Faith and frenzy go hand in hand in a country like ours. We, as people, feel the need to believe. In a higher power. In a God that is often cruel, but has a ‘plan’.
That’s what we keep saying to ourselves. There is a plan for us. A role in a grander scheme of things. And we have to believe this illusion because not believing it is scarier. Not believing it makes all the bad things around us seem pointless. Like everything is happening for no reason and is actually nothing but a sorry accident. And that idea of truth terrifies us. So we believe. With fervour. With blind faith. With a madness that is always unexplainable, but sometimes understandable.
We are a sea of people. Hungry, not for happiness, but approval.
Approval from that one divine presence. One that we have to please at all costs.
So we do everything it takes to appease this entity. This magical creature. Who is an apparition to some. A daydream to others, but an idol to us.
He sits on our heads and watches our every move so that we don’t err.
But err, we do. We err and pray for instant forgiveness. We hold our ears and break coconuts. And then we err some more.
We wait patiently for our prayers to come true. We watch and do nothing as everything around us burns, self-destructs and disappears. But we keep waiting. For miracles. Every single day.
And when we look back, we don’t see what we lost when we were busy being blinded. But we see stories. Of how our faith actually changed our lives and made us better people.
And we truly believe those stories.
Because it’s these stories of hope and the promise of redemption that make us want to keep hanging on.
Because believing in these stories is easier than believing in ourselves.
After all, we say, we are mere mortals. Helpless at the hand of fate and the mercy of divine power.
Faceless devotees of that Omnipresent being.
We are actually just floating along our lives powerlessly like a piece of debris. With no control over anything. With no free will.
But we don’t know this yet. Because in our subconscious battle between faith and free will, it’s faith that wins.
But maybe, that isn’t so bad. Maybe this kind of faith is not all that blind and baffling. While some believe in magic, love and happiness, others believe in God.
But either way, at the end of it all, we are all just hanging on to abstract ideas.
So yes, the truth and the reality may be two different things for us. But till the day we keep believing, we can live unafraid. Reassured.
We live knowing that our actions – our very mortal deeds and human failings – will be evaluated fairly someday.
Not evaluated anytime in this life maybe, but in the afterlife by an all-seeing God who will divide the rights from the wrongs. The goods from the bads. No matter how many masks we wear in our lifetime, we believe, he will see right through us.
So, we hang on dearly to the idea of him.
Sometimes because of love.
Sometimes because of fear.
Sometimes because of innocence.
And most times, because we think we have to.
Seeing is not believing for us.
Believing is seeing.
But if we are stripped of all pretense, all our conditioning and all that faith has drilled into us, we are in reality, just lost souls. We believe in the idea called God, but we stopped believing in goodness and humanity. In compassion and tolerance.
We hurt, plunder and kill everyone around us. Destroy everything around us with self-created weapons till it bleeds dry.
And when it’s all done and when we are standing alone.
We don’t even stop to look at the empty shell of rubble and ruins we leave behind.
We just turn our backs on everything and walk away like clean slates. Like nothing ever happened. Because it’s all in the name of God. And God forgives, doesn’t he?
It was Sunday morning. The little Luanne dropped by our place at Parra, with a board of Business (which seemed like a ripoff of Monopoly). But that did not stop us from getting our hands dirty with fake notes. Here are some photos clicked using my phone camera and the big bad 5dm2.
The box was opened.
And a lot of money was distributed. All three of us, showing off our tens of thousands of fake rupees.
Bonnie overlooked the proceeding that took place at the bank (Luanne) making sure the 1000s were not mistaken for 10000s.
And the battle was on!
The rule book did not provide any assistance. The english being from another country.
But dice were rolled.
And moves were made.
The old man wasn’t really bothered. He was done playing a game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ with Luanne moments ago. Now it was time to update himself with the nonsense that went on around our tiny state.
We were living the dream.
In particular, “I” was living the dream!
But that wasn’t enough to impress the old man. He was lost in the paper.
The game went on. Here is a clip of all the action. Okay, maybe not ‘all’, but some of it.
And landed up paying she did!
Houses were built and high rents were paid.
I got back my Tamron 70-300mm psycho lens. It created some magic later that day.
Luanne started to throw money around, like there was no tomorrow. Telling us to “keep the change”.
And that was it. The game was abandoned midway due to Luanne’s acts of kindness. Ultimately, there could only be one true winner…me.
Later that day we walked to Luanne’s place. This is a shot I got, thanks to a crazy lens, which I thought of turning into a coffee mug one day.
That’s all folks! That was ‘Business with Luanne’. Like/+1 and share the love.
My book is my time machine. It has the power to push away the ground beneath my feet to let me stay fearlessly suspended in a place that has no past, present or future. Where no space and time exist. A limbo that frees me of the world. I can go anywhere from here. When I want to be anywhere but here. My escape.
