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Posts from — February 2012

Routines and Patterns

The last week has been a quiet restful week with a lot of laziness. The fatigue caught up after we returned and I spent a lot of time with my feet up. Didn’t get all my blog posts out but did get a lot of reading done.

Saturday saw us getting really busy – the house getting cleaned and organised before the dogs came back. Oh yes the highlight of the week is the dogs are back! Life now falls back into a routine with the dogs causing sweet distraction.

The dogs aren’t really very demanding but they force us in to routines and patterns. I’m someone who doesn’t like routines and patterns, they bore me and I keep trying to escape them. But with the dogs I have to fit into some form of schedule.

Routine (Definition): A sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program. A set of customary and often mechanically performed procedures or activities.

The dogs have to be fed on time, which means the meat has to be taken out to thaw or kibble soaked on time. It isn’t a huge chore but it still is a to-do and I hate to-dos. (Don’t think anyone likes them :D) The dogs require certain things to be done regularly – food, check-up, pooper-scooper, exercise… Like I said it isn’t a lot but with them around things get done, it can’t be pushed to tomorrow.

I’ve had this internal to-do battle for a while now. I don’t like the routine but still try to stick with it. When I miss, I feel guilty – three dogs looking up at you saying ‘where’s my food?’ – only makes you guiltier. That said I’m glad they bring routine to my life, I get a lot more done with them around.

I’ve seen that with kids too. Easy to skip a meal when its just you but try getting a kid to skip a meal and you’ll bring the roof down. They live a timed life and force you into their timelines. In some obscure convoluted way its a good thing they bring order to chaos else you’d have a lot of lazy people like me. 😀

But is lazy bad? After all we have but one life, why get so busy? Do you follow a routine? Do you like the routine? Need dogs or kids to enforce the routine?

February 20, 2012   1 Comment

Its a downer day!

Some days are just not great. All is well with the world and there’s good things happening around you but there’s just something, a little niggly-wiggly something that makes the day not great.

Today is that kind of day for me. I just don’t feel on top of the world, more like the bottom of the hill. It a good day – sun shinning, clear skies, smiles and all that but there’s just something thats making me feel down. Its a downer day!

But I have a remedy for that 🙂 I have this lovely dress that just makes me feel great. Its a little green-blue-yellow stripped dress I picked up a few years ago. I loved it the minute I saw it. It was meant for nine years olds but hey, why should that stop me. A little alteration and it fit me just fine.

I love its colours and twirly-ness. Wearing it just makes me feel like dancing so its perfect for a down day. Every time I start to sink the skirt swishes and makes me smile. The dress makes me feel like I’m twirling in the middle of a yellow field. (Guess thats my idea of simple pure joy). it doesn’t make the day a great one but it does make it better.

Its my getaway to my secret place. We all have those, right? Little things – photos, postcards, mementoes – things that take us away to that happy place. Do you have a getaway? Something to take you away for just a bit? Something that will smooth away all wrongs for just a bit? Make the world alright even if its just for a bit?

Photo Credit: Eye4Art

February 16, 2012   No Comments

Two Weeks on the Wedding Road

The last two weeks have been fun, I travelled, met some very interesting people and just had a ball. We photographed two weddings at two corners of India and each was so different.

We started our journey with a quick trip to Kovilpatti my ‘sasural’ or as I see it my second home. From there on to Tuticorin for Hemanth and Mala’s wedding. Theirs was a simple wedding yet ‘hat ke’ or different. Hemanth and Mala added a little bit of themselves to the wedding process and I was glad to be a part of it.

It was a simple ‘nadar’ wedding where an elder gives a little speech and blessing followed by the boy tying the ‘magalsutra’ (its the Indian equivalent of a ring) or thread signifying marriage around the girls neck. There are some more speeches and the wedding’s complete. Hemanth and Mala added to the ritual by having a fusion wedding the day before with a bridal march to choreographed music and a theme. That was a nice twist to it all!

From hot seaside Tuticorin we rushed to freezing cold Jaipur for another wedding. This one was on a grand scale in palaces and heritage resorts. North Indian weddings are long affaires that go on for three to fours days. They are a riot of color and ritual. I don’t know if I’d like to be the bride in all of that but I definitely enjoyed watching it all through my viewfinder.

