Wednesday, February 17, 2010

... Exhale...

I wonder if you know what horrific waste is like.

I do. It's a sickening, heartbreaking, miserable feeling that makes you want to scoop your eye balls out with a melon baller designed for Lilliputians. Why the hyperbole and drama? Well, I realised on the way back to Bombay last night that the the camera I'd borrowed from A was set to take pictures that could be "used for e-mail attachments". E-mail fricking attachments, would you believe it!

This might not be a big deal you might say but as a photographer, this is the most tremendous waste of close to 3 weeks of photographs. I loaned George to the elder sibling's art partner a while ago and have been using A's wonderful Sony DSC-H7. I didn't bother to check the settings because it was a damn fine photographer's camera and was, presumably, set up properly. *Sigh* More the fool I.

I've now got over a 1000 pictures that are bloody low-res and hence are pictures that I cannot zoom into and play with. These are pictures I took of the TOI Crest William Dalrymple event at Bandra Fort, the ex-reviewer and other performances at Kala Ghoda, the World Book Fair in Delhi, and my Ahmedabad trip (making up 600 of the 1000 photos).

Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. No use crying over what's done but I cannot stop feeling bloody upset. I suppose when I get down to working with these pictures properly, I'll know the full extent of the damage. Until then, let me leave with this photo from the wedding in Ahmedabad.

Ahmedabad Feb 2010

I shall now go and salvage.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Notes from a Train Diary

It has been many years since a train journey to Hyderabad. Too many, I fear, because as this train snakes its way further and further south, it feels much more like going to Hyderabad than taking a flight. The anticipation and excitement have settled firmly into my stomach. Suddenly the prospect of waking S up at some obscene hour of the morning and making sure that she is alright is enough to make me grin at the rather surprised man in the opposite seat. He undoubtedly thinks I'm being friendly and will presently begin a conversation!


You'd think that by now I'd have learned that the more you run away from something, the more persistently, the more doggedly it follows you. The IInd AC compartment was supposed to be the quiet journey of my daydreams... the "me-time" that I'm craving . The plan was to put my feet up on the opposite seat and re-read my way through 31 Songs. But with a side seat and some eight men squeezed into the compartment opposite me, all of whom belong to some kind of sports team, I don't think so. Pray I don't get arrested for murder by the time we get to Hyderabad.


The technological change/advance in India is nowhere more apparent to me than it is in this train bogey. There are at least five laptops (I suspect there are more) within a ten foot distance of me. Mp3 players, phones and other things are blaring their own songs – from old Hindi numbers and what I suspect is music from a selection of B Grade Punjabi and Hindi films to Akon and other bullshit hip-hop and rap. Train travel was a lot less noisy six years ago. Pity is, glaring for 3 hours straight isn't getting the volumes down. The guys right opposite have been watching 3 different movies through the afternoon. The headache I have is much more because of the cacophony than being cooped up in a train all day.


For the first time in a train journey, I have not spent most of the daylight hours at the door. I reckon that’s mainly because the landscape has changed beyond recognition. When I could once experiment and learn at the door, this time I didn't find much to keep me there. Little towns and settlements have sprung up over the wide open spaces. Ugly pink and green two-three storey buildings and empty construction shells dot the route from Maharashtra to Hyderabad instead of those interesting trees. I looked and looked after Daund but I couldn't locate the lake of my first attempts at photography.


I have only a few hours left in this space and most of them will be spent asleep. Very, very unfortunately, this journey is nothing that I expected or even imagined. It’s been noisy, intrusive and I can’t wait for it to bloody get over. This has been a loss of innocence... of sorts. Truth be told, a part of me was looking forward to the random conversation... looking forward to the “Why aren’t you married” and “Why do you read the books you do?” conversations. Instead, I've had bad music and loud, intrusive hockey players to deal with.

Kill me now.