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Musings on Photography
I have taken up photography at a time when digital photography is fast becoming the de facto standard. I still remember, barely years ago, giving rolls for processing and waiting patiently for the results. Typically each processed roll would also be accompanied with strips of negatives which I would look at and quip about the ghastly, ghostly, shadowy appearances of subjects in them.

The effort and running costs involved in conventional dark-room processing of photographs would have probably endowed my shot selection with a little more prudence than what I exercise today. On the other hand, it would have hindered learning by experimentation, by unrestrained trials and errors.

There are three shots, hackneyed as they might sound, that I definitely want to click one day. - A full bright rainbow (not like one here), a lightening bolt and a butterfly at work inside a flower. I recently went to a flower show (my first one ever!) in search of the latter. Though I didn’t quite manage a butterfly, I did capture a honey bee toiling to gather nectar from pollen.

I usually like to present a picture just as it was taken – sans any digital artifice – untouched, unaltered with its imperfections intact. I have manipulated pictures digitally but either to add text or to join them to make a collage. This time however, I wanted to do something more – perhaps add a little more expression to the picture than what it originally conveyed or maybe make it convey something it didn’t intend to. Here are the results:

p.s. if you think they are worthy of adorning your desktop, drop me a line. I’ll only be too glad to email a high resolution version across.
posted: 28.8.04 | permalink | 3 comments

Valse Du Petit Chien
Chopin’s Nocturnes have been my staple music for past few days. Chopin’s Funeral - his biography by Benita Eisler is the next book on my shelf that awaits reading (Which is once I am done finishing LOTR – yes LOTR at last! – I have vowed to address those unfortunate voids in my education but I digress here). While I think his Nocturnes his profoundest and most expressive works, his Piano Concertos, Waltzes, Preludes, Polonaises and Mazurkas are not any less worthy of hearing. It usually happens that a difficult or intense piece by a composer has a rather trifle anecdote behind it. One such piece is Chopin’s Op. 64, No. 1 Waltz which is often known by its nick – “Dog Waltz” or “Petit Chien”. The Valse du Petit Chien or the Waltz of the Small Dog was written by Chopin for his lover, George Sand’s dog. She had a little dog who would often go in circles chasing its tail. Once she frivolously remarked to Chopin that if she had Chopin’s talent she would write that poor creature a waltz and hence the “Dog Waltz” was composed.

When I recently saw this little pup straggling around merrily, I couldn’t resist smiling to myself (and clicking it!):

posted: 19.8.04 | permalink | 4 comments

Independence Day (and a few trite remarks)
While reading through my blog entry from last year it struck to me how similar last year’s Independence Day was to today. This year 15th August fell on a Sunday, so while I was deprived of a long weekend that I made most of last year - this trivial (and stupid) detail did not make the day any less significant. It seems to have become a wont for me to start the day on 15th with A. R. Rahman’s Vande Mataram (unlike last year, Rimsky Korsakov and Mozart followed). Dressing in Khadi is another little act which seems to have become a habit (if occurrence of an act for second time in a row deems it a habit). Since some clichés are worth indulging in, I’ll spend a moment here reflecting on Independence Day. I’ll start with a little anecdote from 4 years ago. I was in Hong Kong at work with 3 colleagues from India and one from South Korea. Deepak of 4 years ago was lot fussy about getting Indian food than he is today (Deepak of today considers food and more importantly eating a wasteful formality for human survival and doesn’t give much heed to it as long as it is vegetarian). We had not had Indian food for 2 meals in a row and that was causing me to be grumpy. Since it was 15th August, I had an alibi for inveigling my colleagues into an Indian restaurant. So there I was standing at their cubicle and with a sly smile trying to proposition them into dining at an Indian joint.

“Ok folks lets go to an Indian restaurant today!”
“And why should we Deepak?”
“It is 15th August today! Independence Day!! That’s why!”

My colleagues had a look on their faces which indicated neither concurrence nor disagreement, till our Korean colleague spoke:

“Ah 15th August, it’s Independence Day for India? I didn’t know that! Guess what, today is also South Korea’s Independence Day!”

“Brilliant, lets eat at a Korean joint then!” sung my colleagues in chorus (much to my dismay) – jest and mischief clearly floating in their eyes.

In the end we did end up having Indian food, for our colleague from South Korea was a real gentleman and loved spicy Indian fare.

I always look back at this once incident with considerable embarrassment! (I also flush at having reduced Independence Day to a mere excuse to jostle for Indian food!).

