Friday, August 14, 2009

Lotus series

The Zen-Images Ikebana Blog

Baiko has posted a series of four arrangements using Lotus. Please click on the link and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Akane Teshigahara's Work for August 2009

Iemoto Akane describes her work...
"There's something fascinating about the color white that's able to draw out a diverse range of possibilities. Cute blue dots are interspersed over the white glass vase while floral colors are scattered around the white background. Together, they aim to create a harmonious closeness between the vase and flowers."

Moth orchid, Prairie gentian, Chrysanthemum, Sunflower, Alstroemeria
Ceramic vase - 22×33×46cm

Courtesy :

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An Amazing story and some more pics...

I love berries in ikebana. And so I like this arrangement because of the lovely "Karaunda" berries used here. They are the sour ones that make awesome pickles we find in Northern India. They are pinkish-redish-white in colour!!

There is a very interesting and amazing story behind this picture. In this picture, you see Mrs Veena Das showing "Two". Actually she was narrating this incident to me -There was this man who was heavily addicted to drugs for Two years! He couldnt kick the habit, though he wanted to. Someone directed him to Mrs Dass. He then took Ikebana lessons. Unbelievable, but true, through the magic of flowers and the power of the beautiful art of Ikebana, this man totally gave up his addiction to drugs!! Wow! I mean WOW !!!!!!! Nothing more to be said !!! I was speechless!!

Well, I had missed out some pics from the first album on facebook. So here is another link. Just click this line and you can see the 40+ pics also!! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Some more arrangements from "Celebrations"

Senpei Veena Dass Created a big arrangement. It was titled "Seasons". It was done on a square platform. In the centre were green Bamboo Poles. Around it, on the four sides, each season was depicted. It was difficult to get the whole work in one photograph. So I have taken the 4 of them separately. Here it is for you!

This is "Spring" with the lillies and other flowers in full bloom

This one is "Summer" - The warmth is felt through the flowers used here

"Autumn" was evident from the brown, yellow and orange colours of Thistle and Bird of paradise and from the Citrine Fruits !!

And "Winter" from the white, the pine branches and the soothing blue and violet colours!!
The work that you see below is a "Rikka Shimputai" of the Ikenobo School of Ikebana. This is the work of Mr Vivek Rao from Bangalore.

This work by Mrs Indu Punj was titled "Contentment" or "Commitment" - (Sorry I dont remember which one).

And this one a beautiful "Dancing Peacock" by Ms Savita Grover!!

These two Red Glass vases were big. I liked them very much. They were such a presence :)

Also, these combination Leaf-like vases were very interesting. The arrangement was by one Ms Ritika, if my memory is right. (Correct me if I am wrong).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Some of the arrangements.........

Here, I would like to post pictures of some arrangements that I liked. Only a few of the many.

This one is by Mrs Indu Punj. I like it so much for the gorgeous Chinese Peonies. I wonder whether they are available in India! Mrs Punj brought them from London a couple of days before the exhibition. They are so beautiful and fragrant too. She has combined Ixora branches, some vines and dracena leaves also - (sorry if I am wrong)

This arrangement was liked by all, I am sure. The colour, the lines and the harmony is very striking. I dont remember the name of the artist. You can enlarge the pic and see if you wish.

This simple but lovely arrangement is by Avni Chug.

This is a "Rikka Shofutai" arrangement by Mr Vivek Rao of Bangalore. This a classical Ikenobo School Arrangement. I am sure everyone can make out the difference. This style of Ikebana is more than 500 years old, Mr Rao told me!! Wow!

This is an Ohara School style Landscaping by Mrs Rahmatullah. This senior Ikebana member from Mumbai and had come for the exhibition on a wheel chair - She lost one of her legs recently! Whoa! Thats some spirit! Some Dedication!! These two pictures form one single work. This large work was spread over a big table!

Life comes a full circle in Mrs Indu Punj's "Fulfilment". I like it for the theme and depiction. Some bright yello orcids and greens on the top right signifying her childhood, the asia lilies for the youth, the strong wood and other flowers for her mature years and to the left top dried bamboo for the old age where there is nothing more to achieve! There is only peace. Contenment. Fulfilment !!!!

