Friday, December 24, 2010

Such a big Carrot!!

I got to say it is such a big carrot...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Xmas is here

The Christmas tree with some gifts. Photo taken at my office..

Look at the size of the gifts!! 8)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Out of the blue

Mom gifted me this out of the blue!! :) So happy to receive a gift..

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Learning Juggling

My juggling balls...

First try... :) :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Colours of English

Totally by surprise I fell upon a topic which is really intriguing. Yes, like the title says colors in English. They are everywhere, other than a BW picture or movie. They are also in English. "Don't worry you will pass your exams with flying colors" they say. Do colors really fly?

"His face will turn red", red with anger. Such a vibrant color red is used to show anger. Interesting, but true. A "red tape" what the? You caught me red handed there. I will not use bad words. Lets raise a red-flag and say this topic is really a tough one to crack open. Colors and English so vibrant, red hot combination I should say. I am actually out of red now. So lets go to the next color.

"He has hit a purple patch in his life. Now where did this color come from? Actually it comes from a roman poet, who wrote...." nceptis grauibus plerumque et magna professis purpureus, late qui splendeat, unus et alter adsuitur pannus". Which means... "Your opening shows great promise, and yet flashy purple patches; as when describing a sacred grove" and so it goes. The origin of a purple patch is from here.

"He is turning blue", "lonely and blue in a strange city", "Its a blue day"..... well I got to say .. where do these come from. Blue is the color of the sky and hence the sea. When you think on these lines you will get a lot more places where the color blue is used. Blue here means suffocation or depression. Blue day refers to not so good weather because of constant rain. Out of the blue, I get this topic I should say. Such thoughts come once in a blue moon :) :) 

"Its a black out", "black market", how can the color black get out. Black is considered as absence of color. It is actually not considered as a color if you ask artists they might give a long explanation about it. "Black mail", here is what I could gather about it. "Its origin had nothing to do with the post office. Mail in this sense was an old Anglo-Norse term for rent or tribute. During the time of border warfare between England and Scotland, freebooters extorted payment from farmers of the area in exchange for protection and immunity from plunder. As the inhabitants were generally very poor, the tribute was paid in "black mail," that is, grain, meat, or the lowest coinage (copper), as opposed to "white mail," which was silver. In time the word took on the meaning of any payment extorted by threat of exposure of an incriminating secret." It is pitch black around here, don't you think.

 "Hope this message reaches you in pink of your health" . Pink ?? Here is what I found.The general usage of this phrase has altered somewhat since it first entered the language. We now usually see it with the specific meaning of 'the pink of condition', i.e. in the best possible health. It is tempting but, as it turns out, misguided, to assume an association between 'the pink of condition' and the healthily glowing pink cheeks of new-born babies or energetic sportsmen/sportswomen and the like.The earliest citations of 'in the pink' are from the 16th century and, at that time, the meaning was 'the very pinnacle of something', but not necessarily limited to health. I already see pink elephants, don't you? :) I have a tickled pink feeling about all this.

 There is lot of gray matter here, kind of gets difficult to recollect all the colors. I am yellow-bellied when it comes to saying things at the appropriate time. I do see the world with the rose-colored glasses some times. That makes some go green with envy. Just hope the world was black and white, where everybody can chase rainbows. :) :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Second Painting.

I thought, I could do it.. Well it has come out very well.... Here is the picture I took at Rohtang Pass.. I made a painting out of it. I made some changes and also used my imagination to fill the landscape behind. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Everybody Sneezes

I was in a train back home from Mahim. Local train towards Andheri, ofcourse it was crowded. It was a routine train, normal. As soon as the train took off from Vileparle towards Andheri, we came across some kind of pungent smell. It was a strong enough to bring a sneeze from me. I sneezed.

After a second or two the Muslim uncle with the cap, who sat near me, sneezed. Then another guy sneezed he was in his 40s. May be a manager somewhere, looking at the way he was dressed. Then came the turn of a guy who looked a little like he was from the north east.

