Friday, 27 March 2015

Happiness in Pixels : Blog # 210

Happiness in Pixels

A photograph is one of the most beautiful expressions of art. What makes it so likeable is that it is pleasant on the eyes or it ought to be when some of us click that is ;). I think what makes it so mystic is the frozen time about that frame. In spite of all the advancements mankind has made, time has always been elusive. It has always slipped away from our hands. A picture gives us the illusion of having conquered time although for a moment.
Photography, Camera, Photos, Pictures

It is indeed true that a picture speaks a thousand words. Is that why many a time pictures tell the most beautiful stories? What I like about the story woven through a picture is that it is open to the interpretation of  audience unlike a story woven through words. A handful of words can tell only one story. A picture on the other hand, can tell a hundred stories depending on who sees it and how they see it.

The best thing about photography is that you can choose what you want to see and what you want to show. You might be looking at a pond with weeds spread all over. You spot a Kingfisher who has chosen to sit on a twig parched on a rock with water so clear around it that you can see the bottom of the pond. You can now click only that small periphery and make the whole pond look good. That is the magic of photography!

How can we not think of memories when it comes to photos. There are moments in life which one would want to revisit. I would say photographs are the best way to time travel. One look at an old picture is all it takes to bring the fond memories of the seemingly forgotten past to come rushing by. When you find time, sit down with your friends or family and go through old family albums. Believe me, it is like walking in to an old home where you spent your childhood in. If you are lucky enough, you will have someone to reminisce the story behind those photos with.

Photography used to be a selfless act until the selfie came along that is J. At every function, there used to be one family member or a friend who goes on clicking a moment of togetherness, happiness or celebration without them being a part of the frame. But on the brighter side, selfie has made photography more inclusive. The artist do not have to stand away from the art. He/she is also a part of the creation. It is like acknowledging the presence of the paintbrush on a beautiful canvas J.

Like any other art, photography too is an expression of the artist who clicks. I wonder how beauty is so obvious to them in the vastness of nature. I am amazed as to how they contain a story in an 8X10 frame. I wish if I will ever understand how they make a seemingly passing moment turn in to the memory of a life time!

Keywords: Photography,Camera,Pixels,DSLR camera,Photos,Photgraphs,Photographer, Shutterbug 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

748 Million : Blog # 209

748 Million

The title of the blog is not the number of wells in the world. Neither is it the count of springs which emerge from the bosom of earth. Sadly, it is an indication of the lack of these fountain heads of Life. That is the magnitude of our water woes! It is the number of people around the world who do not have access to drinking water.
Water, Drought, Scarcity, Poverty, Drinking water

Whenever you get an opportunity, talk to a person who takes care of the administration of an organization which has more than a few 100 people. Concern about providing water will top his/her priority. This is true for an academic institution, a business organization and even for a health care centre. The mayor of a city and a head of state will be equally worried about our fast disappearing water bodies.

Imagine coming home from a long tiring day and not having a handful of water to bring your face back from the dead. On a hot summer afternoon, how will you feel when you open the tap and all you get is an erratic symphony of the left behind wind? Can you fathom how much of a frustration it will be when we will need to ration and account for the last drop of water we use on a daily basis? What should make all of us scared is that all these things can happen in more near a future than when we expect it to happen.

If you look at this issue from a broader perspective, it has the potential to disrupt whatever little peace is left in the world. I am sure all of us are at a loss of words when states fight among themselves for want of water – which side to take, who is right and more importantly, what the solution is. Now imagine these conflicts on a world scale. Nations being at war and unleashing destruction over each other, all for a mouthful of water for its people.

I have always wondered since when did we start being so insensitive towards our own kind. We come across a number like this, feel sad till the next ping on our phone and we move on. I think Darwin is partially to blame for this. His ‘Survival of the fittest’ is the best branding ‘Selfishness’ could have ever asked for. A person, exhausted and worn out sitting underneath a tap waiting for a drop of water should prick our conscience. A picture of a child sitting under blazing sun with not even a blade of grass in the vicinity for whom tears are the only drops of water available should grow a lump in our throat.

We shouldn’t stop at just that. Each time we let a tap run, a tank over flow, a bottle spill those pictures should come haunting back to our minds. We all should in our small ways try and fill up earth’s eyes. A rain water harvesting plan for each household can be a good beginning. Of the umpteen things being banned around us, a house construction plan without a water harvesting provision can be a welcome one.

Keywords : 748 Million,water scarcity, water, water woes. water issues , charity water

Arun Babu

Monday, 16 March 2015

The first drops from Heaven : Blog # 208

The first drops from Heaven

Years before, when life was much simpler, when my dreams were not bound by the fences of reality, when I was a child, I remember asking my Grandmother on a Sunday evening as to what that wonderful scent was. She told me it is the scent of the earth. It is the heavenly smell of the first rain. She told me that for one to experience the rain and its scent, one needs to be a bit far from the madness. Then, I thought she was referring to only the hustle and bustle of the city where I lived.
Rain, Heaven, Water, Summer rain, Monsoon
Once I was walking back home. It was summer at its peak and all of us had been hoping for the clouds to shed some kindness. Out of the blue, when we least expected it, started the first rain. Big drops of water emerged which momentarily disappeared in the dried up brown soil in spite of their pearl like heaviness. Many of us took shelter in the road side shops. There was a person waiting with us and he started walking out of the shop. He did not have an umbrella.  He just walked getting drenched in that rain. He looked back at all of us standing at the door step of the shop and smiled. There wasn't even one face in that little crowd which did not reciprocate the smile. At that moment, I realized my grandmother was referring to the madness within too.

I think there is more to this smell than just a pleasant assault on the nose. It is a culmination of various emotions. On the surface of it, it indicates the beginning of an end – of the tiring, sultry summer. It is the harbinger of more pleasant days in the offing. It indicates lesser lines of worry on our foreheads when we look at the sun. This scent is apparently called ‘Petrichor’.

If you think a bit deeper, we realize it is metaphorical to life in more ways than one. Look at the nature around you during the first rain. It is as if the lives around us wake up from a long exhausted slumber. The trees, the animals are all rejuvenated. The energy this rain brings along with it spreads almost like a majestic wave of river washing across a dried up forest. Don’t you think certain people or certain moments in our lives are also like this? People just walk in or moments of gravitas just manifest in our lives as a whiff of fresh air. It may be by design or by serendipity. But they are indeed among Life’s little surprises which we all wait for to come by.

At times in Life, we come across long spells of summer. They try to hallucinate us in to believing that our lives are destined to have only that single lone season - of a sultry summer. We try hard to find a respite.  It is then that we should think of the first rain. Drive down the life’s lane a bit farther and we will see the clouds of hope patiently waiting for us to pass by them to shed their kindness on to us... 

Keywords : Rain, First rain, petrichor, scent of earth, smell after first rain