Tag Archives: Simi K Rao

Of Times Past – Weekends

Original acrylic on paper by Simi K. Rao

She was trying to keep up, through a perspective of arms and legs, holding on to her mother’s hand.

Hurry c’mon. We will be late for the matinee!

It was the weekend. Family fun time. They spent it outside…going to the movies, sometimes two shows in one day, her dad being a big movie buff. They started early after a light breakfast of bread and jam, or idlis if she was lucky. Mom made the batter from scratch. Idlis were her favorite and she could have them anytime-breakfast, lunch or dinner. Fluffy soft, white like snow, dipped in savory sambhar with fresh coconut chutney on the side, so yummy and wholesome. She preferred them to dosas- they gave her a stomach ache.

They rush to the theater and get the tickets, they always do somehow.

They were no movie ratings in India at the time, except perhaps an A certificate for the adults-only ones. Rather they were all PG or parental guidance. Her dad took her to them all- comedy, horror, mystery, thriller, good, bad. She rarely got the plot, she was so young. The movies didn’t interest her really, rather it was the moment, the whole act of going out and spending the day with her family. Taking refuge from the hot sun in air conditioned halls, then wandering along the bazaars of Karol Bagh, Jan Path or Cannaught Place, holding tightly onto her mother’s hand, while assiduously licking an ice cream cone. She was proud of her beautiful mother, in her crisp starched cotton sari. How she walked so elegantly without tripping. Because she was a superwoman, her mother was.

Why Stories?

Because I need to tell them and I need to hear what others have to say. I need to get out of my little shell and explore. Because my life isn’t your life nor your thoughts mine. You don’t share my experiences, my way of life, or my religion. There are doors I want to open that I never knew existed. I want to hear new voices and opinions, concordant and discordant. Pretty and not so, often downright ugly. So many worlds exist within this world. I love me a good story.

Maybe you’d like to read some of my stories? If so check them out here.

Plaza de Espana- Seville, Spain.

Site of the 1929 Ibero-American Expo, this grand 50,000 sq meters plaza is a must see for all who visit Seville. It was designed by Seville architect Anibal Gonzalez as the site for the 1929 Ibero-American expo and has a unique palace-plaza structure with four bridges and two towers. It also has a moat like canal surrounding the perimeter that can be traversed by boat. We visited the plaza in the morning briefly and then returned in the evening for a lazy stroll and were wowed as it was lit up and the fountains played. The 49 Spanish provinces are represented by beautiful tiles. Again, we admired the blend of Renaissance and Moorish architecture and walked through the gardens nearby. It was an unforgettable experience. And for those interested in pop culture you can spot the plaza in movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and The Dictator. Loved it!

Take a Trip to Montserrat Spain

During our visit to Barcelona, we took the optional trip to Montserrat (meaning serrated)- a multipeak mountain range that is the site of a Benedictine Abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which houses the Virgin of Montserrat. The mountain is located approximately 50 km northwest of Barcelona. We took the tour bus, though it can also be reached via cable or the Montserrat Rack Railway.

A functioning monastery with over 70 monks in residence, it was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between the 19th and 20th centuries.

We were in absolute awe of the magnificent church facade, the dome, the sculptures, and beautiful biblical scenes. It is the home of one of the oldest boy choirs in Europe (from perhaps the 14th century) consisting of thirty boys who live in the monastery.

Btw, the gelato (tiramisu flavor in particular) is fabulous. It was a short visit, wish I could have stayed longer.

Casa de Pilatos- A Seville Gem

If you are in Spain don’t miss visiting Seville, the capital of Andalusia, a city with many charms. The highlight of this city is a walking tour of the Jewish quarter, a lovely labyrinth of narrow streets bordered by beautifully upkept houses, and charming shops that one can spend hours exploring. A highlight of this tour is a visit to the Casa de Pilatos that is a stunning blend of Mudejar (moorish) and Renaissance architecture unique to Spain. Get transported to another era as you walk through the grounds, beautiful courtyards and gardens. You will never want to leave.

Podcast: Keepsakes for Old Age. Listen Now!

Novel Times Book Club#4 A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell Novel Times with Simi K. Rao

Authors Jenny Delos Santos, Katharine M. Nohr and Simi K. Rao discuss A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy who Helped Win World War 2 by Sonia Purnell.
  1. Novel Times Book Club#4 A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell
  2. Novel Times Book Club #2 Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone
  3. Interview with author Katharine Nohr
  4. Novel Times Book Club #1 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  5. Interview with author Flo Parfitt