Photography, Reflections

Wilted Roses

Is it a cause for concern if you do not remember the experience of living? Is it maybe a little disconcerting if you cannot particularly accept the amount of time that has elapsed between two events? Allow me to explain. Amidst the rumblings of the summer storms, I suddenly realize that it was August and three quarters of the year had elapsed. Three quarters. That’s quite a long time. When I look back at everything that has happened over the past year, I am struck by how much was accomplished and yet felt like nothing was accomplished.
It is a holy month, which basically means little except that there are a lot more social interactions around here. I’ve been to these gatherings and was at one a few days ago. People meet, talk and break their fast with a lot of fried food. It is here that I realize the huge chasm that has engulfed everyone that I know. This is where I realize what the past year has done to us all. You see, it’s been about a year since my grandmother passed away. An entire year since me and my extended family waged a losing battle in trying to save her from pneumonia. Mostly it was my mom and her siblings. They fought against the hospital, against the establishment and even with each other. But the battles often fought hardest are the ones that we end up losing. My grandmother passed away and left behind a lot of people who were just not ready to let her go.
I think of her a lot these days. During the maddening cycle of work and travel, I sometimes forget where I am in the timeline of life. Sometimes, I forget that she is no more and make a mental note that I should probably call her. Then I realize. The realization hits me like a brick wall. The world comes crashing down and it’s like the pain from last year all over again. She was a gentle soul, Kind to the point of a fault and generous to the extreme. But the thing that made her special was the inherent beauty of her soul. When I look around at the empty crowd at one of these social gatherings I am struck by how different things are without her. I cannot speak for others, but for me, it’s a very different experience. Sure, we talk and laugh and carry on like nothing happened, but inwards we all know that something is missing. It’s like being in a musical with no music. When I think about my grandmother, I think of her as a beautiful flower. A flower is ripe in its lifetime, full of beauty and fragrance. But have you ever seen wilted flowers, or dead ones? I did. Wilted Roses, and they had a fragrance as well. The fragrance reminded me that even though it will never be like before, its fragrance still envelops us and reminds us of everything that we are missing. 
 
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Photography, Reflections

The Second Life

A few weeks ago in celebration of the warmer weather and the festival of spring, me and some family went up to a lake in Wisconsin. This is a fairly popular lake and one that is frequented by thousands on a weekly basis. There are many businesses strewn along the harbor, Hotels for tourists to stay at, restaurants for the hungry and there is even a beach, that too with real sand! Like all travellers who visit lakes in summer, we too decided to shell out some money and ride a boat. It was a clear sky and the blazing sunlight bounced brilliantly off the waves and made it seem like we were sailing over an ocean of diamonds. The shores of this lake were populated with homes of the wealthy and the weary. Those who could afford the luxury of living comfortably and found relaxation in the sounds of the waves splashing against their backyard and those that were tired of the chaos of the developed land and wanted peace and serenity.

On the boat with me were a few of my relatives. One particular member had a bad case of the “nerves”. Every time a minor wave would even rock the boat slightly, this relative would burst out in tears and start panicking. To the others in the boat, this was quite an amusing sight. We were all having fun, so why would someone else be so upset. This got me thinking. Why was this person crying anyway? Were they afraid that they were going to drown? Or was it just the sensation of rocking over a not too deep body of water? Or was it just because they were experiencing a feeling that was a departure from the “norm”? I think it was the latter.
Like the countless drones around, we settle into a comfortable routine. We find solace in waking up in the same bed as every day, putting our feet on the same spot everyday, driving to work on the same path that we do all the time, ordering food that we have tried (and liked) before and generally speaking do things that contain “no surprises”. But what does that accomplish? When we look back at a lifetime lived in such a way, we would probably not find any moment worth remembering. Surprises are not always fun. Some are rude and unwelcome and for a lot of people, their arrival is fiercely lamented. I hear that everyday…at work, outside of work, at home…everywhere. But there is something that cannot be denied. The moments that surprise us are the moments that we end up remembering the most.
The few moments between our life and our death contain many such memories. I want to seek them out. Travel to a land never visited before. Talk to a stranger. Do something outside of my element, you know…live a little. That would be a lifetime worth remembering. Nestled somewhere in between the noise of the everyday, it would be the few surprises that I call my second life, The life hidden between everyday moments. These are moments which are lost unless we search them out. Moments that would never exist unless we make a consious effort to live them. Moments that become worth remembering due to the fact that they are unique and not commonplace. And yes, we returned from the sail safely that day with a new memory locked safely into the annals of our minds.

