A Ray of Hope – Poem

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After a long break, chancing on a poem I had written during my school days – has spurred me on to get back.

A Ray of Hope – Mathangi J


The skies were dark

when along life’s long river I decided to paddle

And on the banks I saw a bunch of people

all they did, was just dawdle

I found a number of willing comrades,

but neither of them had any grace

They said to me

” You may come with us, or you may go

Between us, relations will forever remain shallow”


The skies were darker when I went further down

But even there,people were frantically searching

for the materially studded crown

Hardly did they give me a glance

And to communicate, I did not even have a chance


Scaling my vision, I saw a figure at the deep end

Slowly I paddled yonder and far

And when I saw her,

I thought she possessed invisible scars


As I saw her –

there was a question in my glance

To which she replied –

with a faint smile and understanding countenance


“I know what you search for

People – they possess none

They try to reach it thro’

temporary periods of fun

You’ve come in search of the keys

which will unlock your mind to peace”


I stared at her with calm excitement

As I stared, her form suddenly did change

and flew towards the mountain range

…. In the form of a dove

It was then that I realized

there was a ray of light from the dark skies above!



I was about 14 years when I wrote this .




Colourful ascent

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Colourful rise to the top

If you are not feeling a bit overwhelmed when this myriad of colors hit you – you might actually enjoy the zig-zag pattern of colors that rise all the way to the top.Each color is a flat-bottomed seat at the Safari world, Bangkok. The seats are just not visible during the animal shows – all you can see are people everywhere.

Before and After …

Expressions III

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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 third post I’ve tried to catch expressions of people who were at work. I try to give you the story and situation in which I took the picture as much as I remember. Concentration, focus and sometimes a bit of self-consciousness and inhibitions are mirrored here.

This lady – a palm reader (note the long stick and the cowrie shells nearby) did not even bat an eyelid when I took her picture. Instead she stared at me rather defiantly, almost goading me to click the picture. I wonder what she thought of my future then!

Sweet biz – rather sour!

This forlorn vendor, selling sweets, had a faraway look in his eyes as he waited for customers to help him make his livelihood. Standing right in between the ‘knotted’ fishing nets and the free spirited waves – he seems to figuratively observe his own life.

Where are my parents?

This child, temporarily separated from his parents, was currently involved in the job of searching for them. The look in his eyes – the angst and the thumb-sucking pose to boost his courage is what drew me to click this one.

Weaving a better future..

Staying on the topic of children, this girl intensely observing her grandfather’s concentration at the loom, knew exactly what her role as assistant was. She was silent, read his every need and continuously kept rhythm with the clacking of the loom.

Sculpting and Pottery

Once he was done with his session at the potter’s wheel, this worker in his clay-splattered clothes, sat down to make dies of different patterns to emboss on his pots. He was oblivious to the crowd around him, as we lapped up his instant spontaneity in designs.

Smiling basket weaver

The Smiling basket weaver, was all coy and smiles when she saw me looking at her through my lens. Her pleasant expression became rather unpleasant – when she realized I was not going to purchase her newly woven  baskets!

The Kilijosiyar (Kili = parrot + Josiyar = astrologer)

This kilijosiyar had just set up shop – can you spot the parrots in the cage? On request, he would ask the parrots to pick up a card for you from his stack, and proceed to interpret your future based on the picture that the parrot chose.


Immersed in his book, the fortune teller seems to have decided to ignore the future, the parrots and the girl taking his photo!


Joys of the Earthquake – from India…

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A short post after the huge event of the day. The huge earthquake at Aceh, Indonesia – made its presence felt all over the world. While the press and media will have some fodder to feed upon for the next week – I shudder to think of the physical, mental and emotional trauma that the affected people are going through at this time. My prayers and genuine thoughts for people whose lives have turned upside down in an instant. May their lives and mental strength bounce back to normal soon.

