sajith: (Default)
2010-02-23 11:34 pm
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The apple that did not astonish Paris.


So I was sent to Paris during the glorious French winter of 2009 for a job training. Quit the previous one in September (they moved from center of the city to a ghetto in the outskirts (own space, but what do I care about that), thus my commute became sitting four goddam hours in a car from what was a fifteen-minutes stroll, and this became the mythical final straw that broke the camel's back), took a small break which now feels like a haze, and joined this new one in November. In no time my new employer figured out that I'm absolutely useless without some serious training, and thus I landed in their Paris office.

While in Paris, I managed to not to do much outside work, except for the obligatory tourist gig on a weekend. What follows is the result. Obviously there's much, much more I should have done other than staying curled up in the hotel room. But like always, there's a next time. There ought to be, and, note to self: when that occasion comes, dude, you better be the master of your own schedule.

picture dump )
sajith: (Default)
2009-12-31 06:31 pm
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New year aa?

hotel room chronicle

Shoo, po!  Bloody nuisance! Not interested!  We aren’t done with the old year yet! 

We still aren’t done with all the nothing we wanted to do in the last year, err, this year… err, whatever.

sajith: (Default)
2009-12-10 03:20 am
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Email Chucknorrisism.

Chuck Norris's email client.

Thunderbird Chuck Norris can fetch more emails than the server has.
sajith: (Default)
2009-10-16 12:07 pm
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Street scene, not.

street scene

Do we have a fable here, Aesop? Do we have a haiku, Basho?

I for one don't want no quotidian business around here. The hen could grow, grow immensely, snatch the dog and fly away. Fly over white clouds on a deep blue sky, over blue mountains overlooking a gorgeous valley. The closed shop shutter could be hiding a magic caveway to a magic castle. The xerox machine could be no ordinary xerox machine, it could be a magic xerox machine --

Wait, this must be the effect of watching too many Miyazaki movies. I usually sleep a dreamless, memoryless sleep, but last night in the dream I was looking at myself in a mirror. Most hair was gone. There were bad, big, dark, green warts on the skull. A few odd patches of hair remained. Eyes, I don't remember much about them --

Right, there's something called too much Miyazaki.
sajith: (Default)
2009-10-09 08:08 pm
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In Madurai.

two friends

In Madurai,
city of temples and poets,
who sang of cities and temples

Here's a poem, A River, by A K Ramanujan.

Here're a bunch of pictures, by, err, me. There should have been more, given that this is Madurai and Madurai is the kind of place that is full of people and things and sights that a camera can devour. But I have grown lazy to carry a camera all the time, and grown shy to poke that thing on people's noses. So it happens that insentients get most attention, willing sentients get some attention, unwilling ones not so much. As it happened in the final edit, the more interesting pictures are that of sentients.

What a conundrum.
sajith: (Default)
2009-09-09 05:26 pm
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Sounds of silence.

shadow play

I wanted to write something here while connection to the Internet ethers lasts, but forgot what it was. Guess it was this: I kind of miss writing something here now and then.

Like all of you good people, I too miss the Good Old DaysTM when livejournal used to thrive. I miss those conversations.
sajith: (Default)
2009-08-17 11:15 pm
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Friends in Malayalikkoottam are organizing a photography exhibition at Durbar Hall, Kochi between August 17 and 23. All proceedings go towards charity. Go view them pictures and say hello to them folks if you happen to be in Kochi this week.
sajith: (Default)
2009-07-06 04:12 am
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Uncle Sajith Uncle Sajith.

Yo. I just Uncle-fied you.

There's this new guy in the family; and a new mother, new father, new grandmother, new grandfather. And a brand new uncle.

Grow up quickly mister. We have things to learn, things to do, things to break, things to mend, places to go, places to come back from. Quickly quickly grow up.
sajith: (Default)
2009-05-10 10:22 pm
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In which the protagonist is back in the plains, after a brief hiatus.

