They say

it gets easier..

the pain fades

the nicks and cuts disappear

bruises heal

as time flows .. the sharp edges smoothen..

but that’s just the surface, isn’t it?

All grimy cities have pretty facades..

musings, photography, Self, Travel

quick hi

365photos 2011, photography, Travel

wish I had planned properly and set up a few posts but oh well..
this one is an oldie processed today..
hope you are all well πŸ™‚
I should be back to posting and commenting in a couple of days once the stupid moving and unpacking is over..

The Lotus Temple

365photos 2011, photography, Travel

One of the most visited monuments in the world, it’s supposed to get higher number of visitors than the Eiffel Tower. It’s one of the places of worship for the Bahai religion, which is an open religion and accepts devotees from any walk of life. Beautiful building with an amazing sense of calm inside. I had the good luck to be there at the time of prayer. People are supposed to be quiet inside. No sermons or preaching or instruments are allowed. A lady sang a prayer and her voice filled the arches and reverberated bringing goose bumps.. It was some experience.

The Red Fort

365photos 2011, photography, Travel

got a chance to visit the Red Fort this weekend. For the uninitiated it is a 17th century fort complex and the seat of the Mughal Empire which ruled over Delhi and most of India for almost 400 years. Later it was used by the British as a military camp. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site since 2007.

As usual we were too late so all I could get were a few evening shots ..

The eye cannot fit the whole structure in..let alone the lens. It’s massive and hard to believe that it’s located in the extremely crowded old Delhi. Its an impressively large and beautiful structure.. A lot of the riches are gone but the architecture and size still speak of the grandeur of days gone by..

The Delhi gate: the Prime Minister of India raises the flag and addresses the nation from here every independence day. (I did not know that)

The Diwaan-e-Aam which originally was used as a pavilion for the emperor to meet with the public

The air was full of stories.. wonder what it would tell me if I asked..

Life is a draft..

365photos 2011, photography, Thinking out loud, Travel

.. which never becomes final. A rehearsal for a play which never goes on stage – quote from Amelie.

How is that relevant here, you ask. Well, I didn’t really like any of the photos taken today so I was looking through the archives to find anything interesting and landed on this one taken in Venice. A sudden downpour had left this square surprisingly deserted because even in the rainy weather the city was teeming with thousands. Apparently, this personification of romance for which Truman Capote had said ‘Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go’ .. this canal city which was built on marshes in the 10th century ..with its defiantly intricate and stunning architecture and dying. In a couple hundred years, there may be no Venice…

Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan..

photography, Travel

I cannot be politically correct and call the city Mumbai. It is Bombay and shall stay least to me. Changing a city’s name does not change its identity. And at its cosmopolitan core, the city is more Bombay than Mumbai..

Named such by the Portuguese around the mid 18th century, Bombay is made of 7 islands which have been inhabited since the stone age apparently. But the known history begins around 2000 years ago when fishing colonies were formed here. History fascinates me but I cannot digress here πŸ™‚

I’ve been visiting Bombay since I was 10 but rarely ever got the chance to see it as a tourist, at least in my adult years.
Those who live there consider it to be the world. Same as people who live in Manhattan believe it is the world. And to a certain extent this warped view is justified. This city really does offer everything for any type of person to live, survive and thrive.

I’m trying to think of one word to describe my impression and cannot go beyond the clichΓ©d ‘potpourri’. So I’ll use my friend’s word who is a hard core Bombayite : buoyant! It describes the spirit of this city aptly. Its wild, crazy, mild, boring, exhausting, endearing, old, new, charming and alienating all at the same time. In short, it has character and a strong one at that. Either you love it or you hate it. Do I love it? I don’t think so. But I’ve grown away from the strong hatred I felt for the sticky humid, mass of people which seems to be moving at maddening pace. I can put up with it now. But my fault is I grew up in a college city with beautiful weather full of people who live the siesta loving lifestyle of the Italians.. taking it easy and enjoying every experience. So the mad rush of Bombayites makes no sense to me. But don’t let my view cloud your opinion. It’s a wonderful place.. And this is merely a snapshot.. I could run the blog for years taking pictures of just this one city..

