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Monday, June 28, 2010

From the ranges of Ladakh...

I have always wanted to go to Ladakh. It's been almost eight years. Finally, this month I found myself flying over the majestic Himalayas to breathe, live, and experience the place. I won't spend much words on this one. So here's the first set of memories from the place!

As someone behind the lense it was a challenge to keep off from the postcard shots, the place is famous for. I just wanted to capture moments, people, life and space of this beautiful land.

Travelling through Ladakh (Most of the photos have captions, so I will refrain from my blabber)

Life in Ladakh was a breath of fresh air for a city-bred like me. In its colors, smiles, sun, simplicity and courage lies it's life. I have tried to capture some of that in the following section.

Moments in Ladakh (Again most of the photos have captions, so I will refrain from my blabber.)

(C) All images Durba Gupta
I have another set of photographs of th places in Ladakh. I will upload those too. And if you haven't been to that place, go - just go!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What a bad idea sirjee!!

We all know that the Indian television is plagued by advertisements, consumerism at its peak, etc etc and gone are the days of 'Bhul na jana...ECE bulb hi lana', or 'Palmolive da jawab nahin'. Instead we have an array of advertisements that assault our intelligence, morale or sense of beauty. Since I don't have anything better to do than stare at the television most of the time, here is a small list of top five picks of mine assualting my senses every now and then.

Fifth in the list is the very metrosexual Shahid and his piece of advice. He urges metrosexuals not to spend XXX hours on grooming their hair, and should spend more time on grooming their face. Easy for him to say, it's all grafted for him!! He also elucidates the various necessary composition in this particular men-'whitening' cream. So how do the dates go these days? Gals say, 'my cream has 5 beneficial components', and the boy goes 'huh - in your face, mine has 6'!! I dunno, call me old fashioned, but men giving me counts of hours spent in front of the mirror...nah...

Then comes a brawny man in a white banyan, twists the villains and gases (read accelerates) the vehicles. Then he settles down with a hottie in a tent and urges the menfolk to 'live like a macroman!'. So how do you define a macroman? Hormone induced muscles, hottie girls on film sets to exchange suggestive glances with, white banyan, and probably colorful chaddhi? Ahh eyes...my eyes...they hurt!! I would anyday settle for an 'andar ki baat hain'!

Next on my list is chhota sirjee with a message that my peanut brain finds quite controversial...use mobile phones and save the environment, seriously?!! With the house sparrows disappearing fast as a result of increasing number of mobile towers, eye problems diagnosed in kids because of the radiations, they actually promote, sell and get away with this idea? Please!!! My grey cells, the tiny half-dead ones are revolting! bad bad idea!

Second on my list is the aamraaas lady in 'rasiya' mood, heaving for a drop of aamraas while handsome man oggles. Tazaa khabar, aamraas is the new fruit flavored viagra! Why? Why? It's a mango juice for crying it out...take it or leave it!! How is slicing the market so fine gonna help? Who are they enticing anyways? The fans of 'raisya' lady? Ah my head hurts!!

The winning entry, in my humble opinion goes to one Mrs. Rai Bachchan, pouting, jutting and rushing towards the camera in vengeance with a solution for 'Girrdte Rrroookhkhe, bwejwaaaan, baal' (You all can reach out to Serendipity for a 'rendition' of the same). I mean seriously, how many of us 'girls' really buy this, nope not the product; the accent, the exaggerated jiggle or the semblance of fashion?!! Do we?

The ones I like? Presently topping the list is the mentos ad, poor donkey :(

Please feel free to share your picks!! I am sure I missed out on some gems!

to your comments

@Serendipity, actually it is a novel idea, take the dil out of it and assign eyes (eyesore ones), ears (the yaap yaap ones), etc etc (won't drill down further) for each experience ;)
For Sumitradi...she comes to your place, I can share her number, if you want! :)
@Sara - thanks gal! packing done? btw ami ekdom-i gaite parina; and that makes it even more tragic
@ Sanjay, pls do write your memories, and I have a feeling those would be quite similar to mine ;) the barir uthon and the aam gachh!
@ Dip thnx! blore these days.
@ Gunjan - Nope sir...I am waiting for Gaara to grow up - 18 more years, just need to keep these wrinkles and grey hair at bay, and I will be all ready for an intro :) Howz buster? Still growing a long tongue? oh btw i rem one 'dard-e-disco' of yours (she was so for several others too)...the girl from north east, I think...archi...;)
@ Pinakie, good to see you in the blog world. New photographs?
@ Siva - your comment (for bagful of memories) made me think, tried to address your comment by the last two lines (newly added!) - i think the predictability was missing in the write-up
@ Vijay - boy 'am flattered :) Also I know it should be 'pain of disco', but 'disco pain' is so much better. So howz it going? You must have completed your graduation by now. Planning to stay back in Uncle Sam's land?
@ Anu - went through your page - your bold style always amused me :) As for the write-up (Sumitradi inspires...), yep the idea was not to reveal too much - how she inspires me? In every way to look at life and handle what it throws at us ;) no tickets for kites to appraisal trauma :)
@ New beginning and ayon, thanx for dropping by and your comments!
@ The sour one, linked your blog in the post (Sumitradi inspires...) - love the blog alias. You write on the trip, if not anybody, about the smiling one ;) can be the first post of ur blog.
@ Iris I really think the dance idea is good! Good to see you blogging ;) I wish it works out for Sumitradi too!
@ K'niche...ha ha ha such fun!! r u guys friends now? :) thnx for dropping by.
@ MyoChi, 'am still reading your posts one by one. Really interesting, and brand new stuff for me. Thanks for visiting. Agree with the societal typecast thingy. The very fact that I notice it and appreciate this shows the typecast hangover :).
@ Bhargavi, thnx for your mail and appreciation! well most of my write-ups are from real life experience. It may not be exact word to word, that's my creative license ;) but mostly how I see things and how those register in my mind. (No fictiom as yet) 'Dard-e-disco' is reserved for those fleeting malfunctioning of the 'dil' and timeconsuming day dreams, hence the discretion in choosing the events :)
@ Julian, Thanks for dropping by!
@ Woken Up...omg! omg! omg! - u r so right! how cud i forget that?!! Was he from another REC or army? lowe u for that. also what do we call the long term ones? those are simply 'disco' or 'pain' or 'twist' - not to go hand in hand ;)
@ Nikhil, thanks man...in a celluloid format it just takes me to pa(n)ther pa(n)chali...that's the epitome of childhood on screen to me.
@ Upu - yay!!! much better ;) also let's not forget the greek god in what was it, Merecedes?
@ Shashank, viva la salsa, man! How r things?
@ Richie Rich - There is problem in your site!! Do i have to have to create a login? Have tried on both the laptops :(. This side of me - have you forgotten the drunken night in pune? ;)

