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Wednesday, May 21

That thing you do...

Have you ever wondered how do some people make 'the right choice at the right time'?

Blessed are those who have the knowledge that each decision taken has some sort of repercussion on everything that happens once the ball is set to roll. As simple as newton's law of motion - to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Its easy to say you want a choice in things, matters concerning you and a step beyond. Like choosing the right career, the ideal 'road map', or even how to not die due to excess Carbon monoxide? But then i think its really
a luxury to make an informed decision. To know what is right and what might not be. To have the foresight of what will take you where you want to be. Or to even have the knowledge of where you want to go, where exactly do you want to 'reach'?

Today, I guess I realize why they say "life is a gamble"

Do the wise know that 'they are wise?' Do they know that this day, when they take a step, make a move, they will be called 'wiser' cause the wisdom of they have received? Is there ever a divine intervention about their 'status up gradation' ?
To have the knowledge where each successive situation will lead to, is not just a gamble of life and actions but a game well played.

I guess its all an equal proportions of faith, fate and familiarity with a situation that makes all the difference. To have in depth knowledge about the characteristics of each player and the best and 'ideal move' to make in one' .

As simple as that castle made of cards, or cycles parked in a stand in one file. One wrong move, or the wrong push and the whole structure crumbles.

I guess the conclusion is - none. If on some day you do know that the thing you are about to do is probably the best decision/choice you can take at that point in time :)

Then, take a minute and say 'Thank Goodness'. Its not everyday that you have the knowledge which tells you that you have the choice and that you have the capability to make the right one - 'An educated guess' is more like it i guess...

Tuesday, May 20

Expect the unexpected.

Sometimes unexpected things do happen. The time when they do, they create small butterfly like tingles go up your spine. I am talking about one of the simple joys of life like; Surprise - unexpected and shocking, exhilarating and unwanted. Complete satisfaction.

This time when I went to Srisailam, I decided that no matter what I would enjoy each moment of it. So when the surprise of funding the whole trip came upon my shoulders, I not only happily agreed to sponsor this trip as was expected from me, but also let things go the way they had to. The drive was as usual, one of the best. The snaking long roads, and the fields on either side. There is something about long drives, and being on the move that rejuvenates me and my mind.

I was a bit surprised to see the extent of expansion happening to Hyderabad due to the new Shamshabad, International airport and the ringroad that connects the airport to the city.

The old city no longer has limited expansion. Thanks to the awesome fore planning, the expansion will slowly spread to places much beyond the overly populated areas like Pathergatti, Charminar, Shalibanda, and Barkas. I remember sometime ago, I had thought that Hyderabad’s answer to expansion was - vertical expansion. A floor on top of the other, rather than horizontal where a house is build beside the other. Suddenly there was no space left for horizontal expansion!

And yet, I am not sure whether to be happy for this change or to be sad. A few minutes ride on the Shamshabad airport’s ring road from Charminar makes you see the awesome landmarks that once made the Deccan Platue ‘a natural rock garden’.

Millions and centuries old rocks and their delicately balanced formations stand silently, reminding you of the amazing grace and imagination of Mother Nature. When I was a child these formations gave my mind enough space to explore my imagination.

Sometimes it was a dog with a bone, or sometimes a man with skewed expressions or even giant tortoise.

Now, I see them as the age old sentries of Hyderabad that now adorn the landscape. The unmistakable land plotting makes them vulnerable and these gentle giants seem to quietly avenge a war themselves.

I know that feigning ignorance is a way. But I hope that each of us remember the time when as child, how these rocks created a real world of Flintstones and fairyland for us. Help conserve these natural inspirations for the expanded imaginations of our children and the generations yet to come.

Coming back to the surprise, on our way there is a pit stop we make at a country dhaba which is singlehandedly owned by a lady. The specialty is the mouth watering country chicken she makes for lunch. Apart from this the highlight of the pit stop was finding my ‘old man’. I am referring to the time I had shot a snap which I fondly call ‘the oldman and the older banyan’

The Old man and the banyan - two years ago.

And the surprise was to have found him right there - Under the banyan. However, this time he comfortably sat on a plastic neelkamal chair unlike the last time when he had taken the support of the huge stump of the tree and smoked a bidi, unmindful of the several fascinating looks that I and my Camera had bestowed upon him.

This time, surely time and tide had made him more alert unlike the aloof and unmindful man he had been then. This time he was walking with support of his stick and asking for alms making the most of the several tourists who happened to stop at the same point.

I remember distinctly how he had left a mark on me when I had seen him two years ago. It was his slow, lazy attitude, his oblivious approach towards us, the speeding cars, and the many others who awaited their platter of food.

This time too he undoubtedly left a mark on me.

Finding his unwavering gaze again and to happen to witness his slow transition as a man was more than what I had expected to see when our car had halted at the lady’s dhaba this time. The recognition was a surprise in itself. A much better surprise was the evolution.

Found the man there, right under the banyan this time.

Everyone needs a change and everyone eventually changes. Some do with time while some do fighting both – change and time. But change does occur. Whether you like it or you don’t. Change is the answer to living. Change is the next thing to life.

