Sunday morning at Cubbon Park

I took my camera out after a long time on Sunday. Sharing some photographs from the morning photo walk with PIXELS group at Cubbon Park, located at the heart of Bangalore.

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With sixth semester officially done, I now want to invest more time in making pictures.

Christmas ’11 in photos

I met my best friend from school yesterday and we roamed around talking and clicking pictures. Here are some images of the Christmas celebrations /decorations. Shot using my favorite 50mm lens (bokeh!)…I think it did a decent job with the lights, colors and mood..

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Rock Pigeons at Lalbagh

An early morning walk at Lalbagh by the lake is something that everyone in this city should experience. Especially those who’re consumed by the daily street smoke and other exhausts. This is one of my favorite spots in the park (walk straight down from the west gate) seized by rock pigeons who’re fed by the walkers / joggers every morning. A single clap and you’ll see them fly around a chopped trunk of a tree and return back. A beautiful sight to witness for a few moments.



The next time you spot a pigeon, know that you are looking at one of the most intelligent birds on the planet. They have been used as messengers, race birds (sold for $130000+), life savers at sea (since they can identify & differentiate colors), etc.

Note: There are 2 more related photographs on my photoblog – here and here.

Hall of Paleobiology

The National Museum of Natural History is located on the National Mall at Washington DC and is administered by the Smithsonian Institution. It hosts the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world. I was stunned every five minutes with so much to see and absorb all in a day! The hall of paleobiology was my favorite section in the entire museum. Never in my life I’d thought that I’ll get to look at the fossils of dinosaurs and other reptiles! This was when I started giving thought to evolution and have started reading more about it now.

Jurassic Park was the first movie I saw when I was 3 or something. I’ve also had dinosaur winding toys when I was a kid, and hardbound large size books about these extinct marvels. It was funny how I’d forgotten about all of this. It all came back to me that day – at the hall of paleobiology. I stood in front of the real life size fossils of different dinosaurs, trying to get their names right and learn about them. The following are some of the photographs of this section of the museum.

Their Fossil Lab was very impressive too. It was a huge room open to public viewing from the outside -with sound proof glasses – and was situated at the corner of the main dinosaur hall. We could see scientists working (without getting distracted by people gazing through the glass) and pieces of bones/stones/what not stacked everywhere waiting to be assembled.

Washington DC was the last city that we visited on our summer road trip in July. It is one of the cleanest cities that I’ve seen so far – with relevance to politics and administration at every few blocks on the streets. Do not miss to visit this museum (along with the other ones of course) if you’re there. Plus, the entry to all the Smithsonian museums at DC is free! I wish I’d seen something like this when I was a kid – I would have probably developed an interest in science & biology earlier and got some kickass ideas too. Other parts of the museum that I really liked were the Ocean Hall, the Hall of Gems & Minerals and the Hall of Bones where I got to see their Forensic Anthropology lab! It was all too much to handle in one day.

Lalbagh Independence Day flower show 2011

It was decided almost instantaneously today morning to visit Lalbagh with grandmom to check out the 100′th annual Independence Day flower show. I had been there last year at the exact same time and thus knew what kind of an exhibit to expect, but it was different for my grandmom as she was witnessing this flower feast only after many years. Being a gardening enthusiast, I was sure that she would enjoy it. This year, the horticulture department has put up a 20 feet high and 30 feet wide replica (decked with white roses) of the famous Lotus Temple (Delhi) in the glass house. Apart from this creation, there were many many varieties of flowers from different parts of India and the world- just like every year.

I just don’t understand why they chose to create the Lotus Temple this time. Not that there is anything wrong in it, but I would have liked to see something more relevant to the city being displayed instead. I would have preferred gasping at a structure that is symbolic to Bangalore. Not necessarily an architectural monument, I’m sure one can bring out the city’s essence in other ways too.

Turns out the show was not exclusive to flowers only. There were a lot of stalls outside the glass house where all sorts of items were being sold. From seeds to decorative lamps and herbal products, etc were showcased, just like in a fair.

I wish to go there next year as well. Not because of the flowers, but because I feel that I should be a part of something that has been organized for the people of this city, and which has a lot of work gone into it by non-mainstream folks. It’s like doing my bit to show them some appreciation. After all, Bangalore is not very community focussed and such rare unique events reminds us about the city we belong to.

