12

Take52 Challenge: Week 13 – Delicate

Delicate – such a deceptive word. I’ve always thought that. Like petite. It conjures up images of things easily broken, damaged; suggests a lack of inherent strength, of ‘hardiness’ – in both things and people. And although in many cases this may be true, in many others I find that the inherent strength of the delicate (whether objects or humans), far exceeds that of the obviously strong – whether physically or mentally. Christie used women in ‘delicate’ health all the time and they never seemed to die on their own! No indeed – they never died until someone tired of waiting and went about murdering them :P Perhaps that’s where I first learned to beware the word? ;) And if you’ve ever worked with babies like I have, you’ll know all about their iron grip!

This past week – Delicate was also the theme of the Challenge. I didn’t want to go the obvious route (when do I ever?!), but explore the ‘delicateness’ in the abstract – our minds, our hearts, our thoughts, our dreams, our egos – seemingly fragile yet capable of herculean strength when needed. I thought of the dream catcher I brought back from my trip to the Grand Canyon. It has hung from my bedroom window in every house I’ve lived in since – swaying gently in the breeze, filtering my dreams, protecting me from nightmares or so I like to think :) I love it though and I love the thought of it and it seemed to fit the theme. It did help that it had a few delicate beads and feathers! I added the quote because it’s a favourite but also because I’m still learning to let ‘negative space’ just be! I’m working on it, I promise :P Here it is…Delicate Dreams…

Delicate

And once I was done with the Challenge, I decided to take a few shots of the weeds in the gardens – another deceptively delicate species ;)

What’s your take on ‘Delicate’? Share! Do! 

16

Take52 Challenge: Week 12 – Score

I was in Goa for the week this theme was announced and busy with things other than the Challenge. The most obvious interpretation of the word – “Sports” is NOT something I’m interested in at all; and so this was the toughest challenge for me so far. I struggled to come up with ideas and when I did, it was almost always too late and someone had posted before me! I took many pictures of my son playing cricket, but I couldn’t find any that hit the spot. I came back home to Bangalore 5 days later…with time running out and still stuck. In desperation I took a few shots of a Beer Mug with ‘scored’ glass but it didn’t feel right. Then while cleaning out my junk drawer I found my eye-test result and as it so often does – something clicked! And so I took this picture for the Challenge. It is my first monochrome submission and I’m quite happy with it :) 

Eye-Score

Of course in keeping with Murphy’s Law…once I was done with this picture, I began to get a few more ideas and on delving into my archives, I found a few pictures that seemed to fit the theme! What would you have shot for this theme? Do share! 

6

Monkton Mondays!

I keep meaning to write and when I finally sit down to do so…I see it’s been 3 weeks since I last did! I could apologise but I’ve been busy having good times :P I mean…one has to occaisonally go about and do happy blog-worthy stuff no? ;) Lets see…last I posted was just before we left for Goa for Junior’s spring break. What followed were four glorious days of fun and frolic with friends and family :) Break was longer but I had carefully choreographed the visit so it sou;don’t exceed my tolerance threshold! Make of that what you will :P but if you’re anything like me and/or know me well, you’ll understand why I can only manage short bursts of joy in Mom’s home! Believe me it’s better that way for the both of us ;)

Back home in Bangalore and we still had a weekend before school re-opened, so we visited the Banerghatta Biological Park and took a safari. There’s also a zoo which we avoided on advise from most friends who said it was totally avoidable. The safari was great fun though, and although the animals are in a controlled environment, it’s nonetheless exciting to spot a lion, a bear and a tiger…lolling around and sleeping off the dry summer heat :) Junior was beside himself with joy and I’m always happy to get that perfect shot. In June, we are off to Kabini – to visit the Nagarhole National Park. I’m super excited at the thought and am crossing every part of my body and mind in the hopes of seeing a tiger in the wild!! I’ve heard one once in the Kaziranga National Park and the sound still gives me gooseflesh in the best possible way.

