Just pics

Responsibilities arrive with the break of dawn…

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The Sun rising behind tall buildings – a hot summer day!
And this mother is already up for work before sunrise …Her nest safely tucked into the crevices of a telephone pole ! Responsibilities…
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The War Memorial – Madras

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The War Memorial on Beach road just opposite the Chennai port was built to commemorate the Victory of India over different wars viz . WWI, WWII, The Indo-Pak war, The Chinese Agression, and The Kashmir Agression. A circular structure from outside – You will have to mount the gigantic circular steps to reach the tall tower . As you walk around the memorial you will see inscriptions engraved into the wall – in different languages – expressing gratitude to those who laid down their lives for us in the war. Well maintained, with a small garden of flowers in the circumference – the War Memorial is a place that should be visited more often.

The Port of Chennai
The Memorial tower
The Circular Steps leading to the memorial
Close up of the Tower

 

Under the rays of the Sun

Words for the Martyrs
For World War I

 

For World War II

 

The Kashmir Agression of 47-48
The Chinese Agression of 1962

 

The Indo-Pak war of 1971

Inscriptions engraved into the wall –

I think this is Urdu – correct me if wrong
In Telugu
In Tamil

The inscription in Tamil reads – A memorial for the people from Madras province / presidency who served the country and gave up their lives in war.

Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our lives that we forget to stop and think of those who have given us something that we take for granted on an everyday basis – our life.

Simple yet brilliant!

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Simple yet brilliant!

Maybe it is all about lighting. This is one of my best efforts till date – and the sharpness of the picture, texture of the petals and brilliant yellow – is something I guess, is possible only in natural lighting. My thanks to the Sun God!

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…

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!

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/