(If you use images from this blog, please to do so with due credits, including a backlink! Find a complete list of labels at the bottom of the page)

31 March 2016

Sun & Flowers


Spending evenings in the fields is always fun. Almost always, I discover something new. Else a dog follows me around. This was a new angle I discovered, perfect to be shot at dusk, about an hour and a half before sunset. The wispy tiny flowers with the bright light in the background, offered a good subject to shoot, and the natural halo created looked quite nice. The next aim is to shoot a few portraits with the same angle. 

30 March 2016

To Hassan

Part 2: The Short Journey

When a long weekend looms up, we generally plan a short get-away. So also it was last week, and we decided to go to Hassan, specifically to visit the Hoysala temples scattered across the district. It almost feels shameful to admit that being a native of Karnataka, we hadn't yet seen the grandeur of the stone carvings. We had just about 1.5 days excluding the drive, since extending the weekend by a day or two was not possible owing to prior commitments; thus we had to plan well to make the most of the available time. Quick surfing on travel websites made us decide to book a stay at Hotel Mayura International. I drew a rough map with all the distances to refer to, whilst there. 
And we set off…..
We start well before sunrise, and we cover a good part of the distance without too many hassles. This is important, since the route to Hassan is via the B.M Road (Bangalore-Mangalore Road), and the traffic on this road is quite heavy, progressively increasing through the day. Plus there's a ghat section on the way that has to be driven through with caution. Unlike the NH 17, we’re not so familiar with this route. We have already had bread and chai at home, so we save time by not stopping for breakfast en route.

29 March 2016

Review - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

(This is more of a rant, than a review)

(Picture sourced from HERE)

When a Superhero movie is made, the creators know for sure that the loyal fan-base will watch it, no matter what the reviews say. And that is probably what is behind the making of this movie.

Ten minutes into the movie, I turn sideways to glance at my friends- is it only me that's feeling this way, or do they share the same feelings? They have the same blank expression on their face. I'm relieved.

28 March 2016

The Torch & Head-dress (Part 9 of 11)

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Disclaimer: This post includes descriptions of Possession, wherein the Spirit occupies the man acting as the medium (The Oracle) temporarily. It is left to an individual to believe this or to differ with the idea. For me personally, it's more a form of local art than anything else. This is why I put up such articles and photographs on my blog. These indigenous traditions, unless preserved, could slowly disappear, till we'd end up only reading about such customs and practices. I claim no authority on the subject; whatever I've put up here is what I've been told by my folks, or what I've read on the topic!


As this round of invoking and dance leads to a draw, it is now time for one of the artists to tie the huge head-dress (Ani) that I described earlier, and dance with a torch of flames made of dry coconut leaves. As the artists rest for a while, the poojari now comes for his final act. It is now approaching two o' clock in the morning, but it is quite surprising to see almost everyone wide awake; this is quite different from similar Kolas I've attended earlier, where more than half the people gathered would doze off one by one!

26 March 2016

Green & Gold!

Indian Bloggers


The Someshwar rainforest is a protected wildlife sanctuary that spreads across Udupi and Shimoga districts of Karnataka. The forest is thick and quite dark in places. While driving through one such spot, the sight of sunlight filtering through the thick canopy of vegetation, looked very pretty. Also, the air was fresh especially since it seemed to have rained the previous night, and there were loud calls of birds from the jungle. If in the region sometime, a drive through the area to Agumbe through the winding ghat roads that follow, is highly recommended. 

Read also: Into the WoodsWhy I Love Roadtrips

24 March 2016

Colors of Holi!

Happy Holi!

Sunset by the River

Nandini river or more populary known as Pavanje river, runs at the northern edge of Mangalore, and finally joins the Arabian Sea. At Pavanje (about 18 km north of Mangalore), the backwater of the river is situated right by the national highway 17. At dusk, the fields by the river offer a good view of the sunset. I'm not sure who the fields belong to- for all I know, we might have been trespassing!  

Sharing a set of three photographs here.

23 March 2016

Jacaranda, Spring '16


Two days back, FB kept reminding people about the first day of Spring. Now this might hold true for those countries that experience a uniform 'real' winter. However, for a country like ours, half of which is already reeling under the unseasonal heatwave, and Mangalore being no less, this was like rubbing salt on our burning wounds! Still, to 'celebrate' Spring, here is a picture of some beautiful Jacaranda flowers, shot in Halebidu village. The bright violet against the azure sky looked so pretty, I couldn't stop gazing at the flowers, carelessly swaying in the sharp afternoon breeze. 