After almost four years I picked up a camera again and saw the world through a viewfinder. I hadn’t realized just how much I had missed photography in the last few years. Telling a story with pictures the way I see it unfold is cathartic. It gives you a voice beyond words, and I love hiding behind my camera and seeing the world unfold in front of me.

Its been a great two weeks filled with so many things I love – travel, people, places, rituals. I realized I enjoy weddings, they say so much about people and our culture. This year is a year of experimentation for me. I want to try out as many new things as I can and find myself in it all.

Of course all this travel also meant that I didn’t have internet connectivity everywhere so I’ve missed putting up a few blog posts. I hope to make up for this in the next couple of days.

Here’s a quick photo journey of the last two weeks… [These’s are Che’s pics, I hope to put up mine soon :D]

Its been a great two weeks travelling across India, meeting friends and seeing places after years. I’d gone to Jaipur last 5 years ago and so much has changed! This year has started of so well, can’t wait for the adventures to unveil through the year!

February 14, 2012   4 Comments

Pics of The Week

I’ve used this picture thrice but what can I say… I just love it!!!

February 12, 2012   No Comments

Pics of The Week

In the last two weeks I’ve seen some spectacular sunrises and sunsets on the road… Here’s one Che captured…

February 11, 2012   No Comments

Who came first?

We humans take over every patch of earth we can find as if it belonged to us in the first place and when we mark areas as reserve forests and the like we see it as a favour we are doing to animals but is it so?

Ok, disclaimer – Im really pissed at my neighbour and need to vent…

Heres the story – Weve adopted six dogs on the street outside our apartment. Theyve all been neutered and are fed regularly. In the last few months we have seen a change in our area, the dogs are healthier, they are harassed less by the kids and they in turn are friendlier with people.

It was a bit of work – getting the dogs to trust us so we could get them neutered and getting the apartment kids to see the dogs as more than targets and trouble. But this was the easy part, the adults are a different matter and an ongoing challenge.

People seem to go out of their way to trouble the dogs. On bikes they veer on purpose towards the dogs to scare them, kick them as they go past or beat the poor things up just cause they came close to the apartment gate. The latest is the lady in the house next to our apartment taking offence to our feeding the dogs. (She called us dirty people for lack of other words in English).

The dogs arent asking for food or affection. They just want to be left alone and if we did that they would leave us alone. But no, we must go out of our way to make their lives difficult. And then we blame them for snapping and reacting adversely to us.

Why is it that we cant be tolerant towards lives that arent human? Why does that piece of land or area belong to us even though the dogs were there long before we came along to build and stay? Why cant we be nice to them? Why cant we live and let live?

February 10, 2012   1 Comment

Movie Review: Bol by Shoaib Mansoor

Bol is one of the movies I’ve watched recently and really enjoyed. This is one movie you must watch.

Bol is the story of a family in Pakistan – a father, a mother, 7 daughters and a transsexual son. Through the story Shoaib Mansoor explores various angles of life in Pakistan and Islam. The movie released in June, 2011 and became the highest earning movie in Pakistan in its first week of release.

The need of a son – the girl child just isn’t good enough
The family has 7 daughters because the father wants a son. He doesn’t think its right for a woman to work outside the house and hence keeps trying to have a son. He finally gets a transsexual son Saifi, who he is ashamed of and keeps hidden away. The women in the family love Saifi but to his father he is only a reminder of his failure. The daughters are shown to each have talents and are good at what they do – but their talents are never recognized by the father only because they are women.

Shoaib brings out the inequality between men and women at various times. The father is allowed to do just about anything but he has rules for ‘his’ women. They are not allowed a life outside the confines of the house. They are required to show him respect and loyalty but these rules don’t apply to him. He does not require to earn more to feed the children he is producing by the year, rather they have to find a way to live in what he gives them. Finally after a few children born dead the eldest daughter intervenes and gets her mother operated. The father being a Hakim or doctor does not see what his wife is going through with each child birth, he believes ardently that God Giveth so he Provideth.

