Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Riders on the (silk)worm**

Riders on the (silk)worm

Worlds apart: One world ends at an airport, and another begins not too far away.
The road to Bangalore International airport is wide, well lit, and fast. Well if you are going to the airport, that is.
Because soon after, the lights go out, the ride gets bumpy and the road narrows like a funnel.

Devanahalli village could be far removed from India's "technology capital" and life would not have been any different.
Almost everyone here is a silk farmer, and suddenly the birds that the silkworms attract have become a threat to the airplanes.
The villagers are being served notices to make arrangements for alternate sources of income.
Of course, the land prices have gone up, so they will not farm. They will sell.
And then what?

** Light post processing on the picture

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Old Man Of Kinnigoli

I have been busy, and now I am busy on a holiday.
It has been long - I‘ve got stories to tell, people I’ve met and pictures to share.
And I am sorry about being a bad boy – not replying to comments and such.
Promise to be better now. I’m hoping for the new year to be a lot better than the one gone by – the perpetual optimist that I am.

Old man of Kinnigoli
Kinnigoli was not a planned stop. Because Kinnigoli was not on the road to Kundapur. It was hard work – It looked as if the bus driver wasn’t particularly concerned about the people on the seat at the rear end, and when we finally got out, the sun seemed to be awfully pissed off at something. I just wasn’t getting it right, and the shoot stretched on until sometime after dark.

And that is how we decided to spend the night at Roger’s farm. After such grueling labor, we certainly deserved to have some fun!
And fun it was – I dont know why, somehow beer always is. And then there was toddy for breakfast, feeding the dogs and the sheep after, the chicken, and then beer again.

We were at breakfast at this village eatery when I spotted this man. Alone for his tea and mid-morning snack, possibly a routine for the whole of his long life. I say this because I am a village boy – usually in our villages, everything is routine.
I love this life!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Paradise, Happy to Stay lost

I am not sure if it was the exhaustion of the ten kilometer hike in the rain-shadowed wilderness of Chinnar, or the love for the rainforests that made us take off that night on a drive a few hundred kilometers long into The Periyar tiger reserve.

The guard at the check-post was a burly middle aged man, who wouldn’t let us in. It took us three hours and nearly one hundred phone calls to get him to open the park gates for us.

(Tourist information: Kerala Forest Development Corporation charges Eight hundred rupees per person for entry into the jungle, which is allowed only in their all terrain vehicles. It is OK to not love nature, but at the minimum what you can be is respectful of life out there.
The chances of spotting a tiger here as a tourist is next to non-existent, so please don’t go in on a casual Safari - It is not worth the money that you pay, and the jungle will not like you. And for goodness’s sake, please don’t smoke!)


The mist was a both a surprise and a disappointment. We had a few hours of light still remaining in the day, and the musky odor of elephants hung in the air, only that the visibility was reduced to a few feet.
Not too far from a tribal settlement, a man herding his cattle back home took us deeper into the jungle where he said there would be elephants.
A few meters into the slush, my shoes were wet and swarming with leeches. The socks were soaked in blood, and rest of the walk had to be done barefoot. All through out the trail, there were fresh hoof-prints in the sludge - even an occasional pug mark or two, just no animal in sight. And so when we turned off the slushy grass on to a little patch of rocky land, the beauty that struck me was just too sudden to be let in.
What lay ahead, was a little piece of tropical paradise. We were suddenly left standing on a rock-face engulfed by green overhangs on three sides, and the deepest of jungles on the other. The valley below was at least a kilometer deep, and there were springs gushing out of cracks in the rocks. We were standing above the clouds, where even the wind did not stir. If the place were any more beautiful, it would have been a sin.
Do not go by the picture, I just couldn’t do any justice to the scene.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Re-wind. Play.

The little bully, the physicist and the big always-happy-guy.
None reminds me of me.
But I recognize all of their faces, even the shy little one.
It was as though I had found an old journal, cleaning up the room - its paper crisp and yellow: A little crisp-er than meant to be, and writing a little grey-er than it once used to be.
Some memories have names, and some do not, but they are all hazy, warm, and dirty from a day of play.