This last weekend Junior turned 6 :) He still isn’t bothered about parties and so we did a cake-cutting in school, the day before and spent his Birthday morning visiting Martins Farm and playing with the farm animals there; while in the evening we saw Aladdin – a musical play where we met several of his classmates and they all had a ball running around in the manner of headless chickens ;) :P I think they all enjoyed the goofing around more than the play! You know how little boys can get! And while I was looking for books as return gifts, I discovered Tullika. I’d heard of Tullika of course – an Indian Publishing house that does fabulous children’s books but didn’t know that they also offer special Birthday packages! Ordering the books was a piece of cake thanks to the prompt and extremely helpful Aneesha :) I picked my books and sent them a list and sat back and relaxed. They sent me the books wrapped in gorgeous wrapping paper that matched the book covers complete with printed Thank You cards!! They even sent Junior a free book as a Birthday gift. Truly awesome service Tullika!!! Thank-You once again, especially to Aneesha who co-ordinated with me :D Cannot recommend them enough!

Add to all of the above, planning a trip to Ooty on the 17th of this month, my ongoing Photography challenge and reading East of Eden…and you know I’ve been a busy bee! Well that brings us unto today…the first day in a long time that my mind feels peaceful enough for a return to a routine. Hubby’s Birthday is coming up on Friday, but since no gifts are to be given nor expected – it’s all cool ;) :P And so to Mr. Monkton…It seems only fitting that I should dedicate this week’s post to Junior – who brings me more joy than I imagined possible and more hope that I believed existed. He makes all sadness bearable and all happiness happier :) And there are times when I look at him and wonder what it is in me that deserved him…whatever it is…I treasure it and I treasure him <3 :* Now enough with the sappiness and lets get to it!

a-birthday-blessing-edward-monkton-6006096-0-1342798896000Happy Monday People :D

Never miss a chance to dance in the rain! 

2

Take52 Challenge: Week 11 – Unlucky

This was a tough one! Bad luck doesn’t always make for great pictures – or so I thought! Turns out I was wrong. Of course :P We have some fantastic pictures on the site…a blend of concepts and techniques that make for fascinating viewing! As always the process of learning continues.

So of course I was thinking about Luck and what it really means. Some people believe Luck is being prepared and ready to seize an opportunity as it arises. Some people, and I must include myself in this category, use it to define events, good and bad, over which we seemingly have no control. Perhaps the lack of control is an illusion? A question of perception? But when I think how minuscule we are, how ruled by circumstance, how reliant on the judgement and skill of others like us, in most situations, then I have to believe in some mechanism or underlying unifying force/aura/energy, call it what you will, that nudges the Universe in any one given direction. Of course our choices have power! They can sway the Universe too, I just feel that ever so often they are acting in conjunction with the ‘Unknown’! Or perhaps that’s just me indulging my dramatic side and my penchant for the mysterious, for Fantasy ;) Whatever the reason, I do believe. Coz how else can you explain why one person wins the million-dollar life-changing lottery, while others spend millions of dollars on lottery tickets that don’t win them a penny?! I think Luck adds a fun dimension to what might otherwise be a humdrum existence…being prepared all the time is very wise indeed but I’m not sure it’s much fun :P Well not for me anyway – I’m much to instinctive to ever be prepared; but I’m prepared at all times to be instinctive ;)

And on that very confusing and rather silly note, lets just get to the pictures shall we? :D I know, I know – I ramble…it’s what happens when adult interaction is at the minimum :P The first things that I thought of were ‘black cats’ and ‘salt spills’ and in the absence of real, live cats, I decided to practice my photoshop skills and superimpose a stock image of one on to a picture of the Moon I had taken recently. Then in the same vein, I added some text to my picture of spilled salt which I had carefully arranged to spell Luck. Although I liked the way they turned out, none of them seemed right. Then I thought of the Snakes & Ladders game that is a current favourite with Junior and since Luck and games are so closely linked in our psyches, I decided to go with that. I used my Macro lens (it has become quite a favourite of mine even when I’m not actually shooting Macro), and clicked away! I quite liked the result. Let me know what you think, will ya? :D

And here is the picture I took for the Challenge…

Unlucky-Dice

Here’s to a Lucky Weekend People!

