Jun 29, 2011

Sprinkles in Chocolateville

If I start thinking about a particular topic given to me, my thoughts immediately go to food. It's like this uncontrollable reflex action. The topic is 'Joy', I think of Pasta. The topic is 'Love', I think Chocolates. The topic is 'Black and White', I think me wearing sunglasses (hence, the black) and vanilla ice cream with Hershey's chocolate sauce. Of course, the originally brown chocolate sauce looks black thanks to the dark sunglasses.

And then I think about colour added to it. The beautiful perfect chocolate sundae in the making. I can't only salivate and so, I lie down, shut my eyes, and wander off into Chocolateville, the carefully scooped out corner of my mind dedicated to fantasies of chocolates. Of course, Cafe Coffee Day's Chocolate Fantasy with ice cream and chocolate sauce always remains an inspiration for other fantasies to stem out!

And in Chocolateville, as I make the perfect sundae with two, possibly four scoops of vanilla ice cream with chocolate ice cream on top of it, I start adding a touch of red to this painting of Utopia in my mind with the cherry on top. I proceed to eat the cherry and leave the fleshy brownish pink seed to the side. I then scoop out two scoops of strawberry ice cream and melt it into the sundae, making it a dark chocolate-meets-sinful pink strawberry-meets pristine vanilla love triangle. The actual cherry on top is the colorful sprinkles that I pour as if it's raining on the sundae. God, it looks so beautiful! I could almost taste the different colours...

I snap out of this wonderful colourful dream of mine. I run to my kitchen. I open the fridge. I take out the biggest bowl I have. I take out the first scoop, then the second, then the third, then the fourth. I stop. I look around. Noone is watching me and the world's my stage. I pretend to be the best chef the world has ever seen. I cook up the concoction I just dreamed of. I was right. With all its colours and flavors and smells, it was a little bite of Heaven. And then I devoured Heaven till my tummy started to ache.

This post was my entry for the 'Take Flight with Colour' contest on IndiBlogger.in.

Jun 14, 2011


Words can define,
Words can scar,
Words can be just as they are.

They may not have a point,
They might sound dumb, 
But platypus will always be a word, just like gum.

Words can rhyme, 
Words can describe,
But I wonder why 'gunk' is what is found in my eye.

At the end of the day,
The words hold no meaning,
Unlike the lucid or blurry dreams that you see when you are REMing.

I'd like to say it's only words,
And words are all I have,
To take your heart away.
But I will not, for that would be gay.

Amen. (That's an interesting sounding word!)

Lessons from Calvin: Why settle for something when you can get better than that?

God bless Bill Watterson! Thank you for bringing joy into my life whenever I have needed it.
I love you as well, Hobbes. Hard luck for not being in this one.
And I love you, StumbleUpon for helping me find this. The Humor section kicks ass!

Jun 13, 2011

Live Wildlife Cam

One of the best sites online right now:                                    

That is one of the most fascinating websites online. Please check it out. It's a live cam placed near a waterhole in 'Pete's Pond' in the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana, Africa. The different animals that come to the waterhole are elephants, lions, warthogs, baboons, impala, and an excellent variety of birds. This is a live video camera with sound. At night, the floodlights come on automatically.

This is one of the pictures taken by me while watching this beautiful herd of elephants at the waterhole.

Do check it out for yourself! :)

Jun 12, 2011


There was a sense of disorientation. There was nausea. There were dust allergies. Unlike the previous times, this time, the shift was going to be a permanent one. We would no longer be returning to 11/4 Konark Nagar as our home after the holidays. A different address would have to be given to the autowalla at the airport in Vimannagar, Pune, when we'd go back in July to begin the last year of college. I would even be distanced then because I was pursuing Journalism and the three of them A/V.

Why were we moving out anyway? None of us knew. For the apparent want of a better lifestyle. But what could be a better lifestyle than this? No problems with the society or neighbors, absolute freedom, swings right under the building, and an excellent proximity to the grocery store-the happiest place to be... (especially when they had a stock of Nutties!) 

But the appliances were old, the monthly electricity bill high, the tiles dirty. In a way, they were cause enough to push us to let go. And so we did. From the moment I gave up my keys to our home, what would now have to be called a 'house' I once lived in, I knew it was closure. Things you want to stay permanent never do quite stay that way, do they?

The only other real shifts in the past have been when I shifted out of our family home when I was five or so, and when we shifted out of the flat we stayed in after that for a year. These were the times I knew that I could never go back to that same space and find the same familiarity. On the contrary, I'd be called a trespasser to my own home. Boarding school was a different matter. You knew that every time you'd go back to visit, the school would still have a place for you, even if it was in their worst guest house. You didn't really mind. There, the people and the place were all that mattered anyway.