People, if you would not be bothered too much, would you mind visiting this set of pictures from Pondicherry? (Sales pitch: You get to see a great deal of colour cast on pictures shot on expired slide film! And puppies! And an almost naked [ profile] maxaud!) And, if you are reasonably satisfied after the viewing, would you also mind leaving some standard-issue flickr comments (such as: "great capture", "nice image"; and never: "this sucks!")? That would justify my spending a great deal of money on developing two rolls of expired medium format Kodak Ektachrome E100VS film. Much thanks in advance. Really, I would appreciate that.

puducherry puducherry

puducherry puducherry

(In Bangalore, Prabhu Digital's rate for developing a roll of slide is Rs 500. That would be Rs 750 at G G Welling, but I suspect G G Welling basically sends it to Prabhu and pockets a cool 50% middleman's margin -- that is what they did with another roll of medium format colour negative anyway. No prizes for guessing whom your humble correspondent entrusted with developing his precious chromes. Lesson has been learned the hard way, which would be: wisdom is what happens after the credit card has been swiped.)

Also, have you read Introduction to Poetry? ("I ask them to take a poem / and hold it up to the light / like a color slide". Thanks so much for reminding, Dem.) While digging the Internet for more Billy Collins, I came across this (Walking Across the Atlantic, from "The Apple That Astonished Paris"):

I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.

Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.

I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.

But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.

Just to say this much: that is what we all ought to do when we go near the seaside. No?
sajith: (Default)
2009-02-06 01:47 am
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I want that bikini-clad torso back, please.


Just received this screenshot in email. Well, I thought that was kind of acceptable, but I just can't stand this. So let's just speechify this a bit.

I am not apolitical. I have never voted Congress, not even in a panchayath election. But I have this much to say: no matter how disappointing you think Manmohan Singh is as Prime Minister (I actually tend to think that he's severely underappreciated), he's a thousand times more respectable and acceptable than all Indian right-wing combined. No amount of spindoctoring, no amount of whitewashing, no amount of autobiography writing, no amount of blogging, no amount of Internet advertisement, is making me forget the blood trails of Advani's many a rath yathra.

So I'm anxiously waiting to see how a billion unwashed and undereducated are going work their magic this time around. They overthrew Indira Gandhi when her autocratic tendencies started to show up, they overthrew Vajpayee in spite of India Shining. Or consider this: 1984, Delhi riots, in which Sikhs were violently persecuted. 2004: a Sikh for Prime Minister, leading the same party some of whose leaders were accused of inciting the 1984 violence. That was as thrilling as anything else. You all can celebrate Obama as much as you want and wait for an Indian avatar of Obama, but we've already had people like K R Narayanan (a dalit President) and Manmohan Singh. Our media will project Advani, Mayawati, Narendra Modi or whoever else they think will manage to fool the nation, but one thing is sure: they will get it wrong this time around also.

And then I will have my laugh at this banner ad.
sajith: (Default)
2009-01-21 10:40 pm
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Here is a bunch of old pictures from Gokarna, back from 2007. I was just reminded of them by [ profile] purely_narcotic's group invitation in flickr. (Thank you.)

Keralappiravi dinam (the day Kerala as we see it on the map today was born under the provisions in the State Reorganisation Act 1956: November 1, 1956) fell on one of those days. This we celebrated by walking about under the sun on the beach sand, with intermittent supplies of beer made by our favourite alcohol baron's bird-logo'ed company. (Right, November 1 is Karnataka Rajyotsava also, to be fair to the lovely people that's provided us with economic refuge. Salut. Merci.)

On the other hand, legend is that Parashuraaman (alias Parashurama, alias Parasuram) hurled his mighty axe all the way from Gokarna to Kanyakumari, and then rose from ocean the glorious People's Communist Democratic Republic of Kerala. Until the first democratically elected Communist government actually happened, and them filthy Comminists brought the Kerala Land Reforms Act (1963) into effect, descendants of the original Brahmin settlers to whom Parashuraaman had relinquished land rights (this was out of caste allegiance, I believe) ruled over all Kerala landmass. (Feel free to form your own Brahmin hegemony conspiracy theory, or variants, or counter-theories thereof.) Anyway, this is the mythological and perhaps historical significance of Gokarna, at least for us beef-eating, rum-drinking (this bit about food-alcohol habit is not vast generalisation, my Highly Scientific Observational Study has proven this to be correct) abnormal Indian populace. So while there, we naturally joked about throwing another axe in the same general direction in order to claim some more expensive real estate. After all we owe it to the original land-grabber, don't we.