I miss school.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The morning after craziness

morning after
Once in a while I recommend that everyone should get really drunk, only to remember why it was such a bad idea.
The lime and water didn't seem to have done too much good to the system, for it was the throbbing in my head that woke me up - or was it Don? I can't really remember.
Walking out through the back door into the yard barefoot, the cold came first, and then the dampness. There were no more fiery ambers in the firepit, and the empty beer cans were all over the dewy grass.
I have a day of packing ahead of me, and as for Don, it is sure going to be a work-in-the-yard Sunday.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chillin' on a summer-like sunday


In the summertime when the weather is high
You can stretch right up and touch the sky
When the weather's fine
You got women, you got women on your mind.

Have a drink, have a drive
Go out and see what you can find!

Remember the song? It is not summer yet, but the weather is sure high..
If there is such a thing as a perfect Sunday, it would be something like today.
I’m lovin' it! :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lucie the pussy cat

I spent the weekend with a friend and his lovely wife at their house in a little Massachusetts town. The sun was at it’s best for most part of the day, and it was only the sea breeze reminding us it was not summer – not just yet.
Lucie, my model of the week is Don’s cat. Not too easy to befriend, but she definitely is not camera shy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Terminal illness


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"There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror." ~Orson Welles
And I am sure I'm familiar with at least one of those. :)
My clock is still garbled, but I like the weather.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lovely Rosa

reverse bungee

Rosa is beautiful. Rosa likes to lick the underside of shoes (Tasty they are, but I dont know why mommy makes a fuss!) and Rosa likes it when daddy tosses her up like that.

This week has been crazy so far, and it is just about to get crazier. I'm having to travel half way around the world, among other things.
I should be getting back to work, dont you think? :)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Do not ask stupid questions, I say!


I like to drive on long winding roads: and long winding roads sometimes lead you to lands where logic seems wound a little too tight to comprehend.
Like this weekend when we drove to this place really far away: On our way back, we stopped at the easiest place in the world to catch fish. It was a creek underneath a little bridge on a little country road. Not too far from the road, the stream turned, and the water slid off the rounded edge of a rock into a deeper area. And there, there were these fish which would leap out of the water against the current, trying to reach back to that place over the rock. Not one fish: a very many of them. A blind man could easily knock one over to the side, make a fire and poach it right there.
Yet no one did, or so it seemed to be.
So we stopped an old man on the road and asked him why.
"Because there is someone watching, and you'll get smacked on the head if you do" came the reply.
The land downstream belonged to this Zamindar and he had exclusive fishing rights on this stream. The stream does not belong to anybody, but the fish is the Zamindar's. Funny!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When Spark met Singam


I brought home this bony sorry figure of a puppy last weekend, and I had to drive more than 300 kilometers to Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu and back to get him.
Spark is shaken, and makes a sad face, but I’m sure he’ll get over it. Two’s company, after all.

Singam is a Chipiparai hound, an original Indian breed. He’ll grow up to be a great runner-hunter, I am told. His daddy looked like a larger version of a greyhound, and was quite a looker.

Does anyone know how I can get Spark to be nice to Singam? He now walks away when he sees the pup. And I'm worried he's stressed.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gettin' Jiggy wid it

Gettin' jiggy with it

This has been a crazy weekend: I’ve been party hopping like mad (Guess whose birthday it was ;) ) and I’m too tired to think of anything creative to post. I don’t know if it is lack of ideas or the excess of sprits in my blood , I decided on trying my hands at some post-processing . So I dug up some stuff from a while ago, and tried making it look like 80s style album cover art. (what a pity that the good ol’ cassettes are not around anymore.)
Contrary to what I thought, I actually loved doing this.
Tell me what you think!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I am feminist

mother and child
Woman is a stockpile of emotion – of love, of jealousy and imagination.
She can lead you to love, and she will definitely play with your mind: Not that I understand all that very well - they are all so intertwined! !
Ok, I am bad at this, and if you did not realize that already, this is a womens day post that has come a little too late.
Women are weird – but it is them who make this weird world go round, i guess. :)
I mean really, look what a mother could do to this boy who wouldn’t smile for a joke I told him in six different languages!