The cartons were all packed. The suitcases ready to be taken back home. Home. Wasn't this a home away from home? Was Calcutta home because the immediate family stayed there? Were my flat mates with whom I shared 2/3rds of my year under the same roof not immediate family too? They were. They are. I ought to feel happy that I have so many homes. But the memories with each are too starkly different, making it a discomfort more than a consolation. The difference only lies in the familiarity. And in the face of the person you turn to when you wake up...

A friend of mine, Shrey, picked up from this post. Read his post here.

Jun 10, 2011

Live & Let Live

Took part in a writing competition on My Scribble Pad. The winning entries can be found here.

An excerpt from my submission:

In such a world where living was more than just about earning money and making babies, she wanted to experience life, in the rawest form that it had to show-in all its colours, in its paradoxes that one lives out, in all its negativities thrown at you, in all its glory…
It’s that one moment in that ‘big bad world out there’ that can change one’s whole life, whether it’s the moment you feel you have met the man of your life after a five-hour long chat in a dull party that suddenly had a whole different frequency to it, or the time when a stranger gropes you in a public place and you are rendered too helpless and shocked to do anything. Whether an experience leaves you feeling good, bad, or ugly, it was an experience that YOU, as an individual, had, and try as one may, it is amazingly hard to forget it. This is especially true of the bad ones.
Read the rest of the essay here.

thereafter...: A photography exhibition by Srikanth Kolari

'thereafter...' is a photography exhibition by Chennai-based photographer, Srikanth Kolari, at Seagull Arts & Media Resource Centre at Kolkata from the 13th to 23rd May, depicting his photographic journey in Kashmir, Jharia, and the Tsunami coast. 

Srikanth, better known as Sri, asks not be called an artist or a photojournalist. Instead, he prefers to assume the role of a 'messenger', motivated by his personal history to seek out stories and convey their messages through his photographs. His photographs demand an accompanying narrative, be it a line to describe it or a whole paragraph, with the subject and its surroundings contexualised through the words. Another technique he sometimes uses is to clip and join two frames to 'generate a new motion in the mind'. What this also does is give a stronger and harsher feel to the reality portrayed. This was implemented in his Kashmir photographs very well.

Seagull is associated with Tasveer, the first Pan-India gallery dedicated to photography as an art, and Ganjam, a jewelry brand which is the sponsor for this exhibition. These three platforms have joined hands and made this exhibition possible. "Seagull is the Kolkata partner for Tasveer, and  tigether, we try to promote photography. Tasveer does shows in 4 other cities in India. Srikanth was supposed to come and give a talk to students for our project, Peaceworks, which uses various art forms to promote peace but was unable to make it this time. He should hopefully be able to come for the next show," says an optimistic Megha Malhotra of the Seagull group.
The exhibition focuses on the effects certain incidents or concurring incidents have had on the people in that region. 

To start with, his photographs in Kashmir clearly show the effect that the conflicts since 1989 have had on the people. The husbands and sons of the women there have often been suspected to be militants by security forces and killed, women have been raped, and civilians have been tortured in many ways. The post-traumatic depression, the sunken suicidal eyes, and the depth of the losses that the people suffered come through in the photographs. Though the violence has considerably subsided now, generations will suffer from it effects.

The next affected place portrayed was the coalfields of Jharia in Jharkhand. The photographs depict the lives of coalfield workers in Jharia-villagers stealing coal from loading areas, contaminated water bodies, sulphurous smoke everywhere, and other daily activities of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) workers. A memorable image is that of the charred hands of a worker, showing how the effects are skin deep. The problem in this area is the coal fires that arise due to unscientific mining and coal extraction in the past. Relocation of the locals to combat these fires is more troublesome than fighting the fire and hence, nothing is done about it. To add to the woes, these fires cause pollution that affects air, water and land, which become the everyday realities of people living in these regions.

The last place depicted are the tsunami affected areas in Tamil Nadu's Kadalor district and Chennai's Marina Beach. The central and state governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and the Union Territories of Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have not maintained their legal and moral responsibilities in providing adequate compensation and rehabilitation to the tsunami survivors. There have also been delays in providing permanent housing and restoring livelihoods. The photographs portray a temporariness in the lifestyles of people and the focus is on the life of fishermen after the tsunami. 

The dedication to portraying the subject as close to its reality as possible is seen in the photographs. All of them are in black and white, lending an even more favourable depth to the images displayed. Sugata Srinivasaraju wrote the essay for Sri's book, "Thereafter...", the compilation of the photographs displayed in the exhibition, and his words sum up Sri's photography. He writes: "The camera is often an insensitive, loud and selfish being. It stirs silence, intrudes privacy, and violates the sanctity of every grave moment. But in the hands of Sri, it endeavours to become an instrument of compassion."

Note: This piece did not get published in IE because it got forwarded to the Delhi office after the exhibition ended. Still, my blog has more than enough space for it. The photographs have been taken from various sites online and have all been taken by Sri.