Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boca de Potrerillos

On carretera Monclova - Monterrey (Mex53), after an hour long drive from Monterrey you approach the municipality of Mina. If your eyes are sharp enough, you'll see a tiny board pointing towards left with the letters "Zona Arqueológica", with no further details, not even the name nor the distance. During our return journey from Cuatro Cienegas (the board would be on the right hand side in this case), I got curious about this place and we decided to check it out, for archeological ruins are a thing of south and you hardly find such things in the north of Mexico.

It was a difficult trail for the car to make. Loose stones, thick dust, jerky roads were better suited for 4WDs than our poor Jetta, but it still could make it at crawling pace. We were driving with no clue as to what we could find there and how long we had to drive. Enroute we found a truck, the driver of which told us the ruins were around 2-3KM. We kept driving wearily, hoping for some notice or someone whom we can ask. Finally we saw a building at the horizon and that was it. It was just a 5KM deviation off the highway but we took half hour, that's worse than my running pace.

There was a small edifice, which marked the entrance of ruins where we had to mention our names for the record sake. And the name of the place is "Zona Arqueológica Boca de Potrerillos". It's named that way for it's located between the mountains "La Zorra" and "El Antrisco" which forms a mouth (boca) for entering the Canyon de Potrerillos. This place, it seems, has more than 4000 rocks with petroglyphs. It's supposed to be the first place that was declared as prehistoric site in Mexico. The aforementioned edifice at the entrance also acts as a site museum with few prehistoric findings.

I couldn't make much sense out of the Spanish board there, for I couldn't get the meaning of petroglifo and I was wondering where on the earth are the ruins as I passed along the rocks. I found this old Canadian guy pointing his lens to the rocks and clicking. I then asked him where on this holy earth were the ruins and he, probably smirking inside at my ignorance, showed me the petroglyphs on the rocks which he was shooting and I started showing the same to my camera. I was thrilled to see some prehistoric remains for the first time ever in my life and here I'm sharing them with you, check it out. I've also included few of the surrounding landscape shots.

Pueblo Jame - Part II

Being indecisive about weekend plans, we head to the village of Jame for the second time. All the talking has been done in the first part of the article here. Just sit back and enjoy the second rounds of photographs of the picturesque place.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Some Portrait Trials

I must confess, I suck as a portrait photographer, bigtime. Knowing this, Benjamin, one of my good Mexican friends, gave me a chance to practice portrait photography with his family (especially his second daughter, Renata) being subject and here is the outcome. All the photographs were shot with my favourite lens 50mm/F1.8 lens mounted on 20D, with incandescent lamp and without flash. Photos were shot inherently in grayscale and edited using Gimp on Ubuntu. Do let me know if I've got a future in portrait photgraphy.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Matter of fags and friends

To all beloved Indian parents awaiting to get rid of your daughters, with a ceremony gloriously called Marriage - PLEASE BEWARE. Please be notified, the days when a boy loved a girl and vice versa are a passé. The sexual orientations of men and women have changed of late. Don't be surprised if your son denies all the marriage proposals no matter how good a girl is, for all you know, he may have a boyfriend. And boyfriend is no more a friend who is means much more! Earlier, typical questions to the suitors concerned about job, salary, education, subcaste and family. But a new field needs to be added now: Sexual Orientation. Something that was a taboo in India all these years, Gay Pride March in India might have spread little enlightement among the older generation.

This one is yet another "put yourself into others' shoes" kinda story. It happened to a friend of mine, which I shall be presenting in first person.

My name is Rukmini (name changed) and below is the narration of my story, fortunately it had a happy ending. I met this guy (mind "u") immediately after my college days and we were good friends for a long time. Manju (name changed) used to call me, we used to go out and stuff. He used to visit my place and was a real, warm person to be with. My parents liked him too and after a while, it was found that his father and my father were classmates. And when such a thing happens in India, parents would somehow want to turn the friendship into relationship; our case was not an exception.

Things started taking obvious turns and the matter was formally discussed between two families. I was glad too, I thought it was way too better to marry a person whom you know than those unknown mortals which your parents would search. Everything proceeded in the right direction - parents were fine, I was OK and Manju too nodded in agreement before everybody, but it had not yet reached the stage of engagement. Days passed and Manju's demeanour began to slightly change and he started maintaining some sort of a distance from me, which was not too common after all that had passed.

One fine day, he took me by speechless surprise when he asked me to, infact, REJECT the proposal...
Manju: Rukmini, I don't know how to put this across you.
Me: Hey come on, we've been so close. Hit me straight.
Manju: We've been so close, that's the reason I'm finding it hard to say.
Me: Whatever it is Manju, speak out.
Manju: Is it possible for you to...err...I don't know...err...hmm...
Me: Say it
Manju: Is it possible that you...hmm...reject this proposal?
Me (surprised): What???
Manju: I know how it feels, but, please, for heaven's sake...
Me (angry): Do you have any idea what you're talking? Are you our of your senses o-something?
Manju: No Rukmini, I'm sorry, but is it possible for you to do so?
Me (angry): But why? We've been going really great...did I do something wrong? Did I misbehave?
Manju:'re absolutely great. Nothing wrong from your side, but I can't marry you...
Me (still seething): But why? Why on this damned earth can't you marry me? Have you found someone better than me? Am I not good enough for you?
Manju: No Rukmini...nothing of that sort. It's hard for me to explain, but I beg you to reject his offer...
...and he walked away

I was hurt, I was surprised, I was broken but I obeyed him. I rejected him before my parents and it was conveyed to his parents too and there was cloud of melancholy in both families for sometime. I recovered faster than others and days started getting usual for me, though at the back of my mind there was slight gloom.

