4

Take52 Challenge: Week 20 – Random

Random! A favourite word that appeals because of its inherent promise of aimlessness and the unpredictable – both qualities that for better or worse characterise me and my attitude toward Life :P I tend to ‘go with the flow’ on most things, until I drift into something that ‘hits the spot’ often unexpectedly, taking me by surprise and leaving an imprint that rarely fades away. Most things that have brought me great joy and comfort in Life have as a result been, I like to think, through the ‘random machinations of the universe’ ;) I’m probably completely wrong of course, especially if you happen to be a believer in the ‘great design’ and the fact that ‘everything happens for a reason’ :P Has that ever happened to you? A random happenstance that turns into a life-changing event?

What crossed my mind when I first saw the Theme, was the Sky. It’s classically random – a myriad hues from dawn till dusk and into the night. Luckily, we had unexpected pre-monsoon showers here in Bangalore that week and I was able to get decent shots of the moody skies :) Also last week ‘The Great Indian Circus’ as I like to call our Elections :P drew to a conclusion and as a result there were random firework displays that I caught from my balcony! 

And just because I love quotes, here’s a random one that I fell in love with ;)

“The sky was as blue as orange could get. I love sunsets at noon, and forks disguised as spoons.” ― Jarod Kintz

5

Take52 Challenge: Week 19 – Pure

Once again I’m playing catch up with my posts. School is nearing its end and there seems to be a flurry of events to attend that leaves me with time for little else. As a result, I haven’t been as involved in my photography as I would like, but am happy that I have at least managed to get that one shot per week for the challenge! 

Pure – a word with many meanings and abstract enough to pose quite the challenge. We had a lot of baby pictures posted, because that’s what invariably comes first to mind in this polluted, complicated adult word that we inhabit – the pureness and innocence of children :D The light in a baby’s eyes is so clear, authentic and guileless…what could be purer? I had initially thought of water as my subject, but couldn’t make that happen to my satisfaction, which is when I thought of the ‘pureness’ of prayer and was promptly stumped by how to translate this into an image! 

That’s when I remembered the little angel figurine I had picked up on my visit to Phoenix in 2008. I bought it for my son, who had not yet entered our life but would soon and turn it upside-down in the best of ways :) He was an answer to many prayers and so the symbolism seemed appropriate! Yes I know, on occasion, the ‘sappy me’ takes over :P So I placed a lit ‘diya’ in front of the angel, not only because Fire is the great purifier in Hindu culture but also because I love diyas ;) And so I had my shot :) I like how it turned out…let me know what you think!

6

Red Hills, Blue Mountains…

This year we spent Easter weekend in the Blue Mountains in Ooty. The Nilgiris (Neel = blue, Giri = mountain) are part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves and a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since we moved down South. Don’t get you’re hopes up – I didn’t go trekking in the Mountains or discover a new species but I did have a wonderful time soaking up the atmosphere at Red Hills Nature Resort, nestled in the valley :)

But first things first…getting to Ooty from Bangalore involved an 8-hour long drive during which we passed through two adjacent National Parks – Bandipur and Madumalai and negotiated 36 hairpin bends! Exhausting yet exciting :) especially when a mother Elephant with her baby charged us in Madumalai! That was awesomely scary :P They were just off the road that runs through the park and we thought they were chained, just like the ones we’d seen in Bandipur. Boy were we wrong! There’s not much scarier than an angry Mama Jumbo I can tell ya! We were shaking and screaming but it was supercool! The cars that were headed in her direction stopped dead in their tracks while we speeded off. I wish we could have stayed to see what happened, coz she was right in the middle of that road – all Queen-like – when we left her, but we were too chicken to hang around :P

After that exhilarating experience and the 36 bends up the mountain, followed by countless bumps on a mud track that passed for a road, we finally made it to Red Hills, tired and ravenous! It was worth every jolt ;) Lunch was great and there was fish which was a welcome happenstance :) When we were rested, we were able to take in the idyllic setting of this cozy family-run resort. Flowers everywhere and birdsong, a cool breeze and stunning vistas of the Nilgiris and Emerald Lake…really…a small slice of Paradise right here on Earth. Add to the mix friendly fellow travellers, warm hosts and their extremely friendly and fun-loving pooches, 8-yr-old Moby, an ageing German Shepherd with the gentlest manner ever and playful puppy Mikah – a Golden Lab who stole our hearts – and you have the makings of a pretty special holiday :D

I spent every moment I could bird-watching :) There were so many of them…Sparrows, Sunbirds, Shrikes, Bulbuls, Great Tits and my favourite – a flock of Oriental White-Eyes. I saw a few other brightly coloured birds fleetingly that I unfortunately could not identify and a lovely black one that I can’t either. The property is surrounded by tea plantations that belong to the owners and even has a little temple of it’s own next to the campsite. And the flowers…oh so many, oh so beautiful :) I’m no expert but I took pictures so you guys can exercise those ‘little grey cells’ ;)

Now for the birds!

