HOLINESS OF LONELINESS
I came across this elderly man (a Sadhu) at Rishikesh, a famous Hindu pilgrimage centre by the banks of Ganga river in India . His only possession was the Holy book, which he always kept close to the heart. He did not smile or beg for alms, but from the peace on his face, I could feel that his contented soul had already left the mortal body. There are times when we realize that the meaning of life is nothing but a big Zero ! Times when emptiness fills mega pixels !!
THE BAREFOOTED GOD
The God appeared in front of me ! Yes, it was on a fine Sunday morning when I was taking my usual stroll down the streets of Bangalore. I turned back listening to the sound of a chime…, and there he stood. The barefooted Rama with a gentle smile on his face. The teenager was making some extra money in his new Avatar. The rickshaw behind him had a picture of Hanuman pasted on it, which aroused my curiosity. As per mythology, Lord Rama used to ride on the back of Hanuman !
BURNING DESIRES & STUBBORN STAINS
Last night I had this weird dream . I dreamt of a man whose hairs turned grey one by one, every time he was left with an unfulfilled wish. This morning, I bumped into this man who looked like the man from my dream. Sitting lonely at a corner of his village hut, he kept on smoking beedies (Indian cigar). The human steam engine stood emotionless when I moved closer & started clicking . While watching him closely through the lens, I thought he had more grey hairs than his desires. His finger nails and teeth had turned black with tobacco stains. Representative of the typical downtrodden Indian citizen!
Kole Basava or the Decorated Bull is a typical Indian folk tradition . Highly decorated bulls accompany their masters, wander around villages and entertain people to make a living. The trained bulls perform certain tricks while their masters play musical instruments. I happened to notice this gypsy girl with her bull (well, it was a cow in fact) sitting in front of a temple and seeking alms. The young girl had beautiful features, much better than those of many models, but she looked hungry and exhausted. Her eyes stayed focused on some far away object as if she was dreaming about good times yet to come. Those four hungry eyes were filled with hope and shined in front of my lens.
THE HOTTEST KID IN TOWN
Early morning at Madiwala Vegetable Market , Bangalore. That salesman had a ton of hot chillies in front of him. I asked him jokingly, “Are you selling Rocket Fuel ?!” . The boy was a bit shy and hid behind the pile. I realized it was a good opportunity for a perfect story and captured it within a split-second.
WAKE UP, MAHOUT. IT IS TIME FOR THE SHOW
It was one of those usual days amidst the Mahabalipuram rock carvings. The afternoon was quite hot and people took refuge under shades everywhere. Suddenly I noticed that lazy guy taking a nap underneath the giant elephant statue. The little elephant looked as if it was trying to wake him up. The story struck my mind. ‘Click !’, and it adorns on my wall now.
ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK
While wandering around the narrow streets (Galis) of Varanasi, the stray light beams lit up the otherwise dark alleys. And there he was, the mighty bull, standing next to his fabulous portrait on the wall. That gentle and majestic animal caught my attention . Captured the scene immediately before he turned his attention towards those attractive cows passing by .
There was a famous aerial photo by National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz. The picture of camels crossing a desert was featured as one of the best pictures of year 2005. If I remember right, it was the summer in 2007, I had a habit of spending the evenings on the terrace of our apartment in Bangalore to enjoy the heavenly clouds and sunsets. From a distance I saw that shepherd lady returning home with the herd. I waited till they reached just below the building and suddenly a bright beam of light appeared from one side of the street, casting long shadows on the other side. It reminded me of that famous Nat Geo shot . Without thinking twice, I grabbed the camera and froze the scene in one click. That made one of my ever-favourite pictures.
THE MAN WHO KEPT STARING AT ME
Bright sun rays pierced through the pillars of Bhoganandeeshwara temple near Bangalore. The decorative umbrella casted a tint of red on the pillars. It was a tricky lighting situation and I was struggling to select a proper exposure. All of a sudden, he appeared from nowhere; sat there, didn’t utter a word, but kept staring at me. His white hairs were burning like fire in the strong back light. A human element that added life to my frame. Of course, I sponsored his breakfast.