I was amazed, so many people sneezed in just a matter of seconds. Then a Marathi guy sneezed ( I knew he was because he was reading a marathi paper) I was wondering all of them reacted similar to the smell. They are all from different religion, sect, caste and for that say from different parts of India.

They I popped into the paper and it read the news on J and K and also violence somewhere in Andhra Pradesh. Even though we are all brought up from different parts of the country and follow different ways to reach God, we are still just humans, homo sapiens sapiens.

Today during lunch I had a stroll. I came across a school. It was end of a shift and start of another I guess. All cute and small kids were leaving and taller kids were coming in. I saw a Singh uncle riding a cycle, picking up his grand daughter from school. Then a lady in burka went hand in hand with her cute kid.

An old sindi uncle came in Kinetic Honda. It was a buzzing crowd. With all this, there were taxis, buses, vans picking up children from the school. All kids were so happy leaving school. Kids playing, saying bye bye to each other. All smiles. It really gets me to wonder, we are not really discriminative when we are kids. Its when we grow up we get these strange feelings. The hatred for others is just a mere result of us becoming adults. Hope some day we are kids again. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Inspiration during a Flight

Its not a great painting.. I am improving though :) 

Inspiration from a Flight...
Another view .... Changing white balance

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kaza mere kaza

Our Tata sumo was just piercing the darkness of the night with its head lamps. I looked out of the window, I could see nothing but darkness. The lights of the car showed us that the road existed there. The time was 4 am. The terrain was hilly. I was totally concentrating on the road as I sat on the front seat. I just consider it a good omen, for me to occupy the front seat for the start of the journey. Our vehicle slowly descended in the darkness.

 Every now and then, I felt my fingers on my lap tapping. It was the music, ancient Buddhist prayer combined with slow beats welcoming the sun rise. It was very soothing as it made me calm down my anxiety. The hilly terrain was very difficult to drive. Our driver "Suraj" was one of the best when it came to judgment of the road. I was impressed from day one. The prayer broke into instrumental beats every now and then.  We were on our way back from a small town called Kaza towards Manali.


Kaza is a small town on the Himalayas. To get there is a kind of bumpy drive from Manali. It was a very difficult climb three days ago. It took us almost 15 hours long drive, to reach Kaza. It is as remote as it can get. We stayed here for 3 days. Kaza is such a small town that, you can hear a dog bark far far away. The drive from Manali to Kaza is more and more up hill. The decent takes less time as compared to the climb, like always.

View from the hotel at Kaza
Kaza town
 Spiti Valley is an amazing place just south of Ladakh. It has all the likes of Ladakh but at the same time it is very much in Himachal Pradesh. Canon had organized a photography workshop to Ladakh, which ; due to natural calamity there was changed to Spiti valley. I had never been anywhere north of delhi. So I grabbed this opportunity with  both hands.

Spiti Valley
 I did not know what to expect. As the altitude went soaring, less of oxygen; my 6 feet body felt the pinch of it. I had the slight headache and vomiting was inevitable. Rohtang Pass and then Kunzum Pass at 4551 m was the highest point. Then our descent to Kaza at 4200m. Only MTNL works here. No other mobile operators will help. Switch the mobile or put it on flight mode. On the second day, we went to Tabo Monastery.

Kunzum Pass
Tabo Monastery

I went to a local telephone booth to call home. It was a relay phone. Everything was new to me. After you dial the number, you have to wait for 2 mins to get the ring. I finished a routine call home and went to pay the bill. The lady there told me it is Rs . 7.50/-. I gave her two new five rupee coins which where made in yellow metal rather than the usual. She was very surprised to see these new coins. I told her to keep the change. She smiled at me and said. " Aaj kuch naya dekha hai, pooja mein rakungi"; which meant, she saw something new today and will keep the 5 rupee coins during pooja for God. We exchanged smiles.

Tabo monastry, Kibber Village (The highest place where man lives), Kye Monastery (Highest place where there is a monastery), amazing onlooking Dhankar Fort, where some of the areas I covered from the Kaza village. Good food, sound sleep help me recover from the vomiting days. I took a rest day for this long trip.

