I took this picture in one of the bylanes of Ballygunge in Kolkata. It was a bright and sunny day and these deserted narrow lanes between the houses looked spooky and ethereal. The shadows cast by the trees on either side added depth to this pic. I took this pic with my cell. These little narrow lanes seem to go nowhere but in reality they are the major connecting roads and very common here. In Fact, they define the city. Walking is the only way to go unless you have a cycle or a hand pulled rickshaw which is very common here. The cycle rickshaws can’t pass through these lanes. Also it is very easy to get lost here. I was lucky to have a good guide to guide me through these roads…… else considering the inverted compass in my brain this would have been the perfect maze to get lost in.
I have had this fascination for black roses since a long time now. My dream to photograph fully bloomed dark black roses with lovely whorls of glossy black petals has led me to a lot of florists and nurseries often getting vague stares from its owners, finally the elusive black rose got me knee deep in the realms of earth. I decided to grow my own. I have since then convinced myself that black roses are a myth and the closest i can get to it is by photoshopping really dark red ones. I got cuttings of what I thought was really dark red roses and read all about it on the net. The first few cuttings gave me red roses but the color was softer. But after a change in the fertiliser (and perhaps the sunlight), the first batch of roses that have come out are brilliantly dark red….. almost black. These are the first rushes of the buds on stem photoshopped into monochrome. I am hoping that they don’t lose color after they have bloomed fully. Keeping my fingers crossed.
I might not have got the black rose but I am happy with this one. Plus the dark red color is simply awesome. I cant stop looking at it.
The Blossom Never Knows
Dilip Kumar Roy
The blossom never knows the fragrance sweet
That in its blossom’s mystery lies,
The deeps that mirror forth the Infinite
Question its secrets with their sighs.
For whom throng still the murmuring bees,
Restless amid the perfumed trees?
Whose memory thrills the impassioned breeze
And paints the magic skies?
Whose one lamps through the way-lost night
Glimmer in moon and starry light?
Whose glory in the dawn breaks bright?
For whom yearns all and cries?
For whose greatness down the ages long
Are the wide heavens a sapphire song?
For whom runs the stream with bablling tongue,
Repeats whose harmonies?
Whose breath perfumes trees, flower and grass,
Inspires the atoms’s dance in space?
Whose trailing robes in twilight pass,
A shadow in longing eyes?
Oh, if thou never wilt appear,
Why are thy masks of Beauty here?
Why sound thy anklets everywhere,
The spell that never dies?
My heart forgets that in my heart
Thy throne for ever lies.
A new life, for myself, I need to weave.
I need some oxygen, so as I can breathe.
From these chains, I need to break free;
I need the chance just to be totally me.
I need to escape now, from this prison cell;
Escape from this existence, I know so well.
Afraid of the world, in my corner, I cower;
I’m just like a bud, that’s waiting to flower.
I can’t go on like this forever and ever;
The storms in life, I will need to weather.
By your actions, my life has been affected;
I’m just like a child: my life is protected.
Sometimes it feels like I am suffocating.
For the perfect moment, I am still waiting.
You know that one day, I will go away;
Here, forever more, I just cannot stay.
Into my life, I need to let some light.
From this place, I need to take flight.
I need to try and overcome all my fears.
I need to have my own hopes and ideas.
I now need to have my very own space;
I need to live my life at my own pace.
One day, I will be a flower in full bloom,
And that ‘one day’ may come very soon.
(Poetry Courtesy Poem Hunter.com)
The woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before i sleep.
This one is from the archives. I took this pic a long time ago in rural Maharashtra, in one of the roads leading to Pali. We were going to one of the Ashtavinayaks. The drive there was simply amazing. There was no traffic that day and it was fun to drive on the empty roads with Kishore crooning to timeless melodies.
““Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you’re perfectly free.”
This was a bharatnatyam recital by a group of dancers performing for the Durga Pooja festival in my city. I monochromed it to capture the beauty of the dancer else the hero of the pic would be the jewellery and her clothes.
This was taken at East Coast Park, Singapore. Roller skaters and cyclists are a familiar sight there…… Also water rafters (will post that another day). Its a nice place where families can go camping on the beach and have a barbeque and do fun things like kite flying making sand castles or hire cycles or go roller skating and water rafting. You can set up your camps and sleep under the stars on the beach at night. Personally I found it a relaxing place.
“I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.
Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea –
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.”
― Sara Teasdale
W is for water
“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.
Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you.”
I just took this pic of the moon. With the monsoon slowly making its presence felt, we are having beautiful cloudy skies. I love playing with shutter speed where it comes to the moon. The moon looks so different on cloudy skies in different shutter speeds. Its fun to watch the transition especially with the clouds floating on top.
I took this pic of the orchid in Botanic Garden, Singapore. It is a beautiful place with a mind blowing array of orchids. I have never before seen so many beautiful flowers in one place. This is a beautiful purple orchid. I wanted to experiment and see if it looks just as beautiful in monochrome and it did! :D
You can see the original pic here
This is a pic of a tea stall in Kolkata. Interestingly this pic was taken at the pinnacle of general election and has the posters of two political leaders waving at you from the corner of the pic. Kolkata is a politically charged place. Anybody and everybody there has an opinion on the political scenario….. The three topics that everyone there talks about over a cup of tea at an ADDA (get together) is weather, politics and their wide range of illnesses…… and ohhhh I forgot Football!!!
