Sunday, April 30, 2006

Say Cheese?

" While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes. there is another in whichit proves how little our eyes permit us to see."
-Dorothea Lange, (1895-1965) Photgrapher.

Indira Mariyappan (by Arko Dutta)

The fateful day of December26th, 2004 the great Tsunami struck the coasts of Cuddalore. Indira mourns the loss of her sister-in-law, her only source of support. Deserted by her husband, she lives with her brother, struggling for her survival.

Winds of Change
(by Cheryl Diaz)

Standing proudly, 10-year-old Uniss Mohammad Salman was among students returning to Al Amtithal Elemtary School, one of the first in the city of reopen after the invasion of Baghdad.

The Afghan Girl
(by Steve McCurry)

She was one of the world's most famous faces, yet no one knew who she was. Her image appeared on the front of magazines and books, posters, lapel pins, and even rugs, but she didn't know it. Now, after searching for 17 years, National Geographic has once again found the Afghan girl, Sharabt Gula with the haunting green eyes.

The Migrant Mother
(by Dorothea Lange)

This California farmworker, age 32, had just sold her tent and the tires off her car to buy food for her seven kids. The family was living on scavenged vegetables and wild birds. Working for the federal government, Dorothea Lange took pictures like this one to document how the Great Depression colluded with the Dust Bowl to ravage lives.

The Food chain
(By Kevin Carter)

Visiting Sudan, a little-known photographer took a picture that made the world weep. What happened afterward is a tragedy of another sort. The image presaged no celebration: a child barely alive, a vulture so eager for carrion. Yet the photograph that epitomised Sudan's famine would win Kevin Carter fame - and hopes for anchoring a career spent hounding the news, free-lancing in war zones, waiting anxiously for assignments amid dire finances, staying in the line of fire for that one great picture. On May 23, 14 months after capturing that memorable scene, Carter walked up to the dais in the classical rotunda of Columbia University's Low Memorial Library and received the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.
Two months after receiving his Pulitzer, Carter would be dead of carbon-monoxide poisoning in Johannesburg, a suicide at 33. "I'm really, really sorry," he explained in a note left on the passenger seat beneath a knapsack. "The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist."

Tiannenmen Square
(by Stuart Magnum)

A hunger strike by 3,000 students in Beijing had grown to a protest of more than a million as the injustices of a nation cried for reform. For seven weeks the people and the People’s Republic, in the person of soldiers dispatched by a riven Communist Party, warily eyed each other as the world waited. When this young man simply would not move, standing with his meager bags before a line of tanks, a hero was born. A second hero emerged as the tank driver refused to crush the man, and instead drove his killing machine around him. Soon this dream would end, and blood would fill Tiananmen. But this picture had shown a billion Chinese that there is hope.

A heartless city

The raging mob burns and pilages all that which comes its way. This soot-stained , terror ridden face of Naseruddin Qutbuddin Ansari, a 29-year-old tailor, was the defining image of the horror of the worst religious riots in a decade. He firmly believes Muslims and Hindus will unite in Gujarat on Thursday to build a better India.

Lost Souls ( by Caroyln Cole)

Kinny Kanneh, age 9, was wounded when mortar rounds landed in a Monrovia refugee camp run by the American embassy. Refugees descended on the capital to avoid fighting, but the violence followed. Pulitzer Prize winner in 2003.

The melting girl
(by Nick Ut)

Nick Ut : " The picture shows Kim, when her skin is burned so badly. Behind Kim, you see all the South Vietnamese armies running with her, together. She looked ever so bad - I thought that she would die.

You know, I had been outside the village that morning and I took a lot of pictures. I was almost leaving the village when I saw two aeroplanes. The first dropped four bombs and the second aeroplane dropped another four napalm [bombs]."

P.S: Kim Phuc now lives in Canada.

The execution
(by Eddie Adams)

With North Vietnam’s Tet Offensive beginning, Nguyen Ngoc Loan, South Vietnam’s national police chief, was doing all he could to keep Viet Cong guerrillas from Saigon. As Loan executed a prisoner who was said to be a Viet Cong captain, AP photographer Eddie Adams opened the shutter. Adams won a Pulitzer Prize for a picture that, as much as any, turned public opinion against the war.

Forgotten Heroes
(by David Leeson)

Staff Sgt. Lonnie Roberts stands at attention as troops from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team pay last respects to their fallen comrade, Pvt. Gregory Huxley, during a memorial for the 19-year-old in Baghdad. Pulitzer Prize winning photograph

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But these snaps are more than that. They are stories by themselves. Stories of hope, joy, despair, love, pain, and everything under this sun. People photography gives me such a high!