@ Anon - thanx for all your comments! dunno abt empathy, think 'am just plain naive;)
Okay last exam over!! 'Am off to my trip...carrying my camera and hopefully the lenses will be kind to me ;) Cheers!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"Dil mein mere hain Dard-e-Disco!!"

(There’s disco pain in my heart.)

He was 5. She was 4. They were family friends. Fathers enjoyed their scotch together, mothers shared cooking recipes, uncles and aunties used to chat, and they used to play. Chasing the ducks, petting the dogs, her Chinese cut hair, his too!! Family friends are comforting; I mean if you think long term. Parents already have a common ground, one tick mark there, the boy and the girl grow up together, so they know how nasty it can get, no surprises there either. So it’s just the challenge of keeping it exciting, lifelong…now who doesn’t have that challenge?! So at the age of 4, the plan seemed reliable. They went to the same school too. The boy would give her tips on how to handle the maths teacher in standard 1, and she would share Kwality (Not Kwality Walls) icecreams with him. Everything was perfect! Then one day, the boy’s family moved to the US – just like that!! I sang ‘Dil mein mere hain dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco…

That was my first ‘Dard-e-disco’.

When I was in standard 3, I realized the existence of a rather cute boy. He used to sit two desks from me and would smile shyly. I used to squint at him, and do maths (mainly the multiplication tables for 8, it was a b****). Before the summer holidays, the maths teacher distributed the answer sheets for the half-yearly exam. To my pleasant suprise, I found to have conquered the 8*9 and had scored full marks. He ran to my father after school and said, ‘She scored full marks!’ This time, I smiled shyly at him. The school opened after the summer vacation. I waited to smile at him. Friends said that he had moved to another school. I sang ‘Dil mein mere hain dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco…

That was my second ‘Dard-e-disco’. Years later, I stumbled upon him on Orkut. I again sang, ‘Dil mein mere hain dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco…’ and logged off.

Saraswati puja was a big event in our place, both in the school and at our house. We used to do night-outs to come up with a theme, decorate the pandal, get the idol, plan the bhog, etc etc. It is during one such night-outs, at the age of twelve, I met an engineering student, 6 years older to me. He was helping out with the decorations, putting up the frames, painting, keeping the accounts, and drinking several cups of tea. He ignored my existence. I happily acknowledged the same. I followed him everywhere, his 'beck and call', and found great satisfaction in fulfilling his smallest desires, from bringing the hammer to cleaning up the paint brush. On the day of the puja, he came in a white kurta and payjama, smiling and reassuring, as ever. I almost didn’t notice the saree next to him.

I turned away and sang ‘Dil mein mere hain dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco…That was my third ‘Dard-e-disco’.

Meanwhile, I was disillusioned by the prospects available in my close proximity (the school, neighborhood, family friends) and decided to look far and wide. One man drew my attention. He blazed the television screen with his aces, his fury, his long hair, and his rebellious demeanor. I watched his every match, cried at his defeats, and rejoiced at his wins. I almost reached the deserts of Nevada, with him. I kept each and every copy of the various sports magazines, and pulled out his photos. Then he won the Wimbeldon. I watched it, and believe that my watching it had something to do with his winning. I truly believe (no past tense). Anyhoo, next day the papers announced how his girlfriend also watched his win from the player’s gallery.

This time, I didn’t have the voice (from the previous night's cheering) to sing. I just noted it down, my fourth ‘Dard-e-disco’.

After careful consideration, I decided that tennis, USA, etc. are too far off, let me look at some place closer. The closest was the television set, again. So I stared at it, again! This time a truly handsome man emerged from a box, chiseled face, smooth hair, great body, kind eyes…the melody played at the background ‘Ek dil chahiye bass Made in India’. I was pretty sure that this is the one! So I survived one Madhu Sapre, some Dipannita Sharma, etc etc. till oneday, some fifteen years later, he finally got married...to someone else!! I still remember, couple of us sighed, hearts broken. That day we left office early too.

I finally had to sing for him, ‘Dil mein mere hain dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco…’ By this time, I have lost count.

So the sweet 16 breezed by, the charming 25 came and went, I crossed the danger 30, and stumbled at the magic 35, the ‘dard-e-discos’ are few and far between now. I don’t blame my grey hairs for that, I think we don’t have ‘men’ of our generations, any more ;). So here’s to the ‘dard-e-discos’ of my life, and our lives, although they generally have very short runs, but boy o boy are those wonderful, and in my case although many of them didn’t know that I exist, I still had complete liberty over my Piscean daydreams; so here's one last time, ‘Dil mein mere hain dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco… dard-e-disco…!

**"Dil mein mere hain Dard-e-Disco" is a song from some hindi film. I take no credit for this creative metaphor.