30 October, 2008
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.
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
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.
27 October, 2008
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
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
16 October, 2008
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.
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!
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.
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.
15 October, 2008
...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.
Time is unstoppable. Why should the desires be stopped and forgotten?
14 October, 2008
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
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
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
02 October, 2008
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.
This is the inspiration for the photo above.