30 December, 2008

...and then she smiled.

...Netra... who else?

Ya indeed... I was happy at that ! Of all the negligence that she has had to face over the past semester, I think she truly deserved a outing to some exotic place. And here I am currently in San Francisco, which is on a close fight with Chicago as my favorite city. However I figured that Netra had been bored of seeing the same cityscapes, the same high rise buildings, the same concrete jungles time and again. So I figured that we should do something different this time.

So Netra, me, and a few other friends took drive on the Pacific Coastal Highway and I think the journey was blessed. The weather was perfect, the skies were of an amazing blue and the waters displayed the gamut of blue never seen before. I could see her smiling with all her might!
Every time she is in such a mode, I just feel I am a different person. The pains within me seem to recede to somewhere unknown and my smiles stay with me as if they have never left me. How I wish that it was like that always.

Oh and did I tell you that she took a few good pictures of me too!

As I said, she makes me feel special. In her company I often feel I can do crazy stuff. I guess its that way with all people in love. In the company of their loved ones, they just feel that extra special. Where the whole world just seems to be saying that you cannot do a thing and that one source of inspiration comes from the one person you love. That motivates. It inspires and gives this extra bit of energy.

This bridge really caught Netra's attention and she was looking at it non stop. I felt a bit jealous at the lack of attention and so I just went and stood in front of her in her view of the bridge! :) I am sure she did not mind me spoiling the composition of the frame.

This past year has been a special year and there have been many ups and downs. However, Netra has been with me through thick and thin, rain and sunshine, ice and snow. We have traveled around the world.

We have spread the smiles together, we have taken good care of each other.
We have met a lot of good people and we have also met a lot more interesting people.
We have got in touch with a lot of people and many have become fans of mine and Netra's visions.

It's with this love and adulation that we seek out for the new year, in the hope that we continue to show the world through our eyes. I have got mails and notes from people from different corners of the world saying how much they loved the pictures that we have created. I guess this is true of anything that is done with extreme love and compassion. Both for the team you are working in and also the artifact that is being worked upon. What results is not a product, but an extension of the love. And I guess the photographs that me and Netra create are the extensions of our love for each other.

If Netra could read this, I am sure she would be really happy.

God Bless.

19 December, 2008

The last lap

Been off blogging lately... as I was busy with the semester..
But now thats over.. and I am back.... and officially free.

Some time off and then I enter the last lap which is the last semester.
Pretty excited about that :)

Which incidentally is the last semester of my graduate studies.
At the moment this looks like this is going to be the last semester of academic life as a student.
Been quite a while since I started as a student some 21 years ago. But then they say that the student in a person never dies. Every day is a day of learning.

It's really gone cold here in Bloomington. Temperatures of -4C to -8C is normal.
But I fly off to SFO soon and that would be warm.

Looking forward to the break.

03 December, 2008

Nakhrewaali Netra

This Netra na... I tell you .. one big nakhre-waali !

Just the other day she was all up in arms protesting against me keeping her at home and not taking her to the places I visit. I was attending a few parties and she had to stay home. I tried to convince her that it was a party with my friends and that she would be bored in it. I agree that I am a bit too possessive about her, so I don't let her mingle with others in the party. And also I don't like to say no to the other friends who are always so eager to talk to her. I guess its with her charming personality. So, in the end its me who suffers. Always having to deal with this situation whether to take her or not.

But as promised earlier, I did take her out of Bloomington finally. She was on cloud nine I tell you! Just as we were to board the flight from Indianapolis, I got a scare for a while. In the security check the officer mishandled her! I almost shouted at her. During the trip however, I did keep her with me all the time.

So we reached Augusta, and it was beautiful there. I introduced her to a few other friends of mine. All was merry and happy. Later we were supposed to go to Atlanta. Now this is where the 'nakhre' started. It was raining and Netra simply refused to move an inch. When asked why, she just said, she is not too fond of the rain. And add to it the cold weather that was starting to get me...I ended up leaving her at Augusta and going to Atlanta all by my self. I understand that it's kind of difficult to digest the fact that one has to leave someone you love so dearly within the confinements of the room. Ideally that is unacceptable, but sometimes the situations demand it and that judgment should be honored.

At Atlanta, I missed Netra so much. The journey on interstate 20 highway, was nothing short of a heavenly ride with fog and lights penetrating through the pine forests. I am sure she would have loved to see it. Even in Atlanta, the area around the Atlantic Station and opposite to the Regal Cinemas was magical. The lights on the top of the skyscrapers shone like stars on a foggy night. One could see the tip of the buildings hugging the clouds. I missed Netra all the more. Somewhere in the corner of my heart I promised to be with her at that location sometime in the future.

Another thing that we end up debating on recently is what we see. There are some things that I want to see and save for eternity, but Netra refuses to see it saying that it is too cliched or overdone. Like while returning, at Charlotte airport, I was trying to show her those glider planes that they have it hanging from the ceilings, but she simply turned away! For an instance I was furious. But thank god I controlled my anger. So in the end we both end up visiting the same places, but I have seen a few things and she a few things.

After all these, in the end however, I feel bad. I think it was too selfish on my part to go all by myself to certain places. I am to blame too for this state of not spending so much time with her. Men will always shirk it off by saying that they are busy and that certain places are not suited for the women to go. Women, need to be cared for, spoken to, spent time with. Why is it that in the end its the women who have to try to understand always?

I hope our relation is not affected much and I hope that Netra understands. Oh no .. not again!

22 November, 2008


Of late I have been in this non-stop working mode.

One of the films that has hugely inspired me in my photography, the style and the subject is Born into Brothels. I have watched it multiple times and the desires to do something worthwhile in life always sets the adrenaline pumping high! The photographer went on to set up the organization Kids with Cameras.

