Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blue on White

Scratching, scraping, rasping,
A pen on paper.
Blue on white.
on purple, red and violet.

Lines... dots... blobs... until...
A distant meaning is born.

Tonight I will write.
random imitations of greatness
that wound
Only me.

Monday, November 28, 2005

News Flash!

I am sorry to interupt the relay from Bangalore but matters of extreme championship (much to my chagrin) and "Bombay-ness" (much to my pride) must be reported.

Thursday morning I was running so terribly late that unmindful of the cost, I took a rickshaw straight to work because I was to meet a friend for lunch and en route, I was also due to lend my pride and joy, my F75, to another friend. Since the day looked a little relaxed, I also grabbed my entire folder of negatives, scans, contact sheets - the works! I thought I'd put up my feet, post some pictures, do stuff I want to do - I am sure you know the rest of that song.

The camera duly dropped off with the friend in question and I proceeded to work, dying a million deaths about being late for lunch. About twenty minutes later, the rickshaw screeched to a halt and I jumped out, desperate to pay the driver and be on my way. I jammed money in his hand, ran up to the office, signed in, made a pretence of checking my mail, grabbed my wallet and ran down again.

We didn't linger much over lunch because he was due to take a train in a few hours and after we had said our au revoirs, I came back to work, settled down at my seat, and was ready to start posting photos. And that's when it hit me.

My folder was riding in the back of a rickshaw somewhere in North Bombay.

That folder contained everything I've ever shot with my F75... everything. I do not think the enormity of my utter and complete stupidity made any sort of impact at all. All it did was compound the nagging feeling that I should give up all aspirations to photography and give my camera away to someone who actually deserves it. Perhaps it was foolish, but what kept me sane through the rest of the day was the hope that the rickshaw driver would return the folder because he knew where I lived - as it were.

Office day over, I returned home by about 21:30 still in quite the daze. On my way in, I stopped by the security guard's cabin to check if my miracle has happened. I could not finish my question because my folder was lying there on the guard's table.

Sweet Christ, I couldn't react but forty-eight hours later, gratitude and a sense of Bombay-ness are my overwhelming emotions. I know that my folder was a very small thing but whether the rickshaw driver lived close by or away from my home, he most certainly took a good deal of trouble through the entire day for an arbitrary woman who may never take his rickshaw again. I do not think this would have happened anywhere in India except Bombay.

Perhaps I am being unfair in my generalization but my irrational heart tells me otherwise. For all of Bombay's faults - and fear not, I am not being swept away by the romanticism of this seemingly random act of kindness - she's a city with a soul and a heart as big as the world. There is, I believe, sometimes no choice - but to fall in love with her.

This one is not a good shot as far as focus is concerned but I think it makes for a good frame and I love the colours. And to me, it sings Bombay.

Marine Drive, a Bombayite, and the Sunset

Surely I am allowed a "bad" favourite! :-)

Addendum: I mean no insult to any other place in India, really I don't. Please do not take it as such. :-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Flight in the Clouds

It was a wonderful Bombay winter afternoon when I boarded the Kingfisher flight to Bangalore. I was looking forward to the flight too, what with the airline purported to being really swanky at the dirt-cheap prices I had paid for a return ticket. Formalities at Bombay airport, a rickety transit busride, and smiling nicely at the crew on the way in over, I strapped myself into their "ultra-wide comfort" seats.

The ten minutes before take off are the most fascinating part of flying "The Good Times." You see, Kingfisher takes unbelievable advantage of being India's only airline with in-flight TV. Dr Vijay Mallya, CEO of Kingfisher Airlines, began my journey with a badly written spiel about many things that I do not now remember and but which ended with a cold "I appreciate your business." It may be statment of fact but certainly, advertising and promotional protocol dicates more warmth...?

However, indubitably the best part of the show is when Yana Gupta gives you this fascinating, horrifically lip-synched, "foreign-return" Hindi (and English too!) safety drill. If I had a copy of the tape, I do not believe I'd have another depressed day for the rest of my life! But yes, I digress.

The beginning of the flight was, to say the least, a little turbulent but I do not yet see why because like I told you, it was a beautiful winter afternoon - it was balmy, damn it! With the way that airplane swayed, for a terrifying five minutes, I really thought I was going to die. No hyperbole - I really did! As you can tell, I don't fly much. About twenty minutes later, I do think my stomach gave a blender going at top speed a run for its money.

The airhostess - an aside: I think having blond-streaked hair is mandatory if you want to be an airhostess with Kingfisher - came by with the lunch trolley and I opened one bleary eye and asked for an aerated drink. The look on her face was so magnificiently vacant that I smiled weakly and said, "A soft drink, Ma'am, preferably a lemony one, please."