Kye Monastery
Kibber Village

Dhankar Fort


 Suddenly it got very cold, we pulled up all over window. On the Manali-Kaza road, we had to take a detour to see something totally out of the world. From the top draw they say, sure it was; Chandratal Lake. We reached at chandratal at 8 am. We had to trek 3-4 kms to reach the lake. The skies stayed blue. It was a amazing feel to see the lake itself, forget taking pictures of it.

Chandratal Lake
Near Rohtang Pass

From there onwards it was very smooth sailing till we reached Rohtang, where we stopped for Maggi. Here is were we met the two stalwarts, "Bhimari" and "Bhikari"; they were quiet some characters. On way from Rohtang to Manali, we faced lot of traffic jam and butter. It was tough because of the mist and weather conditions. Finally we reached Manali, where I stayed for more than 3 days, before returning to Delhi and then back to Mumbai. Eventful trip, but I got some of the best shots I could bargain for. Worth the effort I should say.

Bhimari and Bhikari the Maggi guys

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Value of Money

Today morning, I checked my wallet for money. I had just 20 bucks. I rechecked it, and I could not find more. It was just 20. Felt that the "daridram" in Sanskrit which means the state of being poor has just hit me. Money does not affect unless you are found wanting for it.

Today's fast money has made life easier to draw money from the bank account. The problem is, it has also made the spending that much more easier. I usually draw money from the ATM before I reach such a state of having just 20 to show.

The thoughts of my college days struck me. I used to travel home and to college with just 20 bucks that my mom used to give me. I used to save money from that by walking sometimes and save it for future use. I bought vada pav, books, etc.. It was a content life. I did have very less money, but after saving some, I used to feel very happy of my achievement.

Today, I don't feel the necessity to save it as I earn. I don't save money like I used to do it. Just going back, when I was at my college, I was so young, not mature enough. But then I knew saving money was very essential. Now that I have grown and mature enough to make a decision, I don't save money. Just the irony of life, when you can do something very easily, we just don't.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Loneliness Quotient

Loneliness can mar not only the time you are lonely, but would become a part of you in your psycho. Letting it go is not only difficult but also tricky as it keeps coming back. Its more of a feeling than a phenomenon. Addiction to something may be caused because of loneliness.

Positive energy is sapped, which leads to depression and rage. Disoriented thoughts makes days look like weeks. Friends betray your trust, act weird with no reason. Where does such a traumatized soul go after all? It is difficult to hold one self when the feeling is negative. Positive energy is like a oasis which comes and goes. Before you can blink your eyes, you are back to the boredom of infinite thickness. Breaking the shackles off which is takes utmost determination.

Anger is a double edged sword, which causes more ego outburst: in-turn gives back nothing but takes away lot of things. Past unforgettable events comes to torment you again and again, which will sap the living day lights out of your positive energy. Letting go things is something I realized could not help in such a black hole of a situation, as I can see no end.

When you trust someone with utmost belief and he happens to slip a knife from behind you cannot do much; rather than feel helpless. I have lost many of my friends because of time, distance, the unknown and the lost. I feel the later is the most paining aspect of it all.

Now every-time I think of doing something good to someone, the past gives a peep and says, "Is it worth it? " "Don't you think you are giving too much in return for nothing" All I can say at the present frame of mind is that I have given up... doing any good deeds to anyone... I would stay neutral till my mind and self gets back to a normalcy. Recent events have created a crater in the good deeds section of my brain.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mahuli Trekking

I did not search online for this one. Just went with friends, as they knew most of the info. I was out to watch a movie the night before, which made me reach home at around 2 am. I had to wake up again at around 4:30 for the trek. This made my life uneasy with just 2 and half hours of sleep. It was uphill task from there one would say. It was indeed an uphill from there. :) :)

Mr A is all fresh for the climb. Mr S in black t shirt, and Mr R wearing couple of socks on each leg, nice strategy....