Here's to wishing everyone a Summer full of cheer and warmth (pun intended)! 

22 March 2016

Hoysala Grandeur: A Snapshot

Part 1
The Hoysala symbol: A warrior piercing the chest of a mighty roaring lion


The Hoysala empire lasted for about four centuries, between 10th and 14th century AD. Malnad, being blessed with rich fertile soil, was (and continues to be) a flourishing agrarian economy. The Hoysala kings, apart from other things, are known for getting many temples constructed. These temples have a general characteristic design: a star-shaped platform on which the temple stands, walls adorned with ornately carved figurines of Gods, Goddesses, human beings and animals alike, walls with tiny star-shaped openings, richly carved ceilings, and the Hoysala symbol carved at various spots (as pictured above). 

This picture was shot at the Lakshmi Devi temple, at Doddagaddavalli, in Hassan district.

21 March 2016

The Dance Continues...(Part 8 of 11)

Invoking Panjurli & Varthe (Kallurti)
(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Disclaimer: This post includes descriptions of Possession, wherein the Spirit occupies the man acting as the medium (The Oracle) temporarily. It is left to an individual to believe this or to differ with the idea. For me personally, it's more a form of local art than anything else. This is why I put up such articles and photographs on my blog. These indigenous traditions, unless preserved, could slowly disappear, till we'd end up only reading about such customs and practices. I claim no authority on the subject; whatever I've put up here is what I've been told by my folks, or what I've read on the topic. 


Once the Spirit of the land has been invoked, it is now the turn of the Spirits of the house, Panjurli and Varthe. This is a brother-sister duo (some ballads describe them as being married to each other too). To make things simpler, I've referred to the artist invoking Varthe as a 'she'; she is dressed in a saree and lot of frilly attire. Panjurli is the same Spirit who was invoked earlier, and hence the make-up and clothes are similar. 

20 March 2016

Sunrise, Western Ghats

A short weekend trip to take in some Hoysala architectural marvels, saw us driving at dawn through the amazing, pristine western ghats. This is a shot taken sometime after sunrise, when the Sun finally emerged from behind his cloudy curtain!
(You can find many beautiful sky shots, here!)

Read also: Why I Love Road-tripsMonsoon Colours

16 March 2016

A Slice of Kashmiriyat, Wazwan

A traditional meal arrangement, Mughal Darbar
The word 'Wazwan' is known to evoke a conditioned reflex in people who have tasted it once- a conditioned reflex that involves a dreamy appearance, excessive salivation, and an intense desire to go back to Kashmir!

Exaggeration much? Well, a wazwan is worth all the hype surrounding it. Wazwan refers to a multi-course spread, fit for a king, made on special occasions. Traditionally, four people eat from a single plate, which is a huge copper one referred to as a 'Trami'. it is served as a huge heap of rice, with pieces of various preparations of lamb/chicken placed over it.

15 March 2016

The House of Tagore

Thakurbari, Jorasanko
This beautiful structure complex is located in a busy street in Calcutta, at the end of a dusty lane named Dwarkanath Tagore Lane. The taxi that we hired initially took us round and round, and finally dropped us at College Street. We knew we'd been taken for a ride, but nevertheless made good use of our time in College Street. We then found a native Kolkattan driver-driven taxi, and he took us to this spot. This place was a must-visit on my list. 
A bust of Gurudev is placed in the courtyard. Two large plaques are present which have the history of the house and the museum, inscribed.

14 March 2016

The Dance Begins! (Part 7 of 11)

Invoking Panjurli 
(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Disclaimer: This post includes descriptions of Possession, wherein the Spirit occupies the man acting as the medium (The Oracle) temporarily. It is left to an individual to believe this or to differ with the idea. For me personally, it's more a form of local art than anything else. This is why I put up such articles and photographs on my blog. These indigenous traditions, unless preserved, could slowly disappear, till we'd end up only reading about such customs and practices. I claim no authority on the subject; whatever I've put up here is what I've been told by my folks, or what I've read on the topic. 
As soon as he is ready, he approaches the mantap. The musicians begin a note which is typical for the first dance. The beats are perfect too, and so is the rhythm. The dance (nalike) begins. The steps are in sync with the beats, and each complements the other. He quickens his steps, and the beats pick up. The tune stays constant, and quickens or slows down according to the beats. He has been possessed!