May the Luck of the Draw be always in your favour :) 

8

Monkton Mondays!

Today is Holi – The Festival of Colors! Like all things Indian, there are myriad stories that surround one festival ;) My favourite of the ones surrounding Holi, is the story of Prahlad, son of the Demon-king Hiranyakashyapu. How’s that for a tongue-twister eh? ;)

Well, in manner of all Demons – old & new, this one too got so full of himself, that he declared that the World should worship only Him and none of the 36 million odd Gods that were around. However he harboured a fervent devotee of the Lord Vishnu (The Protector), in his own home, a fact that was like a humungous thorn in his demon-hide! The young prince Prahlad was pious and steadfast and under The Lord’s protection – a fact that saved him from several attempts on his Life. I think his Dad once tried to have him trampled to death by a mad bull elephant – NOT cool! Finally King H called on his evil sister (I wonder if she was a twin), conveniently named Holika (you see where this is going?) for help in killing his son. This is why I say – Family is overrated much :P

Holika had a magical cloak (move over Harry!), that protected her from Fire. Supercool methinks! So anyway, she sat on a burning pyre, and on her lap sat Prince Prahlad, calmly meditating on The Lord’s name. I’m telling you – Meditation is the way to go People! And Lo and Behold (God, I’ve been dying to use that expression!), the cloak miraculously flew off her and onto the Prince, saving him. Meanwhile Holika was Toast! I must confess I feel a little sad for her, but then I’ve always enjoyed the Demon in me ;) But for the rest of the goody goody World – All’s Well that Ends Well! Good once again conquers Evil and one more festival is added to the ever-lengthening list :) And for those of you who are interested in the end of the story – The Lord Vishnu appears in the form of a lion-man, grabs the evil King, sits on the threshold and literally tears his heart out!! Oh yeah – Beware the Vengeful God People :P Then the good Prince P becomes the good King P and everyone is happy except the dead and we all know they don’t count!

The purpose of the tale, other than it took me down memory lane and was fun to write ;) is to explain why we light a huge Bonfire on the night before Holi, and call it Holika! It signifies as always the triumph of Good and a phoenix-like renewal from the ashes of loss. I wonder if Rowling ever read this story? :P Last night we witnessed our very own Holika and she was pretty fiery :) And although playing with colours traditionally follows the Holika, times they are a-changing my friends. We played with colours yesterday morning, because it was a Sunday and so – convenient :) It was fabulously fun though and Junior who’s been terrified of playing before, was happy to smear colours on us and himself and even willing to be drenched by water guns :D some of which by the way, could easily be mistaken for army-issue! He’s growing up and it makes me a little teary, but well – c’est la vie. 

In other weekend news – finally began Steinbeck’s East of Eden and am already half-living in the Salinas valley :) I’m just about a 50 pages in and already I know this is going to be an unforgettable saga of gargantuan proportions. Sorry for the floweriness :P Have been wanting to use ‘gargantuan’ for ages too ;) And so on to Mr. Monkton…I chose this image because it reminded me of how ‘In the Groove’ we were yesterday – dancing to the latest Bollywood numbers, coloured faces grinning maniacally, carefree and happy! It was a good feeling! A Wonderful feeling :D I FELT it! And it’s very clear that  Ms. Bunny feels it too :D

groove-bunny-edward-monkton-10g-tin-of-mints-44204-p

Happy Monday People!