Tea stall like this one is a predominant feature in the corner of most streets of Kolkata. The tea stall owners also sell biscuits, chocolates, mint, cigarettes and sometimes some fried eatables to accompany the tea and a paraphernalia of eatables.
This tea stall is close to my mum and dad’s home in Kolkata. I like this pic especially because as a kid i used to love going to this shop. They had these sweet and sour lollipops made with tamarind and jaggery and cumin which I used to love. In my vacations my aunt would buy me two biscuits from this shop every evening. Sometimes she would give me a coin and ask me to get two biscuits for myself.
The shop has since then changed hands a lot of times. The initial owners I remember were my mother’s childhood friend so I would get lots of freebies.
Going to Kolkata during holidays was fun. My mum and dad live closeby so everybody who lived in and around mom and dad’s place were related to me from either side. Either that or they were my mum or dad’s friends. So as soon I would go there people would ask me when I had come for my visit. I was known to all by face. This was a contrast to living in the city where nobody knew you. I resemble my mom too much…… so much that in that place I needed no introduction.
Things have changed these days. The entire demographics of the place has changed. The oldies have either passed away or they have moved for better opportunities in other cities. It is not the same anymore. When I was younger I could knock on any door and just have a glass of water or be welcomed in their home….. made me feel I belonged there. Not anymore….. it doesnt feel like home anymore…… nor do I long to go back there…… in the instances that I have held on to memories and gone there, I have returned disillusioned. My grandparents have passed on and my uncles who were close to me have either passed away or are too old to understand my presence. But yet the place holds the first memories of my childhood…… and all of them happy. So it will remain close to me.
I recently read a beautiful quote by Dalai Lama which I must share.
“I’m now nearly 79. At 16 I took responsibility for Tibet and lost my freedom. At 24 I lost my country and became a refugee. I’ve met difficulties, but as the saying goes: ‘Wherever you’re happy, you can call home, and whoever is kind to you is like your parents.’ I’ve been happy and at home in the world at large. Living a meaningful life isn’t just a matter of money; it’s about dedicating your life to helping others.”
I took this pic in one of the bylanes of my native place in Kolkata. Cycle rickshaw is one the easiest modes of transport in Kolkata. The narrow bylanes make it impossible for huge vehicles to reach these places also it is one of the cheapest modes of transport. With the oust of hand pulled rickshaws from the streets of Kolkata because of it being a human right violation, the rickshaw walas who are out of job are now resorting to the cycle rickshaws as a means to earn their livelihood.
I have very fond memories of this part of Kolkata, my native place. This pic was taken on a very sunny day. It has the humble rickshaw wala probably returning after dropping his passenger to their destination. The election season has the various political parties put up their posters on the walls. You can notice the Congress party leader waving from the poster. The monochrome effect gives the pic the old world charm something I always associate with Kolkata.
I took this pic at Fort Siloso in Sentosa island, Singapore. Situated in Sentosa island, the fort was built to protect against sea invasion from the sea. The fort played a very important role in World War II. It is a well preserved building with a lot of underground chambers. This pic was taken in one of the alleys. I love the tunnel like effect and the light at the end of it. It was rather stark in color so I converted it to monochrome.
I took this pic in one of the very narrow bylanes of Kolkata. The hand pulled rickshaw still runs in some parts of Kolkata. The lanes in these areas are so narrow that it would have been congested with the auto rickshaws. These are pics from my trip to Kolkata last week. With the mercury hitting a high of 40 plus degrees Celsius, it was difficult to venture out to take pics. In the few occasions that I tried…… the camera malfunctioned because of the excessive heat plus I was actually melting in the sweltering heat. The rickshaws that I clicked were too fast to capture on my cell. This pic is of my aunt when she came to meet me. She had hired a rickshaw to take her to and fro. I took this opportunity to take some shots….. Also the rickshaw puller agreed to get photographed as he waited for my aunt.
The third pic I took with my cell. A Bengali babu travels in one of the rickshaws in the bylanes. It has the rickshaw puller in motion and running. They are too fast and in very less light it was difficult to take good shots.
I mono-chromed it to get the old world feel. Kolkata seems so much unchanged every time I visit that the constancy comes alive in the monochrome. The vibrant Bengali colors are of-course missing but the black and white gives the pic a different feel that I like.
Another pic taken on the streets of Kolkata. This is the corner of a building. The pic was taken at magic hour (dusk). The details of buildings with their wooden shutters, the street lights, tube wells which are a prominent feature of the city, the corner tea stalls present in every corner…. bengalis love tea :D …… are some of the details I tried to capture.
I took this pic in Tableland Panchgani on a foggy blurry evening. The sky was overcast with heavy clouds threatening to rain. The bench was the ledge on the hill gave a broody effect to the whole panorama. The silhouette only added to the drama of the entire frame.