Today was no different! I remember this kid, Avijit from the movie. Just learnt that this kid has now been admitted to the Tisch School of Arts, NYU. And that is such a great news!!!!!!
It inspires me for my project all the more.
"Avijit has been accepted to Tisch School of the Arts at NYU! To help fund his education expenses, he has selected nine of his photographs taken last summer in Calcutta and combined them into a stunning collection of postcards. On the back you will find Avijit's title and description of each photograph. Purchase this set of nine postcards and help Avijit realize his educational goals! "

The point I am trying to make is that there is a determination that can be seen in the photographer, the student and finally there are people in the world who are helping Avijit achieve his dreams.

What is more interesting but not significant, is that I was admitted there too (I did not make it there finally though). Wish I had, then I would be studying alongside him! :)

19 November, 2008

100 things I love.. Love Doing

Was recently tagged by Sharanya, to list down the 100 things I love and or Love Doing. (this is not in any order of preference)
  1. Smiling people
  2. Children
  3. Friends
  4. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (the serial)
  5. IIT Guwahati
  6. St Joseph's Darjeeling
  7. Indian Railways
  8. Road Side tea stall
  9. Barista
  10. Fall colors
  11. Smell of earth after rains
  12. Kolkata
  13. Schools in rural India
  14. Chatting
  15. Large Windows
  16. Gothic architecture
  17. Cathedrals
  18. Sunsets
  19. Walking on the beach
  20. Swimming
  21. Teaching
  22. Writing poems
  23. Netra
  24. Morning Sunshine and the patterns it creates
  25. Blogging
  26. Sitting / standing on open door of Indian Railways train.
  27. Jhaal Mudhi
  28. Moong phali (Groundnuts) in trains
  29. Cooking Aloo matar
  30. Making Pooris
  31. Biking at high speeds (Suzuki Katana ideally, but 120kmph on Pulsar would also do)
  32. Smiling
  33. Post it notes
  34. Sketch books
  35. Parents
  36. Sisters
  37. Village home
  38. Earthen roads
  39. Pottery
  40. Hand made paper
  41. Handicrafts
  42. Banaras
  43. Design theory
  44. Film theory
  45. Criticism
  46. Typography
  47. Paulo Coelho
  48. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  49. Sachin Tendulkar
  50. Indian Cricket
  51. Michael Phelpps
  52. Chicago Downtown
  53. New York Subway
  54. San Francisco Trams
  55. Pacific Highway
  56. Canadian Rockies
  57. Trekking in Sikkim
  58. Driving a Mahindra Bolero (and other SUVs)
  59. Observing people in public places
  60. Hugs
  61. Moonlight
  62. Bright colors
  63. Motivating lectures (Randy Pausch, Martin Luther, Barack Obama types)
  64. Kishore Kumar's songs
  65. Black and White movies
  66. Realism
  67. 50mm 1.8 lens
  68. Fabindia Kurtas
  69. Traveling alone
  70. Striking conversations with strangers
  71. Gulab Jamuns (making and eating)
  72. Patterns in Nature
  73. Outdoor camping
  74. Born fires
  75. Taking notes in class
  76. The sound of flute
  77. Buddhism
  78. Getting nostalgic
  79. Telling stories
  80. Surprising loved ones
  81. Loving and being loved
  82. Gardening
  83. The sound of waters (sea, rivers, streams).
  84. Singing
  85. Dancing in friend's marriage
  86. Letting go of things
  87. Suggesting a book / movie to someone
  88. Indian Women
  89. Hindi Music
  90. Cultures of the world
  91. Working with music playing on my system
  92. Doing crazy stuff like skydiving !
  93. Macbook
  94. Documentary making
  95. Graphitti
  96. Sitting under a Mango tree
  97. History and historical stories
  98. Chai
  99. Hawai chappal
  100. Myself.
I tag Neha.

16 November, 2008

That's almost 10 USD dollars.
I think I can pay for a fees for one child's two months in the private school I visit.
Or better still I can buy the items to organize a small creativity exercise (like painting, drawing) in the schools.
I could travel from one corner of India to the other (Jammy to Kanyakumari) or (Guwahati to Kota) in the general class of Indian Railways.
I could do so much more !

What about you?

14 November, 2008

A moment with Netra

It's not that I am not spending time with Netra, its just that I am not being able to show my world captured through Netra's eyes to the world. She is surely disappointed. I bought her the gift the other day, the one that allows you to add extra light to what you see. Unfortunately, I have not had the time to see her adorn that. Sometimes I wonder whether it was worth it. Instead I could have got her another lens. I am sure she would have been happier.

But then, mistakes happen. One cannot get stressed because of it. Just let it go.. and move on. I am sure Netra would understand that me not spending too much time with her, is no way a signifier of me not loving her.

My love for her has not died out and will not be. We just enjoyed the beautiful fall season. It was nature at its best. Netra could not stop smiling. And why should she? It is always great to see your loved one be happy. Even if its for the silliest thing you do. She kept making those weird click noises, which would perhaps disturb the birds in the trees or annoy people passing by. But I did not care. I was happy... as she was happy. As we walked through the woods, with she in my arms, and her arms around my neck, I felt blessed. I felt blessed for being able to spend the time with someone I loved dearly and be so close to her. I guess it was more special as I was spending so much time with her after a long time.

We sit in the cozy room arms in arms, staring across the window, at the naked trees. With shades of gray and brown only. The gloomy atmosphere slowly starts to set in. It's going to be a harsh winter ahead I hear. We perhaps will go to some other places during that time.

