Monday, May 28, 2012

Picture Imperfect

Beauty sometimes lies in the little imperfection of things around us. It is more of a philosophical thinking, and whenever I think of beauty and imperfection, I think of Shrek and Fiona. I think of the moon, with the craters. I think of the little blemishes that have marred my otherwise perfect life. I think of a little girl giggling, mindless that a few milk teeth are missing. I think of the wrinkles that make my grandmother so beautiful. I think of a progress report card of a genius with a few red lines indicating failed subjects.

Often, we are made to believe that perfect is beautiful. Normal is nice. Aberrations are bad. We place nominal adjectives to a lot of things- Good, bad, ugly, beautiful, perfect, and imperfect. Who defines these parameters? Do they change with time and context? Is it more relative and less absolute? Is it okay to shun something because we do not understand it, and embrace something because we believe in it? What is wrong with a few imperfections, a few failures, a few heartbreaks in life anyway?

This picture I took yesterday is testimony to the fact that beauty sometimes lies in the little imperfection of things around us. I was struggling to get some shots of flying birds from a ferry that was in motion, undulating and wobbling as it made its way along the ocean near North Carolina. The birds flew in a group, often parallel to the ferry, and at the same speed. This made me wonder if the birds were not really in motion, but were suspended mid-air. They were perhaps seagulls with a red beak, I am not so good at identifying birds. So I zoomed in against the western sky with the setting sun, trying to get some shots of the birds. If you see the picture closely, a part of the left wing got cut out. I instantly fell in love with this picture. Do not miss the golden glow at the tip of the right wing.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Honey, you heard of HONY?

I absolutely love art projects. I love little excerpts of real stories from the lives of people. There is something very endearing about pictures of common people, with their common dreams and common lives. They do not come with the boredom of seeing something that is staged or artificial. Humans of New York (HONY) is all of them.

Last year this time, I was all into Postsecret, an online community where anonymous people sent in creative postcards with their secrets. I had read almost all the books published by Postsecret. Somehow, things mellowed for me. Once in a while I still love a weekly secret for all its boldness, spunk, and honesty. But overall, things mellowed.

HONY is different. I look forward to seeing the pictures everyday and more than that, reading little excerpts that seem so apt. HONY is an art project I absolutely love. It makes me wish for two things- first, that I lived in New York City and was featured in HONY, and second, that I started my own art project wherever I live. Come to think of it, I would love an art project like this based on people of Kolkata. A priest praying at the Dakshineshwar Kali temple. A couple holding hands in Millennium Park. An office commuter hurrying to take the train near Fairlie Place. A tourist looking at the Howrah Bridge and admiring it. An art connoisseur waiting for his friends in Nandan. The retail stores of Burrabazar. The glitz of Camac Street. Puppy love blooming in front of schools. Thousands of stories unfolding right in front on our eyes, stories of common people, their common lives, and the extraordinarily beautiful tales that weaves out of it.

For once, I will not be upset if someone in Kolkata, or Bombay, or New Delhi for that matter gets inspired from this and start their own project. I would love to see it all.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Getting on the treadmill again

Blogging, working out, doing a PhD, or anything else for that matter is an effort of regular, planned practice. The analogy I often use is that of running on an electronic treadmill. Electronic and not manual because you do not supply the power to the treadmill. Now when you step off the treadmill, the treadmill is still running. And that is what makes it hard to get back on it. You need to catch up, match up the velocity, and get going. This is what happens when you stop going to the gym abruptly. It takes so much effort to get back to routine. And that is what has happened to my blog recently. When I wrote regularly, I felt motivated to write regularly. Once the cycle was broken, it was hard to get back. Writing for me is not about a game of numbers, about how many posts I can spew monthly, and how many comments I can garner. For me, it was more of a spiritual exercise, something akin to meditating, an effort to make sense of the numerous things around me and document them. Clearly, I have moved on to different pastures. I have been busy with work, writing papers, traveling, partying, taking photographs, and doing numerous other things. It is not that I forgot about my blog. But every time I tried to write, I felt that inertia, that resistance, the same resistance you face when you try to get back on that treadmill that is already in motion. I have often come home too tired, and while earlier I would readily hop on to writing my journals, now I want to read a book or watch a movie. Anyway, this should not be a rant post. So hello everyone. Isn’t it ironic that I have to be welcomed back in my own writing space? I am back with lots of exciting stories about how wonderful life has been recently. And more than anything, I am excited to be able to start writing again.
P.S.: My lower spine has recovered well.
P.P.S.: Thank you for all those who wrote to me, and apologies to all those I did not reply back.
P.P.P.S.: I hate the new look of blogger. It takes too much effort to navigate my way around. Same thoughts when Gmail forced me to adopt the new look.