Photo Blogging

Of late I have been taking photos of things that catch my attention. Some of them turned out pretty good and here they are...

Moon above a parking lot

Lights on the road


View of a car from inside my car!

Beggars at a red light

Signing Out,
Purple Brains


Perfetto! Perfecto! Perfekte!

I was in the metro today, when I saw a very pretty girl standing a few feet away from me. She looked perfect and usually I wouldn't have paid any more attention but something kept making me look back. In all her perfection, her immaculate dress, her straight hair, her manicured nails something did not feel right. It wasnt. The left side of her face was completely disfigured. It has been burnt very badly, making it jarring to the eye. Especially when you saw the two sides of her face together.

Not Perfect. Not like I had thought.

Perfection. Do we need it? Never once do we stop and look at our imperfections and see how beautiful they can be, lovable in their own way. Life is and always will be almost perfect. So will all else in it. We look for the perfect world, the perfect solution, the improvement in all things we know to make it perfect. We search for the non-existent.

I am not perfect. I lack so much. I cant sing and dance beautifully like others. I carry on in my own tuneless stepless way. I cant act but I do over-act and emote exaggeratedly. Im not thin but I try to look nice in whatever I wear. I am not logical, not good at science, very bad at maths and my mind tends to jump between reality and fantasy. But I'm happy. Isnt that perfection enough?

Signing Out,
Almost Perfect


My Dark Skies

The sky is overcast at the moment. It'll probably rain soon. The moon is hidden. It is completely dark outside. Believe it or not, at this time the sky is perfect.

Sunny Skies are not for me. I dont like the sunshine all that much. It plays havoc with my hair and skin, not to mention the uneven tan. I love overcast skies, the windy days, dust storms and thunderstorms. They have an unique appeal to them. Its almost as if somebody up there is in a playful mood. There is a fanatic energy to grey clouds as a deep rumbling erupts amidst them. The rain becomes almost violent in its downpour, pounding on every surface it can find. The wind plays a beautiful harmony with the leaves it rushes through. The thunder clashes with the sounds of life and plays up the contrast so well.

One of the greatest pleasures in life is to sit in front of my window and watch the dust move around in gusts, well matched with the dusky sky. Activites come to a standstill during "bad" weather, but its the time when Life wakes up. Wakes up and smells the moist ground, the humid air and the dusty atmosphere. People like me have an urge to go out and let the wind, rain and dust envelop them. Its a very feel good thing to do, when you're wet and dirt laden at the same time. Somehow, its the damp, dusty, sulky atmosphere at dusk that excites me and makes me want to stand outside forever. Its just my love for a change from the ordinary I guess.

Signing Out,
Standing In Her Dusty Sky


Who Takes The Blame?

Coming home today, I witnessed a minor incident. Two young boys were on a cycle, going at a very slow speed on the road. At the same time, a really young girl and her slightly elder brother were running on the road. The moment I saw the girl, I knew she would collide with the cycle. As did her brother. Instead of stopping her, he stood and saw her colliding with the wheel and falling. She started to bawl, but instead of helping her up and chastening her for being so careless, he ran off to call his elder brother. Presumably to beat up the two boys. Since those two were really not at fault, I felt it was really unfair towards them. I passed the scene but it kept on coming back to me. Neither the brother nor the boys were ready to claim responsibility for their actions. The brother knew his sister would injure herself, yet did not stop her. The boys did not help the girl up after hitting her. They kept on telling her to shut up and move away. Superficially it seems to be nothing more than the innocence of youth but on a deeper vein, it represents an attitude that affects much of India as well as the world.

No-one wishes to take responsibility for all that is their doing. Politically, not many parties would readily accept the consequences of their actions. Caste and Class based disharmony is rampant during the campaigns. Who will say, "We are sorry we divided a harmonious community on such degrading and antiquated lines."? Nobody. For many reasons. No guts, No accountability, No reason to look back at the mess they create. Duties are tossed from one government organization to the other like a hot coal.