Oh! By the way, I shot some pictures again with the banyan in the background, this time it’s of a woman. :)

Wednesday, May 14

In learning :)

The last few months, every day has been fight between me, within me. Suddenly I felt shambled and my world was constricted. No one to be blamed, I think thats how the transition was meant to happen. So, here there are a couple of things not working out well and here I am all gloomy and feeling low. Unlike the other times, nothing warms me or makes me happy.

To put it simply tables turned when finally, I decided that it was all my doing. I had stopped looking around, I had chosen to be morose. What a 'Revelation' issinit?!

So, to come out of the morose feeling, action! action! action! In the last few weeks I have been busy scripting, directing, shooting and editing a short film. Why I choose to divide and write these actions of making a movie into several different parts is cause for lots of people just 'shooting a movie' does not give a clear picture of what goes into making one.

It was good, it was bad :) and I think I am the happiest to declare that. Elated, after the first few conceptualization stages, I thought I had a clear idea of what was required. Slowly, there was a mix of hands and delegation and volunteering. Meanwhile, i had some Good time. Laughed and laughed and laughed so much after a long time. Discovered some most interesting and nice people. Some irritating ones too :)

Danced on teen maar, did the 'bandariya dance along with a bandar' :) Somewhere slowly insensitivity crept in, slowly I realized inflated ego could much harm to some relationships than I had ever imagined. There was another thing I realized, at the end of the day, after all the nerve wracking and nail biting emotional turbulence I went through... The end is all that matters!

Sitting in the classroom the next day with all the children from the school and a few of the parents, watching them watch and then react positively to the movie. It dawned upon me that at the end of the day it was all the part of a whole story. All that mattered was that the message went across. That at least one of the children from the classroom would remember something from this initiative. That the learning was not just limited to the children moreover it hovered around me.

At the end of the day, I am happy that I did something apart from the daily monotonous life that was setting in slowly. Also, keeping in touch with certain aspects of my life which i had started to ignore vis a vis photography, and Rasoolpura worked wonders for my psych :)

Further, the lesson I learnt from this experience was to take the initiative in the right spirit also at the right level. Someone correctly pointed out "if you cant do it right from the directors seat, take the assistant's"

Special thanks to

  • Varun and Moin for doing a wonderful job as Prakash and Shankar
  • Harish for effective narration and all the running around he did!
  • Siva and Aparna for helping through each step of the movie and giving it shape.
  • Phani and Junaid for mentoring, cooking, and adopting us for the weekend.
  • Everyone from Bhumi for their humble and dedicated support at any time of the day
  • and Kadambini, for once again initiating and taking the first step forward

Heres the link of the movie for those who want to watch it


Tuesday, May 6

Lost in transition...

The difference between my parents and the differences they have between themselves is due to speed and the distance. Their being poles apart is an understatement. In their hoard and fight to be themselves, somewhere they seem to have lost the string that bound them together. So this time when I was at the temple keeping pace with appa’s speedy stride and amma’s contemplative stroll. I realized that this was not my fight and somewhere I had to let them fight their own battles.

And so, when finally we were inside the shakti temple with the priest chanting the mantras while both of them offered the deep red sacred kumkum at the goddesses feet. My mother sitting to my dad’s left. Him sitting to her right. I quietly let go. This time, I closed my eyes to dad’s limited span of attention and ma’s undivided. This time I closed my eyes and did something I have discovered to be one of the most gauging experiences I have had.

Transition. Literally!

So the first time it happened I seemed to have lost consciousness of time and place I was at. This was during of the many times I was in what we fondly refer to as a ‘phone booth’ at Google, talking with him. So, when it happened, I remember how I couldn't believe that it really had happened. I was amazed at the power of my mind and imagination. The power of will and want.I like to believe that it was one of ‘the desperate times that call for desperate actions’ like situation.

Wanting to be closer to him I seem to have willed and taken my mind beyond any physical barriers. So while we spoke, my world transformed. From sitting in an air conditioned room well lit by many bulbs inside, as well as, outside the glass walls. Suddenly I found myself ‘transit and travel’ to his room, on his bed.

Everything was as I had imagined. The carpet, the window, the wall, the stack of books, the blank sheets of paper, and the blue blanket. The Moonlight falling softy on the carpet through the window. It was dark yet there was enough light to sketch out his features. The picture so clear!

I love his room and love the serene calm feeling that comes with being around him.

…and that’s how we spoke that night. Sitting miles apart in different time zones, yet I was closer to him than I had ever been. Time seemed to have frozen forever. I realized the strength of my will, the power of wishful thinking, and the influence of my imagination.

It was like being in a trance. A state where you forget ‘where, what, when, why and how’. There are no questions asked, none answered. It’s a state where you loose all sense of time or direction. At the expense of sounding preachy, when a state like this is induced, you are alive and yet have no awareness with regards to the place you are at, and state of your mind. A meditative living.

This trance like state is closest I have come to loosing myself and yet finding something new. In me I found the immense capacity I hold. And I am yet to let it loose.

So, while in the temple the ‘Sindhoor’ was being offered amidst all the chaos. The smell of the sweat, the sound of many waiting in line to get a glimpse of the goddess, and the heat. Unlike the other times, I just closed my eyes and there in that time – I transited.

This time, it was me on the left and him on my right. Repeating the same ritual as my folks in another lifetime.

:) I seem to have been missing on all the finer details of life… now they seem to be flooding in on me, one after the other. :)