Tag Archives: seattle

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!!

Fremont through Sketchers eye!

The bright sunny Sunday morning in Fremont was the Monthly outing destination this time. It was our first visit to Fremont. Though it was hot weather, I grabbed for myself a shady place and sketched the Lenin statue directly with pen. The visit of Gabi was encouraging for all of us.


The hollow bronze Lenin statue attracts lot of crowd. Fremont is famous for its large public art and quirky statues. As I utilised my time with Moleskine sketchbook, my husband and daughter captured the architectural features and art in camera.

From the corner of the Fremont Pl North, I captured the Planet Orbs, all signal posts along with The Lenin statue. 

Some camera moments of Fremont!

Though wanted to capture the Troll, but by 12:30 the sun was directly on head, so we decided to give it a miss. Fremont is a place of JP patches, Rocket and the Saturn, Planet orbs, Dinosaurs, Center of the Universe and Waiting for the InterUrban. It’s wonderful to see the work of other sketchers and sketch along with them. After sharing the work, we posed for the usual group snap of Seattle Urban Sketchers.

Fremont 25th June 2017

Sketching with the maestros

Group Reportage : Discovering Lake Union Park, was the last workshop of Usk Seattle’s 10×10 workshop series. Being the first visit to Lake Union Park there was lot of zest and eagerness to capture different views in my Moleskine landscape sketch book. The morning started by sketching Centre for  Wooden boats and a totem pole before the experts  arrived. The wooden structure appealed to me because of the rustic look and one can engage in heritage experience here. A place where history becomes alive. It’s a hands on experience at the maritime museum.

Centre for Wooden Boats

Boats with machines and yellow brass measuring gauge drew my attention. The black gizmo with contrast of brass zoomed in to my sketchbook. I tried to capture minute details of it.


The next destination was MOHAI( Museum of History and Industry), surrounded by historical Artifacts. MOHAI is the largest private heritage organisation in the WA. The Carroll’s diamond clock is a perfect example of it. The lush green and yellow pillar with a clock on top stands out elegantly. The Canada Geese roaming around the MOHAI are fun to watch.

Sketching directly with pen

The letters ‘Swiftsure’ on the huge scarlet red colour ship caught hold our vision. Our means me and the master Gabriel Campanario. Within few minutes he guided me how to sketch directly with pen. Three sketches on one page related to that particular spot. The thing which attracts one’s vision is to be sketched, giving very little time to ponder upon. Our hands and brain co-ordinates accordingly and we create a perfect image. Sketching is quick drawing or capturing that moment of place according to ones perspective. It’s a special moment to seek guidance from all the mentors of Urban Sketchers. Gail wong’s Panaromic view concepts, Sue Heston’s simple shapes and stronger sketches, Anita Lehmann’s charcoal shades, David Chamness’s sketching freely without worry!, Steve Reddy’s black & white confident detailing of contours and Gabi Campanario’s quick sketching, drawing human figures and describing the situation – Pocket sketchbook. The most memorable day with Seattle’s Urban Sketchers at South Lake Union Park.

Instructors of Urban Sketchers

Spring break – Los Angeles

We traveled down to Los Angeles last week to enjoy warm sunshine and explore new city life in LA, California state. Our daughter was in full enthusiasm for Disneyland and Universal studios. My husband was aiming for relaxation and I wanted to use all my pencils, sketchbooks, charcoal etc. to do full-time sketching of new environment and of course break from kitchen, ha ha…

We took early morning flight from Seattle to Lax. Our first destination was Santa Monica Beach. It was wonderful bright sunny weather with cool breeze. The city welcomed us by tall palm trees and heavy traffic. We spend hours on beach, visited Amusement park and build sand castles. I tried to capture the sea, sand and deck of Santa Monica. 

Santa Monica Beach, LA
Palm Trees, Santa Monica

At the beach people were relaxing, playing frisbee, cards, flying kites etc. Tall palms looked completely mesmerizing. It was amazing experience to sketch the beach. Later, we took a walk at Third street Promenade and did window shopping. One can find all famous brands in this area. Live singers, musicians and bubbles in the air created magnificent surrounding. Though wanted to sketch here but unfortunately it was too windy.  

Second day we targeted Hollywood Walk of fame & Universal studios. It was bit difficult to sketch at Hollywood Walk of Fame as the crowd was more and many eyes to look upon. Still I managed to capture Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the street with names of stars. The street had Spiderman, Mickey Mouse, Superman… posing to their character.

Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Being Spring Break long wait was there for rides at Universal Studios. I could scribble the Flight of Hippogriff ride with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in background while standing in the queue.

Flight of the Hippogriff

The studios are pleasure to watch. The day ended in a jiffy with thrill and adventure of rides.

The next day was most awaited Disneyland. Beautiful weather and super excitement was within us. It was easy to sketch here as I could grab a good shady place and everyone was in their own Fantasy world.



Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland

Fourth day we went to Downtown LA. Tall buildings, art & culture and Staples Center one could notice here. Staples center is a multipurpose sports arena in Downtown.


Walt Disney Concert Hall is a great example of Architecture, mainly play of planes and forms. The entire structure looks different through various angles. Frank-Gehry designed the structure in 2003.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Downtown LA, Charcoal

Last day was visit to California Science Center, Griffith observatory. A panoramic view of LA can be observed from the Griffith park. Indeed great Spring of LA, break from Seattle weather and fun-filled adventure in LA. Packing all good memories and experiences we were back to Seattle and now with normal routine.

Spring in Seattle

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University of Washington – Quad Cherry blossom (12 March 2016)

An appealing ‘Similie’ is created between Man and Nature. Season changes as months go by. Due to global warming though variations are seen in weather cycle each year. As man needs diversity in life so do Nature. Before coming to Seattle, I was never a daily observer of weather. But Seattle habituates you to look out the daily forecast.

Seattle’s weather is like mind of a child, which never stuck to a particular toy to play upon, similarly weather deviates the whole day showing its different shades. Though infamous for all time showers and downpours the whole year, still city gets delight of other season like winter, spring, summer and autumn. The notoriously rainy, dreary winters in Seattle can be jarring and stuck you to indoors. To get out this winter rut is indeed an experience to relish in. Yay!! Spring is on roll followed by Summer. Its time to start fresh.

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Spring seems like a natural, massive reset button for us. While the winter rains can get ominous, the result in the Spring time is an almost impossibly bright green landscape dotted with flowers everywhere.  Springs main attraction in Seattle is distinguished Cherry blossom trees. University of Washington Quad Cherry trees (aka Yoshino Trees) are well-known, which are 80 years old and bloom during early March and last for 3 weeks. Yoshino trees originate from Japan. The Cherry blossom trees at Quad of University WA feels like a giant squatting trolls at the base on the yawning green patch but stretch overhead and dwindle into velvet bursts of delicate blossoms. The pink and white flowers mesmerize your eyes in the bright blue backdrop of sky. Chilly breeze blows the flower petals as if snow flurries in the air, thereby forming a carpet on the lawn.



Seattleites flock to the streets to soak up the sun’s rays and glimpse cherry blossom trees. People fill-up the outdoor cafes, the piers, picnic tables and submerge themselves in bright sunny streaks. No way to fastened yourself to cozy warm comfort and books as winter compels it. The bright flare and floweret pulls you out to exploit. Activities like cycling, skating, baseball games, soccer blocks the day. The happiness blooms in air and even in office people dodge work and urge to get the bliss of ‘The Sun’.

A brand-new exposure  of ‘Spring’ make the cameras fully-loaded with beauty and different species of flowers, trees and fruits.

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Close-up view of Cherry Tree Flowers (aka Yoshino Cherry/Sakura)

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While some trees floret and others bloom into tender light green leaves. The dead trees again become lively giving us an inspirational message -‘ Letting Go’. These trees shed their leaves, ripened fruits that clings to their branches. Man and tree, all living things are created to drop what is no longer needed and again starting the new life.

These blooms are sight to see. Although there are lot of places in the town to visit the blossoms , it is hard to beat the sheer concentration of trees at University of WA with the expansive  green fields and surrounded old buildings. Spring indeed brings color, joy and zest in life.

UW Cherry Blossom and Spring Flowers  (12 March 2016)


Driving in Seattle


Road in Seattle

Pune, base of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire, city in Maharashtra, state of India. Famous for its rich culture, freedom fighters, architectural history, education and traffic.

Yes! Traffic! Pune is infamous for traffic violators and bad road conditions. It takes hours to go from one place to another, with slow moving traffic  and small roads. After driving for almost a decade in this city, and now getting a chance of driving in Seattle, this exposure was so gratifying, that we are compelled to share it with you all.

The roads here overwhelmed us. In spite Seattle receives rain throughout the year, still the roads are well maintained and its a pleasure to drive on it. Even though roads are tar roads still you will not find a single pot-hole on it. In Pune, with one single shower of rain, all the roads become unpleasant to drive on.  Also, all the roads here have proper markings with white and yellow lines, indicating right-left or straight direction. They all are consistent everywhere, nowhere one can find its faded or removed. All the signals are working 24 x 7. Its incredible how they maintain all these stuff with uniformity. Immediate thought comes to our mind, if it is possible here, why cant we do it in India?

One might argue that we have more population to accommodate, but that should actually help to maintain things because we have more man power to work with. Even in the down-town areas where the width of road is small (if we compare to our Laxmi road, they are almost of the same width) still they are managed better here. The striking difference is how much people follow the rules. Even though there are cameras which are used to track the rule breakers, but we have seen people following rule on their own, rather than because of compulsion. Even though there is nobody on the road, people stop at red signal, waiting for it to be green. Can you imagine this being in Pune? Its an awe-inspiring experience to drive on these roads without hearing a single honk. Here honk is only if you made some mistake or driving rash. In traffic jam also people patiently wait in their lane for traffic getting clear, no one jumps the lane or overtake for going forward and making traffic condition even worse, which we see a very common scene on Indian roads. If Fire Brigade or Ambulance pass on the road,  everyone moves to the right side of the road to give it the way. It is impressive to watch that ambulance passing on the road.