12 March 2016

Chinese Fishing Nets, Kochi

This was taken at Fort Cochin, and depicts the Chinese fishing nets (Cheena Vala). These contraptions are fashioned in a way, wherein the nets are dipped in the water for sometime, and then pulled up by the combined efforts of six to eight men. At sunset, the setting is perfect to get a few neat pictures of the locale, as I did that evening.

10 March 2016

Portrait: Canine Company

A set of three portraits, of a canine friend who followed me around our fields. Being scared of dogs, I didn't want him to follow me as I was alone. I tried shooing him away, but he didn't seem to want to go away, nor come too close. After sizing me up for sometime, he got bored and sat down, and seemed least interested. It almost looked like he was posing to get his portfolio done!

08 March 2016

Cometh the Hour, Jeffrey Archer

Book 6, the penultimate book of the Clifton Chronicles

'If there was a Nobel prize for storytelling, Archer would win'- Daily Telegraph.
Background & Plot: 
Five books have been published in the series so far. Harry, a poor boy brought up by his single mother, has worked hard, been through a LOT, and is now (over five books) a successful author. 

He has devoted his life to getting an author named Anatoly Babakov, imprisoned in a Siberian gulag for writing a book on Stalin, released. Things finally begin to look positive, but then something unexpected happens. Harry's wife Emma, Chairman of the Barringtons' is ever busy. Will she come out clean of the charges levied on her by Lady Virginia Fenwick? She also has become friends with Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, a powerful lady. What does their friendship lead to?

07 March 2016

The Make-up! (Part 6 of 11)

The final look!
I like this angle!
With the inaugural rituals done, and the bhandaara ceremony over, everyone including the artists and musicians, break for dinner. Before the next part of the evening kicks off, what remains is the make-up, or rather, creating representations of the Spirits themselves, on the artists. Personally for me, this is one of the bits I look forward to the most. Watching them paint, decorate, place flowers, finally creating a picture-perfect image of themselves, is wonderful. 
(I don't realise it that time, but I subconsciously pick up tips, to re-create the same on a friend's face a month later for a face-painting competition.)

05 March 2016

Monsoon Colors


This was taken on one of our road-trips during the monsoon, last year. As we were driving on, at one particular spot on a hilly terrain, it looked like the entire sky had decided to cover her dark cloudy blanket on us. It was a beautiful scene alright. Too bad it was a mere sham, and it never rained the way it should have!

Read also: Why I Love Road-trips

03 March 2016

Comic Love

The first ever magazine I remember 'reading' was a children's' magazine called Misha. Well, technically it wasn't reading, as I hadn't even been sent to school then. Nevertheless, just to get even with my older cousin, I'd pretend to be reading this book, and flip through the colourful pages. When I finally learnt to read, he introduced me to Cheeku the Rabbit in Champak Magazine. And with that began my love for reading. It runs in the family after all, with my Mum, Aunts and Grand-mum, all being avid readers.

Expressions at Wagah

The famous flag lowering ceremony at Wagah Border is a power-charged event that happens every evening. People gather on both sides to watch the ceremony. On our side, the tall-lean-mean BSF men put up a brilliant show, and every Indian's heart fills with pride. And we're encouraged by the person conducting the ceremony to shout and encourage our men louder, to drown out the voices from the other side. Pictured here are three shots of him, egging the crowd to shout louder, telling the crowd that the noise they're making is not enough at all! We later met him after the ceremony, and I must say, the iron-grip when we shook hands was almost bone-crunching!

02 March 2016

Those Hands...

'Tis the tamarind season. We have a huge tree in the front yard of our ancestral home, which yields a lot of fruit every year. However the work involved is too much. The tamarind pods first have to be carefully peeled, taking care not to hurt oneself. The peeled fruit is then dried very well, as it has to last for a long time. Following this, it is de-seeded. It is then salted, mashed into a big ball of thick, paste-like consistency, and stored in earthen jars. The seeds when roasted, are quite tasty. Pictured here is the first step of removing the outer shells. My grand Aunt and her daughter-in-law did a fantastic job of it, and gave us enough tamarind to last for at-least a year!