But before that I am taking Netra to Augusta and Atlanta. The time out of the boundaries of the home and also around a different part of the US should make her feel better. I know however I am not going to be showing a different culture, but I think introducing her to some of my other friends would be good. A love should not feel sad or jealous if the other lover loves to do something and feels happy doing it. I like to enjoy with my friends and I would love that Netra also enjoys their company. I have seen so many of my friends get into bad situations if this is not the case. Like they say, I am happy if you are happy, and vice versa.I could sense the jealousy within Netra, when in one of the past weeks my love was more showered towards the art of driving and those monster vehicles. I could also sense her sobbing in the confinement of her space, crying for attention. But I hope she understands that, that love was ephemeral and transitory. True love is always long lasting and I know for sure that my love for Netra is nothing short of it.

Love ya always.

Update Update Update....

It's interesting to see how time management skills are most important in this fast paced world today. Just the other day I spoke about this and other aspects of "life" which gives one joy, to one of my friends. There were a couple of reasons for doing it. Firstly it helped him. And secondly it helped me too.
It compelled me to think about my days and how they were passing by so soon. I often wonder, did I really do something worthwhile today? Did I really work? Then I try to comfort myself by saying that I did think about a few things, I spoke to a few people about those few things (read chat), and then I did further research (read internet surfing) about those few things, typed out a few mails trying to connect one idea with the other.
Come to think of it, there are a few things that I stopped doing or don't do as frequently.
My Flickr activity is on an all time low. One way that is good, as I am able to devote time, energy and effort onto somethings more important.
Reading has caught pace again. Missing out on watching the movies though. I should do that as much as possible.
Writing up is on an all time high. Just trying to re-consolidate what I have read in the class readings and also other books helps in remembering them.

With the decision to go back to India after my masters, things have suddenly heaten up! I feel ideas playing a fast paced game in my mind. One moment I am on this idea, the other moment I am on the other. But overall the ideas seem to be focusing around a few things. I am in this phase where the mind is flooded. I need to do a mind dump some day soon. That would lead to making those connections better. I did one for my thesis project. I should do that for the other things too.

09 November, 2008

Yes we can...

Our own version of Yes We Can!

I find this post amusing, as well as thought provoking.

Of all things the American election this year, one big things that has happened is that it has instilled the hope. The power to dream again.
The desire that nothing is impossible. That extraordinary people are also ordinary at some point of time.

Thank you My Obama for that.

08 November, 2008


Why is there so uneven distribution of wealth?
Why is the general assumption amongst people that people are generally corrupt?

I wonder.

06 November, 2008

Barack Obama - Acceptance Speech

Absolutely wonderful.
Truly Inspiring.

05 November, 2008

Watching history being created....

Barack Obama becomes 44th president of the USA.
More interestingly, first black president.

Many Congratulations Barack. !
That was an awesome acceptance speech.

03 November, 2008

People ... and their thoughts....

If you say too much to the person you love... people think you are being over protective.
If you do not say .. people think you are not being loving.
If you are too close to a person of the same sex, people think you are gay.
If you talk too much to people from other sex, people think you are a pervert.
If you talk a lot about yourself, people think you are a narcissist.

People I tell you... always...have some weird thoughts!
Why can't they just live their own lives and let others live in peace with their own lives.

But that's not possible.
Gossiping is basic human nature and it cannot be changed. If it did, there would be no scandals. no page 3, no masala!

Guess one has to live by it.

02 November, 2008

If ..

...I have the money...
I would buy a SUV someday :)

Drove around one today and fell in love with it!

But ya .. this is in line after the racing and cruiser bikes.

I know I am dreaming!
But who said its a crime to dream?

Aren't they the stepping stones to reality?

30 October, 2008


:) Tagged by Sharanya on this series !
Thanks for the tag..

Initially I thought its kinda difficult to have a list of 5. As I had so many. But then when I started to think about the addiction, I think it was diffcult to comeup with something very concrete.

#1) M & M
No no .. this is not the sweets (chocolates that is pretty famous here.. and at times I have seen people have that for lunch ! OMG)
My M&M is Movies and Music. I just cannot do a day without listening to music. And of late this has revolved around only Hindi and fusion music. Rock happens to be pleasing only in the pubs or when with friends. But when I am by myself, I need music that is more pleasing to the soul. Happen to shift regularly between ghazals and oldies these days.
And I cannot do a week without watching movies(s). In a normal week, I would do 4 movies. If I am in the super mood, it could very well stretch to 7. And minimum 1 is definitely a must!

#2) FOF (Social Networking Sites)
FOF. stands for Flickr, Orkut, and Facebook. I don't use any others. Just these three. Inspite of the numerous invitations. This however is very phased out. Sometimes it is there and I do it regularly and checking it more than a few times everyday. However at times I take these voluntary breaks. It's funny how Flickr, has become more of a SNS to me than a picture uploading site. I seem to have got somereally good e-friends there. I share my life quite a lot with them. What is sad is that at times when I want someone in person, I have no one by my side and that situation really changes my mood to something bad.

#3) Morning Tea
Ever since I got into this habit of drinking tea (class KG, or 1) i developed the fascination for it.
Being in a tea-town, Darjeeling helped ! :) You had to be a proud tea drinker if you spent a good 11 years there! My favorite are the road side tea and the ones you get on the railway stations in India. Not too much finicky about which tea leaves to have. I am not much of a black tea drinker either. The closest to that I come is when I have lemon tea or ginger lemon tea.

#4) Smiling
I know this is something that is not a thing thing .. but it is something that I cannot do without! :) If I were to give a dollar to myself with everytime I smile of use the smiley emoticon in my chats/ mails / blogs, i would have been a millionaire by now! If I am not doing it, people point out and ask, is everything ok! :D
See there I go again!
It's so interesting to keep smiling when on the streets, and watch people either smile back at you, or get surprised as to whats going on in my head! The funny thing happened when once an old man at a bus stop and an old lady asked me what the joke was ! lol ! :)

#5) Sunglight and a view across a window.
I simply cannot work in a room without windows. I so wish that when I have my house, I will have one face of the room as a huge window. Or perhaps the whole wall made of glass! I am so much of a natural light person, that even my camera flash is lying around without use!