People here  not only care for their own driving, but are always ready to help new drivers. I experienced that when i was new on the road, on the very first day of my driving i forgot to turn on lights, one person came parallel to me and informed me about my mistake.

It definitely has to do with the attitude of people, rather than someone enforcing the rules on them. If everyone accepts it as their own responsibility to drive carefully, this can be achieved in India too and Indian roads also will be pleasurable to drive on.


Snoqualmie Falls

20 hours of journey from Mumbai(India)- Seattle with all zeal, we were thrilled for upcoming weekend to explore Seattle. Our first destination was to traverse Nature in Seattle.

A little escape to Nature, indeed it was famous Snoqualmie Falls. Snoqualmie Falls hidden in exquisite landscape, surrounded by Maples, Spruce, Cedars and Fir trees is a treat to our eyes. The 25 miles (40 kms) drive from Seattle downtown to the Falls is a splendid drive. The curves of roads, the play of clouds showing all blue shades and greenery of trees soothes mind and soul. Its the most stunning waterfalls of United States.

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The Falls are major source of naturally generated hydro-electric power for the region. Its 268 foot, 82 meter wonder on the Snoqualmie river visited by over 1.5 million people per year. The splashing of water from a height mesmerizes all. The small water droplets sprinkling on the decks, face of viewers and Oh! My Gosh!! feeling makes the observation more stimulating and entertaining. The cold breeze makes the cheeks, nose red and palm of hands numb. At that moment a desperate desire to have hot coffee urges and to our wish Espresso is around to grab one.

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The overhead pathway over the road from parking area is a pleasure to walk. There is a trail of half a mile to reach the river bed of Snoqualmie. Different birds, insects and old trees covered with moss makes the walk adventurous. The hike back-up is fairly steep, so you will definitely get a work-out traveling back-up trail.

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The next door Salish Lodge 4 star hotel famous for its country breakfast is an amazing option. But Indian taste buds need more spice and tadkas in food. Just a mile away from the Falls is the downtown of Snoqulamie. The walk in ‘suburban’ downtown is great and relaxing. Being choosy food lovers we targeted the Aahaar-An Indian Eatery famous for its South-Indian cuisines. Fried Fish in Kerala(India) style, prawns, vegetable korma with Malabar Parothas were delicious in taste and awesomely served. Though the wait for a seat was 40 minutes but it was worth and still the taste is relishing in  our mouth. The meal was ended by desert Badam Halwa. Chef Ajay Panicker from Kerala(India) who is passionate about cooking  had made the dishes mouth-watering.

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A great kick start for travelogue – Snoqualmie Falls. As they say Nature acts as a Stress-Buster, which truly can be experienced here.

For a souvenir be sure to visit the gift store and pick up box of Snoqualmie Falls Pancake or Waffle mix to remember your journey. The free parking and free viewing areas are open from dawn to dust and are wheelchair accessible. Leashed pets are allowed. Light illuminate the Falls in the evening.

Video of Snoqualmie Falls



Life at Seattle

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle, city in Washington  is surrounded by water, lush green forests and mountains. Its a hub of tech industry, with Microsoft and Amazon. Most of the year city experiences rain showers making days cozy and tempting to cheer with Starbucks coffee. Starbucks is originated in Seattle. It has first Starbucks in the world situated in downtown Seattle.

The weather here forces to relish barbecue and hot coffee. As weather demands the attire changes, compelling to groom in gum-boots, rain-winter jackets and all time carrying multicolored fancy beautiful umbrellas. These things stand out boldly adding color to life and making everything lively.

Romance blooms in air and soothing  songs makes evening more romantic and worth spending with loved ones.

The Futuristic Space Needle, a legacy of the 1962 World’s Fair is the landmark of city. Pike Place Market famous for its fresh sea food is a delight for taste buds. Mac & Cheese i.e. macaroni pasta from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese pulls the crowd to its freshly prepared delicious cheese.

In Seattle, you don’t have to know each other to start a discussion, the custom of greeting ‘ Hi, how are you?’ starts the discussion with beautiful smile on their faces and very soon leads to the famous “Seahawks”. Ya, Seahawks is the name of (American) football team that represents Seattle. People here are passionate about Seahawks and Starbucks just like how Indians are about cricket.

Work culture follows 3-D’s i.e dedication, determination and devotion. No breaks while working!! Early to bed and early to rise can be truly visualized. American pizzas, salmon fish and a bowl full of salads are most  popular over here.

Each city, country has its own identity. Food, customs, clothing defines it in depth. Its amazing experience to know different people, their language, rituals and food habits. Its a small world as they say but vast to explore and learn.