Last three months have been pretty different. In fact the entire year 2012 has been life changing experience for me. An eventful year in Europe has culminated with some special journeys through the hearts of India’s rural destinations. Even though it was started as a photo documentary project for Selco, a wonderful organization that aims at lighting the most underprivileged sector of societies in South India, it gave me more than just photographing experience.
In the first set of journey diaries, I would like to post a series of photographs which are true representations of various experiences I have had during my Photo-Documentary journey. Though I found numerous ways through which these places captivated me, in this post, I would try to mainly focus on intricate intertwining relationship of life with some of the unimaginable circumstances in which these people are living. They smiled, laughed, shed tears, shared stories – sometimes silently, sometimes with heavy-hearted words..
Camouflaged! Taken at one of the schools located in a slum located in the heart of Bangalore
They live in the heart of Bangalore. But electricity, water supply and other basic amenities are few luxuries they have never seen. Yet one thing remains the same. Drops of rain bring the same joy. To us, to them.
Color is a rarity here. 38 years back it was flushed out. Dhanushkodi comes in your dream, as a broken series of flashes..
Taken in a place called Halliberu, an utterly remote village at the bottom of Sahyadri Mountains near Kodachadri. Life is just unbelievably fragile here..
Siddhis, a special tribe having origins from Africa, now have blended into the deep rural settlements in Northern Karnataka. Taken at one of the interestingly build houses where touching stories were heard from the young girl.
It is the last one right? She asked!
One moment, one request, one click and seven priceless expressions! Children from an underprivileged area on the outskirts of C
Her words were priceless. Her memories were timeless. Shanthavva, 90 years old freedom fighter, now fights for her daily life, yet with the same undying spirit to tell her stories of life. Taken at Freedom Fighters village, Dharwad
There are some cities in the world which offer a magical experience to the dwellers irrespective of the season and time of the year. By embracing the past with some incredible stories of history, these cities nudge the present smoothly with the right pace. Tourists swarm in thousands to immerse themselves in the unique delicacies of art, culture, architecture and nature. Here are the most unforgettable cities I visited last year with their sheer brilliance in night-time. Quite often pictures do speak a thousand words, so this short piece is just about those memorable photographs I was fortunate to click. It is about those cities with a story. Those cities with a tale of history. Those cities hiding a bit of mystery.
And pictures of those ‘Cities to Remember’.
The city has prepared for the last 8 years. Since that day in July 2005 when IOC selected London for the 2012 Olympic Games, the city has had a journey which is unforgettable in the memories of every Londoner. It was indeed an amazing experience to be absorbed in the world’s most awaited and respected sporting event. The city was dipped in a very special mood. 15 days of sporting spectacle has created a beautiful aura around this jewel of Britain.
There were moments of joy, drops of tears, breaths of anguishing athletes, uncontrolled emotions, several firsts, bursts of extreme pace and power, unexpected jaw-droppers, anticipating eyes, births of new generation heroes, silently sung swan-songs, hundreds of colors and exploding cheers, midst of it all, a stunning city showing off its breathtaking wonders, just reiterating the importance of it from the days of colonization to the present day of changed world.
Every once in a while in life, we get to see some miracles. Some of them we create, some of them we see in others, but most of them are connected with the magics of nature. She has created every possible wonder on this planet we live. Infinite colors are unleashed every day, unimaginable stories unravel silently in the distant corners, rains, clouds, the Sun and snow paint the planet, and this amazing saga never ends. I was fortunate to see one of these magical places, right in the middle of my research internship in the UK. Quite unbelievably in one of the prettiest island of the Mediterranean.
My European friends had warned about the possible addiction that might happen with the place. It sure did happen. But in a much extraordinary way. Majorca offered with its pristine beauty of Sun, sea and sands. But that was kind of expected. At least I had heard about them.
What I did not know was the way our planet has sculpted herself into incredible features of mountains and ridges in the shores of the Mediterranean sea. I was stunned looking at the immensity of the northern mountains standing in their sheer grandeur, spreading across the horizons of spectacular blue seas and filled with the freshness of Mediterranean green. The vista it created with the symphony of cloudless azure sky and sparkling blue of the sea, mesmerized me to the extent I never imagined.
I found myself standing small, an insignificant creature of human species, a species which has not even spent a minutest fraction of time on this planet, compared to the millions of years of intense activities occurred on those rocks and seas and mountains. I just wished, I just could, thank her for this insurmountable proportion of beauty in her creation.
If all these nature’s tapestries were not enough, a whole new set of colors spilled out as the Sun began his journey in the western horizons of the Mediterranean. The sharpness of day light paved way to the subtleties of longer wavelength lights!
Crowded sea-shore slowly melted into to the whispers of muted words. Golden tendrils of those little girls’ hair dangling with the flow of breeze, brushed with more adorable colors. Suddenly the world there stood still, with canvases I had thought only possible in imagination! They looked clichéd, for a moment. But they were not, they were freshly forming in the vicinities, but fading out of the composition very next moment.
I stood there, with my camera clicking, a sound which was accompanied only with the orchestra of the sea waves, occasionally with the little ripples of those whispers ripping the fabric of an existing symphony..
It is this time of year again. Time when world here starts getting painted with colors. Time when lethargic life shrugs off its numbness to a new revival. Time when lifeless trees miraculously start blooming. Time when nature brings out infinite rainbows in every single flower and every single leaf. This is the time again for a magic called Spring.