Overall I would say that I am addicted to life. But then that would be a very big category! :)
Thanks Sharanya.. that was interesting!

So, passing along the tag, I tag,

Look forward to hearing from them :)

29 October, 2008


The other day a friend of mine mentioned that one should not suppress the emotions and one should let it flow. This is something that I have been suffering from I guess.
I want to cry at times. Sometimes its cry for joy. Sometimes sorrow. Sometimes as despair. Sometimes they could be for remembrance of a failed past. But the tears just don't come. I know that inside the flow is there, but its just not evident on the front.
Perhaps thats a way to show that I am normal. But when I think about what my friend said, I think I am not.

It's funny how photographs are so instrumental as emotion enhancers. Just saw a photograph... and resulted in this situation.

Hand Writing

.... I had a realization today.
My handwriting has gone from bad to worse.

I can still make out things that I write.
But I pity myself at times for the degradation in the handwriting.


27 October, 2008

Diwali Celebrations

I have the habit of making every smallest of the events in some way special. Something that people cherish even after a few days. One such event was the Diwali celebration that was held on Friday. This was to be one cultural experience, embellished with Indian food, Indian music, Indian Dance, Indian customs and Indian people all around !

I started the celebrations with this small mantra which I think captures the essence of diwali very well.
असतो मा सद्गमय
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय
मृत्योर् मा अमृतं गमय
ॐ शांति शांति शांति
Lead us from the unreal to the real
Lead us from the darkness to the light
Lead us from death to immortality.
Let there be peace, peace and peace.

This was my Diwali party opening speech. (I had taken from some website). There was something in this speech that struck me and hence I loved it. The essence of the speech was not religious and hence i am sure everyone was able to connect with it.

While Deepavali(Diwali) is popularly known as the "festival of lights", the most significant spiritual meaning is "the awareness of the inner light".
Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this Inner Light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to one's true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman comes universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (Inner Joy or Peace).

Come join me in this celebration of the inner light that exists within each one of us.

This was followed by the recital of the Gayatri Mantra.
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः ।
तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।

भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।

धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

What I loved about this was that there was pin drop silence when I was doing it. People appreciated what I was doing and went with the flow.

This was followed by the aarti to the gods.

After this was the part which I loved the most. This was the aarti of the guests. This is something I started last year, and I was really pleased to see that people liked it. It made the whole experience more significant. The simple philosophy that we treat our guests like gods, (atithi devo bhavah) is something that I cherish and I am glad that others liked it too.

We had everyone present undergo this little cultural experience and I also put tika (made from haldi) on every guest.

I had a few extra kurtas, so I had taken it to the party and had a few American friends wear it. I was a bit surprised that people who did not get it, were dissappointed.

After this the party was all about relishing the Indian food. I seem to have developed this niche in making Aloo Matar. This happened to be the fastest finishing item ! The menu also included, Paneer, Chhole, Kesari Bath, Veg Cutlet (on the lines of Aloo tikki), Rice,Daal, Pooris, Chicken(s), Raita, chips, and soft drinks.

Cooking for a crowd of around 50 people is really difficult and I was really proud of the other Indians in the dept who helped in organizing this.

The food tasted awesome. Though I could not taste all of it, one could make out from the expressions of the people around.

Just when people were settling down with the food, came the surprise of the night. Mine and my group's dance! This was the first time I was actually performing in front of people.

And after this group song show was done, I was centerstage :) teaching all the little steps I know. What was really nice was that people were not shy to try Bollywood dancing. This feeling itself was comforting and motivating enough to continuously dance for the next hour and a half.

Time to time I got company from Viggy. And we did put on a nice show I must say :D

After this we had the fireworks. We had got sparklers and this reminded me of my childhood days, when I used to burst crackers.

The party ended with more dance and more food :)
In all an evening well spent.

I am confident that whenever my classmates hear about Diwali, they would remember this year's Diwali celebrations.

26 October, 2008

Sholay Rocks!

I guess this scene would have been one of the most acted scenes in India.
The dialog delivery is nothing short of brilliance. The actors execute their parts to perfection.

And in this one...Dharmendra totally rocked!

And this is hilarious!

Interesting trivia from the book Sholay: the making of a classic.

Amjad Khan was not the first choice for the role of Gabbar.
The scriptwriters felt that if the movie flopped, it would be due to this character.
Most critics felt that the movie tickets would be available easily in the second week, but in one theater where it was playing, the current booking stall was closed for 75 weeks due to advance bookings!
The guy saying "poore pachaas hajaar" has just these three words in the entire film.

Lost count of the number of times I have seen this movie. The joy still remains every time I re-see it.

21 October, 2008

I love .. therefore I Dance

:) ...
I went around doing some dancing today!
It's been one of my desires to do a dance performance in front of a crowd.
My turn is come to do so! and Yes... I am excited about it!

Come Friday Come !

16 October, 2008

To Darjeeling

If u reach Bagdogra (the nearest airport) by 2 pm you can go and hire a taxi and reach Darjeeling the same day.
It takes around 3 hours by taxi from Bagdogra. Try avoiding traveling on the hills in the evenings and the night especially in the month of December-February as there is always thick fog and the visibility is not very good. The drivers are real experts though. If u leave from Bagdogra in the morning u can leave by around 7 am. This way you will get enough time to visit some places in Darjeeling the same day.

In Darjeeling hotels are easy to find and u can find them in almost all gullies. Hovever for your trip to be more exotic I would suggest this.

Staying in Darjeeling.

Try finding a hotel from whose windows you can get a clear view of the mighty Himalayas.