THE MAN, THE BEAST AND A DROP OF SWEAT
The majestic white coloured bull, stood over 6 feet tall with those massive horns raised above his head like a crown. Unlike the bull, his master was of opposite colour and wore only a piece of towel. It was a hot summer day in TamilNadu, the temperature soaring above 40 degree celsius. That man was sweating a lot as he was loading the bullock cart with sacks of grains. I stood watching the hard work of the pair until they started moving and followed them in my car. While staying behind them, I clicked a few pictures with my camera rested on the steering wheel. A frame that depicted rural life in India .
The little girl came running, when we pulled over for a drink. She was holding a bunch of freshly picked carrots for sale. When we said NO, the friendly smile suddenly vanished and I saw a tear drop rolling down her cheek, which she wiped with the back of her right hand. Perhaps she was making some extra money after the school hours, or she may be the only earning member in her family. Without uttering a word, she went back to her desk and continued to wait for the next customer. When I picked my camera to grab that expression, she turned her face away from me. It was a frame that speaks for itself.
BIRTH OF A GOD
The master craftsman at Mahabalipuram kept hammering profusely. The sound of his chisel was deafening and I also found it a bit difficult to breath inside his dusty workshop. Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”. Indeed, it was amazing to watch a beautiful face emerging from solid granite . I dedicate this picture to all those great artists who took part in building history of this nation.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
The proud fish monger was displaying her merchandise with a big smile on her face. Kochi harbour looked busy with several elements to fill my frame. The story that fascinated me was ‘WAITING’. The fishermen waited for a good catch. Empty baskets waited to carry more fish. The lady was waiting for her customers. An abandoned boat was waiting for its demolition. Some crows were eagerly waiting for a good meal too. And I was waiting for a perfect frame.
COLOURLESS LIFE IN MY COLOURFUL INDIA
He sat there sipping a cup of tea, his eyes unfocused and mind lost elsewhere. I kept studying him, symbol of the typical downtrodden Indian man. Reminiscence of the dark side of life reflected on his face . Without his knowledge, I zoomed into the story, looking for an appropriate frame. I visualized and composed a frame to look as if the man dreams about the colourful life ahead of him. A meaningful frame, I suppose.
Though the cows at Varanasi are usually harmless and peace-loving, a little encounter could happen occasionally in those narrow alleys. It was one of such peaceful days when I was wandering around with my camera, looking for stories. Suddenly I was shocked to hear a big ‘bang’ sound and I almost dropped my camera. When I turned back, I saw a man slapping on the cheeks of a poor cow. The cow did not make any sound and sneaked into the alley, searching for her favourite snack in the garbage bin. Varanasi remains as the ultimate destination for street photography.
I REPAIR ANYTHING EXCEPT BROKEN HEARTS
Another interesting story was right at the adjacent street. He was a technician with a happy face. He seemed to be an expert in various fields, geared up to repair anything under the sun. I clicked a picture with his permission and sneaked into the next street.
OPEN AIR SHAVE
One of the main attractions in Varanasi must be its street life, and it is perhaps every photographer’s dream land. While I was loitering around the ghats of Varanasi, I got fascinated by the activities of a barber who appeared from nowhere with his makeshift arrangement and got busy with his work.
INDIA, A COUNTRY OF CONTRASTS AND CONTRADICTIONS
For half of the world, India still remains the land of Snake Charmers and Black Magicians. Well, this guy I met at Varanasi had the latest Smartphone and two deadly Cobras in his bag ! A story telling frame.
THERE WAS A MILL IN THAT LITTLE VILLAGE
Nothing much had changed in that little village even after two decades. The flour mill stayed intact but the only familiar face looked much older. He invited me inside to have a look the machines. It was pitch dark inside and I could barely see anything. The camera was struggling to focus on something until it found a narrow beam of light falling through the window. The texture of the seasoned wall looked beautiful through the lens and I couldn’t resist filming it.
REMINISCENCE OF THE PAST
Do you think Vandalism can have a touch of art too ?! Perhaps yes. Here is a picture that doesn’t need any explanation. Hey!, by the way, I found the word ‘Monalisa’ on the wall. Did you ?!