May you always find COLOUR when you need it :D

10

Take 52 Challenge: Week 10 – Angle

It’s all about Angles this week and suddenly I see them everywhere! This is the first time this has happened for me…that I’m literally seeing the subject of the Challenge everywhere, in everything, all the time! It’s rather overwhelming not to mention a tad weird :P They are truly ubiquitous – whether in Nature or the man-made World, whether geometrical or metaphorically, as nouns or verbs…it’s all a matter of perspective. We’ve had some lovely angled shots this week…some soft, some sharp and some downright dramatic. Angles tend to do that – add drama. If you sense a metaphor coming, breathe easy ;) I’m steering well clear of them this week. There’s such a thing as too much thought and I’m just not in the mood. Although I must confess that was my intention when I began to write. You’re congratulating yourself on your lucky escape aren’t you? And the fickleness of my mind?! You and me both :P

Last week for the Roots Challenge, I shunned Mother Nature and went man-made. This week I embraced Her :) And like most Mothers, she didn’t disappoint ;) I found this plant with dagger-like thorns encircling its thick stem from top to bottom – a throwback to some medieval torture instrument :P They were protecting the most delicate greenish-pink buds that offered a wonderfully soft contrast. The flowers however I didn’t like very much…they were flat and lacked the alluring innocence of their younger selves! See, I promised no metaphors! How am I doing so far? ;) It was harder to get the right angle than I had imagined. Translating 3D into 2D is tough and doesn’t always work. I took a lot of shots and finally chose this one…

Natural Born Angles!

Natural Born Angles!

Here is what they were protecting…

DSC_0472

And here are some others I took just for fun…

The Weekend is upon us People! ENJOY every ANGLE ;) :D

7

Take52 Challenge: Week 9 – Roots

I should have posted this last week but better late than never! The theme of the Challenge was Roots, once again a word with many meanings and as many interpretations, several of which I’ve enjoyed viewing on our site. I love that about this Challenge, it’s making me look at things from different perspectives :) Again, I knew I didn’t want to take a traditional ‘root’ picture. For one, there weren’t any interesting roots or even root-like objects in the near vicinity. Lots of trees but with their roots tucked safely underground! So I decided to grow my own…and since I have a non-existent green thumb, they would have to be grown from something that I could not destroy :P

I came across ‘water candles’ on Youtube while surfing for ideas and decided to try them out. I’m not a ‘crafty’ person (pun unintended!), but these seemed simple enough and I wouldn’t have to go shopping for material. I have plenty of used candles and a million wax crayons thanks to Junior! So into my little fondue pot went the chopped up candle wax and a brown crayon and in 5 minutes, I had some nice bubbling, melted wax. I must say I felt very accomplished ;) Then I poured small amounts of the melted wax onto a plastic base with a votive previously fixed, and dunked & swirled immediately in a bucket of water. The instructions said ice-cold but I didn’t bother with the ice. It was fun to see the strands of wax stretch out and rise the instant it hit the water :) They looked more like icicles than roots but I didn’t care. I used my macro lens to get up close and personal with my waxy roots!

Roots of Wax!

Last week, I also managed to download Photoshop and Lightroom – Finally! Now that I have them I’m looking forward to learning more about editing. I think it’s a great way to add some more fun into the photographic process. I’ve been using Youtube to study Photoshop tutorials and learnt recently how to blend two pictures into one, inspired by my friend Wendy who used the technique to create a wonderful image for the Roots Challenge. I used it to create another picture which if I had got done in time, I might have submitted for my Challenge. Then I found a rather nice ‘root’ picture that I had taken a year ago in Bombay and I used Photoshop to change it into a painting (an effect I really love). I thought it turned out rather nice.

As for Roots – I’ve just posted about how ‘Rootless’ I feel in my soul and how this ‘rootlessness’ feels authentic for the moment. So for now – it is what it is, and if ever I do sprout some myself – I promise, you guys will be the first to know. Meanwhile for those of you with Roots – Bask in their Glory :) And for my fellow ‘Rolling Stones’ – Enjoy the Ride!