Living in a a somewhat cocooned world till a few months back, I may not be very aware as to how the blame game works in the ground root political system, but I can see it loud and clear on TV. The BJP and Congress seem to spend most of the government sessions blaming the PM. The smaller supporting parties blame the inefficient work of the opposition (even if they are a part of it). The opposition blames the Speaker of the House. The Speaker, poor chap can usually not blame anyone so he blames the rules of his conduct when he takes a lenient or strict stand. When everything and everyone involved in the Lok Sabha has been blamed, suspicion turns to the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha blames the Lok Sabha back. They both gang up and blame the President, who in turn blames the completely useless post (s)he has been given by the constitution. Then comes the turn of whomsoever even vaguely participated in the framing of our constitution. When all of India is exhausted, blame Musharraf. That done, there are numerous other countries to blame. If by that time, there is still some energy left to blame, God is always there to be a scapegoat. That done, everybody says "It is the will of God" and shuts up.

Those children not taking responsibility for their own actions may seem trivial now but ultimately it's going to be us who'll have to take the blame for not teaching them better.

Signing Out,
Not Wanting To Play The Blame Game


A Child Asked God

The Gift
by Antara Anand

A child walked down the road with a copy
Letting no one look inside
No one would ever know what was written
This the child then swore.
Stopped when dark clouds thundered
Stopped under the shade of a tree
Mixing a tear with the rain
Let out a simple plea for mercy

Asked God "what had I done,
To deserve this from you?
You bless the others with such talents
Couldnt you bless me too?"
As the child stopped crying,
a calm voice he heard
Looked around to find not a soul
From whom came these words

"What talent do you lack my child?
Tell me, tell me now" The child replied
"I lack the ability to be logical,
I donot ask the question how
I cannot do calcuations
I donot want to know of the sciences
All I have is the ability to write
To put on paper what I see
Tell me is that any talent?
What use is it to me?"

Came the voice again, it said
"My child, you have the gift of words.
You have the priviledge to let
Men express what they feel
They look to you to say what they
Want but can never chance to say
You are a poet of the heart
You break open the wax seal
That silences the world to know
The emotions it can feel"

Still not convinced the child asked
"Then why do they laugh at me so?"
God said, "Because they admire you,
Jealous they can be, didnt you know?
They cannot use the ink like you can
Words escape their hands
They wish to be the wizard that you are
Using the pen as your wand."

The rain then stopped, the clouds parted
A change had taken place.
From under the tree came a child
No longer afraid, with a smile
Everybody would one day see what he had
Written, this the child then swore.

Signing Out,
Feeling For That Child


And So The World Ends!

News channels have nothing to do. Not the bad ones anyway. Unfortunately, most of the bad ones are in Hindi. So its a double whammy, for credibilty of news and the language. As is common knowledge, scientists have predicted the world to end in two ways. First would take a couple billion years more, when the sun dies and fries the solar system. Second would be due to a huge flood, followed by an ice age all because of global warming. That would take a further 100 years.

So the news channels werent content with this. Oh no! They wanted a piece of the action. C'mon, what good is a channel if they dont present a 24x7 coverage of the world perishing? So, they did their own "Highly complicated and technical calculations" to discover that the actual intelligent scientists had it all wrong. Thus followed a myraid of possible armageddon dates. In chronological order they are:

29th November 2007: Total Tv announces that Lord Shiva is really angry at us less-than-moral people and plans to start a humanity ending Tandav pretty soon. Now the question here is, will he kill only hindu's or people from all religions? That would be unfair, considering they have no idea as to what's going on!

2nd January 2008: IBN7 and India TV tried to grab the most eyeballs by predicting the end on 31st Jan '08 due to an asteroid colliding with the earth. They asked all viewers to get into their Anti-Collision Underground Bunkers (no, im not exaggerating) to survive. Boy, they must have been pretty surprised when they ventured out of their own on the first of feb.

Somewhere in April 2008: Sahara Samay found minute traces of mercurium onshore Goa. Immediate end due to radiation, they claimed. There was widespread SMS panic. People were actually enquiring whether any "Puja" or "Yagya" would save their ass. This news finally went of the air when some class 9th student called in to say, "There is no mercurium in India!". This was one hilarious coverage.

Late June 2008: India TV had a very long running show on abducted cows in Australia, complete with animated images of UFO's beaming in cows like Scotty of Star Trek fame (yes, i know there was no scotty! but that is the phrase most people remember). After no major response from viewers, they announced that the aliens were building a bovine army to wipe us off the planet and destroy it!