My book is my temptress. She seductively stares me at in the eye with the promise of infinite possibilities draped over her alluring form. My gypsy queen. My crystal ball reader. She smells of nostalgia. Tastes of tears shed in secret. And feels like the familiar skin of my lover. She knows that I’ll always come back. And I do.
My book is an illusionist. From a point of nothingness, it brings alive an explosion of lives and colours and worlds. Fantasies appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. Beginnings turn into ends here. And ends into beginnings. The illusions don’t lie in cheap trickery. But in the alchemy of life. And the magic of stories.
My book is my mask. Speaking words I’m afraid to speak and narrating tales I don’t know how to tell. My dreamcatcher. Taking the mad hues and wild thoughts from my head and making it real on a blank canvas. Black and white, yet colourful.
My book has no endings. The almost invisible line between one story and another is now a smudged blur, a mish-mash of two different worlds. There is no last page. Everytime someone’s tears end, another’s laughter begins.
I see you now… walking around the edge of my tale, caressing the beginning of my script with your curious eyes. You are enchanted with my fables of other worlds and the mystery of my blank pages.
Is it time for your story to meet mine?
It was Sunday. The Sabbath. The day allocated to taking rest. But no! We had a long way to go and this was just the beginning of the trip. Excitement was at its fullest and all of us were ready to hit the road.
We opened the door and let in the cool fresh air. Fresh air, with a hint of damp mud letting us know it had rained a while back.
What were the odds. We stayed at a place right opposite a girls hostel. Talk about bad luck, all the girls were sleeping that morning.
Us, good christian boys that we were decided to take a walk to the church. Johnny, who spent a significant amount of time of his youth in Shillong sold the idea of going to the church early morning. Not to attend the service or check out girls, but to see how amazing the church was. So off we were. Mukhi, Johnny, Joshua and I.
We passed by St. Anthony’s high school.
And continued our walk to the church.
Finally we were there. Bang opposite the great house of the Lord. We paused for a moment to acknowledge the great photogenic surrounding.
That’s Joshua, caught in the act. Going all paparazzi.
And that’s the church. The place Johnny brought us to. The temple of worship that we did not bother to visit. Showers of blessings were sprinkled upon us in the form of an unthreatening drizzle.
But we waited there for a while. Breathing in the fresh air and acknowledging the peace and silence.
Once the church service was done, we decided to head back before the church goers stepped out and saw us infidels acting suspicious outside the Lord’s house. The man himself. Jesus. I hope he forgives us for being bad christians that day.
Finally we were back at our room. Baths were taken, bags were packed.
Mukhi might have been the only person to get a halo that morning. I guess thats what happens when you take a non believer to the Lord.
Joshua did some reading up.
While the rain gods unleashed their fury.
Once everyone were done with their baths, breakfast was to be consumed. We were the first souls at the restaurant. The wait was long. Our food was nowhere in sight. The Machaan (Vignesh) invested in a few more minutes of sleep.
Mukhi’s sound system was rigged and ready to be used.
iPhones were shown off.
Nokias sat quietly.
A few more photos here and there.
And we just waited at the restaurant while the rain continued to pour. The delay in our food did not help any cause. But we waited.
Later on that day we visited Mawlynnong and the Elephant Falls. We headed back to Guwahati at night and the adventure continued. For the guys who were there, they know all the jokes, all the craze and all the nonsense. Too bad everything can’t go into a blog post. But hopefully more photo stories from this trip to follow.
Trivia: All photos clicked using a Canon 1000D and a Canon 50mm f1.8. Feel free to Like and Share on G+.
Introducing the boys/men from Upper Basement. A bunch of clowns who play some decent music. On March 16, 2012 they locked horns with a couple of bands from around the country at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad.
Here are a bunch of photos from that night.
We have here Mr. Kaustubh Kende. That guy who sits across my cubicle and when not working, can be found playing guitar and wooing the ladies. This is him, making sure food reaches our table.
This young man goes by the name Raj Kiran. All I know is that he plays the drums and is good at it. Other than making duck faces, he acts as the metronome.
This shoe belongs to the foot of Nikhil Dev. You will see more of his shoes later.
Some of you might have seen this chap before. He is none other than Ferdinand D’souza. No, we are not related. There just happen to be a lot of D’souzas around the world and a few of us landed up in Hyderabad.
Ferdinand’s love for RHCP.
The man with the fever that night. Samuel Joseph. He battled on.
Now that we got to know all the chums of UB, I shall leave you with some more photos. Haffun.
A couple of shots of Head Motif.
These guys won the competition that night.
And now back to UB.
Ferdie suddenly gives us directions.
And then the night was wrapped up.
The band would like to thank all those who turned up to support and cheer them on that night. The might have not won, but were glad to put on a performance for you all.
