Friday, 30 August 2013

Z-Inspiration workshops

I returned from USA couple of days more than a year ago, after an eventful stay in the US for a month. My father's terminal illness had become the cause for my travel, but behind the shadow of this cause was perhaps the act of providence ( pun certainly intended!). My brothers there organised my travels, including to and from Providence, the capital city of Rhodes Island, USA enabling me to attend there the CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher), batch 9 seminar. And above all Rick and Maria, the creators of Zentangle art form and methods,had offered  me a free seat, and further I had the privilege of staying on for the next three days with them at their residence! That was the act of Providence!

I knew, I can not pay it back to my father (who is no more now), my brothers, and Rick and Maria.

So, I thought I must pay it forward, and hence I decided to teach Zentangle art form and methods free of cost to at least 100 people before I initiated paid workshops. And I did fulfill that commitment to myself.

Now let me come to conducting 4 workshops in Bangalore, so far, and recount my limited experience.

Almost all workshops were driven by highly motivated learning enthusiasts who connected with me after getting my e-mail from the CZT directory maintained by Rick and Maria. Some of them traveled from different cities like Kolkata and Hyderabad, and one lady was on a mission in India from USA. Most of them have been ladies.

Here are a few pictures of the workshops done so far, along with some great tiles some of them have produced.

Coimbatore, Punarnava Vaidya Grama : This is an authentic ayurveda hospital set up on an eco-friendly campus on the outskirt of Coimbatore, an industrial city in South India. Patients come here from across the Globe, and stay for a few weeks for wholistic ayurveda treatment. Since the tyreatment may not take more than a couple of hours every day, for the rest of the time they are encouraged to indulge into different activities.

I had an opportunity to introduce to them Zentangle practice at par with any meditative practices. The audience comprised of citizens from several countries and they all took to Zentangle very enthusiastically.

Here are a few pictures:

Bangalore Workshops: We have had 4 workshops so far since April 2013. Here are a few glimpses.

Bangalore Batch 1
Bangalore  Batch 4
Bangalore batch 3 creations
Bangalore batch 4 in progress
Lost in pensive thoughts

Usha, Blr batch 1

Next Workshop in Mumbai:

We are just gearing up to organise our first workshop in Mumbai on 6th Sept, 2013. The day long workshop is called-

"Z-Inspiration, Exploring life through Zentangles".  The participants will have a balanced share of exploration of 'zen', and the 'tangle' parts of life. They will discover a mysterious ability within themselves to create admirable art forms, as well as they will experience the meditative state of mind through the practice of zentangle. The benefits of practicing zentangle are galore, and are captured here in this you tube video -

Please get in touch with me for any further information at my e-mail dilip(dot)patel(at)gmail(dot)com


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Z-Inspiration 3

Welcome to the third edition.

Kindly pardon me for the delay, as the whole concept is in the process of development. I did post a story, though, last week called 'From the Other Side of Silence', which essentially deals with the issue of sustainable living. It is a real story of a young IT professional in Bangalore who is experimenting with a life of an urban farmer. If you have read it, you may like to write your comments please.

Now let us come to this edition's value word.

I am rather tempted to experiment with two words in tandem this time, and both these words you have dealt with in the last two editions. Yes, you have guessed them right. The words are Gratitude and Mindfulness. The beauty will lie in exploring these two values together!

They say, and I have learnt that any single value by itself is more of an academic value. What transforms into behavior is a combination of a few values commonly connected with the context. One of the values, though, will dominate, and we  attribute all the virtues to that particular value. When two operative values become dominant, the combination becomes very powerful.

Stories: Let me quote two examples.

The first one relates to my visit to Iran, a little over 10 years ago. My host, Dr Osquie, came to pick me up at the airport with his family. They had worked out various plans to take me to different hotels, different locations for lunches and dinners while attending to the business for which I had paid a visit. However, my very first lunch at their residence put them into a great difficulty when I declared that I was totally vegetarian. Husband and wife looked at each other for a few moments, and the whole week's plans changed. They became so mindful for the next 7 days, till I left their country, that Mrs Osquie searched out a cook book for vegetarian cuisine, sourced and purchased grains, pulses, vegetables etc and the whole family became vegetarian for the week for my sake. 8 year old Niatus (their son) and 17 year old daughter, Mahsa, too were persuaded by their parents to remain vegetarian. Every moment they were mindful of my needs.

This gesture generated so much of gratitude in me for the whole family, that we became friends for life.

The second story is similar in certain respects. August 16 to 19 last year (2012), soon after CZT 9 workshop in Rhodes Island, I had the honor of staying with Maria and Rick, the creators of Zentangle, at their lovely residence. Both of them, so lovingly became mindful of my vegetarianism and gave me a fantastic treat. Maria cooked vegetarian meals and Rick took me specially to an Indian restaurant for a great vegetarian  lunch. Once again, it generated a great amount of gratitude in me. I must say, I share a special equation with them now.