Now, what's interesting about this picture is that four of us saw the same thing and shot it in more or less the same way.
  • Here is a picture [ profile] maxaud took, with his digital SLR, with a 50mm f/1.8 lens.
  • Here is a picture blackfin2 took, with his digital SLR, with his almighty Canon L-series lens.
  • And here is a picture lomax13 took, with his paavam film SLR and a paavam "kit" lens, on Kodak Ektachrome (E100G or maybe E100VS) slide film. This by far is my favourite of the lot.
(Right, pseudonymous sissies, all three of them.)

I believe this is sufficient reason for continued love for film, even in its humblest incarnations: those days I carried an old light-leaking Yashica Electro 35 GSN with me, and this was shot on some very ordinary Kodak Colour Plus film or something. (I actually like the light leaks.) We further discovered the very cheap Sterling 125 B&W film (Rs 35/roll, no more) in a Gokarna photo studio. Apparently this is Lucky film or something bulk-loaded into rejected film canisters. It'd have been wonderful if I could find some more of that to play with. (Results from this film are actually quite decent. I haven't made prints or anything, still.)

(I apologize for using too many brackets, including this one.)
sajith: (Default)
2009-01-10 11:59 pm
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J. D. Ganesh.

Jedi Ganesh

You had no idea old Ganapati was a secret Jedi Knight, had you?

(In the interest of full disclosure: the only Star Wars movie I've seen is Revenge of the Sith. And I slept through most of it. But that doesn't make a lightsaber on Ganapati any less cool, does it?)
sajith: (Default)
2009-01-09 10:59 pm
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Leh, in August. Little firefly was out shopping with her mother.
sajith: (Default)
2009-01-01 10:49 pm
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Professor Appunni's sheema nellikka eating lecture demonstration.

how to eat a sheema nellikka - i

Hello class. Welcome to this sheema nellikka eating lecture demonstration. Here we examine the delightful procedure of eating sheema nellikka in detail. Sheema nellikka, as you might know, is a tropical berry that keeps a raw-tart-sweet taste when ripe. You can pick one from the ground, or pluck one from the tree, and then plonk it into the mouth, chew away, savour the tanginess... crunch crunch. Slurrrp. Mmmm. Mmmmm.

+4 )
sajith: (Default)
2008-12-17 10:26 pm

Up north, in the Chalukya HQ.


Sidharth (alright, [ profile] mat_attack), Vivek and I had been to Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole a weekend back. We strayed about, moved around in creaky-jumpy vans and buses, gawked at temple porn art, drank beer, did not watch the adult movie in a local cinema hall as planned, drank some more beer, speculated a bit about life back then when kings were kings and the rest were mere losers, hatched plans for Sid's upcoming Booker and Filmfare winners, and had an overall good time. Children and sometimes adults (even the infamous Badami monkeys, I would say) came to me asking to be photographed, and so the LCD preview came much handy. (Now that is truly something to appreciate about digital.) These are my people and I love them to bits for their generosity. However I now have the problem of ending up with too many pictures. It's aggravated by these places being such that every nook, corner, cranny and stone has a story.

As always, I regret going there with little homework. (Not even a cursory glance on related wikipedia articles, imagine that.) Badami and whereabouts are not as touristy as the neighbouring Hampi (notable is the nearly total absence of souvenir shops and guides), so the plan to buy a guide book and do some instant research did not work. So it happens that we just have not explored or appreciated the place well enough. But as always, there should be a next time when we would do this BetterTM, correcting our past mistakes.

+9 )
sajith: (Default)
2008-12-14 10:31 pm
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Smiles abound.


Just a very happy person contributing to raising the per capita happiness of the nation.

I, like this young man here, would like to belive that our collective acute awareness of the silliness of everything is the answer to everything. Terrorism, television, stomach fat, advertisements concerning thereof, road widening, roads not widening, too many cars, not enough cars, global warming, peak oil, perils to biodiversity, cyclic economic recessions, the state of Pakistan, yellow press, now-whining previously-apathetic middle class, not having enough to worry about, the goddamn doomsday. Everything.