I wanted to write something on the beauty of change in the colors of nature. I wanted to capture every essence of the season change. But, I knew it was impossible for a poor writer like me to depict the immense vibrancy of her. I knew only very few gifted writers in the world can portray it. And what I did not know was there existed another extraordinary story of life, silently unraveling on the trees of one of the most beautiful parks I have seen. Thanks to Angela for telling about it, I witnessed something truly astonishing. A remarkable family saga of hundreds of Storks building their new life. An amazing picture of very rarely occurring human-nature friendship. This is a wonderful story of love and care of 2 parents towards their new-coming baby. But it was simple. So simple that even I could understand and tell it to you through pictures. It is this charm of nature which keeps some of us blissfully delighted towards the striking stories of life!
I felt, I saw something incredibly beautiful that day. All the other things in this world did not matter for those storks. They were quietly immersed in their life, sometimes happily tapping their beak for a sweet tuk-tuk sound. Sometimes standing on only one foot! My 5 hours spent there, gave me something really new. Something newly refreshing. Something I never forget.
It was indeed a peaceful morning. A week of chilled wind had wheezed along the black forest valley and Strasbourg was literally frozen. The ever cheerful Ill river, which had produced some spectacular pictures before, had turned into an icy solid. The floating swans were vanished from 2 days. The redolent scent of strange silence was spreading slowly in the environment. Sharp wind whipping past the dormant ears quite often whispering some uncanny stories. I was all alone on the bank of the river, pondering on the glory of the same place a couple of months before; full of flow, riveting with life, painted with infinite colors. But now, frozen river covered above with a hovering giant patch of cloud was all that remained. And yeah, some lost wanderers strolling along with their dogs appearing and slowly melting through the whiteness of ice..
Then it happened. From nowhere a Seagull cruised down in a flash and stood on the water slowly picking up a piece of croissant from the top of frozen water. It took me couple of seconds to realize that, the solidified water had become the place of experimental impact tests. Some meager stuffs were lying all over the ice, thrown by the curious people who wanted to check how hard the surface was! These brown little pieces were randomly scattered reminding some kind of debris!
Slowly but steadily a swarm of these Seagulls began ripples of activity in hitherto lifeless atmosphere. I did expect a family get together for the unexpected meal. I soon realized I was stupid. That was not a friendly meeting.
There was a battle.
The milky feathers of these flying angels suddenly morphed to the weapons whipping across acute wind. Within no time, humdrum icy world became the arena of fierce fight! Nature always likes to be fascinating. Otherwise, at the exact moments of rampant havoc, hidden Sun wouldn’t have sneaked out from the clouds to add the theatrical light to the menacing drama unraveling.
The scene was unfolding in sensational pace. The shadows were darkening terrifyingly. The came alive as the wings fluttered in breathtaking frequencies, got slaughtered by piercing beaks, kissed by falling feathers. Every bird had a chaser. Every chaser had a contender and snatchers sneaking behind.
It continued with the same grisly fashion till all the pieces were picked and finished. Although it was very hard to focus on the breathtaking speed of the movements, some shots were framed scripting the story within.
And that is how I witnessed the hush silence of deathly cold turned out into a raucously broiling battlefield. In matter of few minutes..
It was special. It was purely adventurous. Every journey scripted something new, every destination offered something special, every day sculpted unique stories, every night drenched us with its sheer brilliancy, every moment unraveled something incredible, every country treated with the taste of nativity, every city carved indelible sketches of its history, the past was present, present was overwhelming, future was forgotten and it was a voyage to remember!
backpacking across 5 nations, 6 cities and unlimited landscapes. Pretty Strasbourg to the grandeur of Prague, then a transcending journey to the hearts of modern Vienna; unfolded slowly as the thick fog brushed away by wheezing winds from the Alps. Followed by a surreal journey through the loving landscapes of Italy, to the wonder city of Venice. The city runs on water, sleeps on water and water trickles through every bit of a Venetian’s life. If telling good-bye to Venice was tough, the glimpse of Rome stupefied me. Absolute immortality of the heart of the great Roman Empire continues to confront bravely the brutishness of fading time. Dilapidated monuments married with modern mechanization still try not to betray their stories of courageousness. Bloods of Gladiators spilled on the walls of the Colosseum, gruesome attacks crumbled the empire, Augustus Emperors Maximus Caesars ruled the pinnacles, brought to the dusts, but none of these petrified the eternal flow of life here. Rome, stands apart as the quintessential essence of human striving for dominance, tremendous efforts in stamping the authority on the hard blocks of never stopping time.
Moving out of Rome felt like abandoning a marvelous time travel. 5 days flew away in a flash. There had to be a last chapter in this phenomenal visual story, and an adieu was necessary. It was made in style. Journey along the western coast of Italy was fantastic. The historic city of Pisa is a jewel on the crown of Italy. Small yet stunning. Astonishing architecture of leaning tower of Pisa, steals the moments from the viewer. Every subtle change in the shades of Sun paints the tower with different colors. A fitting last destination for the journey through time! But the finale was not yet done! the ultimate journey back home was truly mesmerizing.
One day, along 4 countries, warmth of Sun, splashes of Rain, softness of snow, strength of storm, gloominess of grey clouds, breathtaking beauty of Alps, serenity of countryside, withered trees, snow-capped coniferous leaves, and every possible color of nature unfolded in those 10 hours of journey.
Thus, ends the tale of an extraordinary voyage through the heart of Europe!