The sunrise over the Kanchenjungha mountain is simply splendid and what can be a better way to start holiday morning with the picturesque view of the mighty mountains. Therefore the very first question you should ask a person when you reach the reception is whether the window gives a view of the mountains? Our dormitory used to have such a view and lemme tell you … right from 4 in the morning to 7 in the morning there is a very unique thing that one gets to witness. It's this .. in the moonlight you can see the mountains in the yellowish color and as the morning makes it way into our lives you will find the color change from yellow to purple to red to orange to golden to white…!!
It leaves you mesmerized and the beauty thrilled. Hotels near “The Mall” are nice and good. So u can try that. There were no five star hotels there till we were there so I don’t know if one has come up recently.

Places to go. There are quite a few places that you would want to go to depending on what excites you.
You will not find many discotheques or pubs .., but what you will get is your full of Nature…
And it’s the best thing to enjoy there…

You can go to the main points namely the
Botanical Garden ( it has a huge and awesome collection of Orchids and the flora of the Himalayas )
The Zoo (There are some nice species there.. The Himalayan Bear, Pandas, Snow Leopards, Siberian Tigers to name a few)
Make sure you visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Here u can get the actual view of the paraphernalia that were used by Tenzing Norway in his Everest Expedition. This place also has an indoor rock climbing place where you can try your hands.
If you want to try rock climbing or rock rappling on the real rocks then you can try them at the Tenzing Rock and Gombu Rock.

You can also go to the Rock Garden and a Ganga Maiya park which is quite beautiful as it in the valley between pine trees...very picturesque environment. There are regular taxis that take you there. You go to the base of the hills so it’s a nice drive with tea gardens on the hill slopes.
On the way you might as well go and see inside the tea factory and get urself surrounded by tea leaves in the plantations… with ladies plucking the tea leaves.

Of course when you come back … do get some of the world famous Darjeeling tea… Nathmull’s is a good place to buy the right choice of tea. Very aromatic and sure to please your senses…

When you go towards Northpoint you will come to the Rope-way to a tea estate below... It’s a wonderful ride as it takes you over the tea gardens… and it’s a beautiful experience…

Of course... just beside the ropeway is my School St Joseph’s College, North Point. If you happen then do get some snaps of my alma mater and send them over to me.

Inside and around Darjeeling there are other attractions like the Batasia Loop, just before the Ghoom Railway Station . If you have hired a taxi from Bagdogra, one can stop over and have a look at the amazing omega shaped railway track that the toy train takes on its way to Darjeeling. You also get a very pleasant view of the mighty mountains from here.

If the toy train is running still you can take a ride on it and imagine yourself like Saif Ali Khan in Parineeta!!!

Thupten Sangag Choling (Dali) and Yiga - Choling(Ghoom) - the Buddhist monasteries of Bhutan Busty and the Japanese Peace Pagoda are also nice places to visit.

Traveling around
Inside Darjeeling the best way to travel is on foot. Checking out the local cuisines and the Local handicrafts. There is a huge Tibetan community there who sell some really nice handicrafts. The momos are a delicacy there and you will find them almost everywhere.
If you want to do shopping the best place is the Chowrasta and the Mahakal Market. You can even go to the Chowrasta for a evening walk or a horse ride. The Oxford book store and the Amigoz restaurant at the Chowrasta are impressive. There are a lot of foreign goods that are available there on the streets and in the shops…
While going towards the Chowrasta comes an old hotel by the name Glenary’s where you get one of the best Bakery stuff. A hot cup of coffee in the cafeteria there, on a cold overlooking the Himalayas pure bliss!!!!

If you want to try burgers and hot-dogs try some at the Keventer’s.
From the Chowrasta there is a way that goes to the North point (the place of the ropeway and my school ) that is around 2.5 kms and the Zoo, the Mountaineering Institute come in the way. Therefore I suggest to walk this small distance.

The taxi wallahs do charge exorbitant rates especially for tourists.
If you have a spare day after roaming the places in Darjeeling you can go for White Water Rafting in the Teesta river. The drive down to the river is around 2 hours through pine forests and Tea gardens. And the water of the mountain river is chilly but its fun…! I had gone there some 6 years ago and it was an awesome experience…!

The other option that most tourists do is to hire a guide and they take you to some 5 or 6 points and say that’s it all is there in Darjeeling; which I don’t quite agree.
If you have any doubt ever in your stay in Darjeeling, Contact the DGHC (Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council) offices that is situated at quite a few places there. They will be able to guide you.

Although it has been quite a while since I went to Darjeeling but the memories still is afresh and will be there all life long. If you need anything else .. Just feel free to bug me .. I will answer it if I can!


Why do we say and do Namaste..

I found this interesting article.
Indians greet each other with namaste. The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all - people younger than us, of our own age, those older than us, friends and even strangers.

Welcome to India

There are five forms of formal traditional greeting enjoined in the shaastras of which namaskaram is one. This is understood as prostration but it actually refers to paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a namaste. Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = namaste. It means - I bow to you - my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. Namaha can also be literally interpreted as "na ma" (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another.

Read the entire article here.

15 October, 2008

Unforgotten desires

...write a book. (this refurbished after this year's Booker prize winner was yet another Indian)
...make a movie. (this came back after a discussion with a friend who went to Film School)
...travel across all states in India before I turn 30.
...visit North East. (Again .. inspiration from a friend who wants to work in the North East)
...teach a class for a semester. (Came back strongly after I got more involved in design preaching)
...take photography workshops. (Friday, I taught another friend... that inspired me!)
...take my grandparents on a plane ride. (I hear Jet and KF merged in India and Capt Gopinath wants to stick with the LCC model)
...stay in Varanasi in winters for a week or more and do photo-documentary inspired by a Satyajit Ray's film.
...revisit Kolkata and find this child.
It haunts me...

Time is unstoppable. Why should the desires be stopped and forgotten?

14 October, 2008

Dil jo bhi kahega ...

Loved the lyrics of this song ..
So true!
Raj Kapoor and Mukesh combo was so good!