It was then that she said the words that captivated my soul.

"Ma'am, are you feeling nauseatic?"

Now really, what does one say to that? I do not believe that I have been so sorely at a loss for words in while. I only nodded and closed my eyes again. To be fair, she came back almost instantly with a can of Sprite and a glass filled with ice cubes and a twist of lime. Fifteen minutes later, I was still feeling sick - until I glanced out of the window.

What I saw took my breath away and what I did was technically illegal but at this point, the airhostess would have done anything to keep me from displaying my breakfast all over the place - including tap dance on the nose of the airplane, right there and then!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did taking them.

... Of Hope

This looked like the sun had burst open on its head while it was dancing - it is called ... Of Hope.

Shine Down on Me

Like the sun shining down on the sea - Shine Down on Me.


This photo is called Roiling. I do not think it needs more of an introduction or explanation. :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm back!

For two days now, actually.

I must confess, I've been feeling guilty about not blogging and not keeping up with my daily reads. But I'm afraid I've only been snuggling deeper, and deeper and still deeper into me.

You see, I was on holiday and awesome does not even begin to approach the first syllable of my time in Bangalore.

I simply loved....
... that city - its weather and food.
... that wonderful old-worldliness of its myriad 13th Main and 8th Cross roads.
... that I could get a 20% discount on a staggeringly eclectic selection of brand-new books.
... that I conned friends into buying me books.
being one of the guys at Mojo's, over beer and rock n' roll.
... that I made some new friends that, I hope, will grow only closer.
... that I laughed about serious issues and kicked up a fuss over a missing fountain pen.

I've come back about 20 books, much love, a proper understanding of the rule of thirds, and the most beeyootifool sunset richer. I took some other images which I will post once I get the scans back. There are also some hilarious stories of bizzare cocktail mixes through the night to tell - another post... soon, I promise!

Bangalore was a week of nothing but chilling with the girls and...
... lying back and giggling over men and their idiosyncrasies.
... watching movies, remembering an English major not-so-long ago.
... holding hands over broken but healing hearts.
... talking deep into the late night or perhaps, late into the deep night.
... relearning how to be - I think I had forgotten how.

Ah, yes. I do think my soul is rested. :-)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Of Tangerine and 55 Word Tags

With the ebb and flow of the sea,
Tangerine closes about me.
The wind,
Touching my breasts, my inner spaces,
Caresses this silent lucidity.

In the distance, whispers carry
seductive invitations to misplaced dreams.
My nightmares writhe
In the butterfly death dance and
… release me.

The ebb and flow of the sea…
A hypnotic panacea.

Sunset at Madh II


I have .:A:. to thank for this. This was so much fun - even though I did take too long doing it! :-)

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It really Is Diwali!

It's a funny thing about rituals really, especially of the religious variety. For the most part, I dislike them intensely but some of them are inextricably linked with both the anticipations of my childhood and the contentments of my present.

Two nights ago, Diwali really began. After what is too long, I was sitting in the middle of a Laskhmi pooja, looking around at my family be more at peace than I've seen in recent memory - my mum, busy with the different parts of the ritual, my father, completely into the ceremony, and my brother and I, watching peacefully. That's how every single Dhanteras in living memory (save for the past few) has been spent.

For various reasons, for my family, the past few years haven't been as they ought to have. Somehow this year, a simple Lakshmi pooja has restored a normalcy and peace that I have, as a part of a unit and an individual, sought awhile. Amazing really, how easy it is to let things come to you sometimes.

This year's ceremony was different because the priest conducting it was not our usual one. That grand old gent passed away a few years ago. How I missed him this time. You see, as Indian, Hindu priests go, he was a dude - no other word for it! Tall, imposing and with a ready smile and wink for a child (and often young adult!) who couldn't sit still.

This new priest was a little more "with it", gave me analogies that were from a world of gizmos and technology and plain didn't have the personality of our previous priest. All the same, the ceremony was sufficiently similar to the usual one for me to be grateful. Change, it seems, always carries with it a portion of the familiar.

Tomorrow is the Gujarati New Year - among the most important days of the year for my community. It is, by far, the most important day of the year for my family. I will suffer relatives giving me varying levels of grief for various things and yet be happy about the great food and the new year that comes ahead of me.

I hope you've had a wonderful and safe Diwali and if you've been away from family, I hope you've had a lovely time with people you like. May the year ahead be full of all the benedictions that you deserve. May it also bring peace, love and laughter. Like I will tell painful relations in a few hours, allow me to say Saal Mubarak (Happy New Year) to all of you.

I know I started the year right. Please, oh please, leave it be this way! :-)