This gorgeous natural arrangement is by Mrs Kanta Bukhari! The pond scene created using Bullrushes, Lilies, reeds and Driftwood in a Japanese golden disc-like vase was magnificient!! Bullrush is my most favourite material - I know you all know :) The lily had an unsual pink colour, I thought it is an artificial flower. Mrs Bukhari later told me it is from her garden!

And people, before I sign off Here is one lovely arrangement from Mrs Ahluwalliah (did i spell it right? sorry, if i didnt). Absolutely gorgeous. Simple but gorgeous. The blue vase is from New York and looked like paper strips folded. She has created the amazing space with Kiwi Fruit Vines and added the flowers (sorry i cant recollect the name) for colour in a beautiful way. All of us liked this very much!!!
Please click this line to see all the other pictures of the exhibition
And please do write your comments on this blog - whover is reading!! Thanks

Part 5 - The day after the exhibition

I am as relaxed and a bit lazy even to write today - as much as I was the morning after the exhibition.. The most important job over, we were all free in the mind. By 11.00am we had to be at Mrs Veena Das's residence for a Coffee Morning. We reached in time. The other guests had started to arrive. We were given a warm welcome by the graceful Mrs Dass. I couldnt take my eyes off the huge Tanjavur Painting of Subrahmanya-Valli-Devayani that adorned the walls.! And there were many Ravi Varma prints of Lakshmi & Saraswathi!!!

The heads of chapters who had come from outside Delhi spoke on the occasion. Mrs Dass was congratulated for organising this exhibition. Mrs Indu Punj touched everyone's heart by reading out the words that came straight from her heart! She woke up at 3.00 am and wrote those beautiful words. She spoke about all the lovely years they worked as a team. And about the dedication of Mrs Dass to Ikebana. Mrs Veena Dass spoke about the remarkable support Mrs Indu Punj and Mrs Uma Sharma gave her in planning and organising the event. She also thanked the entire team for all the help and support, without which the whole event would not have been possible.

Tea was served. It was a sumptuous feast :) It should have been called lunch! Sorry, I find it difficult to describe the unmatching hospitality of Mrs Veena Dass. All I can say is that she is one amazing & great lady!! Thank you Ma'am for everything! We left around 1.30 in the afternoon. We headed off for some shopping.

We picked up some nice vases from the Art D'INox at Khan Market. For example these cute steel vases with crows on them that Dally picked up..!
Here I must give a million thanks to Meenu for taking us around the trip, never bothering about her badly hurt leg!!! We wish you a very speedy recovery Meenu! We had time just enough to come back to our rooms, freshen up and change and head for Dr. Kusum Ansal's residence for evening tea. There also we were treated to a huge feast! Thank you very much Mrs Ansal for your tremendous hospitality!

Malathi Sensei wanted to see the house of her teacher Mrs Uma Rao and also the house where she lived in Jhor Bagh! I took a picture of Mrs Uma Rao's previous residence from the car. The watchmen got suspicious on the camera flash and came running to us. We had to explain to them what was happening :) However, I heard that the watchmen at the Jhor Bagh residence were very friendly and Sensi took some nice pictures. She might have felt very nostalgic, I can say! I wasnt there because a frined of mine who went to school with me was coming to meet me. We were meeting after 25 years!!! Yes, a quarter century!!!!! We had a great time having dinner. I came back at about 11.00 pm. And started to pack all the remaining flowers into one box. Then every pin holder, cutter, the masala box and my own suitacase... Wondering whether we would be fortunate to have Drama-At-The-Airport which we so much missed on our onward journey!! I hit the pillow at about 1.45 am only to be woken up at 3.30am... By 5.00 am we were all out and in the car!! We said our bye-bye to IIC and were at the airport at 6.00. Again, to our disappointment nothing happened. All our bags were through, just like that. And no excess Baggage .. Phew!!! The flight was delayed by about 40 minutes.

It was great fun to have Prerana onboard. She was dropping joke-bombs and Vaishali and I started screaming. Sorry, I cannot put all those things on the blog. YOu will have to call me or message me :)

Landed safely at 10.40 and headed for our respective homes. Malathi Sensei was so sweet, she agreed for a lesson at 3.00 in the afternoon. Thats a great gesture, isnt it? I completed my Book 3 that day, though we were all tired. It was a very nice trip. Many nice memories.. We missed Ambika, Molly, Trishala, Chitra and Seetha. Well, there will always be a next time.

