Friday, August 28, 2009

Off to Ladakh

So this is my first big trip in heading to Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir state. Thanks to Aishwarya for inviting us for wedding, which we're using as an alibi for Ladakh escapade. Am heading with full equipment (with an additional borrowed camera, thanks to Sudheer) and am totally inspired by some truly brilliant photographs of Wandering Hermit's photographs on flickr. Hoping to get something close to that...not sure if I can accomplish that. Enjoy his photostream:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shirin - The Sweetness

Riniki and Asif had their first baby a couple of months back and since then Riniki was inviting me to see the baby. I had very little time to buy a gift for the baby, but then photographers can always gift the photographs they take. I slung my equipment and hit Riniki's home on a overcast Saturday morning. Shirin (translates to sweet), the 2.5 months baby girl, liked me the moment she saw me...she welcomed me with the most beautiful smile. I spent almost half day at Riniki's place trying to capture Shirin's gestures and expressions and below is the outcome.

For the interested few, photographs were shot using Canon 20D with 3 different lenses: 50mm/f1.8, 17-40/4L and 100mm/f2.8 macro. They were shot in jpeg and post processed using Aperture on Macbook Pro. Please do give me your feedback, it's very important for me to improve my portrait photography skills.

Related Post: Some Portrait Trials - Photosession of Renata.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sasken Independence Day Celelbrations

I stepped on the gas pedal harder to try to make it before 9, but I was late by few seconds, Jana Gana Mana had already started and the tricolour was proudly fluttering high up in the sky. In 6 years of my stint in Sasken, this is the first time I ever made it to the Independence day celebrations and it was a great experience. I had gone with my complete equipment to do cover the event, but unfortunately I was late by seconds, nevertheless I did cover something.

After national anthem was sung, mothichur laddoos were distributed. At times it was disadvantageous to carry a camera, I was talking to Rajiv while this guy comes with the laddoo box. He offered Rajiv a laddoo and Rajiv said no, probably that guy thought I was a hired photographer or something and didn't offer me any sweet, it was OK for I was on diet. Rajiv asked about camera and what group I belong to, I felt proud to tell him that I had just finished 6 years in Sasken. There were other biggies like GV, Neetha and Vinay also.

On the balcony of third floor, a Rangoli of Indian map was aesthetically laid but maybe who laid it was in a very rapturous dancing mood or something, it was written "HAPPY INDEPEN'DANCE' DAY", a nice typo though. Doors at the entrance were all decorated with tricolour hangings, though it would have been nice if the fountain would have been a little bluer.

For a 2000 strong company, the turn up was really pathetic, there were less than 100 people and 40% of it seemed to be from facilities and security. Some of them had brought their families, mainly their children, most of them dressed cutely in white with tricolour in their hands. Kavya Preeti emceed the event well and made the crowd play a game which loosely resembled the good old game of musical chair.

There was a lucky-dip event wherein Lucky Sasian, Lucky Guest and Lucky Kids were chosen and given prizes, most probably gift coupons. The biggest family was also given prizes. Chocolates were distributed to kids. After the simple celebrations were over, breakfast of delicious rava idly was served at cafeteria.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Homestay at Kadama Kolli

On a nippy fresh Friday morning we hit the road towards Coorg district for spending a day in oblivion, away from traffic, pollution, dust and work pressure - every Banglorean's scourges. Our destination was Kadama KoLLi homestay in PookaLa village in south Coorg district. We started at wee hours when the sun was still asleep; he gradually started lighting up the road as we drifted towards Mysore. The sight at Ramanagara was a memorable one with mountain tops kissing the clouds and the landscape translucently obscured by the mild morning mist.

By 8 in the morning, we had already ordered our breakfast at Mysore's famous and foremost restaurant "Das Prakash" (Note to Germans: 'Das' isn't a pronoun here). The restaurant had a very classy, retro looks - stone slabbed tables, large stainless steel tumblers and water jugs, old fashioned fans and towel-on-the-shoulder waiters. Every thing we ordered had a very typical Mysorean taste...onion dosa, masala dosa, vade-sambar, uppitt, kesaribath and coffee.