I moved to the US just after 9/11 and yet did not once see guns like these in public places. The security existed but not in such a blatantly threatening fashion. My first step outside the airport and he crossed my path..

PS: if anyone knows what gun that is, kindly enlighten me

Driving along the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. This first cable-stay bridge on open seas in India, is a latest addition in Bombay’s pride. Built to connect the western suburbs to the southern islands its supposed to reduce driving time drastically. If the air wasn’t so heavily humid and it were painted red, it could easily rival Frisco’s golden gate πŸ™‚

The fishermen who were the original inhabitants of the city have now become the minority pushed to the sidelines by the bursting commercialism of the financial capital..

Post-lunch nap! I tried making up stories of who the guy could be. He was too well dressed to be homeless and too much at home to be a tired tourist.

A fitting example of the ‘God is omnipresent’ idea. A make shift temple of at least four Hindu deities under a banyan tree (the tree is supposed to be holy).

people live in this building. It looked like a black hole.

the famed queen’s necklace or the marine drive flanking a bay on one side and the swanky residential and commercial area of Nariman point on the other. It’s supposed to be a beautiful sight at night with the lights giving it the appearance of a necklace.

Stone tetra pods dumped at Marine drive in the sea to protect the walls from erosion and to break the surging waves in monsoon season.

Gateway of India in the fading sunlight

Horse-buggies known as the ‘Victoria’. The main railway station ‘Victoria Terminus’ got its name from these. Once a common mode of public transport, these are now mainly for tourists. The name of the railway station has also changed πŸ™‚

The majestic Taj hotel which was barraged with the cruelties of the recent terror attacks on Bombay in November 2008. Its up and running in full swing already.

With the recent upswing in the Indian economy, the Bombay marina is becoming a sailing hub.

The Worli seaface.. a popular hangout for couples and families alike especially around and after sunset. Hardly a surprise!


photography, Self, Travel

I still cannot believe I gave up living in this place!! I loved spending Saturday afternoons driving along the coast near Laguna Beach just to be near the ocean, who was my best friend..

Nostalgia can be a downer sometimes..
But look!
Photos taken while on a drive along CA-1, which I maintain is the most beautiful coastline in the world.
I drove for 14 straight hours from LA to San Francisco along this road. To take pictures and feel the ocean breeze in my hair…

Florence – the city that seduced

Italy, photography, Travel

Ayushi‘s comment about glorious holidays got me all nostalgic about last year’s Italy visit. I never really wrote a post on the trip. Again because with so much information out there, its hard to think that I can offer anything new. But then it’s also true that everyone sees a place with their own eyes.

So here is Florence as I saw it

We spent 8 days in Florence in the heart of the beautifully rustic Tuscan countryside of Italy. Being on a budget we stayed at a tiny B&B which offered the convenience of being cheap and at a walkable distance to the train station since we traveled to the surrounding cities using Florence as the base.

And Florence is seductive to say the least. It’s old, charming and keeps a smile on your face all through.
But what I fell in love with were the people and their language. I will always remember the loud, vivacious, eager to help and happy set of people chatting away to glory in that sing-song language of theirs πŸ™‚ And they would LOVE that I’d try to converse in broken Italian with them.

It’s a modern city for the people who live there. With fast cars and hamburger joints. This wall belonged to a high school right in the middle of town.

I almost bought myself one of these. Only matters like having money and then shipping to India came in the way of my dream. I hate when that happens.

You can climb down the bridge on the side and there are these huge stone platforms extended from the bridge columns. Supposedly couples go down there at sunset for clandestine dates. Sigh..

This road leads to the famous Ponte Vecchio. If you squint really well, you could see it in this picture too. Lined alongside are shopping districts which could drive anyone crazy. I had my heart’s fill of shopping and huge scoops of gelato. Good times!

The side wall of the Santa Maria cathedral which holds the duomo.

We met a few friends of our host Gerardo and one of them had a major in film making and cinematography. However she had to work in retail because the movie business in Italy has taken a beating due to the recent recession. It’s really sad considering the beautiful movies these people make. Anyone seen Sunflower?

Well I could go on posting pictures.. but if you ever get a chance do visit Firenze as the Italians call it. I’m sure she’d mesmerize you too.

What is your most memorable city?