दिल जो भी कहेगा मानेंगे
दुनिया में हमारा दिल ही तो है
हर हाल में जिसने साथ दिया
वो एक बिचारा दिल ही तो है

कोई साथी न कोई सहारा
कोई मंजिल न कोई किनारा
रुक गए जिस जगह दिल ने रोका
चल दिए जिस तरफ़ दिल पुकारा
हम प्यार के प्यासे लोगों की -2
मंजिल का इशारा दिल ही तो है

दुनिया में हमारा दिल ही तो है
दिल जो भी कहेगा मानेंगे
दुनिया में हमारा दिल ही तो है

हार मानी नहीं ज़िन्दगी से
हंस के मिलते रहे हर किसी से
क्यूँ न इस दिल पे कुरबान जाएँ
सह लिए जिस ने ग़म भी खुशी से
सुख में जो न खेले हम ही तो हैं -2
दुःख से जो न हारा दिल ही तो है

दुनिया में हमारा दिल ही तो है

अपनी जिंदादिली के सहारे
हमने दिन ज़िन्दगी के गुजारे
वरना इस बेमुरव्वत जहाँ में
और कब्जे में क्या है हमारे
हर चीज़ है दौलत वालों की -2
मुफलिस का सहारा दिल ही तो है

दुनिया में हमारा दिल ही तो है

12 October, 2008

The Third Promise

Of late have been analyzing the medium of black and white film and realist cinema.
In an attempt to understand more on the realist notion of film theory, today I watched the movie Teesri Kasam.

I absolutely loved the movie or a ton of reasons. Here are a few of them.

The innocence of Raj Kapoor. (I wished that I was there in his times to see him in person.)
The ever beautiful Waheeda Rehman (I actually told my sister to tell mom to find a girl like her :P for me)
The movie is set in Bihar.. so that makes it more special. (I added a new entity in my bucket list. To make a movie / documentary set in rural Bihar)
The chai dukaan scene at the fair. They speak my home language there at the chai stall. I got all senti with tears and all on hearing that.. Emotions I tell u .. hard to control at times..
The rural roads.. the bullock carts..

I cried for a while today on listening to this song...

..and then sang along aloud to this one. I felt so happy singing aloud after such a long time!

Was one of those days .. that is just meant to be for oneself... and enjoyed with things that you love doing. I am glad I was able to do some of them.

08 October, 2008

Today was Lovely.

A small account of the things that made me smile today.

The rain and the smell of the earth.
The fall colors of the tree at the business school.
The fallen leaves of the fall on the ground after the rains.

The sunshine just before the rains and the people sitting beside the waters.

A meeting with a professor and working on a project that I love.
A documentary "The Impassioned Eye" about HCB.
A few chapters in the book "The Mind's Eye" by HCB.


04 October, 2008


Why do we get frustrated with things?
Why do we get the feeling of loneliness at times?
Why does one feel that they are worthless at times?
Why is there pessimism around?

Just ramblings....

02 October, 2008

Idol Talk | Henri Cartier Bresson

I think that everyone has some idol or the other. Someone they worship. Idols serve as good inspirations and its always great to know and read more about them. It gives one the confidence that what you are doing , can be done and people have done it.

I am currently reading a book The Mind's Eye by Henri Cartier Bresson , whom I fondly like to call HCB :). It is his writings on photographers and photography.

In the first chapter, there is something that I really liked.
Below is an excerpt of it and I think that I as a photographer, live by these words.
For me the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to "give a meaning" to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry - it is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photographs with the respect for the subject and for oneself.

Initially I used to that this is something that holds so true especially when shooting portraits. But now when I think about it, it is also about other subjects equally.
To take photographs is to hold one's breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy. To take photographs means to recognize - simultaneously and within fraction of a second - both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. Its putting one's head, one's eye, and one's heart on the same axis.
It's all about the moment. HCB also calls this The Decisive Moment. A phrase that he coined and later went on to write about it as well. It is that fraction of a second that you click the photograph. But thats easier said than done. The perfect blend of these different components comes about after years of practice.

Here is a shot that I had taken a while back, which was inspired by his most famous photo.
Away from God

This is the inspiration for the photo above.

27 September, 2008

Lucky Number

But, before I stick onto my current lucky number, I think I should give a short history of my lucky numbers.
My first lucky number I can remember about, was 2.
This was logical as I born on 20th and
that adds upto 2.
I stuck to it for a pretty long time, and then something happened.

When I went to North Point, the roll numbers were in the order of the surnames. So I was at roll number 5. And then, at a game show in the school fete, when I was in class 5, and I had won a prize (a brylcream hair cream), after I had randomny selected 5 as the number. So here I was getting these signs from somewhere that perhaps 5 was my lucky number!

I remember reading those sacred mantras before sleeping 5 times, and also taking up the number 5 jersey, when playing for the house football games. (too bad that I sucked at them though :P)
So it was 5 all around! Players who wore the number 5 jersey, became my favorite and I made it a point to have the number 5 around me at all times.

Little did I know that the hair cream was going to be the only prize I would ever win!

As the classes changed, a couple of guys left our school, or something happened. My new roll number was 3.
Hence, yes you guessed it right. My lucky number changed to 3.
Also, for a stretch of around 5 years, class 6-class 10, I was coming third in class, so it was natural for me select 3. A lot of people consider 3 to be unlucky. There are lot of things that people say that you should not do three times. But here I was. Thinking that I was "different" and perhapd 3 was my lucky number!

Did not really get lucky with 3, so i thought to change back to my good old 2.
Back in IIT, my jersey number at he hockey team was 2. I was just trying to stick to this.
Nothing lucky really happened.

I tried 13, 7, and 4 for a few days too. No luck in either of them...
So the whole concept of a lucky number faded away ..

