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Looking Skywards

I stumbled upon the moon in the evening sky while looking skywards. I was clicking patterns of clouds when I saw, what I thought was a rather bright looking wisp of crescent cloud; I soon realized it was actually the Moon! Felt a little strange, almost surreal because the sun, though was setting fast, the sky was still very brightly lit (it was about 5:26 PM when I clicked the first picture). Captured a few shots, and as the sun went down, the moon grew in prominence (The first picture does not have the moon. You also might find it hard to locate the moon in the second pic � at least in the smaller version - look a little harder, it�s that bright speck right in the center.):

Came home feeling cheerful at my achievement but there was more to come. I captured, while standing at my living room�s balcony, these beautiful clouds, tainted orange by rays of setting sun�

I am a dawn person. I despise dusks (they make me pensive, at times glum) but today was an exception. As I sat listening to Norah Jones�s Come away with me, I couldn�t help grinning at the special meaning that track 6 had begun to imply after this evening�s lunar escapades�

�Summer days are gone too soon
Shoot the moon, missed completely��

(Honest confession: I deserve to be smacked for having taken the song to too literal a direction)

posted: 30.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

That tree along the road...

Here is the complete story behind picture no. 8 (lets call it "leaf-clasp" for want of better title). I usually step out for lunch almost every day. While I don't really care much about food, the very exercise of being away from the grind of office is a relieving one and ensures my healthy existence in my cubicle right into later hours of evening. I used to pass this particular tree everyday but on this given day it had manifested itself into a striking subject. There were two discreet sets of branches. The group at bottom was comprised of old rotten leaves; the upper half had fresh growth of tiny leaflets bundled together in this interesting "rose-bud" like form. This is what the tree looked like:

The Tree 3 Weeks Ago

And this is exactly when I had taken picture of one of the leaf-buds.

I revisited the tree after three weeks and was enthralled to see its complete transformation into something more proper. (Agreed that it wasn't half as interesting a subject for photographs as it was three weeks ago, when it was going through "transmutation" pangs, I felt a lot happier for the tree. Pardon my melodramatic choice of words ;-), but as would be obvious when you look at the present photographs, I am not exaggerating wee bit!)

The Tree as it looks now

Here is close-up shot of one of the groups of leaves:
The Tree as it looks now

The bushy canopy of numerous clusters of upside-down umbrellas of leaves is a far cry from its tired, sick appearance of three weeks back!

posted: 20.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

A Prison Diary - Volume II: How about a blog instead Lord Jeffrey?

Having read volume one of this thee part series, I picked up Jeffrey Archer�s A Prison Diary Volume II with much anticipation. It disappoints to say the least (no its not my grumpy mood today). The first volume had the novelty of depicting, how when someone of the social stature of Lord Jeffrey, confronted with vile realities of Britain�s prison system, reacts. That novelty seems to have worn off. Unless you are keen to know what Mr.Archer had for each meal or his mundane prison routine or those banal tales of drug trade in prison (which we got enough of in the first volume) stay away from this book.

To be fair, the book is not without its brilliant moments � Sergio�s discourse on precious stone trade in Colombia and Botero are engrossing. There are hues of British humor as well �Jules and I watch Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline in French Kiss which has us both laughing, but then we are a captive audience� but are they reasons enough to get the book, I am not quite sure. An author always walks the tightrope between personal and professional lives � how much of your personal life do you allow to spill over into your works � given that it�s a diary you would expect a lot. Agreed that perhaps Mr. Archer was wrongly at the receiving end of a one off error by British legal system but then one wishes that he was a little more sporting and graceful about the entire episode. The book is replete with numerous cynical references to Ms. Nicholson which coming from Mr. Archer, feel a little petty. Overall the book comes across as a mere lackluster whine of an embittered person treated unfairly by system than as an exceptional chronicle of hardships of prison life (which is what one would expect from an author of the caliber of Lord Jeffrey Archer).

posted: 18.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

A day in the woods and nature photography

�What if this life if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare�

I got several opportunities to both stand and stare last week. It is hard to believe that within 45 minutes of driving away from Bangalore you can find yourself in wilderness devoid of city noise, pollution and your cell-phone signal.

