Monday, December 31, 2007

Hampi Faces

Toothy grin
Scared tyke

Ramu the koracal boy
Paddling through paradise

Official firestater
Virupaksha Temple Complex

Taking a break
From making hay
While the sun shines

Fisherman one-eyed Jack
Could see further
Than most

Eerie stares
From brothers

Lumbani lady
Heavy metal
Heavier load

The boys

Looking Back

I've had the privilege of watching and photographing a wide variety of acts this year. Thought I'd do a little recap.

Roger Waters, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Zakir Hussain, Amjad Ali Khan, Shakti, John McLaughlin, Vikku Vinayakaram, Buddy Guy, Walter Trout, Alan Parsons, Parvati Baul, Deep Purple, Jon Luc Ponty, L. Subramanium, Ozomatli, Lychee Lassi, Cafe Du Sport, Vital Information with Steve Smith, The Eric Truffaz Quartet, The Mathew Littlewood Trio, The Leipzig Chamber Orchestra, Bickram Ghosh, Mademoiselle K, The Chameleon Quartet, Daara J, Lehara, The Australian Art Orchestra, The Amit Heri Group, Bob Bonastra, Shri, DJ Norman Jay, Cold Cut, Sapthakshara, The Mad Professor, The Jonas Hellborg Group, The Fakirs Of Hyderabad, 2 folk groups from Rajasthan, Zikr-e-Riyafi, The Chisti Brothers, Chanting Buddhist Monks, Sheila Chandra, Mixmaster Morris, DJ Hexstatic and DJ Jon Hopkins.

It's also been a lot of fun. Thank you, life, the universe and everything. :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Portrait

Shomir Dos the photographer
Is not a happy man
The shadows under his droopy eyes
Sag with the sands of time
They moisten as he steps back
And tells me of highs and lows
Bemoaning the fate of Calcutta
The city of old
His own fate was chained
Without a doubt
To that of his beloved city
He ranted and raved
And cursed the Gods
Politicians and pot smoking cops
I could only offer my sympathy
With intermittent grave nods
I really felt for Mr.Dos
For his moist, droopy eyes
I wanted to take his picture
"Why, Shomir Das is dead!"
He relented to stand with his creations
Those beautiful black & whites
They peered over his shoulder
As I peered through the lens
Mr.Dos smiled as I showed him the screen
"You digital fellows, don't know how it feels"
He turned on his heel
And dusted off a photo
"A rare statue of Lord Vishnu, it'll bring you luck"
I felt my eyes clouding over
And said a hasty goodbye
I'll never forget you Mr.Shomir Das
I hope you find your smile.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Free Rice


Check this out. Its a vocab game. For every synonym you get right, this organisation donates 20 grains of rice through the UN. Great idea and even better if you're a vocab junkie like me. :)

So go and try it out. Its a damn good way to pass time and help.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Boat To The Buddha

The red moon was rising, its reflection bleeding into the water. Hussain Sagar Lake makes our very own Ulsoor look like a pond. It stretches 30-35 kms around and the only waves are made by our boat, gliding through.

In the distance the Buddha was growing. And getting more impressive. Having bribed the boatman with a ciggie, we got to ride up front away from the munching families and cuddling couples. One of them came up front and thrust a tiny camera into my hands. They wanted a Titanic style photo taken. I obliged.

As we docked the size of the Buddha statue became more evident. Standing on an island in the middle of the lake it stood 17 meters tall. Carved by 40 sculptors from a monolith, and weighing in at 320 tonnes, it had to carried 60 kms by a massive chariot with 19 wheels.

I stood in front of it overawed and said a silent prayer, in surrogate for all the Buddhists I know.

With the peace, the magnificence and artistry, there was enterprise. Photographers by the score were haunting the island, asking if people wanted instant pictures with The Buddha. Intrigued, I followed one of them to the side of the island. There by the row of giant spot lights, were a row of photographers bending over their pint-sized printers. Wait. Printers?? Exhibiting rare ingenuity, they had plugged into the wiring of the spot lights and abracadabra presto, instant DTP. Bravo! So the printers whirred away, and the tourists cooed as their instant memories were handed over and everyone lived happily ever after.

The End

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Loud & Clear

Communication has many shades. Mass, radio, TV, words, pictures, music, announcing, articulation, assertion, communion, connection, contact, conversation, converse, correspondence, corresponding, declaration, delivery, disclosing, dissemination, elucidation, expression, global village, intelligence, interchange, intercommunication, intercourse, link, making known, mention, notifying, publication, reading, reception, revelation, talk, talking, telling, transfer, translating, transmission, utterance, writing. You get the picture.

So what happens if your world is silent? What happens if you talk with your hands? Does the communication breakdown? No way.

I was at the Sheila Kothawala School For The Deaf to take some publicity shots and I ended up getting an education. The kids were putting up a play and two days to showtime , all the nerves that I'm used to seeing in any production were missing. Instead there were beaming smiles, infectious excitement and overwhelming affection.

Once they were done giggling at my hair and moustache they ran through scenes from their play for my benefit, with as much gusto as they would've for a 1000 strong audience. I've rarely seen such genuine expression, such reckless abandon.

Thanks to me they had missed their van home and it fell upon the organisers and I to get them home. So two little ones gripped each palm tight and we were off. They were very enchanted by the music system and indicated that they could hear it at very high volumes. How could I be a cad and say no to those earnest faces? So, we whizzed down the ring road, Sigor Ros blaring like never before or after as a conversation of signs and lip reading ensued at a frenetic pace. As I dropped them to their humble homes, they squeezed my hand in thanks and were off.

If you'd like to help out at the institute, they always need volunteers, funds and general help.

Jese Samuel (the principal, so mind your 'p's and 'q's)
Sheila Kothavala Institute For The Deaf

Sunday, December 02, 2007