations supply of apples.

Apple picking starts from mid September till October. Washington being famous for home grown apples, there are many nearby places around Seattle for Apple picking.

It was Sunday and the weather was in our favor, sunny and bright.  We drove  to  Snohomish, Swan’s trail farm 25 minutes from Bothell. The farm has corn maze, pumpkin patch, kids play zone, farm animals, of course apple orchard with Honey crisp, Gala and Jonagold varieties, fresh bakery outlet and much more.

Entrance of Swan’s trail farm

At the entrance of the farm there is an old truck and a tractor giving rustic look to it. The greenery around them made these objects stand out. Kids were having fun around it. Being Sunny afternoon I grabbed a shady place and did a quick sketch of it. These old farm vehicles attracted kids and people to click pictures. Later, we took the trail to pick apples. I remembered my childhood days of apple orchard visited in Shimla, India. Our daughter was super excited to pluck the apples. It was her second visit to this farm, so she was the guide for each event out there. Trees were fully loaded with red apples and indeed they were sweet and juicy. The freshness of picking an apple straight from the tree and eating it, is simply delightful! All of the juice drips down your chin and it tastes quite different from a store bought Apple.

We sat in a high wagon, with bales of hay as chairs, which was something completely different. The wagon took us back to the entrance of the farm.

It was amazing to walk in the farm and pick apples of our choice. There were few cherry trees too.It was great fun to sketch those red Gala apples in the beautiful serene nature.

Gala Apples

Along with apples we enjoyed roasted corn and fresh farm fries with cheese and, of course apple cider. There was also  a pumpkin patch  and it was fun to walk around in the pumpkin fields.

Entrance to Pumpkin Patch

After spending a relaxed afternoon, we headed home. It was great family time together and a wonderful, fun-filled afternoon! We were ready and rejuvenated to face Monday!!