And now for the beautiful Blue Mountains, so called because they glisten blue in the morning mists :) I have no words to describe how stunning they are, how serene, how uplifting. The fact that beauty like this continues to exist on our Planet, despite us and our destructive ways, gives me hope, and reminds me of Nature’s tenacity. It’s a comforting thought. I drank in the beauty of those Mountains, etched them in my memory so that now, when I’m back in the bustle of the city, I can close my eyes and be transported in a magical instant. Like Narnia <3 While we were there, I watched the most stunning sunrises I’d ever seen! If every day began thus, all would be right with the World n’est pas? :)

And so, after an idyllic 3 days, we returned to the chaos that is Home. I cannot wait to revisit and explore those mesmerising Mountains! Junior too is enamoured…more with Moby & Mikah than with them mountains I admit, but I’m not complaining. Hubby would still prefer a TV in the room (city boy that he is :P), but they do have wifi (works pretty well too), and even his urban soul cannot help but be moved in the presence of such awe-inspiring surroundings ;) I hope it will be soon :D

2

Take52 Challenge: Week 18 – Down

For last week’s challenge, the theme was ‘Down’ – another word that can be interpreted several ways. This Challenge is so educational in so many ways! I was once again uncertain about what I was going to do, although staircases came immediately to mind. I even went hunting for one, but no gorgeous spirals live in near proximity ;) and so had to think again. The picture I finally went with, is not special in itself, but important to me because it’s the first time that I was bold enough to take pics in the Mall with my DSLR! I’m very conscious and nervous when it comes to ‘street photography’, just scared of giving offence where none is meant I guess. So taking a picture of people on an escalator was quite the Challenge. I kept thinking someone would come over and object or that Junior would raise a ruckus, but ‘All’s Well that Ends Well’ :) Then Junior got into the act and made me take the second picture! I hope this will nudge me along in the right direction as far as taking ‘public pictures’ goes. I love that kind of photography and want to get better at it. This time I didn’t really have time to delve into my archives…

Meanwhile here goes…

And just coz 3’s my lucky number, here’s one of a sunset that I took a while ago…

Sundown at Bangalore...

Sundown at Bangalore…

6

Monday Musings…

Here we go again…

I’ve been babysitting Junior all by my lonesome since Friday, so Monday morning comes as sweet release ;) Oh I love my son, but love can be exhausting n’est pas :P So I was joyful as he clambered onto the school bus this morning and from the looks of it, so was he ;) We’ve actually had a fun, relaxed weekend – a bit of the Mall and lots of time playing outside with his friends :D 

Over the weekend, my FB page has been inundated with posts celebrating Mothers on the occasion of Mother’s Day yesterday. I’ll be honest – I had no clue it was Mother’s Day until I saw the posts! I love and respect Mothers as much as the next person, but I don’t keep tabs on ‘Days’. I’ve said this before on countless occasions and I say it again today…I have a love-hate relationship with my Mom. We are completely unlike each other in thought, attitude and manner. I try my best to understand her and I know she does the same for me, but that doesn’t seem to stop us from being at loggerheads over the silliest of things! It’s hard as children, to be non-judgmental where parents are concerned, even when we know better, and are wiser and even when we become mothers ourselves…or maybe that’s just me and the rest of you have it all sorted. My Mom spent a huge chunk of my life, dedicating herself to my brother’s care…he was totally dependent on her and it was a choice both my parents made. While they were busy with him, I was already a rebellious teen, studying Medicine, spreading my wings and thinking myself ‘independent’. I was wrong of course especially about the ‘Independence’, but try telling an adolescent that! They were in Singapore while I finished my basic degree and when they returned it was for my marriage! So for almost all of my adolescence, I lived with my Gran. She was my rock.

