Month: March 2012

Colours of India

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So many sights that we take for granted – but when seen through the lens, tells you not to treat them like everyday occurrences. I wish we did not need the camera to teach you to be appreciative, but nevertheless a good lesson taught is a good lesson learned. Enjoying the vibrant colours!

A simple arrangement in an Uruli filled with water - such a calming effect to see them.

An Uruli as shown above is a large circular vessel usually made out of bronze (sometimes you get it as earthernware too). Earlier it was used to cook large quantities of food, but with families becoming smaller these days – these Urulis are now used for flower decorations. Fill an Uruli with water, arrange the flowers according to your creativity and let the flowers float peacefully.

Many women prefer to wear glass bangles along with their gold bangles, but bangles made out of glass, plastic, lac, and even wood are recently finding their way to popularity. The ones that you see above are a typical tourist’s delight. Easy on the pocket and extremely colourful.

This is a rather 'small' Giant wheel, but the bright colour painted to attract children is a sure winner.

The ‘small’ Giant wheels are quite mobile, sometimes you can see the frail owner pushing his giant wheel alongside your house and asking if there are children who would like to use them. This was a more common happening a few years earlier – when there were more joint families, or more children in the same compound. The children are happy , the man gets a good deal – and all is well. But nowadays children in the city are exposed to tennis clubs and swimming camps at very tender ages – would a giant wheel spark enthusiasm in them? I really do not know.

See the ordinary pots at the base row. They are painted to become this wonderful combination of colours.

Flower pots are usually similar to terracota, and the ‘special’ flower pots would have some traditional patterns in white drawn on them. But out with the sober colours, add a dash of heady colours to your garden – we say!

Subtle shades but surely colourful

Moving to some less ‘brighter’ options, I got this picture at some of the shops that were selling artifacts. The row of elephants from biggest to the smallest cub was actually what caught my eye, but now all I can focus on is the Buddha!

More than souvenirs

This shop had loads of souvenirs to offer. Elephants, a variety of deities, tortoises, showpiece items, – but the dark green statue of the reclining Buddha is my pick of the lot!

Masks galore

Moving from the elegance of spirituality to these grotesque albeit brightly coloured masks – I did wonder if it appealed to children. I was proved wrong time and again – each time I witnessed a child sulk,cry and pout when his/her parent denied him/her a mask.

The potter's work sees the light of the day

This was captured just next to a potter at a heritage centre. He had already made these items which were set up for sale, but had the visitors enthralled with his fast and interactive pottery lessons.

Traditional rajasthani puppets / dolls

These puppets are special to rajasthan, with their bright bandhini attire. They are usually sold as a pair (a man and woman doll). These string puppets are usually made out of wood. wire and cloth.

These decorative string mobiles that doubled up as curtains did tug hard at my heart and wallet. Thankfully common sense prevailed...

I wind up with a picture I took at a craft shop. These decorative mobiles did tempt me to buy the whole range, but then I succumbed to just buying a short one – one pretty pink elephant that hangs today on my table, gracefully whisking my laptop now and then…

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Stonehenges in South India?

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Captured from a moving bus on my previous trip, I would have almost missed this awesome sight had my friend not pointed them out to me. For from a distance we saw these four vertical rocks right atop a hill.

Just gearing up for the view
Trying to take a shot from a moving bus is not easy
Trying to zoom in under better light conditions

A file photograph of the Stonehenge in Britain

The stonehenges at Great Britain

And the one that I saw on my trip

A naturally formed Stonehenge?

I found this rather similar. An amazing coincidence – I guess!

Expressions – II

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When people have no idea they are being photographed – their expressions are so genuine and reflective of their thoughts. The idea is obviously not to stalk people here – but capture those with interesting expressions.

In my second post I’ve tried to catch expressions of people who were by themselves and not part of a group. I try to give you the story and situation in which I took the picture as much as I remember. Some of these pictures were taken at the beach, bus stop, railway station, and even a passerby on a road.

Old man with a hard expression...

When I first saw this man staring at some other passer – by, I actually felt he was a wicked person. Like the people they cast in movies, passing of as a feeble old man but actually conniving with equal venom and strength as someone half his age. The more I looked at him, I felt almost scared when I saw his eyes. Then I tried to reason with myself and thought maybe he was stressed, or owed someone a lot of money, or maybe he was just judging a stranger. This picture was taken at a bus stand in Tirupathi. 

Deep in thought

This elderly gentleman was sitting by himself at the beach and just staring stoically at the waves. He was not concerned about the people around him, and seemed comfortable in his   own company. Somehow he seemed to be very relaxed, almost meditative and I do like his pose.