We continued towards Hunsur after breakfast, all of us couldn't help appreciating the majesty and magnificence of Mysore. Compared to Bangalore, Mysore seemed a lot less crowded, a lot more green and a lot more organized city. We found broad roads which is almost not known in Bangalore, we found no road-diggings which is most ubiquitous in Bangalore, we found classy imperial buildings and squares while ugly looking blue-paned IT builings and defaced compound walls are Bangalore's contemporaries.

Before Hunsur, we had to deviate towards GoNikoppalu towards left. The landscape consisted of acres and acres of flowered plants of knee height, which we were not congnizant about. We then asked a totally bent and broken old lady about the crop and she told that it was tobacco. We just wondered what if Sudheer had such a farm full of tobacco, that would have been most unprofitable for him, coz he would have had bonfire all nights with tobacco leaves. The scenary changed gradually from countryside farms to forests and like a bolt in blue, this idea struck my brain - one tequila shot amidst such green forest in such pleasant weather would be kickass! We religiously executed the idea, though P3 and Sudheer were a tad sad that the quanity of their drink was reduced to less than a liter (It was decided that Ashok and myself had to drink whiskey while Sudheer and P3 tequila).

At the outskirts of GoNikoppalu we stopped for buying some lemons and botis, to our misfortune, the tire was punctured but our seasoned mechanic and driver Ashok, changed it in a jiffy. At GoNikopplu town, which remined me of Thirthalli, we got the stepney (donut) fixed, bought beers and continued our journey towards Ponampet. From there we head to Hudikeri and then to Tea Shettygeri after which we pass through picturesque Tata tea estates. The tea gardens cover the mountainous landscape as though the whole earth is covered by parrot green carpet. There is a pristine river next to the tea estate at the heights of which there are white waters and rafting could be done. The road ahead made us feel us home - ripped asphalt, pot holes, stray stones and irregular road edges - very typical of Bangalore. By the time we reached Kadama Kolli, with Sudheer's navigation skills comparable to a high precision GPS, it was 1 in the noon.

The very first glimpse of the Kadama KoLLI homestay is very impressive...a crystal clear river flowing alongside the cottage and in the front a large lawn, the whole landscape surrounded all over by coffee estate. We were taken directly to pantry and we had a very delcious dinner of chicken curry and other south Indian items, after which we were ushered to our cottage which was high up in the estate. The cottage was meant for four persons with a balcony in the front having a terrific view - pristine river emanating from the forest and flowing amidst coffee plantations. We dumped our bags and after relaxing for a while under the open hut on the other side of the river, it started drizzling intermittently, we opened beer cans and sipped it on the river banks - simple pleasures of life. Showing off my voluptuous figure, I was the first one to enter the was freezing cold and full of stones. Sudheer reckoned me to be a buffalo or a hippo and started splashing water at me.

After that we were literally down and dirty in mud slurry trying to play volleyball. The volleyball court was in the middle of the lawn and due to rains, the lawn had turned almost into mini marshes and almost all of slipped and dirtied ourselves till waist. P3 was the laziest among all, who didn't move his arse while playing the game...he was more like a ball boy than a player...Ashok and myself won against Sudheer and P3 hands down. We waded in the water like lazy herd of buffaloes and cleaned ourselves of the mud and returned to cottage for drying up. It's raining outside, weather is pleasantly cold, you're beholding a bewitching scenery and you're sipping a cup of hot Coorg coffee and munching delicious vada along with it...that's precisely what we did after we came back to cottage and dried ourselves.

We slept for a while and by 8, we went to the same hut on the other side of river and raised a toast to Ashok around a bonfire and the session lasted for about an hour and a half. The booze session was followed by dinner, the food was tasty but somewhat had a sweetish tinge which we couldn't appreciate much. We reached cottage and started playing "Dumb charade" and now the other team beat Ashok and myself hands down, though we played well without knowing most of the movie names. We had one last peg before we hit the sac.