Of late I have been feeling that my lucky number is 9.
I will tell you why!
I recently turned 27. Which adds up to 9.
I was born in 81, which again adds up to 9. :)
I was born in the 9th month of the year.

So,What's your lucky number?

24 September, 2008

The notion of friends...

When I was a kid, I always had a problem with the spelling of the word friend. I often mis-spelt it as freind. And someone would correct me.

Then one day, someone said this to me.
A friend is one who is always there till the end, after all even the word says it, friEND.
So that was the most valid definition of a friend that I imprinted in my mind.

This whole notion of friends and friendship has been with me from a very young age.
Being in a co-ed boarding school, the first few years of my life that I can remember, the notion of a friend was that of a person who shared tuck boxes. Those who played with me and those who helped me in some way. It would at times also be a person who liked the same teacher, or disliked another person. It could also be a person from the same town as you, or if our fathers knew each other. There was no differentiation between a boy and a girl. All were equally worthy of friendship.

Time moved on, I switched schools. I remember a couple of names but then that was the last time I spoke to the friends from that school.
Now in 1991, I was in a only boys boarding school. The notion of having friends revolved around only boys. So school outings, or the school fete, were always special occasions as that would give us the remote possibility of breaching the code and having a friend who was a girl. I did have some friends who switched to the same school as me so there was some similar faces around in the new school.

First lessons in sex education happened around class 6, and the different kind of friendship with a girl started to play out in the mind. Would have been around that time the notion of a girlfriend was implanted, though that did not happen till much later. Thanks to the notion that a girlfriend was a distraction and hence was not acceptable in the society that I grew up in.
So my gang was mostly with guys. And it was no surprise that i did not have the same set of friends over my birthday cake for two consecutive years. Every year the set would change. Sometimes it would just be a friend to get some work done or often at times by a senior to bully the juniors.

Being good academically, the other interesting thing was that my set of friends increased near exam times and then after that friendship was a lost word in a storm of activities that followed soon later.
There was also a time when there were no close friends and hence I guess that explains my easy mixing capabilities with as many as possible. I was always on the lookout for a person whom i could trust and be with at all times.

One of the not so good things that my school North Point did was, it made me shy of girls.
Though it did make me good at a ton of other things. So no regrets on that one. End of education in the magnificient hills of Darjeeling and I moved to the only hilly town of Bihar, Ranchi. (This was before the partition).

Time moved on and I landed in this school where the prime focus was studies. And I tell you, in class 11, I was psyched at seeing people solve Mathematics questions of IIT Exams JEE. So it was kind of difficult to imagine and believe still that India's cricket captain, Dhoni, was a senior to me. Though I never spoke to him. After all he was not my friend! :)

And yes, this again was a co-ed school. So the possibility of having a girl friend was still in the picture. But as I was shy, I did not go about talking to girls for almost the first year of this new school. But ya, I did manage to make a few friends who were girls.

The concept of friends here revolved around people with whom I went tuitions with. People with whom I shared the flat. And people who would accompany to the movies.

Then I moved to Delhi for a year, and here the notion of a friend was one who went to same coaching institute with me. They sat in the same coaching classes and discussed with the same teachers.

After that I shifted base to Guwahati for a period of four years. The notion of friends here then shifted to someone who is in the same department as me. Sometimes it could also be a friend who was in the same hostel. At other times it was someone who sneaked upto the ghats to take a fag or gulp down a booze. Or perhaps just accompany to the outside tea stall for a cuppa chai.
It would also be a set of people who agreed to whatever you did. Lets call that activity as bunking classes. Or revolt against a teacher.

This was the time when the whole notion of a real friend and one who walks in when the whole world walks out came into the picture.
This was in 2003-2005.

College life was interesting. Internet and chatting was making it big. It also brought the notion of a friend whom you might never meet. I would have not thought about this some years ago, but then it was happening. So when the hunt for a friend would end in failure in the campus, a lot of us would be seen in the computer centers, looking for "that special friend".

2005, I shifted base to Bangalore. Initially it was the notion of anyone i knew was my friend. But then this was the time where we get to face the "real world". So the notion shifted strongly to someone who could help you in even the smallest possible manner when you are in deep sh**.

Also, after the job started, notion of a friend revolved around someone who could accompany to the pubs and the theaters and go on long bike rides.

Then Flickr, Orkut and other internet related things happened. So now there was this notion of an e-friend.

Over the past 22 odd years, I managed to make a few great friends. A few lost touch with and a lot few I am still are able to keep in touch with a lot of them.

Why this post?
It was my birthday and I was really surprised at the number of scraps / wall posts / comments I got. I had a lot of people that just wished me, because the reminders said them to. I am sure I would not have got even 10 % of that if it was hidden or not mentioned anywhere.
What was more disappointing that the notion of a friend that was imprinted in my mind made me sad. People whom you thought to be close, did not wish. Not a big deal I know, as people are busy with their own lifeworlds.

But still, I wish I had the handful of friends that would stand by the definition of a friend that I have.

19 September, 2008

Love of Tea...

..as far as I can remember...
since i was 5 .. some 22 years ago...
My fascination for tea started...
I remember making all bahaanaa to not have milk and get a glass of tea instead!

Morning Blues

I guess it was also due to being surrounded by tea gardens all around.
The beds of tea bushes on those undulating hills in its zillion shades of green had something in it.
The aroma of the tea (for which Darjeeling tea is famous for) was something that put tea drinking into my soul.

And now not a single day passes when I do not have tea.
Heat, Rain or Snow,
Summer, Winter or monsoon,
There is always a toast to the chai.


18 September, 2008


Life is a lot about balance!

After doing the Mind Dump, yesterday, I start out to balance out the things in my life.
I think its really important to do that from time to time, so that one thing does not pre-dominate over the other.

17 September, 2008

Mind Dump

A fresh (blank) piece of paper.
Pen / Pencil

Time to perform: 15-20 minutes.