Friday, April 28, 2006



Float purple in the air
I try to write
This mess off my head.
No poet am I!
Just a thought
A bubble
That refuses to burst.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Singer or thinker?

I finish playing my badminton for the day. Head back home. Switch on my Creative Zen and clamp the earbuds. James Hetfield blares into my ears. I sing along.

On a long and lonesome highway east of omaha
You can listen to the engines moaning out as one note song
You think about the woman or the girl you knew the night before

But your thoughts will soon be wandering the way they always do
When you’re riding sixteen hours and there’s nothing much to do
And you don’t feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through
Only if I had playedthe drop shot more delicately
Damn! I always get screwed at the net.
Next time I should try to push it back to the backhand corner...

Wait! what happened to the song I was singing??!! Too late....Hetfield has made way for Jimmy Page now and I am sure that I cant sing along with him as well. This has been my issue for a long time now. I can never complete a song in my head. My mind wanders too quickly and too wide. From drop shots to cost accounting, from Ice Age 2 to the pretty girl in my floor, from what I would do to my sworn enemies to why I like apple juice. Its like an endless and senseless chain.

I often go to one of my friends home and I dunno why most of the times I go when he is taking a shower. And he would be crooning so loudly that people down four streets can listen. One song after another, he finishes with the utmost ease. Does it mean that he has switched it off upstairs? Or he can sing and be with Jane Goodall at the same time? I definitely cant. The only sound you can hear when I am in the shower is the water hitting the floor. Sigh! There goes my singing career!

When all his brothers are lying dead at the Enchanted pool, Yudhishtira is asked by the Yaksha

Oh Kuntiputra, kimsvidccheghrataram vayoh
kimsvidgurutaram bhumeh
kimsviduccataram ca khat
kimsvidccheghrataram vayoh
kimsvidbahutaram trnat

( Oh Son of Kunti, What is weightier than earth?
What is taller than the sky?
what is that which is fleeter than the wind?
What is more numerous than grass?)

And to that Yudhishtira replies,

Mata gurutara bhumeh
Manahshighrataram vata
Ccinta bahutari trnat

( A mother is heavier than the earth,
A father is taller than the sky
The human mind is fleeter than the wind
And thoughts are more in number than the grass)

How true! So who are you? A singer or a thinker?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A 15 minute Nirvana!

Its evening. The world has turned into a shade of light orange. The electricity in the air is palpable. The wind which was gentle now picks up speed. The clothes hung on the neighbour's roof flutter wildly, wanting to break free. The birds start chirping excitedly. The old newspaper man on the road quickens his pace. I rush to the balcony, leaving behind the book in my hand. The wind chime in our balcony breaks into an oriental serenade. A stray plastic cover on the road silently rises in respose. Like an expert dancer who glides effortlessly across the stage . It moves, sways and prances around gleefully, beyond the reach of the excited dog below. Then then after a while, as though it felt bored, it silently settles down on the street. A few leaves now takover the stage. Not elegant ballet girls, but like the new breed of energetic vibrant dancers. they wildly chase each other in circles ans rise higher with alacrity. Yes! its going to rain now.

I strech my hand out to feel the drops. Nothing yet. But I hear the thunder. And then comes the flash of lightning brightening the dull facades around. The wind picks up speed. And then it starts. Tiny aimless drops at first. Sporadic and quick they are signs enough for the dog to get up and take shelter below the stairs. The smell of wet earth is intoxicating. I try to gulp as much air I can before my lungs would burst. And now the drops get bigger, gathering momentum as they come down. Its pouring now. Everytime it rains I try to listen to the different sounds the water makes. The chatter on the window panes, the hissing on the hot tin roofs, the splatter on the narrow steel railings, the babble in the gutter. Nature has music. We just dont have the time to appriciate it.

The water is rushing down the street now. From every staircase, every tree, every nook and corner water gushes out. A rapid stream is formed on the street. The leaves and the cover are no more to be seen now. I wonder about the rains in the mountains. Our Lives are so much like the water which flows down them. When we are born, we are like those tiny drops ...innocent and beautiful. And then we grow up like those wild rivulets, fast, energetic and making new paths. Then when we develop like the rivers on the plains, slow, huge, focussed and life sustaining. And then we fade into oblivion like the rivers joining the endless oceans. And then, I dont know, maybe, grow into the tiny droplets and rain on the mountains again.