Restricted bed

A hard night’s labor? Sleeping away some worries? I did not know how this man tuned out the rest of the world, the simultaneous blaring horns of about 25 buses and still enjoy a peaceful slumber in what looks to be a real constricted sort of space for a full grown adult. Guess he really needed that siesta. 

Walking slowly but rushing to grab a cup of coffee

I took this picture when I got off the train for a break. It was early morning and all the passengers needed to stretch out a bit and warm up with some kind of a beverage. This old man was all concentration as he made his way with a stick for support, not wanting to leave behind his precious luggage that he was carrying in the other hand. Though he was walking slowly, it was obvious he was trying to rush ‘within his own limits’ , get a coffee and get back into the train. Whether he succeeded I do not know, for I had to get back to my compartment soon.

Curious by-stander

This man was watching a sale that was happening on the opposite side of the road, rather fervently. Was he the owner of the pavement shop? I’m not really sure.

Was he happy with the deal his assistant made with the customer? Those seem to be his thoughts as he stands there, oblivious to my clicking him. I do like the shadow of the bicycle as well in this picture.

The needy

This man – I guess a beggar, lost in thought, trudged along barefoot at the Marina unmindful of the crowds around him that were laughing, eating and having a good time. Though he did not actually ask anyone anything – I’m quite sure he was looking for something he had lost. Food? Money? Affection of a loved one?

yearning youngster

 Talking about affection I wind up with this picture – A picture I have actually used in an earlier blog. This youngster checked his mobile as frequently as you blink! Money from home?  Good news about his job? Admission into college of his choice? A text from his girl? Call me unimaginative but I think I might go with the last option.

Well, this brings me to the end of my second post under expressions. I hope to find more interesting people with wonderful expressions to record. They have no idea how special they are, when their mask is lowered!

A Brrrrrrr Moment ;-)

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Hello there tourists  – did you come to see me? I shall pose beautifully for you, and swim gracefully. And all I need in return is compliments. Capisce???

Gliding smoothly

Oh good, they’ve started clicking away. Crazy humans!

Let me try reaching the spot elegantly and in style

Uh-oh! What do i do? I’m itching terribly and need to use my bill / beak. When do I do it? Not when I’m the centre of attention here. I would be embarrassed if they caught me on camera. Let me trying reaching my wing in an elegant manner.

I hope I look like I’m doing the ballet.

Brrrrrrrrrrrr....

Oh what the hell? I cannot help it. I need to get rid of my itch. Brrrrr….. Need some time underwater.

Back to my usual poised self 🙂

Aaaah… that is some relief! Now I’m ready to oblige, all poised and calm. What are you grinning at – girl with the camera? Did you capture my  ” Brrrrrrrrrrr…” moment? Fie on you! And stop grinning….

Expressions – I

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When people have no idea they are being photographed – their expressions are so genuine and reflective of their thoughts. The idea is obviously not to stalk people here – but capture those with interesting expressions.

In my first post I’ve tried to catch expressions of only children and give it my interpretations. Most of these pictures were taken at the beach save one or two.

Happiness and excitement

This little boy was all speed when I spotted him. His excitement was palpable and he was all focus as he raced towards his father who was holding a balloon. 

Fear and curiosity

It took me awhile to get this girl to look into my camera. She was a bit scared, that I was signalling to get her to look at me – so I could get a picture of her. But her childlike curiosity did drive her to look at the crazy girl with the camera I guess! 

Ignorance is bliss

This picture is one of my favorites, as it shows the yearning desire of her mom to provide everything for her child. She has access to many a toy, but not one belonging to her child. The child blissfully ignorant of the mother’s thoughts – seems to enjoy discovering one plaything at a time! 

Fear and excitement

This boy is full of concentration as he holds on to the reins of the horse. He is equally excited and maybe a little afraid of the unknown. My guess is he will be a more confident little boy, once the ride is over. 

Trust and faith

As I clicked this picture the responsibility of the big brother was quite evident as he was taking his role as protector rather seriously. And the little girl was gingerly treading into the water secure that her brother would take care of her when the waves came towards her. Trust and Faith. 

Observation

This really small kid was sitting by herself at a bench at the bus stop  – not worried that her parents were nowhere around. She was immersed in observing the happenings of some passengers before they boarded the bus. By the time she realized that her parents were not there – they came back to find her. 

Well, this brings me to the end of my first post under expressions. I hope to find more interesting people with wonderful expressions to record. They have no idea how special they are, when their mask is lowered!