P.S (added afterI got home): I can this with more clarity now but I will not delete this.
Just a long day - a very BAD day.
Ok I'm going nuts here. I should stop.
All ladies - thank you, and I love you all! :)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hoo's tales :)

the happy mime

Clowns, story tellers, puppeteers, mimes and a whole lot of happy kids:
That was Hoo’s tales in Cubbon park this Saturday.
In the age of Chinese toys and Playstations a story telling fair may look a little out of place, but the children definitely seemed to be enjoying every bit of it.
To tell you a secret, I did too. :0)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


What do you do when you’ve had too much action last weekend? You rest yourself.
But he bad thing about resting is that you get bored sometimes.. and worse still, you run out of fresh pictures.
This shoot came as a surprise – of the good kind, though.
A friend had once mentioned that one of her friends would like to have me shooting her at her mehndi, but like everything else, I had forgotten this as well.
So this evening (after being reminded and surprised the previous day), I quietly slip out of work for a rendezvous with the bride for some green room action.
Considering that I had no strobes, softboxes or diffusers, and was shooting out of the equipment in my office backpack, I am pretty happy with the way the pictures turned out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Gentle giant, and the 100th post

shy giant

In the moist evergreen forests of Kerala, it is an overwhelming feeling just to be – you do not necessarily have to see it all to believe it : the fact is that you couldn’t, even if you wanted to.
The air is always heavy with the sounds and smells of what is on the other side – of a tree trunk or the thick undergrowth - of creatures watching your every move.
There is a rhythm ( I’d even go as far as calling it silence) to the noises of the jungle; for when there is a crackle of branches and a rustle of leaves, you will turn and look, and you will probably spot this colorful bundle of fur on a leap that is nothing less than unbelievable.

The giant Malabar squirrel is quite huge as the name suggests. What is unlike how the name sounds though, is that he is a particularly cute fellow.
It builds nests on intricately branched heights of trees, and hardly ever comes down : a reason why the creature cannot be spotted very easily.
The natural predators of this threatened species are leopards and large birds, but the real threat is from the two-legged cousins that live on the other side of the tree line.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Don't expect a loner to behave.


At first light, we still had a few minute’s drive ahead of us before we reached the first check-post into the jungles. Force of habit is an incredible thing to be working against - the otherwise interesting discussions on quantum physics and philosophy do not really work while your body keeps repeating just one word : “Sleep”.

And then our senses were yanked wake by a sight least expected. We were taking a turn when we saw a young bull elephant around the corner – a shy loner with piercing eyes.

The place was an isolated patch of wilderness – not inhabited, but with a lot of human activity along the road. There was no food in sight, and this was no known migration route. The herd was nowhere to be seen: this guy was danger.

The engine was turned off, and for a longer-than-usual minute, we waited as he surveyed the scene, and then slowly crossed the road to disappear into the bush alongside.

The opportunity was too good to be let to pass – a few cameras exited the car, and the men behind them inched forward slow as snails, trying not to infuriate the tusker. The car’s engine went on, ready for action if the need arose.

Amidst the clickety-clack of shutters the elephant turned around, and that is when I noticed the smudged swelling on the side of his head – This was a loner in musth.

Musth (or, alternately spelled, must) is a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterized by a thick, tar-like secretion called temporin from the temporal ducts and, far more notably, by highly aggressive behaviour. …

…scientific investigation of musth is greatly hindered by the fact that, once under the influence of musth, even the most otherwise placid of elephants may actively try to kill any and all humans.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The bird-man by the road


The man is a bird. But the bird man cannot fly. He does not chirp or sing.
His parakeet (with clipped wings) can pick my fortune out from a stack of cards.
The bird man tells me I will have three children, and that I will marry a dangerous woman : dangerous in a nice kind of way (he winks as he tells me that).

Ah, I can hardly wait!! ;))

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Old Tomato Woman

Well, I took a sabbatical.
Life was coming too fast, and me - I needed my break.
Honestly, I am busier than the average man of my age. I realized that squeezing time out to post pictures was not working for me anymore. So I stopped.

But with that, I also realized that i had slowed down on my pictures, and that I also stopped reading what some very nice people wrote.
So I am back - With the old tomato woman.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Lots of love..

May all things beautiful be with you this new year - and a jumbo-sized helping of love.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone. Stay happy!