Here are some of the pictures that I clicked while I was away - they might look as clich�d as nature photographs come but they must be endured keeping in mind that they are only my first attempt at any serious still nature photography:

I was amused to find that most beautiful of flowers blossomed in most obscure of locations � often under rocks or amidst thorny bushes. The first picture is that of the �Touch Me Not Plant� (I didn�t know that the plant bore such beautiful flowers till I saw one myself). The second picture brings out the perfect symmetry that nature displays so often (I fondly call this picture �A Ladder of Thorns�). I almost missed this tiny white flower under one huge boulder. The pale star covering the white petals marks this one striking. The fourth picture is the result of my city bred self getting excited over this vibrant shade of orange which I�ve never seen color a flower. Deciphering fifth picture is left as an exercise to the reader. The sixth picture exits because the lavender colored trio of flowers deserved a shot! Don�t quite know why I clicked the seventh one probably because we needed berries to complete the ensemble of ferns, petals and thorns. The eight pic was actually taken within the city, that too along a busy road. I was enamored by the shape in which the leaves were bunched together as if they were fingers of a human hand clasping skywards. Sometimes your subjects can present themselves at unexpected places. Nothing exceptional about the last one, just that I haven�t come across numerous buds and flowers on the same branch and so considered this one worth preserving.

You can click on any of the pictures to download their high-res versions. Do leave me a short note if you chose to use any of them as your wallpaper (I�d be genuinely flattered :-))

posted: 17.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

The Matrix Revolutions: Nothing revolutionary about it

So I finally did watch The Matrix Revolutions and since it is probably one of the most blogged about movie of our times, I am obligated to blog my dissertation promptly. Despite being a serious Matrix fan, situations at work ensured that I only get to see it two weeks after the coveted world premier on November 5th � which does take some of the bite away. Although my friends who had watched the movie already, did their best to keep mum about what the grand finale looked like, the press this time kept dropping enough hints to aid educated minds put two and two together; the report Newsweek published last week being the biggest spoilsport of them all (and if you missed that, the Time this week has one too). Bottom-line � my expectations (if any) were low.

If you are a Matrix buff you would probably go to the theatre with a slight positive prejudice (even after all that you might�ve read); my case was no different. Unfortunately, forty minutes into the movie and the reality on screen makes any positive bias you brought along wither away (getting a seat in second-last Balcony row, where acoustics of the theatre are somewhat suspect, doesn�t help matters either) The action sequences adhere to oft repeated (and now oh so predictable) calisthenics. The only sequence that kept my attention was the gallant fight with Sentinels � that too because of the sheer technical merit involved in keeping those mind numbing number of objects on screen, moving concertedly.

For some queer reason, the movie kept reminding me of Star Wars (the fact that both movies are trilogies has got nothing to do with it), perhaps because of the �council� or probably because those giant robotic figures which queue up to battle the Sentinels resembled the machine armies one comes across so often in Star Wars. I only hope, that Wachowvsky brothers aren�t toying with the idea of a prequel (sadly the storyline has ample room for one). I kept wondering if there was a need for this botched third installment and if things could have been settled a little more respectfully in the first sequel itself.

I came out of theatre feeling a little sad � no not at Mr. Anderson�s valiant demise (oops did I just give it away) but at realization that I had just whiled away a wonderful sunny, breezy winter afternoon.

posted: 16.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

Narcissist Innuendos?

While sipping hot tea away in woods, I snapped this picture of overturned cups, awaiting their turn to be filled to brim with the hot beverage:


(In case you still haven't figured what's so narcissist about these harmless looking cups, most of them have my name written on them ;-)).

posted: 10.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

A little bit of Beethoven

I've been listening to Beethoven all day (nothing new about that), in particular, to his 7th Symphony - something I rarely do (my favorite symphonic works of Beethoven are his 5th and 9th). It struck me how similar the first movement is to Tchaikovsky's "Slave Marche" - both in theme and style of composition (especially somewhere around 7th minute of first movement; for a moment I couldn't tell it was Beethoven I was listening to). If 9th Symphony is made memorable by the choral finale, 7th Symphony is rendered remarkable by its elegant second allegretto movement - a must hear.

