Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I made a few observations about various things in life over the past week. It is not normal for me to ponder about where my life is going, though I do ponder a lot about where it is not going. Here goes:

I have noticed that I have managed to win a few battles of the bulge, but I seem to be losing the war. Sigh...

Another thing which has occurred to me is that dogs can sense fear. Really, they can. When Gina (who is scared of most dogs) goes walking in the morning, they growl, bark and look condescendingly at her. When I (I consider dogs to be benign creatures with a gift of flexible hind legs and negative IQs) accompany her, they disappear behind bushes, make excuses about having to meet old friends and would you look at the time, and avoid me in general.

Another truth which has raised it ugly head and made itself inconspicuous is that communication is inevitable. Everybody wants it! At the same time, it is very easy. All you have to do is drop your clients daily mails giving them project updates, and they are happy as a baby in a nappy.

Finally, I have good news. Not for you, necessarily, but definitely for my parents. If you asked my parents (if you knew them, that is, ha ha) what I liked most for breakfast, their answer would be -- lunch. Yes, that is true, dear readers (and not so dear ones, too), my parents consider me innately incapable of rising early enough in the day. Till very recently I was in complete denial. Early is as early does, I tried to argue with my progenitors, but you know how the N-1 generation always thinks. When I got married, Gina was highly irritated with the fact that I did not wake up in time for work, and sometimes had to take a bath in my cubicle in the office. I told her that all I needed to wake up fresh as a Daisy was tea, served to me in bed, hot (tea, that is, not the bed, and definitely not me). The poor girl tried that a couple of times -- I just drank the tea, smiled beatifically at her (her version is different) and went back to sleep. That was the end of free tea. Anyway, coming back to point, the knowledge that would make my parents proud is that I have started waking up early these days. Today I woke up at 6:00 AM (for those of you who think 6:00 AM is not all that early, have you tried this?), had some nice Earl Grey tea, did some meditation and stretching and then went back to sleep for an hour, at 7:00. Well, I never said I stayed awake the whole day after waking up early!


Friday, November 25, 2005

Immediate future

While walking back to work after lunch today, I noticed many photo opportunities. I have decided that my next project is going to be to shoot two rolls of colour film in Koregaon park, trying to compose abstract shots. I want to move on with my photographic expression and want to do something new. For the first roll I will shoot intensely colourful scenes from Koregaon park (composed mostly of inanimate objects, and I will try to shoot most of them before 9:00 AM to avoid harsh contrasts), while the second one will be more about shapes and shadows.

Let's do it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

You know...

When watching television with your wife and witnessing an episode where a man praises his friend's wife too much in front of his own without realizing that he is making a colossal mistake, thereby jeopardizing not only his married life but his general one as well, and then having your wife turn to you and say, "Hey, even you know better than to do that, don't you?", you know that she does not think of you as the most diplomatic man ever to have roamed the planet.


Glasses for sale in Juna Bazaar. The place is amazing. During the one hour and half that I was there, these are some of the things I saw:

CDs and DVDs
Mixers, VCRs, TVs
A Seikonic wind-up movie camera (which doesn't work, but which I bought for Rs. 150)
Telescopes, spyglasses and binoculars
Ethernet switch
Hardware (drills, chains, pulleys, gears and what not)
Kitchenware (seemed very reasonably priced)

I must make a shopping list and go there now that I am solvent again. Yes, I was not till yesterday. Was living off friends, coaxing them into buying me beer for survival.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Baby for sale

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Looking at things differently

Photography is one of the best hobbies I have ever picked up in this life of mine. It feels great when you end up with a nice shot, something to be proud of. It feels great to shoot a roll, drop it off to a photography lab and to wait in anticipation for the prints. It feels great to discover a subject that is interesting and full of potential.

Sure, there are disadvantaged to being a serious amateur photographer. There's the money aspect. According to a rough estimate, I have spent close to Rs. 100,000 on my photographic equipment, various films rolls and the cost of their development, printing and scanning. Why not buy a digital camera, then? Because I am a luddite. I like loading film in my camera, sometimes setting the ISO speed manually for black and white rolls for better contrast and hues. I like the fact that I cannot waste shots on any subjects since I have a limited number of frames available (which leads to better judgement and a better feel for how the shot will turn out). I like the fact that print film is not so sensitive to light as a digital sensor is, which makes taking good photographs in low lights and high contrast shots very difficult, which in turn leads to a greater sense of elation when a shot does come out well.

Another disadvantage is that photographers are sometimes so engrossed in composing shots that they miss the scene. There have been times in my life when I was so anxious to capture a sunset that I missed seeing it with my own eyes. I remember beauty much more vividly from times when I didn't have a camera handy, or when I didn't carry it with me to a particular destination.

And don't even mention the extra luggage that one has to carry. During the first five years of me buying a camera, I never went anywhere without it, two extra lenses and a tripod. It can be cumbersome and heavy, you know. And if travelling by a train, there is always the fear of losing stuff.