I cant contain my excitement anymore. I rush up to the terrace. I spread my arms and rise my head to the sky. The water hits my face hard. Almost like a splinter. IT cant see anythig through my glsses now. I can feel it running down my neck, my back, my legs. I shiver for a moment in the cold.,but then the water soothes me. I feel purged, I feel fresh, I feel...alive! The rain has thinned down now. I slowly walk down the stairs. The water droplets are glistening like tiny pearls at the tips of the leaves. The trees seem to be smiling. People are slowly moving back onto the road. The lazy dog however prefers to stay on the cozy rag below the stairs. My mom yells out that coffee is ready. I give a huge sigh and walk down the stairs.

Its a beautiful world. :)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Metrosexual me!

"Why dont u get ur hair straightened?" quipped my old pal Tejas! "hmmm..straighten my hair..never occured to me before !"..wht the harm in trying I thought! ( but wht did I know!)

My sense of fodeboring should have picked up when I saw the name of the place. It was not Style Saloon or Citizen hair was XYZ Men's parlour!! why parlour!?? I had bnever been to any parlour or anything remotely close to it. So was a bit jumpy whn i got in. He was there! on the sofa! lookin as though was some FBI agent waiting for me since ages! he had tht "aah.. there ur !" look on his face. I thought of introducing myself but thn I felt in such places anonymity was a better friend. " Hair straightening!" I hollored. u know, like those mezosoic cavemen whose vocab was restricted to "dhhhh..foooddd"...! It was more or less like tht. He didnt say a word..jst jerked his left hand towards the chair, tied a big maroon silk cloth arnd my neck. And thn it began..............

First he measured my hair with soem weird measurement n thn got out a bunck of taccky clips! N thn he started putting the clips around my hed ina circular fasshion. Good tht I had removed my glasses before he did tht. I myslef would have burst laughing at my reflection I am sure. I bet I was looking like old hag with her stupid hair in the Mask ! Anyway, thn he got out these sachets and started applyin it to the hair which was below the clip. That cream smelty like a combination of burnt coffee, hydrogen sulphide and rotten eggs. I almost puked! "Anything wrong Sir?" quizzed the concerend voice behind.."". He applied 5 full sachets on my hair for a good 15 more minutes. I was sure I would be the first person to die because of rotten smelling hair cream! Anyway, after a while, he said it was done to my great relief! Yeah! like hell it was!

He then brought out a huge thing! yeah..i dont know what else to call it. It was like a huge tranparent dome on a high stand with wires dangling everywhere! He placed it over my head and then switched it on! "Shit!" I thought. I have seen these things ! In those afternoon soaps!! with all those bitchy ladies who go to the parlour n thn hack evil plans to seduce someone pativrata's husband! I didnt dare look up and see if there was anyone else there. God! If anyone from my gang had seen my like tht thn....." U have to sit for oaff hour sir" he said to my utter horror. Sit under tht steaming bowl with yucky smelly hair and clips all around....doing what? contemplating the differnt ways of shooting myslef in the head??. Thump!!! he dropped magazines on my lap! aaarrgghh! gr8 this gets even btter i thought. Now I sit there an read magazines.!! Opened the first one! " I am a 53 year old woman with two children. O flate my perios have....." yucccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! wht the fuck? I turned the mag back arnd and to my utter horror saw that he had given me Femina!!!! "Six sexual tricks ur make ur man ecstatic"......."Accesories for todays trendy women"........i didnt dare read the rest of the topics! I was furious! "Look here man! I have come here to straighten my hair! period! what the hell do u thingk i am??? U think i hv no other job but to sit here on a saturday afternoon with smelly hair reading Mrs. Chopra's menopause!!! I am GUY for God's sake..gimmie Sports star or AutoIndia or some bloody mens magazine!!!!"...yeah..Iwanted to say all this..but all i managed to squek after swallowing my pride was " u hv some thing else"!!!! He thrusted Outlook into my hand and I desparately drowned myself in tht.

