Saturday, November 17, 2012

A morning to remember

There are some days (and nights) which we just dont forget in our lives. No matter how far we go, the memory of time cannot erase these moments. Yesterday morning was one such time in my life.

I had been planning to take two different types of photographs for a long time. One was to photograph railway tracks and the other was to take photographs of a picturesque neighbourhood near Deep Bungla chowk.

The power went off at around 4 in the morning and before long, mosquitoes started playing hide and seek around my ears. By 4:30, it was impossible for me to sleep. I woke up, pulled on a pair of black jeans and a sleeveless sweater, grabbed my phone and went out for the railway station.

The sub-urban railway station of Shivajinagar bore a quiet look as expected in the wee hours. I did a quick inspection of the railway station to identify good spots of taking pictures of railway tracks.

As it was still time for dawn to break, I went out of the railway station and had some breakfast. Soon, as it was clear that the first tinge of light would colour the sky, I made it back to the platform. I went to a Foot-over-bridge and took a few photographs.

Later, I realized that there was a flyover which overlooked the railway tracks and which, in fact, would give a much better view. So, I went to the flyover and although, it was pretty much morning by that time, I was able to take some really good pictures.

It was time to go to the beautiful neighbourhood which was fortunately close to the railway station. The moment I saw the beautiful road and the lofty trees lining the neighbourhood, I was transfixed. Soon, I was clicking pictures all around. I took pictures to my heart's content and was about to hire an auto to go back to my room when I heard some music. At first, it sounded like some loudspeaker was playing a CD.

However, it seemed a lie. The 'human voice' was so distinct that it couldn't be eschewed. I walked towards the direction of the sound and couldn't believe in my wildest dreams of what I was about to experience.

There was a classical music concert happening right in the middle of a local park at around 6:30 in the morning! There was a stage on which the singers were stationed. There were chairs in front and more than 100 people were intently listening. I felt this was just a dream. Almost the entire audience consisted of elderly couples. I took a lonely chair in a corner. I could feel the gaze of the senior citizens on me. I felt like an outcast in the crowd. Nevertheless, the music was great.

Concerts are always special. They are a sort of addiction. They make you forget the reality of the present and submerge you in an altogether different plane for a few hours. But concerts have their own timing and location. We mostly associate them with open grounds or auditoriums. Events are mostly held in evenings. The very idea of listening to Indian classical music in the morning seated in a park full of trees was too overwhelming to be true.

But here I was, living the dream. The crowd continued to swell and soon there were about 200 people in the park.

As it turned out, the concert happened to be a more fulfilling experience than the photographs. This was one of the mornings to remember.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Celebration of festivals and other addictions

So how come festivals play a huge role in out lives? Everyone from a billionaire to a beggar sets the timetable of their year around festivals. What makes people 'forget' their mundane life and delve into celebration?

The very understanding that the day after the festival is going to leave you with a few pennies less and even worse, going to remind you that you have to get back to the drabness once again is horrible.

In the longer run, I believe it is not an act of indulgence to celebrate a festival. Neither is it about being spendthrift.

Celebration of festivals is an act of bringing a smile on your loved ones faces. We celebrate festivals so that our loved ones can say that they had a wonderful time with us. They may feel that someone out there is working very hard so that we can be happy.

So, its not about religion, tradition or money. It's about love, stupid.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A few good movies

I had the good chance of watching quite a few really good films in the last week. The first among them was Taxi to the dark side. It is a documentary and talks about the torture meted out by the US army on Afghani civilians after detaining them. It won the Academy award for Best Documentary feature film in 2007.

The movie recounts the experience of actual US army men who explained what 'techniques' they used to torture the prisoners. They would have never wanted to do this in their real lives but were forced by politicians and seniors who demanded 'information'.

This was followed by the subtle yet amazing Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The movie in terms of plot has nothing to offer. In fact, after watching both the films, I felt as if the writer and director had read all the books in the world, juiced out their gist and presented in screenplay format.

The good part about these two films was that they showcased real, first hand experience of people in 20s and early 30s and their reflection on life. An amazing quote in the Before Sunset was, "When you are young, you feel you can connect with everyone. It is only a little later in life you realize that you connect with only a few." It was satisfying to understand that life is same all over the world (Yes, even in developed nations). Everybody is surrounded by their own set of fears and nightmares. Everybody messes up their relationships and work-life.

This doesn't mean that their is no hope. As the protagonist in Before Sunset says, the real enjoyment is in the process and not the goal.