Now that was the last straw. A bovine army? Seriously? What did they plan to do, chew us like cud? It didnt get to me at first, but when I did get into a journalism course at college, I had a fleeting moment of terror that I may actually have to join such channels and report news such as this. Really Horrifying! These reports have stopped for the time being, though Im sure they'll make a comeback when the TRP's drop.

Till then
Signing Out,
My World Intact.


Travels With My Card

By nature, I am not a very anxious or nervous person. I'll go with the flow rather than work myself up into a fit. I do try never to worry about things. All that changes though, when I have my metro travel card with me.

The metro card or the "Smart Card" is one anxiety inducing thing in my life. Since I have to use it everyday, it stays with me all the time. When I leave home, my first thought is that I left the card at home. This is followed by a thorough search of my bag, after which the card is discovered in my jeans pocket. When I get to the station, I'm sure I've run out of balance in the card. After I have checked the balance and done the mental calculations as to how many days the money will last, I put a reminder in my mobile to get the card re-charged. As a result, I have reminders after every second day.

I finally get into the train and since my pockets usually have a number of things stuffed inside them, I have to check for the card everytime I take something out. It doesnt matter which pocket it is from, I end up checking just the same. I guess it must look pretty conspicous on the train, but it's a habit now. When I get off, the card goes back into my bag where it is left alone for the day. The entire routine starts again when its evening and I go back home.

Invariably, as it always happens, I lost my card. It must have dropped out when I was fishing my iPod in and out of my pocket. No major loss, close to just 80 bucks. Now I've become more of a nervous wreck than before. I could be lost in the middle of the desert without water, food or any other means of survival but I'll be comforted by the card. I need to see it sitting on my drawer every few hours else I become panicky.

I wish they'd upgrade the cards. Put in some features that'll prevent them for getting lost. Something like, a siren sounding if they fall down. Or maybe, a sign flashing on them saying "Im lost. My owner is so and so. Send me back!". Maybe attach the cards onto the back of the mobile phone. Or ask Dolce&Gabbana to make a stylized necklace of a Smart Card that we could wear everyday!

Signing Out,
Keeping My Card Safe And Sound


I Sometimes Talk To Myself

And when I do, this is what I hear. Its like two people inside of me talking away and my role is just to be a silent listener.

~ College tomorrow.. *sigh*
~ What if it were school?
~ I'd be jumping for joy
~ Pretend its school then
~ Not possible
~ Try
~ Shut Up! College tomorrow.. *sigh*

~ I'm Fat
~ Then exercise
~ I'm so Fat!
~ Hello, dude! I said, "Exercise"
~ I make it difficult for me to ignore myself, dont I?

~ God, well does he exist?
~ Hmm, why does it matter?
~ Dunno. If he does, then I can be fatalistic all my life and be happy

~ I ran in a puddle today
~ Why?
~ I felt like feeling like a child who feels like getting wet

~ If I know everything about myself, am I self - actualised? Or am I the next big "guru"?
~ If you do, then you are a miracle. Or you dont have much to know about
~ Why must I rain on my own parade?
~ Ask yourself
~ I dont have the answers. I'm trying to know a me that does
~ Quit confusing your own self

~ (after i wake up) What should I do today?
~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Dance
~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Paint

~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Read A Book!

~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Atleast brush your teeth first

~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Oh WTF! Just sleep!

~ (lazy me) Yayy! Donot disturb!


Where Did The Life Go?

