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31st January 2008 :: A star in his own right

“Is he still taking pictures of me?” This is what this sadhu seems to be thinking. He told us that a lot of people take his pictures “A girl took my pictures and later she returned with a lot of prints.” He informed us with a lot of pride.

30th January 2008 :: Don't forget to floss

It is hard to break a habit. While Ashish and Dhiraj were taking picture of people, I slipped back in my comfort zone and started taking pictures of inanimate objects. This is another image of the clothes line. They have a very innovative way of drying clothes on lines like this without using any clips. They take two ropes and twist them and then stick the clothes between the folds as seen here. Other than saving on the clips, it also ensures that the clothes don't tear from the clips by strong winds.

29th January 2008 :: Dirty laundry in public

I keep reading on the blogs of other, especially on the blog of David and Roger that they had gone out with other bloggers to take pictures. I had never done something like this before till last Saturday. Ashish was visiting Bombay and initially we decided to meet for lunch but he suggested that we can go out and shoot together. We decided to go to Walkeshwar which is near Marine Drive. It is a pond surrounded by a lot of temples and I have seen this place earlier only on the pages of Abhijit's blog. I wanted to go there for a long time and on Saturday I was able to. It was my first chance of doing so and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the company of Ashish and Dhiraj. I am more of an indoors photographer and Ashish likes street photography. It was amazing how easily he and Dhiraj were able to find good shots.

Next to this place is a "dhobi ghaat" or a laundry service. This is a clothes line there.

28th January 2008 :: Yamaha headlight

The owner of this motorcycle may be heartbroken at the condition of this motorcycle or may not care at all. Whatever it is, I got a great object to photograph. Although the weather in Bombay is moderate (except when it rains) it is not very kind to anything made of iron. It rusts much quicker here than most part of the countries.

26th January 2008 :: What is a Republic?

In an ad shown in Australia, a lot of people were asked if they knew who the first prime minister of Australia was. No one knew. I don't remember what the campaign was about but they seemed quite proud of the fact that no one can remember the name of their first Prime Minister. Today, go out on the street and ask people you meet if they knew who our first Prime Minister and President were. You may be surprised by what you find.

Similarly you will find people who are enjoying a holiday but don't know what it is for.
There are people:

  1. who don't know what Republic Day is
  2. who know today is the Republic Day but are not sure of its significance

Happy Republic Day
Happy Australia Day to Aussies
and your first prime minister was Edmund Barton.

25th January 2008 :: Guarding my treasure

You don't want to share the balloons so you hide them, but is hiding them safe?
What else can be done to keep something safe? It can be locked.
The locks can be picked. An example is my car. A few days after I bought it a man showed me how easily it can be opened using a scale and sold me a solution that would prevent it. I bought that and a gear lock too for peace of mind
A few years later I locked myself out of the same car with that “security feature”. A man took a wire, twisted it to make a hook and opened the lock in less than a minute. (He was a only a driver, not a professional car thief)
My car is safe not because I have used measures to keep it safe but because no one has stolen it.
Considering this, I guess the best way to keep something safe is to keep it hidden.

24th January 2008 :: The treasure hunter

When there was a shortage places for keeping something safe, people used to bury their treasures and that has given us countless adventures. Movies and stories about people looking for all sort of buried treasures and here is my little adventure. Our treasure hunter with his treasure.

23rd January 2008 :: The tresure

On Manu's birthday, we blew up a few baloons and put them on the walls. Manu and his friend were playing with the remaining in the pack. After the party we found the empty pack and assumed that they are finished. He watched a few baloons on the wall blowing up and quite liked it. He asked for other baloons on the wall and burst them. Then he went in the bedroom and returned with a baloon and asked me to blow it so he could burst it. He did that a few times and I got a little curious from where he was getting this ballons. I followed him to the bedroom and realised that he had hid the baloons in the cane of one of these low Indian stools we have.

22nd January 2008 :: I know where you live

“Come on man. Let's call Natasha”
The boy tells his friend and dials a number that is answered by a man.
“It's her dad man!”
“Quick. Hang up. Hang up.”
The boy hung up with the old man fuming on the other side of the line “These bastards, they keep calling all odd hours and just hang up. Natasha I am telling you if these phone calls don't stop you will stop going to college.”
At the end of the month the boy's father is shocked to see the telephone bill. “What? I can't believe this! How can anyone possibly make so many phone calls?” The boy quietly passes the blame on his mom telling how she has been calling her friends all day and that is the end of the story. I mean the dad, in his right mind, won't confront the mom.

Consider it now. The concept of calling up the girl and hanging up when the phone is answered by the parents or asking for someone randomly and saying “wrong number” before hanging up has just disappeared after the callers ID and the itemized billing. These kids don't know what they are missing... I guess they don't care either.

21st January 2008 :: Who's calling?