These are the stories of mindfulness creating gratitude, however, if both these values are practiced together, what could be the outcome? I suggest, please try this out for the next couple of days, and report it in your post while you create your zentangle/zia using tangles having names from M and G. You may explore for different tangles with M and G.

You will have to go back to z-inspiration 1 to register your post on Linky machine.


Sunday, 4 August 2013

From the Other Side of Silence

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 40; the fortieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following <a href="">Blog-a-Ton</a>. The theme for the month is "MAKE A WISH"

'We are sowing rice, the native variety, which does not require much water. Would you like to join in the morning?'

The invitation was exciting, because it was not from a normal village farmer, it was from an IT professional in the city of Bangalore(the so called silicon valley of India!),who would like to call himself an 'urban farmer', and who has taken a patch of land on rent, in the middle of the sprawling city. And I must add here, he is doing all kinds of crazy things on it.

'What about your office tomorrow? I asked him, knowing it was not his usual Saturday/Sunday.' And he replied from the other end of the phone, 'yeah... but Nature can not wait.., and being the boss myself, I can enjoy such luxuries...'. The matter was settled. Both, my wife and I being  retired people, we had no bindings of the 'working days'. We agreed to spend the day with them on their piece of land.

 We had started getting fond of this young family ever since we had met them. His below 10 years old two kids, his wife, and Badri had shown us with pride their little kitchen garden in their 4 ft by 10 ft balcony in their 2BHK flat on the World Kitchen Day last year (WKD is celebrated every year on the last Sunday of August ). In small pots they had cultivated some vegetable plants, greens, and some herbs. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Badri had informed us that he was an IT professional and was running his own IT consultancy firm.

Months passed by, and one day he informed us that he has taken on lease some 3000 sq. ft of farm land just in the vicinity. We were amused.

A few weeks later Badri came home with his first crop of some brinjals and palak. He informed us that the vegetables were grown by him organically. He was excited. Our desire had grown to visit his farm, and this call from him would make it happen.


I went off to sleep, and slipped into my childhood. More than half a century ago, I saw myself as a member of a struggling family in a village. Grandpa would inform us that we had lost all our farm land to the actual tillers under the tillers as owners law after the Independence. Education was the only property he could give us.

I recalled, as an engineering student I had come to Bangalore in early '70s on our Industrial study tour, and how a wish had just crossed my mind- 'How wonderful would it be to settle down in this city!'

The wish came true and I became resident of this city since the last 40 years! The rural environment faded away from the memory and an Industrial, modern city dwelling engulfed us, we did not realise. By the time we retired, I could only remotely call myself as a far more former farmer's grandson.


In the morning we followed in our car Badri and his wife on their scooter. We reached his patch of land within less than 2 km drive. We saw by the side of this land the most modern express way running . Badri informed us that the owner of the land got good compensation for losing a part of his land to the road construction. His cows, and  coconut and banana trees fetch him enough for his livelihood. He had neglected the remaining land.

However, when Badri had approached the land owner for leasing him out a piece, first time, he had made fun of this guy in his IT attire. He asked Badri to come back after 3 months, if his madness was still alive. Badri approached him again after 3 days, and was rejected saying you laptop culture guys can not understand a farmer's life. Badri went again with his wife, and the owner relented giving him the 3000 sq.ft piece.

The owner watched Badri's family struggling for 15 days cleaning up all the bushes and unevenness of the plot given to him rejecting a paid labour help. At every stage initially the owner questioned Badri's ways, and waited when Badri would quit! But Badri was not a quitter. He would go all over remote places in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu etc to learn all about organic farming.

So, when the first crop of organic vegetables were harvested, without using chemicals, the owner became friendly. Badri gave his old laptop to the owner's son who was going to college, and the owner became Badri's fan. Out of joy and appreciation the owner offered the adjoining bigger patch to make the plot size to about 10000 sq.ft.  Badri is going to sow the native variety of rice, peanuts and some Ragi in the additional patch. Badri says he will get 60-70 kg of rice from this sowing. His dream is to become self sufficient in terms of his family's food and vegetable needs.

We watched Badri run around organising water flow into the tilled plot using mannual implements while his wife harvested fresh palak, methi and some other vegetables for us.

It was noon now, and Badri's wife left on the scooter to fetch her sons from the school. Children came running into the field and started playing with the mud and water streams. They located broken coconut shell and made a boat to let it float in the stream.

I fell silent, almost lost into these children's innocent existence. Remembered how our children grew up with computers and jailed existence within four walls in the city. The entire four decades of our life passed by in front of my eyes, and brought me back to that day on which as a young, to be an engineer, I had made a wish. A thought crossed, if I have to live my life once again, and make a wish again,. what would it be?

Instantly, my inner voice from the other side of silence spoke up- I would like to live Badri's life. My children playing in the fields, making paper boats and float them in water in rains, grow some grains and vegetables by our own hands and live a simple natural life... for what ever reasons..

Dilip Patel

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics
who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked <a href="">here</a>. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following <a href="">Blog-a-Ton</a>. Participation Count: 04


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