A short visit to Talakona

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Talakona situated in Andhra Pradesh, an almost 2 hour drive from the famous city of Tirupati is definitely an interesting place to visit. We decided to make this trip from Madras to Talakona recently.

We started quite early and took a bus from Madras to Tirupathi – a ride that lasts for about 3 hours. The drive to Tiruapathi is rather interesting – for you pass many a village and see many of the early morning sights, that you would have seen in books, postcards, or an ethnic photo catalog.

Sights like the sunrise , the first view of clouds settling above the mountains ,the birds chirping in their V-formations, the kingfisher on the telephone wire, women cleaning the cows and milking them, putting the traditional kolams, string cots on the road, fields situated next to houses, a small shed for the cows who each wear their pretty cow bells, hens herding their chickens, the early morning barber…these are few of the sights that punctuate your drive to Tirupathi

Once we reached Tirupathi, we rented a cab to take us to Talakona. If opting for a bus – you will have to change buses twice, though they do have a direct bus in the afternoon. The roads to Talakona were rather good and you could make it there in good time. Talakona (Tala = head, Kona/ Konda = hill) is situated in Sri Venkateswara National Park – home to forests, wild animals and the tallest waterfalls in Andhra Pradesh (82m).

SIGHTS AT TALAKONA

Ant hills and snake hills galore at Talakona - this one is an ant hill
This U-shaped branch doubled up as a natural swing and brought a smile on many a child's face
Small stream amongst boulders
Snake hill and a tree that has little bundles of cloth tied on to its branch - each depicting a wish of a faithful devotee...
Loved the contrast of the light coloured leaves as against the bright green ones
There were many butterflies probably due to the presence of a variety of flowering plants - a sight for me after ages
The trail we took...
The water from the falls culminating into a puddle surrounded by foliage and rocks
This brave butterfly seated itself on the trail, folded its wings and waited for us to pass by
I waited patiently until it unfolded its wings - but hey, it just took off 😦
We continued along the trail, till we heard the sound of the waterfalls echoing through the trees
First sighting of the waterfalls
The path of the falls... watch out for the natural steps!
The steps up close - we sure know where the landscaping artists get their ideas from!
The rays of the sun entered between two tall rocks, thereby illuminating the spray of water as it fell down from its great height...
There was this huge flat boulder seated between two huge trees,steep down in the valley - I wonder who got down there and carved those steps into them ?
This may just seem to be a tiny trickle of water in comparison to the falls, but this itself came down with a lot of force...
And culminated into a natural pool...
Complete with fishes
Those little things that look like bubbles were actually minute fishes that were darting speedily about the pond
A bug doing the backstroke
Watched quietly by this dragon fly
I look back again at the falls, for it is time to leave now
Fully in awe, at what Nature for us has endowed...

I called my post a short trip to Talakona, because we did not get to do the trek. But am definitely going back there soon, to go on the trek. Hopefully a better post on that , later…

Helianthus annuus – The Sunflower

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Flowers  – as immobile as they may seem to be, sometimes seem to me almost expressive as animals or humans. Some flowers look garish, some shy, some seem dominant, but the Sunflower to me – seems so confident, simple to understand and enthusiastic.

They sleep when the sun is setting / or not yet risen – looking a bit dull and drab (almost like what the cat dragged in) before seeing the sun. Then slowly and almost coyly, they get dressed up in their brightest colours as they wake up and warm up along with the sun – the cheer evident on their faces.And as they keep just loyally following the direction of the sun – I think what a reliable friend the sunflower will make. Bobbing their head in the light breeze and looking absolutely full of joy during peak daytime – it strikes me, there is no way the Sunflower faces the shadow. It always makes sure its life is full of cheer, happiness and positive vibes.

I saw some sunflower fields during a recent trip of mine – and the happiness I felt was almost contagious. As seems to be the trend during my previous trips too – I was forced to take pictures from a moving vehicle. But there was no way I was going to miss taking pictures of these bright yellow beauties.

Just before I realised the presence of the sunflowers
Impatiently fiddling with the camera and trying to click pictures before I passed the wonderful sight...
Looks to me like each one is in serious conversation with its neighbour 🙂
Drawing inspiration from wordsworth and adapting it to my situation a bit " a host of golden daffodils, nay sunflowers"
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,Tossing their heads in a spritely dance - some poetic licence here! 🙂 

"I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought"
Poet of wordsworth's calibre - maybe I am not,
But seeing these wonderful flowers - lifted my spirits somewhat!

You can read the classic “Daffodils”  by William Wordsworth here – http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/daffodils/