Sign of things to come...

A river on the way, it was fun...

Mahuli is the base village, which could be reached by auto or ST (state transport) bus from Asangaon Railway station. Carry lot of water and glucose as anyone can faint as this one is very steep. Please avoid this during summer, as it is too draining and very physical. There is a water fall somewhere, before you begin the actual climb, but we wasted more than half an hour on it, we just could not find it. The base village has a Hanuman and Shiv mandir, which marks the start of the climb. Pray lord Hanuman for all the strength, as you will need it. :)

The initial phase is easy. Meandering curves and occasional big boulders which were little slippery if there are rains. The rain god Varuna almost betrayed us, as there was no rain, till we made almost 90% of the climb. We were very exhausted, and the worse the sun peeped up just to add some sun light into the fury. The water we carried was fast vanishing as we were totally drained on the way up. The steep slopes just keeps getting better and better. Do sleep well the night before, I found it out the tough way.

One cannot site the peak, till half way through. When you are around 60% till the top, is when you will have the clean view of things to come. I tell you, the worse is the last 40%. It blew the wind of my sails. Mr S had breathing problems, still he could gather the courage to finish on the top. Mr A cheered us all the way through, as it turned out to be a peculiar trip as this was the only trek, I was being cheered by Mr A. Mr R showed no signs of discomfort and reached the top with ease to show us some of his spider man skills. It took us almost 4 and half hours to climb it. We had scaled it... Finally.......

The view from the top:

Varuna was finally pleased with us. The descent saw heavy rains. It was not raining but pouring at occasions. Mr S felt much better by now, and gathered his breath. Mr R leading the way again, Mr A now fell behind, as the descent went into a story of no end. We could easily say that this is the most difficult descent of all the trek I have been in. As it rained heavily, it was very difficult to hold footing. Some how after 3 and half hours of descent, we reached the place where we started from, just in time for a quick tea and the 6:30 pm bus, which arrived at 6:50 IST.
I did call my mom from the peak, so vodafone has network on the top of the mountain, surprising. Mosquitoes rule the roost, so please carry a mosquito repellent cream. It is compulsory. Keep changing T-shirt, which will help you keep your skin fresh. Remove shoes as often as possible, which will allow your skin to breath. You can also camp the night in the caves, but I must say, it is not well maintained. It is better you do a one day trek, rather than extending it to a two day trekking experience. Of-course I almost forgot the ladder you will have to face. It is so difficult that, you can cross it closing your eyes and with two hands in the air. Don't forget to maintain balance. :) :) Just kidding, it is easy. But mind you guys, it is tough and it gets tougher as you climb, keep your composure. Mr A had a last laugh that he inspired me and Mr S to climb.

Scaled Mahuli: Mission Accomplished

The ladder to heaven: :) :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brown Bread How much?

I was alone at home thinking about what to make for breakfast.... Eating my head to find the one thing that is both good for health and also sits for a long time in my stomach. After a lot of brain storming I zeroed on Brown bread, otherwise called whole wheat bread.

So I went about shopping for it. It was around 8:30 in the morning and it was slightly drizzling. I took an exact change of Rs. 20 /- it did not occur that I should take more. I thought that would be enough. So I went about to every shop to check for brown bread. The first shop, did not have brown bread, but they had normal bread.

Next shop, no bread. As it was raining, the guy who delivers bread to the shop was late today. I left him cursing the delivery guy to the next shop. The next shop: as soon as I said brown bread, the guy was delighted to pick it up and give it to me. May be he could not sell it. I did see the expiry date before buying it.

Then came the interesting part. He said the bread is Rs. 21/- I had only 20 bucks. I was left scratching my head. I told him, I have only 20. He gave a look at me, as if I am someone who is asking for a loan. I was indeed. I told him, I will give it back. He was not impressed. I just thought to myself, does Rs. 1 /- really matter. God knows how many such one rupees I would have given away here and there every day.