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Some of you might have seen some pre-wedding photos of Melanie (aka Beautiful) and Daniel (aka Francis) on my Facebook Page. Wedding photos are gonna come up later. Much later, so hang on for now. Here is what went on behind the scenes on that day when we were by the Mandovi.
The freaks, Francis, Beautiful and Ernest dropped by my place and decided to give me a ride.
We were on our way to Panjim. Beautiful, just back from her visit to the church was complaining about all the crazy questions the priest was asking her. We had a good laugh and then indulged in some banter about the Vatican. Shhh!!
And that’s the Ernest we talk about. Ernie the man. All too happy to be sitting around and doing nothing.
We passed by Sangolda.
And in a short while we were passing through Porvorim. The sun was beginning to set. We were racing the clock. Guess who was not too pleased to be losing light. Okay, no points for the correct answer. Me!
Under the Bridge. I always think of RHCP each time I go below the Mandovi bridge. Always.
We zoom past the Panjim jetty.
And then, finally, the Mandovi. The barges had taken over the landscape. Got some test shots though.
You guys might remember this lighthouse from the “Lurking Storm” photo I posted some months back.
There were some birds in the sky.
And an Ernie on the sand.
I told the clowns to take a walk and pretend I’m not there. Told them to indulge in some PG13 activities that would not get any of us arrested. So that’s them, taking a walk by the shore.
Ernie on the other hand took a walk with my tripod.
Oh yeah! Ernie and the tripod. So beautiful. Made for each other.
This stray fellow tried to disrupt proceedings. But was scared away by Francis. Who just showed the dog his face. The rest was history.
The clowns headed towards the rocks.
Ernie headed to the shore.
In between all this nonsense, I did manage to get a few decent shots of the clowns. And then we just decided to goof around. Something we are pros at.
Here are Ernie and Francis. This shot was taken so that I could lock focus points. It was pretty dark btw, the autofocus was going crazy when those amateurs (read Francis) tried to use the camera.
Autofocus locked, and this is what Francis managed to click. Ernie parting with the tripod. It was a sad moment, but what was just had to be done.
And then one shot of Beautiful, me and the leaning lighthouse of.. oh wait, the lighthouse is, no way.
Finally, we called it a wrap and headed off towards what we call home. Beautiful punched the air coz I guess she found a keeper. Amen.
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The plan was to get some shots of the pier at Panjim. But sadly, the homies ditched, the sun set while I was driving and then the only homie around was Super Glen aka Super. We improvised and decided to just go some place close and get a few shots. Ladies and freaks, here is Sinquerim.
This was just after the sun had set.
The yellow light was thanks to a street lamp. I was really dark. Long exposure to the rescue.
That’s Bapaicho gadi (Father’s car), that I use to move my lazy butt around.
Super and I headed off to the fort. For most of you who know, where the Taj resort exists.
Thats us. Being all cool, keeping our distance, while some dude and his babe shared a quiet moment at the fort and did not give a damn about distance.
Super got down to his magic and softened the water, even without his cape.
And then, it was time to head to D’souza’s and eat some Choris Paos and Tongue. So thats it. Got this last photo and we were off!
A bunch of us go to the music room now and then to jam up. These are boys in action. Can’t really write much, since music is music. So no much talk. Enjoy the photos.
Our human metronome for the evening was Nirmal Samuel.
Cherian Koshy on bass.
Our very own Joshua Singh took to the keys.
And Daniel Peddity unleashed his vocal talent.
The other microphone would have been in my hand, but sadly I can’t click and sing at the same time. So there it lay, neglected.
The boys then decided to switch acts and next thing we know, Cherian was play ‘em keys.
Joshua joined in to add a few notes of his own.
While Danny dictated the bass lines.
The drummer remained unchanged.
And that was it.
Here is a short video that was shot a few days earlier.
And, that my friends, is “The Music Room”.
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We were welcomed by the organized chaos. Vendors wide awake, business going on as usual. From a distance we could see the Charminar, well lit up and welcoming us to the old city.
We squeezed pass the crowd and made our way towards it.
And there it was, the Charminar. The beauty of the Old City.
We carried on.
Here is a short video of Sharmila zipping past the chaos.
Ah, don’t worry about this fellow, he was with us.
We stopped at a store selling bangles and other jewelry while we waited for some more folks to catch up with us.
And then, to the streets.
There were a lot of bangles for sale.
And this old man, although the stern angry look on this face, he was very happy to have his photo clicked. Once I showed him his photograph on the LCD, he gave a nod of approval and then I was back on the street.
Walking along the road was getting us nowhere, so we decided to use the divider instead. Saved us a lot of time.
This man was selling bread. He was very happy to see us and gave us his best pose.
Then we passed by a shoe store.
Kapur found a kid at the shoe store who was all too excited to have his photo clicked.