Keep that smile on, boy. We're going to need that.
sajith: (Default)
2008-12-12 11:22 pm
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Et tu?

In one of the rare, weak moments when ad blocker / ad blocker plus were turned off and I was not logged into the site, I found these big banner ads on my livejournal page. Two of them, on top and bottom respectively. It read thusly:

How I Lost 17 Pounds of Stomach Fat in 9 Weeks!

With the accompanying shot of a female's bikini-clad torso. I mean, how embarrassing. Livejournal was so beautiful once upon a time. Now I can't help thinking that it's become the Internet's equivalent of a flea-infested stinky dog.

I shouldn't be complaining with this gratis account and all, but still. Nostalgia can't be anybody's exclusive forte.
sajith: (Default)
2008-11-29 01:08 pm
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കരള്‍ പിളരും കാലം

Expecting to stay impervious to all this by staying away from newspapers, television, and blog noise as I usually do has turned out to be quite ineffective. Now that the weekend is here, I wondered if I could perhaps contemplate at my slow pace how we are all taking ourselves too seriously, how the murderers had taken themselves too seriously, and how all this could have been avoided had we all agreed upon our own insignificance and insignificantly short lifespans and the silliness of religions and national borders. Or dig out the significant news bits and factoids. Or dig out thoughtful analysis pieces and be able to think further.

How wrong I was. Clearly it does not work that way. I did worry about friends in Mumbai, and about those who deserved none of this. I however did expect myself to be able to give a nonchalant look, and avoid the standard emotion-led response. I am after all this guy who could stand by my own uncle's body and perform his last rites with complete detachment and could find humour in the rituals -- hey, he would look great at f/2.8 on Provia 400RXP in the glow of all these flames, and such.

How wrong I was. As I'm poring over the news, I find it hard to hold tears and fury and anger. Not breaking down is hard, close to impossible. Clear thinking is the last thing I can do now. I'm writing this down with hopes of revisiting this from another time, to gladly find out how wrong and uninformed I was again. That faith-foolish thing again.


Even in the recent history, India had this immense capacity to absorb everything, and set itself straight in its course -- the Delhi mass murder of Sikhs took place only two decades back, and look who we've for a Prime Minister now, for example. Or how a largely illiterate population set Indira Gandhi straight when she showed her fangs. Despite the numerous mutinies, we still manage to hold ourself together.

My intuition however says things will never be the same this time around. Pretty soon, quietude and normalcy will return on the surface, but only on the surface. Resentment and vengeful fury will seethe underneath, and eruptions are going to be far more frequent. What could be a more perfect recruitment chance for right wing militancy now? Aren't chances of living under further state control greater now? And greater amount of surveillance, and numerous associated inconveniences to be faced by ordinary citizens like us? To that extent, aren't we allowing the murderers to achieve their target? I'm afraid these are wounds time cannot heal, now that the rhetoric around deficiencies of Hindu tolerance will find greater voice and more takers.

I remember wondering at the somewhat self-inflicted ghettoising of communities around Delhi's Jama Masjid, Hyderabad's Makka Masjid, and the shrine of Hasrat Baal in Srinagar; and wondering why it has to be so. There's so much common to them. I remember how different my Muslim friends' lives are from what I'd seen there. I worry about them, as much as I worry about what future holds us for all. If subjugation was the problem as claimed by one of the murderers, every single community -- dalits, adivasis, Brahmins, north Indians, south Indians, north-east Indians, majorities, minorities, everyone -- in this country could take up arms.

My country, we did not deserve any of this. We never did.
sajith: (Default)
2008-11-26 12:40 am
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ഇനിയൊരു നിറകണ്‍ചിരി

ഇനിയൊരു നിറകണ്‍ചിരി

Was doing the mosquito-in-nude-beach thing at Bangalore Book Festival this weekend. (I did try rather weakly to stay home but that did not really work. Going there and gawking at books in DC Books' stall is something of an annual ritual that's rather hard to break free from, even though they have a couple of shops in Bangalore now.) Now see what I picked up: an author signed copy! Woo!

C Radhakrishnan probably signs all of his books these days. The personal touch is much appreciated in any case.