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…

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 😛 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 😀 

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 😛

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

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Because – YOU’RE TOTALLY WORTH IT 😀 ❤

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 😉

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 😛 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 😛 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 😀 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!

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 😛 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’ 😛 (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…

Take52 Challenge: Week 15 – Classic

The second of my catch up posts. Just one more to go and then I’ll be all caught up – fingers crossed 😛

So – Classic. A good solid word just like it’s meaning. Meant to last, perhaps outlast us all, and open to interpretation. And once again, a tough challenge for me! I did have a few ideas, but with preparations on for the long Easter weekend we had planned in Ooty – my heart wasn’t really in it and my thoughts – predictably scattered 😛 When we left for Ooty – I felt not a little disappointed about missing my first week since the Challenge began…I had so aspired to completing this one ‘come what may!’ Once we were in Ooty however, I was so enamoured of the ‘Birds & the Bees’ that it didn’t matter much anymore. How fickle our memories!

And then, whether out of desperation or inspiration…an idea struck. I would use the pictures I had and interpret them ‘classically’. Oh I know! It was a cop out of sorts…but hey I did take the pictures and see myself through one more week 😀 The resort we stayed at is a bird-watcher’s paradise! Flocks of Bulbuls, Swallows, Sunbirds, Sparrows and the elusive but stunningly pretty Oriental white-eye. And so armed with a Bird and a Bee and a little magic in Photoshop, this is what I came up with…a literal translation of the classical phrase “The Birds & The Bees”…here they both are, doing what they do best – Spreading the Love 😉

The-Birds-&-The-Bees

 Here are a few other ‘classic’ shots from my collection – some of which I took for the first Photography Challenge – 52 Weeks, that I was ever a part of – started by my friend A 😀 And here I am again, part of another! The circle of Life and all that 😛

What’s your kinda classic? Do share 😀

Monkton Mondays!

It’s been a while since I was away…you know how it goes…you go a vacation and no matter how short, it takes days to prepare before and weeks to get back to routine after 😉 Or at least I like to pretend it does 😛 So it was, after our Easter weekend getaway in Ooty – a hill station in the Nilgiris, in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Detailed post will follow just as soon as I can get through the ton of pictures I have to sort through. 

I must also write that this will probably be my last Monkton post for a while. As much as I enjoy them, I’ve been doing them for so long that I’ve used all of my favourite pictures and unless Mr. Monkton does a fresh lot of illustrations, I feel like I’ll be forced to repeat many of them. I’ve been toying with the idea of using illustrations from the The Happy Page while waiting for new pearls of wisdom from Mr. Monkton. I love how their minimalistic illustrations manage to convey a myriad of emotions 🙂 and they fit rather well with my Blog title and theme. Unfortunately…I can’t seem to think of a cool alliterative title (I have a thing about alliteration as far as titles go :P), so all suggestions are very welcome!

Although I’ve been away from the Blog, I’ve been busy with the camera and am still very much a part of the CameraShy Take52 Challenge. Will update those posts as well during this week. We’ve had some interesting challenges these last two weeks 🙂 And so to the start of another week, just a few days left and we’ll be in May – almost half the year done in the blink of an eye! As of now the things that occupy my mind are getting a dog (although that’s perpetually on my mind!) and our trip to Kabini in June and then Goa – for a month long break after – by which time hopefully the Monsoon will be in full swing and we’ll be rid of this wretched heat! Tomorrow, Junior has a ‘Leadership Summit’ in school – can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with 🙂 And so let me wrap up this last Monkton post with a big Thank You’ a la Monkton…To all of you for reading and for making writing a joyful experience – I’m very grateful! I hope you enjoy the Tin of Good Things 😀 

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I know I will!

Happy Monday People 😀 

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 😛

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 😛 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? 😛 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 😀 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 😛 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 😀 I FELT it! And it’s very clear that  Ms. Bunny feels it too 😀

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Happy Monday People!

May you always find COLOUR when you need it 😀