It was a very good learning experience for all of us. I close my report here, thanking each one of our team for the great time. Especally both the Senseis. And to all the people at Delhi for the great opportunity. Bye for the moment.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Part 4 - The Exhibition Day

29th July, 2009 - 5.45 a.m

We are all ready and out sharp as planned. We had Mr Sunil Kumar waiting for us with an Innova. We reached the ITC Maurya by 6.00 am. Kamal Mahal, the hall where the exhibition was to be held was already bustling with activity.

This beautiful arrangement by Mrs Indu Punj welcomed us at the hall where the inaugural function was to be held.
(Materials : Weeping Willow Branches painted Green, Eucalyptus Leaves, Anthuriums and Pumpkin)

All kinds of Driftwood, Plants, Flowers, Vases were strewn all over and people were busy working on their arrangements which were in various stages of completion. We were greeted heartily by Mrs Veena Dass and Mrs Kanta Bukhari. Once we got to our alloted places, we unpacked all the boxes of flowers and other materials. I must express millions of Thanks on behalf of our entire team to Amethyst for the wonderful job they did in packing the flowers and plant material SO WELL! They remained very fresh and intact!

Meenu already had problems with her leg and it was hurting her so badly. But the spirit and enthusiasm with which she worked that day, without showing any sign of pain was something to see and to be highly appreciated. Her energy and the loving heart to help each one of the group was amazing! Meiki Sensei (Meenu), no word can sufficiently describe our feelings!

Both the Senseis and Dally got to work. Shobha and I were helping them out with their work - unpacking, cutting, taking photographs etc etc. As usual, Malathi Ma'am worked on her arrangement with focus and great care.

Meenu completed her arrangement "South" with ease and brought it to perfection. Dally was so concentrated on her arrangement she refused to look at anything else around until she was done. She finally got hers right!
There was a bright smile on Malathi Sensei's face when she said that all arrangements have come out nicely!! We then went back to the hotel to have a bite of sandwich and some coffee and then to change for the event. By 10.30 we were back at the venue and seated. The Ambassador of Japan arrived followed by Mrs Ansari. The business session followed as I have described in Part-1. Then the outstation guests were introduced to the Chief Guest.

Then the dignitaries proceed to view the exhibition. Mrs Ansari appreciated the Chennai Team's work. Viewing Malathi Sensei's arrangement, she tapped the masala box and remarked that it was a good idea! "A Boxful of Flowers from Chennai for Veena Dass" she exclaimed on seeing the arrangement!! And so, that became the title of Sensei's work!

(Chennai Team with Mrs Ansari)

At that point, two distinguished guests from Chennai made their Grand Entrance! Vaishali couldnt come with us the same day. So Prerana decided to stay back for company and arrive on the exhibition day. We thought they would miss the inauguration, but they were perfect in their timing that they didnt miss the action! Prerana was all full of praise for Mrs Kantha Bukhari who gave them a warm welcome and arranged for their luggage to be taken care of! It was again a lovely gesture from Mrs Bukhari!

Once the dignitaries left, tea was served. The exhibition went open to the public by 12.30pm. There were beautiful Ikebana works - ranging from small to large ones - created painstakingly and with great care! There was a separate section for "Celebration of Festivals". A wide range of festivals celebrated thorughout the year were depicted through Ikebana - From Diwali to Dusserah to Republic Day to Id-Ul-Fitr and Christmas! The crowd was good and it went on till 4.00pm by which time we had to dismantle and clear up! As always it happens, we did so with a heavy heart, wishing that it went on.. and on!!

We got back to our rooms rested a while. Then the group split. Some people went shopping. Ma'am Stayed back. I went to visit my ex-colleague who now resides in Delhi - and so on. We got back together by 8.30pm and had dinner at the IIC. Then we all gathered in Malathi Sensei's room and went on discussing about the exhibition, the arrangements and the hospitality that we received... About midnight, I was feeling terribly sleepy and the discussion that was supposed to go on till 2.00 am was cut short. It felt great that we dint have to wake up early the next morning!! The program for the next day would be the Coffe Morning at Mrs Veena Dass's residence and Evening Tea at Mrs Kusum Ansal's residence.... More about it in Part-5 !