And then we did some more waiting.
Kapur got some more shots.
Somewhere hidden in all this was is the Charminar College.
This young fellow was in two minds whether to let me click his photo or not. I asked him if he was cool with me getting his headshot. First he went, “No.” But then he got his cup of tea, started to sip on it and was like, “Okay, click now.”
Sharmila also wanted her photo clicked, but she ain’t had no cup of tea!
More shots from the street.
Kapur’s toothache started to get worse. Wisdom teeth are only for a gifted few I guess. The rest of em just gotta get it taken off!
We went in search of a medical store. And passed by a Nikon outlet!
More street shots.
This chap saw me walking past him with my camera in hand and went, “Hey you. Are you from some newspaper or magazine?” And before I could reply, he asked me to click his photograph. I obliged.
He made sure I got a photograph of the guy next door too. And then asked me if his photograph will be published in the next days newspaper. I said, “No, I’m just clicking for fun.” He was a bit surprised, and then asked me if I was going to be passing this way tomorrow. And, if I was, he would like to have his photograph. I replied, “No, but in case I do, I shall get you a print.”
We exchanged pleasantries and then I carried on.
We then passed by a chicken shop.
I stopped. And, the guys there we all to happy to see me. Once again, the “Am I from the newspaper” conversation propped up.
I passed by another shop and got this simple shot of the price.
The chap there asked me to get a shot of him.
It then suddenly occurred that people don’t really mind having their photos clicked. Something I’m very careful of. I normally always ask before clicking anyone’s photo on the street, which is very rare. But all the folks at the Old City were happy to have their photos clicked.
The walk went on. And we made our pit stop for the night. Shah Ghouse it was, for some good biryani.
Here is a scene of what was going on outside the restaurant. The guys are serving Haleem.
We went up and grabbed our grub.
Stomachs full, and we where back down. No change in the scene. Madness as usual. Haleem was selling like Hot..er..Haleem!!
Found this video on YouTube, look at these human machines go!
Everyone was up for some Irani Chai. So we headed to a restaurant next door.
And we were done! Plans were to finish off the whole Old City experience by having ice cream at Famous Ice-cream. So we made our way to the Mozamjahi Market.
Everyone got a taste of the ice cream.
And a view of the clock tower.
Then it was pretty late and exhaustion started to show.
It was almost 1:30 am, so we all headed home after that. And that was it. Old City during Ramadan was great!
The long weekend it was, and my good friend, Daniel Peddity was kind enough to allow me to tag along with him and his awesome folks to Goa! Camera, one set of clothes and a laptop all shared the space of one bag and off we were to my Motherland!
We hit the road via the Mumbai highway. Hyderabad’s great crawling traffic was there to greet us. We were part of the chaos.
I took the the role of the navigator and made sure to document everything and anything. We did record our track before the phone battery started to die out. But navigator I was! And navigation I did! And other useless things too. Like clicking photos.
Finally we were on the outskirts of Hyderabad and the roads had some mercy on us.
Yes, we did come across the occasional stunt riders on the highway. These two indulging in a crazy balancing act. Not to mention that they had another bag nicely balanced on the tank of the bike.
We saw wheels. A lot of them.
And, some ‘highly in flammable’ stuff.
We were to make a pit stop at Danny’s Aunt’s place. And passed through a busy market. Business was on as usual. Everyone making a living.
And then, the irresponsible shame to the nation was spotted. This chap totally not bothered about the people behind while he took the turns.
We had to overtake him to avoid death.
More stunt riders.
We passed through a village. The fields on either sides greeted us.
And so did a herd of cattle.
And then, out of no where, the skies decided to unleash the raindrops.
But it did stop. And we made it safely to Danny’s Aunt’s place. The camera went into the bag and what followed was a night of nonstop driving. I switched to the wheel at sometime in the middle of the night and I’m pretty sure I sleep drove for a while. Thanks to the non-existence of proper road signs we burnt some rubber and also flew over some speed breakers. A mongoose almost got hit, but some NFS moves saved the day. Anyone and everyone we asked for directions told us to take a turn at the round about with the Shivaji statue. Not to mention that every round about had one of these statues.
We battled the rain. Danny’s Dad, suddenly in the middle of the night, zoomed pass me and I was like, “He so can’t do that!” and so, the battle of the rains turned into the battle of the flying cars. More speed breakers appeared from no where. Finally we experienced the moon’s surface at the Belgaum – Goa highway. I think I destroyed the underneath of Danny’s car while trying to negotiate these crazy roads.
But after all the chaos and madness, we were at the road to Ponda! We made a quick pit stop.
And, took in the fresh air!
Let the cars take some rest.
And then, we were there. Motherland!
Update (June 1, 2012)
Added a couple of uncut raw footage videos from that day.
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