I was totally taken aback by the amount of importance he put in that one rupee. I have seen auto-drivers, shop keepers many a times just make a twitch and let go rupee one. Not this time. It was around 3rd shop from my home. So I had to walk all the way again to give him the money. I would not take that route for work. I could have just let go, as it would not matter a lot.

But I made a decision to walk all the way back again to give him the money. I did go back to do it. When I returned home, I felt that now I will be able to digest the brown bread properly. Not with the knowledge that this bread is not fully payed for or my conscience pricking me.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Times of Disturbia

There are times wherein, the more you think of what to do next, the more you go into spiral thought process. Moving things around is actually the toughest part. When everything seems against you, you kind of stay determined for the time and then find a way out of the situation. Sometimes you find the easy way out, sometimes it is the tough way out. Till today, I have always been taking the easy way out.

Easy way seems like the best for the short term. But looking at the future with a wide angle lens, it seems to be a stupid decision. This time I choose the tough way out. Choose the tough way and you have to be prepared for the things that come along. It is very difficult to hold yourself at these times. Some times I start doubting myself, in the way I do things. That is actually the most difficult mental state to handle.

The recent past have not been the best of times both personally and professionally. Broken, dejected, forlorn are some of the words to refer to my mental state of affairs. The renaissance to topple all this from my head has began, but it is taking a lot of time to defy the power within. Proving some of my critics wrong, is not going to be easy, unless battle from within is won.

Mental state contributes a lot to your daily chores. I have been sidelined badly with thoughts questioning my future. The enthusiasm, zest, zeal and hope seem to have dropped quiet a bit. Getting them up online needs application, determination and most importantly belief. Lacking some small percentage of any of these, will not make a good recipe for success. The next few months are going to be really jolt me around. I feel, I come out of it with bright colours. Hoping to look down upon this post in the future and have a bright smile on my face. "Yes you did it"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Raigad Fort

Along the Mumbai-Goa highway comes this dilapidated fort of Raigad. Chatrapathi Shivaji's fort still stands till this day on the hills of Raigad. The western ghats stands tall and looks gigantic. It is around 1500 steps to reach the top of the hill. Shivaji and his army must have been really fit to reach that almost everyday.

An Overview of the Rope-way we took to reach the top.

Taken from the Rope-car. It was an amazing site: The ride took 4 mins at a slow pace.

Up the hill near the fort now.

An overview of the Upper Station:

After you reach the top, the entrance to the fort is from the back side, which the queens used to use before. The steps to reach the top is on the other side of the hill, from which you can enter the direct darbar. A story of British general goes like this. He climbed the hill to reach the top almost 1500 steps. He was totally exhausted. When he came to the gates of the darbar, he was amazed to see two elephants throwing flowers at him. For a guy with 2 feet it is so difficult to reach the top. How did Shivaji manage to bring these hefty elephants so far up the hill.
The trick was, Shivaji brought these elephants when they were just calf. They grew here in the top of the hill for the rest of their life. 7 queens, 7 rooms....Shivaji's bath tub, his Chathrapathi Simhasana, His samadhi and the samadhi of his faithful dog, had a lot of historic importance.

Shivaji's Bath Tub:

The place where he was crowned Chatrapathi Shivaji

Samadhi of Chatrapathi Shivaji:

The samadhi of his faithful dog.

Just adjacent to his samadhi is the Temple. It looks like a mosque from a distance. It was a camouflage so that the Muslim rulers thought it was a Muslim place and never came to attack it. Being at the top of the hill it looks like mosque for sure from a distance.

The lady who made lunch for us and her house below. Jowar roti was really tasty for a tiring tour. Take lots of water if you are travelling in the summer. The winds on the top are good.
I also happen to see the shiv jothi. The person who lites this jothi will take it to his village on his legs. He walks all the way to his home. May it be 400-500 kms. The hard thing is he will wear no shoes. Amazing these people have so much faith and dedication even in the 20th century.

Shiv jothi:

The motor that moves the rope way car. I tired some photography tricks, here the wheel seems like it is moving. Slow shutter speed. :) :)