I am non-vegetarian. I eat chicken and the occasional non endangered fish. So, when told off by people about being hypocritical this is what I look like:

Well, so maybe thats not exactly what I look like. The gorilla does have a striking resemblance to me though. To all of us actually. They happen to be one of our closest relatives. And as us humans tend to do, we have ignored these relatives or made life really miserable for them. Gorillas are now on the list of endangered species. They have been brutally killed for a thriving animal parts market. This is what we have reduced them to:

Does the picture look right to you?
Gorillas are not alone in their suffering. There are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List and 16,306 of them are threatened with extinction, up from 16,118 last year. The total number of extinct species has reached 785 and a further 65 are only found in captivity or in cultivation. (http://www.cms.iucn.com/)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Critically_endangered_species)

Humans are now simply massacering the planet and its inhabitants. There exists no concern for a specie other than our own. Only a very small population of humans think of these beautiful beings before themselves. The rest, well this is what they do:

Cruelty at its best. Mercilessly hacking away the remanants of life from defenceless creatures, poachers reach new heights in being despicable. Everytime I glance upon these images, my head spins and I cry. I feel myself hurting. The cry of a baby animal separated from its mother, gives rise to an uncontrollabe rage. I want to do something for them. I want to be able to go out into the world and help them turn back their fates.
As of now, there is a precious little that I can do. I cannot donate online, cannot take my passport and hop upon a plane to Africa and cannot do all that my heroes do. I can, in this way spread a message to the world.

The animal and plant population of the world is depleting at an alarming rate. Conservationists all over the world are trying to find newer ways to increase populations of such species in the wild. Captive breeding programs have found some degree of success, but need a lot more funding to continue. If you cannot contribute directly then the following may suffice:

- Donot purchase animal parts in any form. Be it leather, snakeskin or ivory.
- Donot abuse or injure any wild animal that may venture near your house. Call emergency.
- Change your mindset about animals.
- Contribute time and energy to the campaign
- Join the local PETA or RSPCA or ASPCA
- Donot pollute. Saving the Environment helps
"There is only one species that exists on the planet with the power to save all others. Us. Think about it"

Together, we can once again hope for these images to prevail freely on our earth.
Signing Out,
Loving Animals, With My Heart


The After-Hours Campus

Aren't college romances fun? The feeling of entering a whole new territory. Getting to know everything and anything. Settling down into a rhythm and enjoying the comfortable familarity. I'm going through much the same right now. Only difference being, I'm in love with the college and the campus, after the usual hours! Its great being in the class and having the usual fun. After most of the college is empty and we are still there, idling away or just having finished a particularly long day, there is a whole new charm to the place.

The Canteen and The Hostel in particular. I could spend a small but sizeable fourtune in the canteen over the span of three years. I love everything they serve, especially because there is a lot to choose from and I love food in general. My daily minimum requirement is a plate of Rajma Chawal. If my appetite is then satisfied (which is rare!), I opt for a glass of lemon and lime soda. If not, then I buy more and more food till I remember that I alone am not responsible for the funding of the place. The canteen wala knows my face now, since I always go to take my friend's order of Maggi. The main guy running the place is probably fed up of me coz I forget to get change for 50 bucks, day after day. I strike up a conversation with the sweet lady incharge of biscuits and chocolates and will surely write her biography some day. We, as a group simply sit and chat, read books, listen to music or make jokes about people. After which, we either amble off detachedly to a class or to our next favourite place, The Hostel!

The Hostel does not allow non-hostelers to enter, so we just lounge right in front of the entrance where there is a convienently placed bench. We sit here, laugh, talk nonsense, discuss burning class issues (such as what CC did today) and in general really confuse and upset the matron. We jump at the opportunity to play with the resident cat. We sing, take photographs (an unholy amount of them), dance and make pertinent fools of ourselves in general. And then there are the Quotable Quotes. A new quote everyday! The most frequent one heard emanating from there is "Hey Bagwan!!!", a sort of wordplay on blasphemy. After all this is done and we realize its almost mid afternoon (say 2.30 - 3) we decide to work our way to the Metro Station.

Amid all the other things we do at college, the canteen to campus to hostel routine has become our favourite and fitted in perfectly with the schedule we have. It'll probably be the most prominent memory of our college days and I'm sure the best as well.

Signing Out,
Canteen - Hostel Addict


Again, The Valley Cries

The Valley
by Antara Anand

The valley burns as we watch
The valley dies as we speak
We shout again for our rights
We protest to show we have a voice
In the guise of being fair and true
In the name of God so pure
We stifle the last shreds of humanity
We kill the last notions of our unity

Blames run amok, pointed fingers rise
Accusations spread like a fire in the wild
One wonders if either has tried to see
Life from the other side
They say even God will fail here
They say nothing prevails here
No hope, no present past or future
No one to realize the simple truth that

'Tis not our valley to claim
'Tis not our place to even try
It belongs to love, to peace and life
It lives in its own to survive
The valley burns in our desire
The valley is haunted by our fears
Someday there will be no more fire
Drowned away in the valley's tears..