Ideal place to perform: While traveling :)

Activity: Just dump everything that is going on in your mind onto that piece of paper. Of the things that you are doing, things that you wished you would do, things you wish you would do.
This could be as simple as doing groceries, calling mom, cleaning house, call up lover, learn something, chat with someone, read/post blogs, etc etc.

Do in silence independently and without consulting anyone and without any censorship.

After doing this, reflect for a while.
It's amazing how much it works. One is able to see the different tasks and what's taking how much time.

I did this today, and was surprised to find out that I was not able to stop writing!
My page was full and I was still finding for place to write more.
At the end it struck me, my life is way tooooo complicated, with toooo many of unwanted things taking up too much of my precious time.

Chief result: Prioritize things. Time management.

You cannot do EVERYTHING well. Do somethings only, but do it VERY WELL.

15 September, 2008

What's going on?

Currently am reading "Buddha" by Deepak Chopra, almost about to finish it.
Have another few books piled up.
"A Wedding in December" is one of them.
Apart from that been doing a lot of reading for my courses here at college.
Philosophy, Design and Art books! Uff.. too much !
The only problem that I have is to read these course work stuff from the laptop. And I don't like to print just for the sake of reading once.

Saw "Before Sunrise" yesterday, very sweet movie.
I so want to visit Europe someday! I remember when a friend asked me if I had visited Europe, I replied saying that Europe is too romantic of a destination to be roamed alone!

I am also trying to catch up on watching documentaries.
Just saw "Ocean Odyssey", Simply outstanding. These BBC and Nat Geo folks definitely know HOW to make Documentaries!
And ya my desire to make documentaries keep increasing day after day!

Catching up with people
I love to stay in touch with people. Just the other day, I got in touch with a friend from school who now is a lead Bass guitarist in the band Silver (www.silvertheband.com), which won the Yamaha Rox 2008 and the Independence Rock 2008 in India.

Cooking and Eating
Relishing on South Indian Food lately! Thanks to my roomie and the awesome friends !

I read somewhere that a person in his/her life makes a career shift four to five times. I wonder when mine first one is going to be. I get a feeling that it may be pretty soon.

14 September, 2008


....as if the floods were not enough, India gets another set of serial blasts to deal with.

God.. Why!!!
Why can't these (whoever they are) people just think a bit on the grounds of humanity instead of just animosity.

I was surprised by a comment by a person on an online group I am part of
Me: :( Another Serial Blasts rocks India.
XXX: @Happy, Blasts have become common here...

It appears that the common man is also starting to accept this as a way of life.

I would strongly suggest to see this movie "A Wednesday".

Apart from some brilliant acting by the veterans Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher, I totally loved the refreshing concept of the movie.
It has a very strong point to put forward as well. I think its high time people did something like this.

11 September, 2008

Fav Movies

These are the few movies that I have loved.
Not in any particular order.

These films inspire me day in day out to get into film making!
Someday surely I will.

10 September, 2008

Contribute to the Flood Relief Work

Here's a link to different ways in which one can contribute to the flood relief works in Bihar.

Ways to Contribute

Everyday I have been following the happenings across the different India based news sites.
I am sure there are stories of inspiration and wonder also in this times of trouble. Wonder why they do not cover that?

04 September, 2008

Lost Smiles

This is in memory of the many people who have been rendered homeless in the recent floods in Bihar.

Lost Smiles..

Lost Smiles

In the darkness of the day,
a deluge unwanted arose.
from the waters untamed..
..which were once a blessing.

To territories once abandoned
..to places one thought safe
making its presence felt ..
in lives it never dwelt.

One lost those crops
Some lost a beloved
Some their kins...
but all their smiles.

Haunting memories...
it leaves each day.
stories to be told
for centuries later.

How am i to...
laugh again.
how am i to get back
to the future
without a scar
of the recent past.

How am I to smile again?

15 August, 2008

A taste of India

It had been a while since I wore the Chef Hat.
Cooking is another of those things that I love to do from time to time. This time I had an occassion too. The Indian Independence Day.
So the chef in me decided to make something that was truly a taste of India. And when I think about India, I think really sweeeeeeeeet sweets!
And yes .. you guessed it right.
My favorite , the gulab jamun.

So I got this MTR mix, which I think is not as good as the Gits one. Though, I must admit these mixes has made making gulab jamuns so easy.
Tip #1 here is that you add water slowly slowy and then kneed to a dough. Else you end up with a not so good mix. And thats when the trouble begins. As you will keep trying, to solidify it a bit.
While you are doing this, make the sugar syrup which is basically boiling sugar in water.
Add cardamoms to the syrup when its boiling. This adds a wonderful aroma and taste to the syrup and is very authentically Indian.
Tip #2: if you end up adding more water to the mix , leave it for a while. The water is soaked up by the mix. If that does not help, add extra mix. If you cannot find a gulab Jamun mix, like me, A rasmalai one would do too :D
Apply some ghee onto your hands, so that the dough does not stick to the hands.
Tip # 3: Do NOT put extra ghee onto your hands. All equipments around you would be greasy greasy if you are handling them. Especially like me when I was trying to click the pics myself too and Nikky was getting bruised and battered with the desi ghee.!
Then make spherical balls with the dough in your palm. The rounder , the better!
Fry these to dark brown in a low heat.
Tip# 4: Make sure you stir these. Else they tend to get roasted unevenly. And not only does it taste bad, it also Looks bad!
Tip# 5: Fry in low heat. The outer layer get brown so soon, that it is misleading. You would think its done, whereas actually its still raw in the inside.

Dump those fried ones in the sugar syrup that is still warm.

Serve it in a glass bowl, to make it look better! And add nuts to the taste!
And thus finishes the gulab jamun making experience!
Happy Independence Day!
I hope your experience was just as sweet as this is.