I was born in free India and so were my parents. Having received independence on a platter will perhaps always keep me from appreciating the real importance of this day, though it does stir in me a sudden gush of patriotism. Over the last few years, thanks to having traveled abroad - both westwards and eastwards I’ve grown extremely fond of India. Nowhere have I seen such vast diversity of cultures, religions, languages, cuisines and traditions that our country has to offer. And yet there is a unique oneness about all of us, an invisible fabric that makes us all Indians.

I caught this panel at a small Sweetmeat shop cum eatery at Church Street, with the name of the shop written in several Indian scripts (and some foreign ones too!). The shopkeeper was reluctant to allow me to click but he did relent after a polite request:

And here is a movie poster I came across, which surprised me greatly. The poster is of a Tamizh (‘Gilli’) movie printed in both Kannada and Tamizh! The only rationale I have been able to come up with is that a lot of Tamizh speaking people in Bangalore can read Kannada but not Tamizh (vice versa is unlikely, though I could be wrong!). That the printer of the poster is an ardent admirer of Indian scripts is another explanation (though I have little doubt that it would hardly stand the test of logic). I am amazed because I’ve never seen the poster of a regional movie in two regional languages. A bilingual poster has always meant to me a poster in regional language plus English. Perhaps someone could enlighten me – I for one have little trouble reading either (though my mind was bemused at the choice of scripts for final interpretation and I don’t seem to recall which one it chose first).

p.s. My apologies to Sriram who after his recent experience would rather go to guillotine than watch Gilli again!

And at last, the cliché of all the clichés (but today the occasion calls for it!):

posted: 15.8.04 | permalink | 9 comments

It's a beautiful day!
It’s an idyllic day in Bangalore today. The sky has shed its dreary cloud skin and the sun peers out in all its glory; yet it’s not the sun that scorches but one that soothes you with its warmth. The blades of grass dance to the music of the breeze. The birds chirp with mirth and the squirrels join in with their joyous squeaks. It’s the sort of day that makes all your worries look trivial and fills you with hope and longing. If I were a Hobbit, I would have written a long song, but since I am not I’ll be content with a little couplet:

The clouds have drifted, the sun is out
Gone are my woes, bygone are my doubts
posted: 9.8.04 | permalink | 3 comments

Heaven and Earth
posted: 8.8.04 | permalink | 5 comments

Resilience of life...
The resilience of life never ceases to amaze me. I’ve seen tiny saplings growing in unlikeliest of places; places most inhospitable to any form of flora. A sapling growing inside a crack in a rock or wall somehow seems natural despite the odds against it:

Besides the construction frenzy in Bangalore, you’ll also see a flurry of cable laying activity. Once they have been laid, their hollow ends are often left protruding for months above the surface of the road. With passage of time, they attract pockets of soil deposit, and thanks to the regular rains in Bangalore, tiny saplings soon take root inside this most bewildering habitat.

What happened this Sunday amused and amazed me copiously. Sunday mornings for me beckon mundane household chores. As usual, I went to my Balcony to fetch the mop – just that what I saw was no ordinary mop! I was stunned to see a nursery of tens of tiny saplings sprouting from the mop! It had so happened that my mop had been lying in a begrimed state for 3 weeks (thanks to extensive traveling). One fine morning my washing machine had spilled water in the washing room. I had hastily wiped the soapy film off using this same mop. Within a week, thanks to the nutrition supplied by that mild solution of detergent (and encouraged by the salubrious Bangalore weather), the saplings sprouted unnoticed.

On a somewhat philosophical note, I marvel at how little life needs to propagate, and that minimalism always fascinates me.
posted: 5.8.04 | permalink | 5 comments

Creepy Leaf Buds
You would generally expect a delicate leaf bud to evoke pleasant emotions, happy thoughts – and that had indeed been the case, till recently.

The leaf bud below caused me to shudder for a few moments. There was something very sinister about its appearance. The tinge of pink about the two enclosing leaflets and the deep pink vein coiled around its center made it look as if it was a carnivore, content, having just devoured animal flesh.

Dali uses ants in is works as a metaphor for consternation, decay and degeneration. It is not usual to spot ants around leaf buds, so when I saw a few of these ant-like insects creeping at the base of a budding leaf, my unease was natural. The morbidity of my thoughts was compounded as I noticed that the base had a pinkish tinge of animal tissue richly supplied with blood!

posted: 2.8.04 | permalink | 5 comments

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