But there is one advantage to being a photographer that offsets all these negative -- there's beauty everywhere. It really is in the viewfinder of the cameraman, as somebody once said. Before I started photography, I could never see the covert beauty in things. For me, this world was made up of new, shiny objects and old, dull objects. There were good looking people, and those who were not. There were new, swanky buildings, and old delapidated ones. But once I started looking at things through a viewfinder, beauty took on a whole new meaning. Beauty is not in a thing itself, but in how the thing is looked at. It is up to the photographer to bring out such beauty in things. Case and point, this shot by Senthil, and this and this. Boring, old, dull objects have been made to look beautiful because the photographer found beauty and was able to capture it for everybody else to see from the same perspective. That, my friends, is a boon. I find very few things ugly and uninspiring now.

Fortunately, India is fraught with photographic subjects. I found this lady sitting on the steps outside a general store, waiting for someone. After taking her consent, I took this picture. I hope you like it...

Please do leave your comments.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Starting the day

Seller preparing for the day at Juna Bazaar.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel G
Lens: Canon 75 - 300 USM III
Film: Kodak T400 CN

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

An ode to long facial hair

When I was a kid (strange as it may sound)
I was not scared of ghosts, snakes or the Baskerville hound
The only being that I truly, wuly feared
was a man with a long, flowing beard

Not scared was I of jumping off highest trees
not of darkness, nor of swarms of bloodthirsty bees.
I could bite a dog, chase a bull, sting the ants
but the sight of a beard made me pee in my pants.

So, thank God for adulthood, praise the ageing process
No longer scared am I of grandpa, the street beggar, nor of Moses.
Very easily can I the subject of manes broach
What really scares me now is a flying roach!

Vada-pao stall

Vada-pao is a yummy thing to eat. Unheygienic, at best, but yummy. Vada is a potato dumpling deep fried in oil (can be seen in the foreground of the pic). Pao, which actually came to Maharashtra from Goa, is very similar to Portuguese bread (Goa was a Portuguese colony till very recently). The best way to enjoy a good vada-pao is to convince a friend into donating you his tongue (you will need it afterwards), buying vada-pao (depending upon where you buy it and how urban you sound, it may cost anywhere between Rupees 2 and 5), stuffing the vada inside the pao, inserting a couple of fried chillies (can be seen in the container behind the vadas) and eating the combo before you can change your mind. Quick access to a small water body will not hurt the odds for your survival.

As Senthil mentions on his blog, I insisted upon starting the shoot at Juna Bazaar early, so we reached the place at 8:30, without having had breakfast. After a little while shooting, we came across this vada-pao stall where we had fresh vada-pao and tea. This kid was generally hanging around there, wanting to be photographed but feeling shy about it at the same time. Considering how he was running around, the photo came out nice, I feel.

Comments, as usual, are welcome.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Old and happy

Old man selling his wares at the flea market. Stopped us and asked to be photographed. Was very kicked when I did.

Black and white is such a great medium for portraits of old, wrinkly people.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel G
Lens: Canon 75 - 300 USM III
Film: Kodak T400 CN

What are you looking at?

I went to the flea market yesterday with Gina and Senthil, where we took lots of pictures. Here is one of them. I intend to post one new picture everyday, so keep checking. Hopefully, before the current set of pictures runs out, I will have shot more.

I would really love to write a lot about yesterday's experience but there are quite a few fires to be put out at work and I don't want to get burnt. So, please let me know what you think of this pic.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005


To err is human
To purr, feline

Sunday, November 06, 2005

This just in...

  1. I have finally started violin classes. Have bought a violin and started practising as well. Apart from me, there are two more people in the house - wife and her sister, and this is the first time that I have been able to hog the TV room -- by practising there. :)
  2. I am playing a lot of tennis as well. The new raquet is totally the best thing to have happened to my game ever. I can consistently hit backhand topspin shots now, not to mention some good volleys. Game, anyone?
  3. This weekend I came down with a bad bout of what I thought was fever, but which finally turned out to be exhaustion. Slept more than 24 hours over two days. I am back at work today, but have decided not to push myself too hard for some time to come.
  4. Shrik's observation -- Gina and Shrik planned a trek for the weekend. Senti pulled out from the very beginning, citing a teleconference on Saturday as an excuse. I joined in initially. Arjun didn't reply, but we counted him in. KP said he didn't want to miss reading the morning newspaper, so we assured him we'd buy him some before the trek. The weekend has come and gone. I didn't do anything but sleep. Senthil didn't have his conference. Arjun still didn't reply to the mail. Gina and Shrik cancelled the trek. KP got to read his newspapers.
  5. I finally come out of the digital closet and confess -- I really like programming. So sue me!
  6. My preparation for the Mumbai marathon is poor, to say the least. I better start practising. But since I am also supposed to take it easy, I don't know what to do.
  7. I am taking a week off in December (6th to 12th) and going to Vizag for attending an engagement ceremony. There are supposed to be loads of fun things there. I am so looking forward to it.
  8. We lit lots of diyas inside the apartment this Diwali. The apartment looked very pretty and I have taken many pictures. If only I could get around to getting them developed now.