That being said – the choice of my title might be rather surprising for many, or even cynical. I am neither advocating it to be a welcome change of scenario from our otherwise monotonous existence nor  feigning superficial courage over an event that some term as ‘exciting’, unmindful of the actual destruction caused.

The tremors were felt in Madras at 2.14 pm. What the earthquake warning taught me were some lessons. As I heard many people with their versions of the experience it was quite obvious that the earthquake set things in perspective for many people. When the tremors were first felt – most people encountered :

Self -doubt – They thought they felt giddy, some thought their blood pressure had dropped, some attributed it to low blood sugar levels, some thought their lunch had gone bad, some spoke about bad eyesight as their computer monitors were going crazy, and some thought that another person was pushing them around.

Priority check – Despite everyone running after money, fame, work, politics, gossip – when faced with an event that nature throws at you a.k.a Earthquake / Tsunami, one aspect took precedence over all others – LIFE! People were frantic to save their own lives and check on the status of their loved ones too (which was a little difficult – thanks to congestion and mobile connectivity issues.) People wanted to flee to get to the safety of their families – Work, office, career all took a backseat as each person wanted to safeguard their children, parents, grandparents, pets. The usually uncrowded streets ( between 4-6 pm) , were choked with bumper to bumper traffic with each person trying to outdo the other in their efforts to reach home.

People over materials – Another refreshing point that the tremors uncovered was the lack of importance one gave for their expensive material possessions when actually confronted with a serious issue. When asked to evacuate immediately – most people ran to get out first, leaving behind wallets, expensive cell phones, and other valuable items. Money and material possessions – were actually forgotten for awhile. An instant bond was created as strangers were willing to share phones – so that one may cross check on the safety of family and friends, with others volunteering to post messages on Facebook / Twitter, and some willing to lend some emergency funds to get to a child’s school and pick them up.

These were the joys that the earthquake brought to me. That there is still hope. That there still is a friendly neighbour or colleague. That there is someone who would lend us a helping hand. How good it is to trust. To feel one with the society. And not having to play the self-defense game forever.It is heartening to note that some small joys are still not forgotten and that people still have not yet fully been sucked into the vortex of greed and apathy. I only wish it did not have to be an event of such magnitude to force us face our choices. Here’s to a new life and new thoughts…

To the joys of simplicity and new hopes...

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 day at the Beach

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The beaches in Madras are usually a flurry of activity – serving both as a poor man’s paradise as well as a hangout for the hip types too. People across all age groups do find their own thing to do – when you end up at the beach. Read a book, talk to a friend, wait impatiently for someone, stare at the waves lashing the shore, munch on some snacks, play awhile, shop for some toys, or just lie down and sleep. My thing was to capture some interesting moments during my visit to the Beach …

This was the first picture I clicked. This little boy was so excited to feel the sand beneath his feet. Where was he running to?
Guess he wanted to join his playmates, who were in serious thought. Which one shall we buy?
Colourful giant wheel and the small merry-go-round
Waiting for business to pick up...
This one is strong enough for both children and adults
This protective brother takes care of his sister as she gingerly wades through the water
While this young man seemed to be waiting expectantly for a text...
The fishermen go about their work
And so does this man, selling sweets by the waves
Some just-cooked corn. Watch the sparks fly!
A spicy chilly snack.. not for the faint-hearted...
Why are you taking my picture?
This little girl finds some time for her studies,while she takes care of her shop. Part-time worker or Entrepreneur?
These horses cross paths, searching for the next customer...One seems to have met with some success
This guy tries his hand at some chin-ups as his family cheers him on...
Business seems to have picked up at the merry -go-round
As well as the giant wheel. The guy up top is bigger than the "giant" wheel
The devil's advocate here seems to wait for the dark, so that he may show off his glowing horns!
As darkness sets in, this man sets upon the dangerous task of setting right the lights at the beach for the benefit of all!

The beach by night? Well that is a topic for just another post 🙂