Part 3 - Travel & Arrival

28th July, 2009 – Day 2 – 4.30 am
Meenu and I arrive on dot at Sensei’s place! Shobha and Dally follow us! The cabs were ready and Sampath did a neat job of loading them nicely. We arrived at the airport at about 5.10am. Ma’am handed over a Sogetsu Catalogue to me which had pictures of all kinds of pin holders and cutters. In case we are to be questioned about the nature of ‘dangerous looking’ ‘weapon-like’ things in our suitcases, I was to explain to them that the pin holders are to bear lovely flowers and exotic branches on them and not to attack anyone :)

Shockingly, surprisingly our baggages got past the scanning without any questions. Only we had to pay a little for the excess weight of the flower boxes!! Uncle was just happy to hear that everything went smoothly. But I am sure that Ambika who rang up to hear some news of High-Drama-At-The-Airport was a bit too disappointed to know that things passed un-eventfully!!

We took off about 6.30. Once settled, we had the breakfast of sandwiches we bought at the airport. Malathi Sensei was so sweet, she bought Me and Meenu a coffee :)Thanks a lot! There was time for a quick nap and we landed at Delhi. The captain announced that the weather outside was 27 Deg C. It had rained terribly the previous day, so we expected that it will be pleasant outside. But once we were out of the lounge, I had doubts whether the captain was dyslexic!!! I was sweating so very badly! The heat was horrible. And there was this terrible traffic jam outside!

Once we were out of the traffic, we headed towards India International Centre where we were to be accommodated. We passed all the beautiful roads of South Delhi. Being my first visit to Delhi, it was some great feeling when we passed the residences of the MPs and Ministers and all kinds of Embassies !!

Malathi Sensei was very excited – for may reasons. It was in Delhi that she took her Ikebana Lessons some 35 years ago! It is her Mother Chapter. And it was a city where she lived for some years! Delhi did some magic, that the usually media-Shy Malathi Ma'am volunteered for a picture with the flowers :)

The India International Centre is indeed a beautiful place. Situated next to the Lodi Gardens in Max Muller Roads, it has clean and decent rooms, all centrally airconditioned and with a view!! Oh! Except for Shobha & Dally who had to have their curtains tightly drawn all the while! (Sorry ladies - I dont want to speak about the view from your room - the construction scene and the workers going about their bath and so on was not a pleasant one, I agree :) :) I hope you have better luck next time :) :) :) )

We were shown to our rooms and in a short while, we went for lunch at the Dining Hall at the IIC. The dining hall was lovely. The food was tasty and very reasonably priced!!! While the others chose to rest for a while after lunch, I got out to explore the IIC. There were these beautiful Banyan Trees, Lotus Ponds and Gardens amidst quotes of Gandhiji & Martin Luther King.

By about 4.30 pm, Dally and I decided to go for a quick tour of New Delhi. To Janpath, to the Rashtrapathi Bhawan, the India Gate... etc etc. I was really very excited like a small boy !!

I have seen these many times on the TV during Republic Parade. But I must admit that seeing it in person was a great feeling. There was a sudden rush of strong patriotism all through my body, mind and soul!! Standing by the India Gate, I was having tears in my eyes...! Dally did some shopping for beads, necklaces and trinkets to her heart's content at the Janpath Market. After dinner at the centre, we were back and discussed about the plans for the D-Day!!!

From the moment we landed, Mrs Veena Dass called Malathi Sensei so many times to enquire whether we were comfortable and we required anything. It was such great genuine and touching gesture, we would always remember it.. That night also was going to be a not-much-sleep one. We had to be out of our rooms by 5.30am and be at the venue by 6.30 and start arranging.... That, In Part 4 :) Keep reading.

Part 2 - Excitement!!! Preparation!!!!