Today I also got an opportunity to listen to his flute works. A lot of Beethoven compositions are mere re-arrangements of his own works. Take for instance Op. 104 which is a quintet rearrangement of Piano Trio No. 3 from Op. 1. The piece I heard today was a serenade in D for flute and piano, Op. 41, which is rearrangement of the same serenade originally composed for flute violin and viola, Op. 25. For the first time I happen to own both the original work and its re-arrangement and the experience of listening to them in succession is exhilarating to say the least - especially when you get down to analyzing how a piece originally played on violin and viola is morphed to suit a piano.

posted: 10.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

For My Love Of Coffee...
Coffee, besides been being source of stimulation, has also been subject of some of my blogs. In fact my very first blog entry originated in Barista over a cup of Cappuccino; so its only fair that I demonstrate my fondness for it "graphically"...

I Love Coffee!

This one has been manipulated digitally - if you pay close attention, you'll notice that "Macchiato" on top right corner is laterally inverted ;-). The cup contains a serving of Mocha (though I am sure you couldn't have told ;-)).
posted: 6.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

Empty Spaces

Here are two pictures that capture similar themes, empty spaces, and are yet so starkly contrasting:

The first one depicts the vast expanse of skies where clouds roam about freely, the boundless playground. The second one too captures magnanimous roominess albeit it is enmeshed by enormous metal beams and glass walls. The impression of spaciousiness conveyed by latter is rendered specious the moment you contrast it with former.

(Techie Note: You can click the pictures to view their high resolution 1600x1200 versions. Be careful though, you�ll not only need good bandwidth but also a spacious hard-disk)

(Techie Note 2: My comment provider went down - been happening too often now, so I've switched to HaloScan)Backblog is back! Couldn't get HaloScan to work, may be I'll get back to it some other day

posted: 4.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

Exploring a new medium of artistic expression...
Thanks to my camera, some of my sketches can come out of my doodle-book on to my blog, better still; I can touch them-up digitally before posting... Here is my first attempt at getting these drawings out (this one is just a photograph of a sketch sans any digital filigree - btw no animals were harmed - physically or psychologically - during filming of this shot).

Partial Eclipse Of My Heart:

I can't wait to see what comes out of this (strange?) cross between the two mediums..
posted: 3.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

The Journey Home...
Given the weariness induced by last 30 hours or so of flying I am surprised to find myself blogging. But blogging each day is becoming like an exercise in relaxation - something like listening to music; my queer inquisitive watchful nature ensuring there is never a dearth of things to say.

The journey home was as banal, as eventless as it gets. I had a connection to Detroit from LA from where I flew to Amsterdam and finally from there to Mumbai. If I was not sleeping during the flight, I was probably waiting for the next meal, though having lost sense of time completely; it is hard to tell whether I yearned for a breakfast, a lunch or a dinner. I must confess that food was decent throughout. Despite being a total vegetarian (and just short of being vegan), and despite not having specified vegetarian as my meal preference, there was enough to feast on even on-board connection within US.

The landing at Detroit was made remarkable by the view outside. This being late October meant that autumn had set in. The complete transformation that the trees go through in most western countries is something we hardly get to see in cities in India (I can speak authoritatively only about Bangalore and Delhi and they at least are deprived of any notion, whatsoever, of "fall"). There were rows and columns of trees (amongst ordered construction of houses), whose canopies were not green but vibrant shades of yellow, orange and rust. The grass on the ground was still green, but the trees it seemed had become oblivious of the very color that largely controls their survival (no wonder that they appeared exotic to my tropic conditioned self). I would let this picture tell you the rest:


The flight to Amsterdam while boarding, played Vivaldi's Four Seasons - though before they could get past 3rd movement of "Spring", it was time to take off. The landing at Amsterdam was delayed due to dense fog hampering visibility. True to my nature, I was at a music shop at the airport within 5 minutes of landing. I spotted a 6 CD-set of entire quartet works of Beethoven - including the elusive Op. 130 and Op.133 (gross fugue) but since I had a copy of each work except one on CD 4, I decided against buying it. (Also I would rather have all my quartet recordings by same quartet (Cleveland Quartet)). I did buy complete flute works by Beethoven, one of his rare religious work - Op. 85 "Christus am Olberge", and Carl Oreff's famous work Carmina Burana.

I was carrying a paper bag in which I had stuffed a couple of rather fat books and all other purchases made at airports. When I landed at Bangalore this afternoon, the bag brushed against someone's suitcase and caved in to all the weight, scattering my stuff on floor with a muted thud. Within no time, I not only had people helping me collect my things, but at least two of them also offered me their carry bags! It sure felt nice to be back amongst friendly, warm people of your own race!
posted: 2.11.03 | permalink | 0 comments

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