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)
2009-10-16 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)
2009-07-06 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)
2009-01-21 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)
2008-11-16 11:18 am
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i haz medium format

i can haz medium format!

Introducing the oldest newest toy. And the "i can haz medium format?" talk, which lead to getting this. I'm not quite sure it actually takes photos (yet), but toys are always nice. And the Mat's viewfinder is such a revelation!
sajith: (Default)
2008-10-12 11:08 pm
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Look Ma, I developed film!


It was so much like cooking food for the first time. Only difference is, I still, or rather ever, would not dare feed anyone what I cook. But I don't mind showing pictures I developed, because I'm really proud that I haven't totally messed this up. :-) Although the scene of development was a manly mess.

pictures and blathering )
sajith: (Default)
2008-08-20 11:44 pm
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That highway everyone is going to.


HPTDC's "Himachal Paryatan" bus was to start at 11am from Manali bus stand, but it started at 11:40am. At the rows of dhabas along Rohtang pass, we were allowed half an hour to eat lunch. But nothing, not even a boiled egg, was served at the end of that half an hour. Our bus conductor was annoyed, and asked his driver to start anyway. My friends were equally annoyed, argued and stayed over until everything ordered were served and plates were licked clean.

You could say that it was a slow start day.

And then the bus broke down around 3pm, as we were climbing Rohtang La. Help arrived from Manali at 7. They worked through fog and dark and cold, and finally the bus could be started again at around 10am. We were supposed to reach Keylong and settle into our tents (the fare included tented accomodation in the HPTDC complex in Keylong and dinner), but we reached there at 2:30am. We ate dinner, slept for maybe two hours, and were ready to start again at 5:30am.

The driver, like everybody else, must have slept for two hours. And this guy was under the bus in the night, helping to fix it. After this he was driving through that thick foggy dark night for quite some distance. And he's to take us through the rest of this rough road, for the entire day, until we reach Leh. You would expect that there would be another driver or an assistant for such a long (two days) trip, but there was none. This is supposedly a luxury bus, but clearly HPTDC did not want to risk a real luxury bus on this route.

It was kind of unsettling to sit right behind the driver, knowing that this guy has hardly slept the previous night. We reached Leh at 10pm without incidences -- except for an overtuned oil tanker blocking our way for about two hours.

And I thought I knew what hard work is.

"Hard work is hauling bales of hay or cleaning sewers. Scientists and engineers should be grateful that society is willing to pay us to have fun," said Leslie Lamport in an old interview. So true.

(picture dump.)
sajith: (Default)
2008-08-20 06:36 am
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Mommie, I want that bokeh.

mommie, i want that bokeh

Went around loafing another time. Got some pictures to show.
sajith: (Default)
2008-07-22 01:00 pm
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It's a Pentax!

mike tasting mike tasting

Right, so I have this new camera! And this image is fresh off this new camera!

Pentax K200D has support for DNG raw files (as opposed to proprietary raw formats -- with DNG, I can ufraw, gimp etc.), CCD-shift shake reduction (as opposed to image stabilisation in the lens), some good amount of sealing against weather, dust-proof-edness, and it takes AA cells (as opposed to proprietary cells, and AA cells are easier to find). Voting with money. (Not my money, not so far -- until I pay the funding dude.) Everything's okay so far.

I wish it had a larger viewfinder, a separate thumb-wheel on the back for aperture control, CMOS sensor instead of the CCD one, but then it would become a Pentax K20D. The K200D would do just fine since I am not too sure if I deserve to spend any amount on a camera. The K20D has too many megapixels, and it weighs more. I mean, that cannot be good for the pack-light traveler within.

Right, Pentax lenses are hard to come by around here, but that is okay. Anything that should discourage obsessive compulsive lens buying disorder is okay.