Next morning by 9, we were devouring breakfast of akki rotti and puttu, with egg curry and chutney. We played cards for sometime, sipping hot coffee while it was drizzling outside. We were then taken for a short trek along the river, by Nanda the owner and ex-serviceman. The rocks and the withered leaves were all leech infested and somehow they liked my blood a lot. We started walking on the rocks and Nanda told us to walk inside the river, Sudheer, Ashok and myself obeyed him. P3 was looked down upon by Nanda for not entering water, in a very nice way he conveyed to P3 that he sucked. P3 replied in his Popoye tone, "Aye nange neer andre bhaya illo aadre sakkath chaLi aagutte". Ashok was as exquisitely dressed as a Japanese lady with his pinkish red flowery umbrella and Sudheer looked like a brick layer in his shots and vest. Walking in the river ain't an easy task, there were sharp stones piercing despite wearing floaters, there were slippery rocks and strong currents that tired us quickly. We were back in an hour, everyone of us scrutinized our bodies for leeches, though Sudheer was a little extra cautious trying to pull out his melanocytic nevus thinking that to be a leech.

All drenched and cold, we were now ready for a second round of boozing. We invited Nanda too for a round of tequila and our bartender P3's mix was much appreciated by him. He told us about his stint in army, about the homestay, about the visitors and the problems that he has faced. He was a very warm and friendly host who spent a couple of hours talking to us. At 2, the food was ready and there was much anticipated Coorg delicacy, "Pandi curry" or pork curry, which indeed was very delicious.

Post lunch, Ashok and myself went for a stroll on the other side of river and we found children of the plantation workers. They were more than happy to be photographed and I could get some nice portraits of them and their cattle. We played a couple of games of tumbling tower while waiting for the tea, P3 made the tower tumble twice. We had tea, took photographs with Nanda and other family members, bid them goodbye and started our return journey. It was slow due to rains and bad roads, Ashok was fussy always about muisc - rock genre sounds noisy to him, Sudheer was never satisfied with any music - he was constantly in search of life in music which he never found, P3 and myself had pretty much similar music taste. We stopped at Gonikoppalu ourskirts for a tea, had our dinner at RRR restaurant in Mysore and reached Bangalore post midnight.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Rajani - Mahesh Engagement

On 9th August 2009, there was my cousin Rajani's engagement with Mahesh, who lives in Chennai. The engagement happened in Tumkur on 9th August 2009. Unfortunately I hadn't carried my favourite 50mm f1.8 lens and I had to shoot with 100mm f2.8 macro lens, which was kinda difficult, although I didn't do very serious photography focusing on engagement rites.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Weirdest searches that led to my blog

Here are top 5 weirdest searches that came to my blog:

5. desktop pictures of louis poyo ->

I have no idea who is Louis Poyo. I tried a ponderous research on google too, but couldn't find anything significant. I'm still wondering how Louis poyo's desktop pictures led to Los Cabos travelogue.

4. larry collins jerusalem rapidshare ->

We have a saying in Kannada, "immam sahebrigu, gokulashtmigu yen sambandha", which could be analogized to...what an orthodox catholic has to do with Yom Kippur. Larry Collins is the co-author of O Jerusalem, probably the user tried searching an e-book in rapidshare, but unfortunately he was led to Opeth's Watershed review. I can reason why this happened, in the Watershed review, I remember giving the rapidshare download links and in the Books I've read section, I've mentioned O Jerusalem by Larry Collins.

3. fluke-5520a calibration labs at at karnataka ->

Seems like fluke-5520 is a high performance multi product calibrator and some small scale industry here might manufacture it. But the blog to which it was led has absolutely nothing to do with this calibrator or the industry in Karnataka manufacturing it, apart from just having the fluke-5520 keyword.

2. design your own banga roo ->

With a lynx's curiosity I googled bangaroo and says bangaroo means sexual intercourse. Hmm...sexual intercourse and the geeky ITP-Bangalore...sounds too oxymoronic.

1. polar bear in ooty ->

This search came from an avid Natgeo or Animal Planet watcher. He either thought that Ooty was somewhere in Arctic or Polar bears live in tropical forests!