“Hello” one would say after picking up the phone and the person on the other end would introduce himself or would ask for someone. “Hi! How are you? Have not heard from you in a long time. Where have you been?” This is a possible conversation that could happen over a phone. You must have noticed that one of the most important part of this conversation is the element of surprise. Now with mobile phones that element of surprise has just disappeared. Consider the same conversation now.
“Hello”
“What the fuck do you mean hello?”
“I beg your pardon”
“You sound so suspicious. Didn't you saw my name on the caller ID?”
“Hey man, it's been a long time.”
“What do you mean long time? Don't you check the missed calls on your phone?”
“Yeah man I love you too.”

20th January 2008 :: I have created a model

It is not time to think about what Manu will do when he grows up but if he decides to be a model, he is going to quite comfortable facing the camera. That is something I can take credit for. I took some images of Manu last weekend and will be posting them here soon.

18th January 2008 :: How long ago was that?

Time—it is a funny thing. Either we have don't have enough of it or we have too much of it. You go to a shopping mall and your wife wants to do some shopping and she decides to check out some new dresses. You check the time and after a couple of hours look at your watch again and realise that only five minutes have passed. While walking to another store you meet some of your mates and tell your wife “Honey why don't you check out some dresses in this store and I will meet you here in 15 minutes”. You and your mates enter a pub and order beer. Five minutes later you look at your watch and realise two hours have passed. You run to the store and find your wife standing outside...furious. You check your phone and see 26 missed calls. You apologize and it takes an eternity before she starts talking to you again. This is called relativity and even Albert Einstein agrees with me on this.

17th January 2008 :: It's me...yet again

I have four images of Manu that are quite similar and I found it difficult to figure out which to post here since I can't post all four of them. I showed them to Mira and she helped me pick this one. The oher two are good too so I have posted them on Flickr. Do check them out

16th January 2008 :: It's me...again

The window is one place without which the life of Manu and Mira would have been very different and definitely boring. Both of them have spent a lot of time looking out of the window, specially the bedroom window of our previous house as the view from there was spectacular. The view from our current house is good but not as good as the old one. I still get to see the Aarey colony but I don't get all the buzz of the road and people on it which I guess is what Manu liked. I guess this is why he spends more time watching telly then looking out of the window. On Sunday he was looking out of the window when I clicked some pics. More will follow, so stay tuned.

15th January 2008 :: Public transport is for losers

Yesterday I promised that I would tell you more about the difficulty in staying positive and I started writing but it soon got out of hand and ended up in something that was way to large to be posted here so I have posted it on Mental Floss. Do check it out there.

14th January 2008 :: A dead leaf... a dying resolution

One of the resolutions of the New Year was to remain positive and I guess it is not as easy as it may sound. Every so often I start accepting the life in Bombay and something happens that reminds me how uncomfortable and difficult it is. Looking for an orthopedic doctor was an exercise as the last one we went to was quite greedy. The others are not available daily and there is some problem or the other. Finally went to a doc in a hospital that is about 5km drive from out home and he was an hour late. When we entered his chamber, he was on phone with someone and fixed up an appointment for 1.15 pm. That explained why he was able to see 9 patients in 30 minutes and a couple of minutes later we figured out how he was able to. He didn't really listened to Mira's problem and quickly wrote a prescription. He actually spent more time talking to Manu than to Mira. Either he is damn good and figured out everything or he was just not interested. In all of this I wasted half of my day and the thought of spending 90 minutes going to work post lunch was an uphill task. More on in tomorrow.

11th January 2008 :: I'll make my own playground

The playground we have in our building is not really a playground. We call a “khadda” (a pit) because that is exactly what it is. It is about 20ftX15ft area with a swing, a slide and a see-saw. Manu has been playing there ever since he started playing. Since it is not a natural playground and is made over a septic tank, it had a very hard surface. To make it softer for kids small round pebbles were layered on it and they make a lot more sense than sand especially in the rains. So this Sunday I Manu filled his and my pocket with these pebbles and back home he emptied them on the mattress we have in our living room. When I asked him what he will do with these pebbles? He replied “I'll make a playground.”

10th January 2008 :: You are smarter than you think

We know a lot of things but don't realise it. For example we all know trigonometry and geometry quite well but don't realise it. Let me show you how. I am sure all you have must played cricket in childhood and if not cricket a game where catching and hitting a ball was involved. I am sure you must have taken quite a few catches including the ones that were hit high in the air. To take that catch you mentally made a lot of calculations that let you judge the exact trajectory of that ball so you could place your hands at that exact spot to catch the ball. Similarly Manu also know logic even though he doesn't even understand the definition of logic. On Sunday I was taking him for vaccination and on the way he spotted a Premier Padmini or Fiat as they are more commonly known. He saw the car, thought about all the cabs he has seen in Bombay which also happens to be Fiats and deducted that this must be a cab too. Elementary Watson! Elementary! Here he is trying desperately to open the door so we could go for a ride in a taxi.

On second thought, I guess it was wishful thinking on his part. He has been showing me black & yellow cabs and blue cabs for some time now and this time must be just hoping that some cabs are white too.