27th July, 2009 - Day 1
I arrive in Chennai. After shower and breakfast, I headed for Malathi Sensei’s home. She wanted me to drop some leaves and branches at Amethyst who will pack it alongwith the flowers. The moment I entered, I was given a very warm welcome by.. Pandurang Uncle . He was so very happy and even more relieved to see me..! And to tell the truth, he seemed much more excited than all of us who were going to Delhi!! Sensei had decided upon the arrangements already and we needed to carry Trishala’s antique ‘Masala Box’ which was quite a heavy one. And there were pinholders and more pin holders, cutters, scissors, knives, wires and stuff that might arouse the suspicion of the people at the airport! Uncle was worried that the ladies might face lot of trouble with it.. And when he saw me, he was so happy that there was atleast “one Man”. He opened the suitcase that had the Masala Box and Ikebana accessories and explained to me step-by-step how and where things have been packed and kept and what to do at the airport if asked to declare, and later while unpacking etc etc!

Malathi Sensei, on the other hand was very worried and tensed that she felt too relaxed and comfortable :) :). She told me that she felt so relaxed that she doubted that she was forgetting something important and had been going through her check-list over and over again :) Uncle was very happy that the job has been entrusted to me. So very happy that he didnt let me take an autorickshaw to Amethyst and drove me there himself!!

I headed towards Khader Nawas Khan Road to meet Prerana who would help me shop for some clothes! Trishala joined her and they did a very decent job at that, though with Prerana’s opening remark “Remember, we havent done this for our husbands even! Consider yourself truly blessed!” ;)
[And if anyone whos reading this blog is interested, Allen Solly has a cool 50% off on any 3 garments purchased, till August 16th :) :) :)]

It was yet another shock for Uncle to see the three huge boxes of packed flowers !!! They were very heavy, Uncle was sure the air-freight was going to cost us more than the flowers. In which case, he advised us to throw them away and go. Malathi Sensei remained cool....The taxis would arrive at 4.30am and we had to assemble sharp by then. I was tired that night, but couldnt sleep well. I kept waking up and looked at the watch every half hour !!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Part 1 - "Celebrations" in New Delhi

To celebrate four decades of Sogetsu School of Ikebana, New Delhi Branch and in honour of His Majesty Akihito, Emperor of Japan conferring "The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold & Silver Rays" on Mrs Veena Dass,Director, Sogetsu School of Ikebana, New Delhi Chapter an Ikebana Exhibition titled "Celebration" was held on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at Kamal Mahal, ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi.

Mrs. Salma Ansari, Spouse of the Hon’ble Vice President inaugurated the event.

H. E. Mr. Hideaki Domichi, Ambassador of Japan to India & Mrs. Noriko Domichi were the Guests of Honour. Mrs Veena Dass was conferred the decoration in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the India-Japan Relationship. Mrs. Dass’ association with Ikebana began in 1960. She became the founding member of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana Delhi Chapter in 1966 and continues to be its Director to date.

Mrs Veena Dass, in her beautiful speech emphasised that rather than differentiating ourselves under various school names we must be integrated as one family - "The Ikebana Family" that shares a common passion and love for expression through the magical medium of flowers!

True to her words, Ikebana Masters, Teachers and Students belonging to different schools - Ikenobo, Ohara & Sogetsu from all parts of the country were present and expressed their unlimited joy on Mrs Das's great achievement through their beautiful arrangements.

The Order of the Rising Sun established in 1875 were Japan’s first awards. These decorations are conferred in recognition of individual’s (both Japanese and foreign) distinguished accomplishments. The Orders of the Rising Sun are classified into six ranks: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays and The Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays. These decorations feature rays of sunlight radiating from a rising sun. The attachments are shaped into paulownia flowers and leaves.

Seven members of the Sogetsu Study Circle, Chennai under the guidance of Sensei Malathi Pandurang were present at the memorable event.

(The Team with the Ambassador of Japan)

Three of them including Sensei Malathi presented Ikebana arrangements.

"Boxful of Flowers for Veena Dass" by Sensei Malathi Pandurang

(Spray Chrysanthemums, Limoneum, Eucalyptus Leaves, Asia Lily, Jasmine Branches in an antique Gujarati Masala Box)

"South" by Sensei Meenakshi Sarin (Coconut Fronds, Red Coconut, Coir, Heliconia in combination containers)

"Late Bloomer" by Dally Varghese (Pink Spray Carnations and Vines in twin metallic containers)
In the next part, I will write more about our trip to New Delhi. Yes, I will be posting more pictures also!!