B’lore Photo Walk at Avenue Road

After one year and one month, the members of B’lore Photo Walk got together for a photoshoot at Avenue Road. I had seen a lot of photographs everywhere and heard a lot of stories about it’s relationship with shutterbugs in the city (as a matter of fact, I could recognize the various shops and locations on the street today just by recalling the photographs!). Even though I had seen some initial parts of the road before to buy books, I had never gone further inside to explore/shoot. Every time I see pictures of Avenue Road, there has got to be people’s portraits, colorful doors & windows, MAD rush, vehicles, more people, wires hanging all over the place, name boards, all kinds of stores dealing with stationery to sarees to jewelry and what not. In short, “absolute chaos”. However, today, we all mat at the old famous ‘coffee-wallah’ at the Mysore Bank circle at ~ 7:30 and started from there. Being a sunday and a little too early, all the shops were closed and the street was less of a hustle. This gave us an opportunity to explore the place in a completely different environment. Newspaper stands were being busy as old men discussed news with chai cups in their hands. In other places, young boys arranged books on the footpath. What is interesting is how these boys know every book they own with precision and can tell which academic course requires which book by which author (including different editions!) without even having received basic education themselves.

We walked into the crossroads along side (which were VERY small and had like a hundred protrusions from everywhere). How do families live here?! The garbage filled gutters would become a menace during rainfalls. Children walked barefoot to school on these streets. Cows, dogs and mice must have made a mutual agreement to live in harmony- just like everyone else. Experiencing a place like this in a city as big as Bangalore is like having a reality check. However advanced this city may be, there lives some parts of it as old as the 80′s. Some parts which may sell and deal with today’s items, but whose lifestyle and ‘feel’ remain the same for years. It’s a good thing in a way. It’s like a connection between retro and new. People may move in/out and the shops may get reinvented, but the street leads the exact same life for years.

Today’s walk wasn’t about clicking intensive cliched photographs of streets and people. It was about meeting the people with whom I started this journey around 2 years back. It was nostalgic to walk with the same bunch of folks with whom I began learning about my city and it’s different faces. It was also about meeting new interesting people! Even though we ended up shooting a lot (duh!), we got an opportunity to talk about our experiences and findings. I can just sit for hours together and listen to how this dude walked for eight hours in the rain atop a hill to get back to his home in Dargeeling or how this another guy got caught up at the Delhi railway station not knowing where to go, and ended up in a cab to Jaipur! In the end, if there is a plate of Idlis and Vada to go with the stories, even better!

Chicagoland

I fell in love with Chicago downtown as soon as I saw the skyline from the interstate highway many miles away. It was a good change from the plain horizontal view of Saint Louis to the populous land of the skyscrapers. My neck was titled upwards all the time as I laid my eyes on the beautiful old and new buildings – all compactly crushed together.

The plan was to explore the city (most parts, if not all) by foot. We started off by visiting the sky deck at Sears towers after crossing the millennium park and cloud gate sculpture – walking past many sidewalk stores and cafés. What a spectacular view of the city from the 103rd floor it was! This was followed by lunch at Giordano’s where we had the famous Chicago deep dish pizza. We then walked on the bridge to the art museum, recalling scenes from the dark knight as visible from different locations!

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Walking alongside lake Michigan made me want to own a boat one day (new addition to the #bucketlist!). Went up on a Ferris wheel after ages and also finally got to eat the famous Ben & Jerry’s ‘Americone Dream’ ice-cream at Navy Pier. Finally, we made our way to Devon street which has been settled by many immigrant groups, majority being Pakistanis and Indians (the streets are named as Jinnah street and Gandhi street). All the walking was exhausting, but was worth it (and was really fun). Chicago is a huge city and has it’s own life going (like any other big city of the world). I had missed the crowd and all the hurry staying in SL for a week, so it was a good change. Missed out on a couple of other attractions like the John Hancock center, etc, but it’s not like the last time that I’ll be visiting the place in my life – that’s for sure! Plus, just the view of the city lights at night makes it totally worth it.

There is so much more to say and show about my experience, but I am running out of time with a jam-packed schedule. I other news, this week’s going to be my ‘Monsanto week’. Also, I have finally started to transfer the photographs and upload them on my photoblog slowly here.