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Photography, Reflections

The Colors of Life

The tireless weekday warriors will attest to the fact that the weekend is truly a treasured event. This event becomes even more treasured if its spent with people that you meet after a long time. People, relatives, acquaintances, places, objects, sights, sounds all physical and non physical entities that define who we are. Its funny when you think about it. Our existence is always reflective of some other factor. We are successful compared to someone else. We think of ourselves as failures based on the what the world defines success. Similarly every emotion: loneliness, happiness, richness and poverty are all subjective.

This past weekend was spent in the company of some relatives at McHenry Park. Its a little park juxtaposed to the Dam in the state of Illinois. It was an overcast spring day. The sky threatened to rain on our parade, but ultimately didn’t. What resulted was the perfect balance. Temperature in the 70s, and a soft wind soaked in the fragrance of rain. I see the sights around me, rocks, the setting sun, and children playing with a soccer ball. There is something about sports that brings out the best and the worst in us. We become warriors, fighters and almost animals in our relentless drive to win. But as much as it seems like a battle, sports function more as a unifier of sorts. People seem to be enjoying themselves here.

 I watch the scene from a distance, like a faceless stranger watching events on a broken television. I stand behind an invisible wall, the boundaries of which are undefined but very existent. I stay at a distance, not because I do not wish to partake in the ceremonies, but more because watching the scene is more enjoyable than making the scene. I just stand and click pictures and unlike the players, who will probably not remember this day, I will definitely stash away these threads of memories into the warm corners of my mind.  The severed corpse of a tree next to the virulent bodies of its family, the spring grass, the fallen leaves of winter, the ripples of the stagnant water and brilliant hues of the setting sun, I watch these images and the involuntary flickers of a smile gestate on the corner of my lips and I continue gazing at the magnificent colors of life.

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Photography, Reflections

The Forgotten Journey

I came across a couple of pictures that I had taken ages ago. These are pictures from my trip to San Fransisco in 2008. In essence these four pictures define that trip for me. Many hours were spent drinking a lazy cappuccino in cafes in the financial district. There were the odd touristic indulgences (A trip to Alcatraz) and some unnecessary shopping (Chinatown). Overall, the perfect vacation!

I love travelling, and not having done that in a while makes me yearn to be in a new city, wandering down unfamiliar streets, discovering a place, unknown to me, but familiar to the nameless crowd that passes me by.

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Photography, Reflections

The Changing Winds

The world is moving, the clocks are turning, the weather is changing and all we can do is marvel.
My days are packed with work and I do not get enough time to look at the beauty presented all around, but as I was driving back after yet another beautiful day, I paused involuntarily at a traffic light and glanced at the diaspora around.
The grass is changing color, the flock of birds have returned, Yet another tree reminds me of dancing ballerinas, and the bluish grey sky sobs heavy and wet tears…Spring is here.
And as I sip into a relaxing mug of warm organic white tea, time and life in general starts moving in flash forward. Like pictures on the wallpaper of life, zooming by regardless of whether we see them or we don’t. The winds are indeed changing.

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Photography, Reflections

The Sights of Life

We are visual creatures. Inaminate beings brought to life by the sights of the world.

Animate beings who then form memories based on the inprints left on our minds.

These imprints are visual and textural, based on what we see, and what we feel, Colors, patterns and textures. These define how we see the world.

Colors dance out and take other worldly forms. Trees seem to dance like ballerinas. The discarded feather of a peacock strikes us in visual splendor and we realize that visual sights are everywhere. All we have to do is see.

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