9th January 2008 :: Powai sky line

A colleague in my previous office narrated his weekend adventure to me. He alongwith some of his friends decided to go for an outdoor shoot. They managed to get hold of some reflectors and one of the friend posed and they were happily clicking away in a Railway yard in Jogeshwari. A crowd gathered around them to see what they were doing and soon the cops came and took them to police station for taking pictures on government property without permission. To cut the long story short, they were released a couple of hours later after the data from their memory cards was deleted and whatever cash they had was taken from them. A couple of weekends ago I decided to do a time lapse shoot in Powai, at the same spot where this picture was taken. I was taking a picture at in interval of 2 minutes and after about half an hour, I turned back to see a car parked behind me with an old man looking at me. They drove off shortly after that.

I have had run-ins with cops because of such people and was not interested in another one. I was not doing anything illegal but if the cops came and wanted to harass me, nothing could have stopped them. I wanted to stay there until after dark but decided to pack my camera and tripod and head home.

8th January 2008 :: Life line

The local trains are called the lifeline of Mumbai. When convenient, these water pipelines are also called the lifeline of Mumbai. They carry the water supplied to the city and it is beyond my comprehension why they are above the ground, I guess there must be a reason for not having them underground. Actually in some places they are underground like the Andheri Kurla Road, the pipeline continues till just before Andheri Kurla road and from there it goes underground are comes back on surface a little further. While underground, the water gets polluted because of leakages in the water pipes and sewage pipes. (Well, here is one damn good reason to have the water pipes on the ground) In various areas there are illegal settlements along these pipes. Apart from living there illegally, the people are taking water from these pipes illegally too. I am not sure how they do it. May be there are outlets for other purposes which are opened by them for stealing water or maybe there is some other way. Every year at least once you see a picture of an exploded pipe with water gushing out of it and kids dancing in it. That generally means water cut in certain parts of the city. A large amount of water is lost due to stealing and burst pipes and also in general leaks.

This picture was taken on Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road between Powai and Andheri.

7th January 2008 :: Shining through

Before the start of the India Australia test series Sachin Tendulkar, Brett Lee and Steve Bucknor were asked what they aim to achieve in the series. Sachin replied “I want to score at least 3 hundreds on this tour.” Brett Lee said “I want to claim Sachin's wicket as many times as I can” and when it was Steve's turn, he said “I want to claim Sachin's wicket more often than Brett Lee.” Check out the latest post on Mental Floss on how Steve Bucknor aspires to be Shakoor Rana.

5th January 2008 :: Resolution #5: Spend more time with the family

The final and the most important resolution is to be more involved with my family. A lot of time is lost in work and getting to the place of work. Whatever time is left needs to be spent with the family. We need to find more things that we can do together as a family to make the most of the time we get to spend together. Avoiding TV is quite high on the list.

This shot was taken today in the McDonald's in Goregaon. As we reached the mall, Manu said "This is where we have burger". After ths shopping it is impossible to get of that place without eating there. He likes coke and is happy to share it with us as long as we don't take a sip. He'd offer it to Mira and just as she is about to take a sip, he'd stop her "Enough, now it is my turn."

4th January 2008 :: Resolution #4: Buy a home

I won't get a pension after I retire so I have put in some money in pension funds but that is going to be useless if I don't have a home of my own. When I get to a stage in my life where I am not working, the money will dry up pretty soon if I have to stay in rented houses. The biggest security blanket I can provide myself is my own home. Although the price of the property is quite high, I hope to take some concrete steps in buying a house soon.

3rd January 2008 :: Resolution #3: Staying positive

Over the past few years I allowed negativity creep up in my life. I am sick and tired of the negative attitude and I plan to be more positive this year. This is one resolution I can see I have already implemented and although you can't eliminate all the negative thoughts in your mind but the general outlook is quite positive and hopefully it will only get better as the year progresses.

2nd January 2008 :: Resolution #2: Staying in touch

Another thing that I am not very good at is keeping in touch with friend and family. I feel I need to make a conscious effort to stay in touch. So what do you do to achieve this? Maybe you can set targets for yourself that your phone battery should last half as long as it used to earlier or your phone bill should be twice as much as it used to be earlier. Maybe you can halve the number of jokes you forward that end up in your inbox and will replace them with personalized emails. I think the most important thing I can think of is to cut down on the time you sit in front of idiot box and spend it socializing or I guess if not socializing, that can be a quality time spent with your family.

1st January 2008 :: Resolution #1: Better use of time

Looking at how most resolutions donít even last longer than the New Year party and the rest barely stretching January, I generally don't make any resolutions. This year however I have thought of bringing some positive changes in my life. I have some resolutions and although I have been thinking about them for some time now, I will call them my resolutions and will share them with you here. The number one resolution I would like to make is better use of time. Although I am destined to waste 3.5 hours a day in just traveling from home to work and back, I am determined to make the best of my time; including taking a nap during the train ride (a nap is definitely better than reading a tabloid)


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