Twisting Islam
The teachings of Islam are questioned in the movie. The father, a Hakim and a learned man quotes scripture in all he does but he twists the meaning to suit his requirement at that time. He does not approve of his daughter marrying a Shia Muslim but goes ahead and marries a Kanjar (dancing) girl in his need for money. The way the common man blindly believes in religion is also shown when the Hakim marries Mina the dancing girl. The Kanjar offers the Hakim money to impregnate his daughter but even though its not required the Hakim marries Mina to reduce his guilt of infidelity and promiscuity.

Transsexual Pathos
Saifi, the transsexual son does a good depiction of the pathos of being born different. He is loved by the women even though they are not happy with him being a transsexual but his father sees him as a mistake, a hit to his ego and a personal insult that he is not good enough. Saifi in trying to win his fathers heart finds work painting trucks but is raped one day while the master isn’t around. He comes home and tells his family who are stricken but to his father this is his fears coming to life. Rather than console the traumatized child, the Hakim sees his image being blacked in society and kills his son.

Modern Vs Old Pakistan
The movie shows two generations and types of people. The young and the old. The liberal and the conservative. Shoaib shows the way the thinking is changing in Pakistan. The movie itself speaks a lot about the people of Pakistan today and what they want as their future.

An apt name for the movie ‘Bol’ or speak in Urdu as it speaks at so many levels. This movie like I said earlier is a must watch!

February 8, 2012   No Comments

Why Authors Should Ask Readers for Reviews

A day after I wrote a post about asking people for what you want on Social Media, I finished reading Ginny Baird’s ‘The Sometime Bride’. Ginny’s was the first ebook in 22 ebooks I’ve read until now to ask me to engage with her explicitly.

Here’s what Ginny wrote –

A Note From the Author

Thanks for reading The Sometime Bride! I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please help other people find this book.

1. This book is lendable, so send it to a friend who you think might like it so that she (or he) can discover me, too.

2. Help other people find this book: write a review.

3. Sign up for my newsletter, so that that you can learn about the next book as soon as it’s available. Write to, with “newsletter” in the subject heading.

4. Come like my Facebook page.

Watch for my upcoming release, Real Romance, due out in May 2012!

Here’s why I think more authors should do this.

Unlike most authors Ginny told me to share her book. Most authors tell you that the book you are reading is not lendable/shareable. This makes no sense as if I bought a paper book I would share it with friends, so why can’t I do that with an ebook as freely. As an author would you consider the number of people who have read your book or would you just focus on how many people have paid for your book? Isn’t the reason we write, to be read?

After reading Ginny’s message i stopped to think about the story and characters of her book. I gave the idea of a review a definite consideration. I don’t review all the books I read so asking definitely put ‘The Sometime Bride’ on my review list. My way of paying back an author for taking the time to write a book that I enjoyed is to review the book. Reviews help authors reach out to more readers and they work as great testimonials too. If you love books help authors reach out by reviewing their book.

I considered joining her newsletter and Facebook page. But what Ginny could have done better was check for typos and add a link to her Facebook page. I would have to search for her page on Facebook and thats a deterrent; giving me a link or way to find her page would have made me take action immediately.

I wish more authors would do this, it makes authors more approachable and human compared to that vague image I have of a person bend over a typewriter as I read a book. It gets me to like the author more, want to know more about the author and her books. Most importantly it builds a community of readers for an author for future books!

February 7, 2012   No Comments

Rama or Ravana – The Real Hero?

This picture says so much about perspectives. A few days ago I wrote about Mahabharata as seen by Draupadi; a woman’s perspective to the epic war. It didn’t change the key incidents but it definitely changed the way I perceived the epic.

The Garuda Raksha mask comes from Sri Lanka and relates to another great Indian epic – the Ramayana. The Ramayana as we know it is the story of the good King Rama defeating the bad King Ravana. But thats our side of the story. Sri Lankan’s accept the defeat but don’t see Ravana in the same light as evil. Here’s some things to mull over –

Ravana was a great king. His reign was the golden age in Sri Lanka. Even the Ramayan says the city of Lanka was made of gold.
He was an accomplished Veena player. He had won over the Gods and been granted many boons.
The people of Lanka loved Ravana and stood by him during the war. He was considered a righteous king.
Ravana may have abducted Sita (Rama’s wife) but he never touched her. He could have forced himself on her but didn’t.

So do we tell stories to prove ourselves right? Is it our way of justifying what we did and why we did it? Is history told by winners the real story?

February 6, 2012   2 Comments