One fine day, in the wee hours of the morning I recieved a call. An unknown, hurried and panting, voice introduced himself as Manju's brother, asked me if Manju had told me reason for rejection. I answered him with a plaintive no. He asked me if I knew something more about Manju, something unusual, something weird, for which my answer was yet another no. He revealed me some horrifying facts about Manju, he said that of-late they've observed that Manju was spending too much time with his friend Rajesh (name changed). They had also observed both of them holding hands and going around, which was very unusual among the youth of his age. He reasoned his call for noticing some kind of teeth-marks on Manju's body, as though, someone had bit him or something! He tried to dig in more information from me, but I didn't have any and was very disturbed with the call.

My parents asked me about the call, since it was received unusually at 4 in the morning. I just blabbered the entire conversation to was as blank as an empty page and dad got the point and he whispered something in her ears and they walked out of the room.

Then, I was just a college passout and I was completely ignorant about homosexuality; hence I couldn't make much sense out of Manju's brother call. But as days passed, I got enlightened about such "world matters" and realized that Manju was a gay (now it's "a" in place of "u"). I'm deeply grateful to Manju for making me reject the proposal back then. Sometimes I keep pondering, what if I had married him. The very thought is so damn dismal.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Dreary New Year Dawn

It was 10 to 5.
It was dark, cold and creepy.
We alighted the bus at Tapo station, Mexico city.
Both of us entered the toilet, Mallesh entered first and then me.
I could smell something fishy and filthy.
I saw four legs in the same toilet room.
There were two other unknown men there, the toilet bowl was broken and there was water all over in the toilet.
I just saw their legs through out the episode.
I proceeded over, stepping at dry places, to take a leak not paying too much attention to the situation.

I was half done, a cop entered the toilet and started knocking the door of that toilet room.
I got a chill in my spine, I zipped up.
I realized the mistake of entering the toilet.
I heard the cop asking those guys to come out.
Their legs didn't move.
The cop was brave yet stupid SOB.
He had a gun in his holster but never took it out.
We walked out, the police came behind us.
He shouted at another cop with bigger gun, who was rushing at the scene.
I thought if I had to click the entire situation, for my camera was with me, as always, but then I was scared.
We head out with mindful of disturbance and scare.

My mind kept pondering around the scene all through the day.
What if the gay mofo, pulled out a pistol and shot the cop point blank and shot the rest of us in the toilet?
What if we were taken hostage by their gang?
What if he turned out to be gay maniac?
What if there was a fierce shoot out between cops and the aforementioned men?
What if there was a cold blooded murder inside the toilet and the cops asked us to be eyewitness?
We travelled this long only to get killed coldly in a stinking toilet by some fag criminal?

My Out of Office Reply

This was my Out of Office Reply I had set before I went for vacations.

I'm heading to Chiapas from 22nd December to 5th January, I shall not be able to answer any of your emails/queries till then. You can call me on my mobile number for urgent issues, but most times I'm gonna be deep inside tropical selvas of the south, I don't think Movistar network coverage is that great. So I'm completely out of question.

For any ECosto related queries, consult Benjamin...but hold on...I guess he is already having fun in Queretaro since 2 days. Lucky Benja! I'm not authorized to say if you can call on his cell number.

Try your luck with Eduardo, but darn! He just came to my seat to bid farewell. He just left to Guanajuato, his hometown. He said his cell will be switched off until 5th January. No luck with Eduardo too.

Lemme guess who else is left.
Dolores...give her a break...she is newly married, let her enjoy her vacations.
Jasmine, she has anyway quit the entire project. No use even mentioning her.

Making it straight and simple, don't expect any support from us till 5th January. If there can be problems in ECosto software, there will be problems in ECosto software. Figure it out and fix it yourselves.

Bottom line is...WE ARE OVER AND OUT.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Glimpse of my Vacation

First things first, I wish everybody a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. After 10 long days of vacation, I'm back in action. Chiapas, Guatemala, Tikal, blue water cascades, colourful colonial cities, evergreen selva, Mayan ruins, indigenous Tzotzil tribe, Anthropology museum are some of the keywords that describe my vacation. With 8K pesos budget and 8 gig photos to edit, it was truly a monstrous vacation. Here is just a glimpse of the same, more to follow soon.

Voladores de Papantla, D.F. Mexico

Cathedral de San Cristobal, Chiapas

El Cañon de Sumidero, Chiapas

Tzotzil tribes of Zinacantan

Colourful market of San Juan Chamula, Chiapas

Gran Plaza in Tikal ruins of Guatemala

Kids on street at Flores, Guatemala

Las murales de Bonampak, Chiapas

Edificio 33, Yaxchilan, Chiapas

Las Cascadas de Agua Azul, Chiapas

Templo de las Inscripsiones, Palenque, Chiapas