The Jammu & Kashmir Valley is one of the most terror stricken and conflicted parts of India. As the riots take place in Jammu, it burns away the essence of our beautiful valley. As it suffers from either communal riots or militancy, we lose a part of our country, ourselves. Maybe as a student, I cannot contribute to bring about peace at the moment, but I do believe in the power of prayers. If nothing else, my prayer may help one person suffering in J&K. It's worth it. Let's all try that, shall we?
After all, we have nothing to lose and they have so much to gain.

Signing Out,
Praying For Peace


Happy Now

This is a poem that somewhat describes the roller coaster ride after the board results, the subsequent struggle for college and the reactions at not having to comprise on course or college.

She's Got It All Now
By Antara Anand

She knows that she's lucky coz
Life's been perfect for a while
All the more reason to forget
The times she barely could smile
She's happy now
She's got it all now

Its been long since she hid her tears
Now looking at the starry skies
She lets go, no need to hide
In the rain when she cries
She's hopeful now
She's got it all now

She can see where she went wrong
And she knows how to turn it around
Looking deep into her soul , the girl
Saw a future waiting to be found
It kept her waiting
Just waiting

Feeling in her heart that this time
Couldnt have been that far away
Knowing that things do work out
She lives for nothing but the day
She's got it right
This time around

You can see the smile on her face
Showing that she's got it all
She's knows that she's lucky coz
She's doesnt have to face any more walls
She's knows by now
She's got it all now

Signing Out,
I Do Have It All Now

P.S. Happy Birthday Ishita!!! Have a great, wonderful, amazing (rest of the) day!!!


The Fresher Files

16/07/08 : First Day Of College. Sucked. One thought running through my head, I aint gonna make any friends.

18/07/08 : Life's looking up. Will make friends. No sweat. The birds chirp once again.

22, 23, 24/07/08 : We have it all. The best course, interesting seniors, fun teachers, professional work and two very sweet classmates giving us a great birthday treat.

25/07/08: Wonderful day, Wonderful treat (thanks Vindhya and Mahima), Wonderful pix and memories.

26/07/08 : THE MOST BORING WORKSHOP EVER! Positively mind numbing. We all hated it. We all wanted to sleep. We all simply played around and had a gala time in the audio room.

28/07/08 : An official friends group. The best in the classs for that matter. Personally, I couldnt have found people more like me. Love them already.

1/08/08 : An Information Seminar for United Students (www.unitedstudentsindia.com). Had a lovely time. Looking forward to more fridays like these.

3/08/08: Been close to three weeks since college started and the fucchas are starting to feel old. We didnt get ragged, we didnt bond with any of our seniors, we're expected to know the ins and outs of the course already and we're considered snobs by the other courses!

5/08/08: Admittedly college isnt all that bad, its mostly fun. With a dash of boredom and passiveness thrown in. Today and the day before were definitely better. The Freshers Fest was formally kicked off. Personally, wasnt magnificent but I think I made somewhat of a fool of myself in the "Western Solo Singing" competition. I sound like a nightingale to my own ears, I'm not too sure about the rest. Tomorrow I try out for "Miss Fresher". Lets see what great talents I showcase there.

Signing Out,
No Longer A Fresh Fuccha

P.S. : Happy Birthday Arnav!


If Its Lost, Let It Go

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Its a simple poem, beautiful and true. I read it and I understand, I connect. I wish to not lose what lies in my possession but understand the need to. To move on, to be more than what I am and to let go of the past. The poem features not on losing love, its how one loses a friend. Its about losing memories and gaining the ability to create more of them.

I first heard this poem in the movie "In Her Shoes" and it struck a chord in me. It fit somehow, it rang true to something in me that I was unaware of. I accepted that I had in the past, lost a friend, lost my trust, lost my smile and lost hope. I'd lost family and with it a part of me. And that maybe, it wasnt a disaster.

Signing Out,
Acknowledging A Loss