After the longest hald hour in my life he took the wretched thing off my head and said it was time to wash it. Thank god! Time to get the stench off my hair! He washed the ..err..very long tresses with some shampoo I had never seen before. The funny thing is that whn evr u go to a fancy saloon ( yes, thts my way, thank u!), all the stuff they use will have Arabic words or some weird script..i dunno Voggon or something! jst to say tht, hey we use all imported stuff, so this is a hep place n so u will have to pay half ur salary for this hair cut!Anyway he washed the whole gaddoam thing off, but I could still smell it. "its still smlleing yucky"..I complained.."I know !" he smiled".."it will be there for a cpl more days"!! Bastard! smiling at my fate!!! I thought he must me some sorta sadist who took pride in the fact tht he is going to mk all guys so replusive to things in the world, living or otherwise... n thn he will be the last standing male on this earth who is not stinking and he will be made the King of the clean world! "Sir we offer many other services. Would u like to pick a package? A facial maybe! with pure hearbal extracts. Spots, pimples, dark circles under the eye..everythign will be gone Sir! I will give a massage as well!!! " ..i was boiling...."Look here pal, I came to this stupid place with the stupid idea of getting my stupid hair straightened!! u jst shut the fuck up and do what ur asked for!!!".....No this is not what I said..this is what I thought while going back I shd hv told himm...wht I DID manage to blurt out was.."err..some other time maybe".. SOME OTHER TIME!!! wht ru? insane!!!

Anyway, I was of th opinion that the ordeal was over when he brought out a small iron box! Well! wht the hell. This has to be the weirdest day of my life..He is goign to IROn my hair!! i had lost all courage by thn. Do wht u want pal I said..jst be done! And after tht came the big one! He brought before me some conditioner ( agn with arabic crap all over it). "Sir this is a impppoted conditioner... for damaged, treated is a must sir..will cost u only 200 Rs more"..wht the hell i thought..despatare to get the smell outta my hair, i capitulated. he put tht arabic goo all over the head agn and for my gr8 relief washed it in no time." There ur sir! he told me holding the mirror behind my back. Given tht I had not worn my glasses, it made a weired picture and I quickly added tht it was puurfect!" I was ready to pay him and mak a quick getaway when it dawned upon me tht the whol cost had some to one grand!!!! damn..for a whole year I was feeling clever that I had saved 300 bucks not goign tot he saloon n there it was !! 1K blown over in 2 hrs! I had never dreamt tht I will be ever paying in a saloon with my card! Anyway paid the whole amount and then asked for the conditioner. The guy looked confused. "wht conditioner, Sir". I pointed it to the bottle on the table and he replied "yes sir, I applied tht, didnt i?" ..thn it hit me! like a rock! he wasnt selling me the bottle! He had charged me 200 bucks alone for jst putting tht shit on my head for 2 mins!!!!!!!!! Never in my whole life haid I felt so STUPID!!!! I walked out, 1k poorer, emenating a horrible stench, with trashed male ego and ah yes, straigher hair!!!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Mah all time fav poem!


by William Ernest Henley; 1849-1903

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

Trivia: this was the last words of the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVein before his execution. What a travesty!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Floyd to the rescue!

"This is a high priority issue. The deadloack in the database is occuring repeatedly. If this continues we might end up losing the contract. What we can address right now............."

I'm staring hard into my monitor... Can hear the buzz of the processor...Or is it in my head? Someones mobile jars out a sad version of "Bin Tere Sanam"... I look around. Blank faces are relfected on screens all over. I hate this AC ..makes me feel ..unreal. I want to hear something pleasant, something the rustle of the leaves being carassed by the evening wind, I want to listen to the water as it dances through the rocks, I want to listen to the woodpecker on the tree....I want to ...........I hear only the keys being thumped on the keyboard....

"We are moving from a shared delivery model to a shared task model. It is being tried out for the first time in Porting Factory. This model will increase the visibilty of the contributors and is going to facilitate cross technology exposure and most importantly......................"

I am beginning to get restless. I try to sit eract in my chair, with the back fully rested against the support...but thn I see more cubicles and more screens and I get more I decide to sink into my chair...I shd go so low that anyone seing the chair from behing should not be able to mk out tht someone is actually sitting there...but agn, tht would add to my already sinking feeling...Man! I cant take it anymore.....I need an outlet!

"To reiterate what we had discussed in our last meeting, the project plan would be rescheduled to fit the new developments. This would have an impact on the regular deiverables. This extra effort will be billed as per the ICA guidelines and then......."

Gimmie a .45 ! quick! I wont aim! randomly I will shoot! at anything, anybody, the cubes, in the lobby, the lift, the canteen....Hollen Collfied I am with u. Lezz kill all these fucking morons.!!Let the blood spurt...on the walls, on the screen, on these stupid self help posters! Lezz end this farce! lezz get real....lezz ......

and thn I remember Floyd....aaaah yes, Floyd.....Floyd always has the solution. So, I put on my headphones.....and gradually fade into oblivion..........

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’.
When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I got that feeling once again.
I can’t explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb............................