Like most people I know, I’ve made a conscious effort for a while now to spare my parents any worries that I might have. It just didn’t seem fair given all that they were going through and because I had acquired the Hubby to pester and rile at ;) So it’s strangely difficult for me, now that Mom suddenly wants to share every little detail in her Life after decades of relative silence. I find sharing difficult coz it’s become such a habit not to and frankly because I still don’t want to burden her with my troubles. Her life isn’t much improved from what it used to be. She of course insists that her Life is just the way she wants it and I cannot for the life of me understand how that could possibly be! I can see a hundred ways in which I can help and improve her Life, all of which she perceives as ‘condescending’ and ‘interfering’. Sound familiar? Yet every conversation we have of late sounds to me like a litany of troubles and complaints, while she maintains it’s ‘just’ a daily report of her Life and I should listen without reacting. Huh? Really? I realise I’m being silly and juvenile…but when it comes to our parents, aren’t we all? Isn’t that the one ‘no holds barred’ relationship where we’re allowed to be exactly who we are? 

Since I’ve moved to Bangalore, it’s become a norm for us to speak every morning. She’s usually the one calling, after Junior and Hubby have left, to catch up on stuff. Frankly, there isn’t much to catch up on when you speak every day but I know that most of her meaningful conversations are now telephonic and that the sound of my voice makes her happy. The sound of hers makes me happy too – it reassures me of her well-being and promises continuity if only for one more day. How important that assurance! I’ve just returned from talking to her – she chided me about not calling yesterday and immediately I felt my ‘hackles rise’. But instead of turning on my inherent smart aleck, I just apologised and had done with it! See? I try and sometimes I even succeed ;) There are times I wonder whether things would have been different if we had been a ‘normal’ household like any other but then I look around me and I think not! There’s a lot of scary ‘normal’ out there and all said and done, I guess my Life is exactly how I want it! I guess I’m more like my Mom than I care to admit :P

So here’s a shout-out to Mom’s everywhere – Congratulations on doing the Best you can and Celebrate Yourself every day :D

10258436_240903232773281_8079795345207159567_o

Because – YOU’RE TOTALLY WORTH IT :D <3

Happy Monday People!

P.S. I’ve decided to share images from The Happy Page instead of Monkton (at least until he makes more!). I’m just sharing them and  take no credit except for my good taste in choosing them ;)

6

Take52 Challenge: Week 17 – Markings

Last week’s challenge was themed ‘Markings’. Another easy one really considering ‘Markings’ are omnipresent and so naturally one that I found challenging :P Do you see a pattern here? I certainly do! Oh well – when in doubt – ‘Use the Kid’ I say ;) They’re generally adorable and make great pictures :) So that’s what I did, although this time Junior wasn’t a keen subject. He doesn’t like being ‘Marked’ but luckily is easily bribed :P I applied the red mark you see on his forehead, (a ‘Tilak’ we call it in local lingo) with powdered vermilion. We use it on auspicious occasions and it signifies a Blessing from whatever deity we’re in the mood to worship on the day! You know we have like millions of those right? ;) The pic on the right is the final post-process result (I increased the blur significantly in PS leaving just the mark sharp to fit the theme), but many friends in the group liked the original (on the left) better because his eyes are in focus and they are rather dreamy – even if I do say so myself ;) But I admit my extreme bias :D I’m still undecided on which one I like best, but I’m glad I got some PS practice!

And as always I travelled back in time to find more markings – this is what I dug up…and as usual…Nature comes up Trumps! 
And here is a little ditty that came to me when I was thinking of how Markings are ubiquitous.
Leopard spots and tiger stripes
Pretty birds and rusty spikes
Marks in red and marks on gold
Treasure maps and ancient scrolls
Painted roads and painted faces
Spades and Clubs, Hearts and Aces
Beetles, rings and butterfly wings
Markings on most everything!
5

Take52 Challenge: Week 16 – Formless

The 3rd and final catch up post of the Challenge!

When I saw last week’s theme, I sighed in relief! Formless in my head was easy to do – Light, steam, sky, smoke, fire, fog, water…any number of formless things presented themselves!! What I should have realised is that a paucity of ideas and an overload can cause the same reaction – a paralysis of action :P As I dithered between this and that, the group erupted with fantastic & innovative interpretations of ‘Formless’. And although it matters not a jot (this is a Challenge not a Competition), I wanted to do something different. I can be stubborn like that. Thankfully the old ‘noggin’ didn’t let me down and I decided to go with Bokeh…the effect you get when you deliberately ‘unfocus’ Light. I remember the days when I first got my DSLR and went rather ‘Berserk over Bokeh’ :P (how’s that for some trippy alliteration?). It had been a while since I arranged a shot at home and I had fun setting up the lights and adjusting my subject for the best results. Ultimately I liked two different pictures for two different reasons and had to rely on Photoshop once again for some merging action. I’m enjoying the fact that this Challenge has got me working on post-processing again. It’s a vital part of Photography and great fun!

Here’s the result…

Formless 

And as always some more perspectives on Formless that I like…