Monday, May 23, 2005

take your pic

i hate digital cameras..mainly because i cant afford one. so my stand, as i've told a million others, is that in the order of depreciating image quality, the human eye is followed by a 35mm slr, the one-time use plastic camera and finally by any of those ubiquitous clickathon participants, the digital camera.

i like to think that photography is one of my hobbies. its not. my slr is hiding in a corner of a closet lest i take it out and shoot some really badly composed shots. the few that i took (about 15 rolls) are all organized by a random shuffling algorithm i devised on the fly while dumping them in the same closet. note to any obssessive compulsive visitor of my room (and mom): open the closet at your own risk. biologists are however welcome to hunt for new species as long as they are named after me. enough gross out closet details. that photography was my hobby of destiny had been quite obvious to me from the beginning. my father had a yashica slr that was built for a slight variant of the time-lapse photography technique. once we assembled in front of the camera, a lot of time lapsed while my father tried to get the picture right in the viewfinder and then there was one photograph at the end. needless to say when i took that camera to my high school farewell party, all i had were photos without people and in the rare case the chairs that a few hours ago had been vacated by the last of my patient teachers.

when we went on this trip to kodaikanal ,a summer when people still thought about saving a click for a better shot, i was the resident expert on loading film into the cameras. its not like the other guys didnt know how, they were just too lazy and i was too much of a nice guy to refuse a chance to unload a sarcastic comment as i gently pulled the film a little out of its cannister, fitted it on the backside of a camera and then shut it up. by the time the trip ended i was as trained as one of those crack commandos who dismantle a canon (oops i meant cannon) in less than a minute. the slr had long been traded for this ultra-modern zoom (or joom depending on whether u like captain or not) camera that could have possibly taken good pictures. but i was so adept at loading and unloading film that i was content to keep doing just that and came back to singara chennai with no snaps and 2 complete rolls of kodak chroma gold.

obviously my youth blinded me to the fact that my best snaps were ones that required my presence to explain what the object in the snap was. so i plunked down a further $500 to buy myself an slr..a good one, the best one..the one with a setting for each shade of the sky...the one that was supposed to make a novice take perfect snaps of dew drops and make tail-lights of cars look like someone had drawn parallel red lines. it was slightly bulky , so what. after a few more of the aforementioned unidentified objects turned up, i was quick to set it on auto. a little later when i realised that pulling it out quickly, focussing and then shooting a shot required more muscles than those in my eye it went straight into the closet and started its hibernation. it still comes out to take a peek during birthdays and the roll i loaded back in 02 is still there with undeveloped photos of me blowing candles ( oh yeah i still do it).

but i refuse to vacate my fact i vow that i will never start a photoblog. if i do none of those photos will be digital or film for that matter. it may take a lil while but my latest camera consists of a drawing pad and a pencil. i'll personally capture each image to the worst of my ability. you'll still visit it , right ?

the disclaimer makes its comeback : i do not endorse yashica (now part of Kyocera Imaging), kodak, biologists, slrs,drawing pads,pencils or fact if someone paid me for doing this, i'll promptly run out and get a digital camera

Monday, May 16, 2005

the truth and nothing but

the men on my father's side of the family don't lie to save their skin or to gain any kind of advantage. we just use hyperboles in a rather exaggerated way. my sister and i always needle my dad and his brothers about their ability to spin whole kancheevaram sarees out of a single yarn. its hard not to when my dad insists he got his rather long name (my last name) just because his eldest brother liked it more than Narayanan and changed it when enrolling him in school or that he'd gotten his birthday because his sister liked a date more than another.

there was the "true" story of how my uncle (the same elder brother) had won an obstacle race in college. his only contender was this suave individual with jet black hair that was maintained with a host of creams and concoctions(an early metrosexual if u may). after they'd all lined up at the start lane, the instructions were dont confuse this with your ordinary steeple chase. this was an obstacle race a la the ones in full metal jacket, fauji and other such army while the announcements abt the obstacles and how to negotiate them were being announced, our hirsuit hero was showing his mane off to the scores of feminine admirers who were watching. at the sound of the starting gun (or the blow of the whistle, how wud i know..i wasn't there) the racers set off. the competition was clearly between my uncle and the brylcreem guy..split end to end they raced to the first obstacle , a set of low ropes under which they had to crawl and get across. at the other end brylcreem slipped out a little ahead of my uncle and raced towards the next obstacle - a sort of hurdle jump. while my attentive uncle nimbly jumped over the hurdle, the other guy, having focussed more on his curls than on the announcement, continued to crawl under these as well and was instantly disqualified. thus my uncle became the world champion of coimbatore in the obstacle race event.

my dad is a more trained exponent of this art having observed his brothers in action. he embellishes and adds to a story in a subtle way that what was once just a collection of gases and dust, quickly becomes a rock and then becomes a new world for people to inhabit. here's an example. when my parents landed here in the US , they went through the customs and as they were cleared to set foot into the Bushland, they noticed another parent couple being escorted to a closer scrutiny by the customs people. at least thats what my mom told me. when my father told it to me the first time, they were arguing vehemently with the customs guy telling him that it was their constitutional right to bring lime pickle into a country and that it wasnt a WMD like he'd thought it was at one whiff. the second time was at a friend's place soon now the "pickle terrorists" were being interrogated by senior customs official and one person who looked like an FBI agent. this time they rejected the husband's passport asking him to catch the next plane back. Seeing this the dharam patni instantly fainted thus converting O'hare International into a set for HAHK2-chocolate,lime juice aur aachaar.

if u know me , u r probably carrying a huge rock of salt around to take with whatever i say. dont worry too much though, unlike my elders, i've learnt to channel all that exaggeration into a written form - this blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

everyday superheroes

yet another morning. Vice-captain Patience stepped out of the shower mulling if today will be the day when he finally asks that bus stop seductress, Flirt-Woman, out. he slipped his costume on. what looked like proper dress wear could at a day's notice turn into the most fashionable evening wear and he didnt even need a cramped telephone booth or a dark alley. the saunter to the bus stop was done in an unhurried manner befitting his sobriquet and there she was standing dressed to kill. but who was that standing next to was that evil,conniving Babe-Magneto and boy was he packing it today. he had his babe-vision sunglasses, the flashiest 32-tooth smile and his flowing tie gave every indication that it had been designed to break hearts. articulate words flowed out of his voice box like polished cannonballs hitting their target with an equivalent force. Flirt-Woman was starting to look like Just-Another-Girl under the verbal attack. Vice-captain Patience ground his teeth silently and in a supreme display of his hidden waiting powers, stood a little away under the shade of a tree waiting for the bus. he knew his waiting powers far exceeded the villain's vocal abilities. he could stand there waiting the whole day if need be, lets see how long Babe-Magneto can keep talking. as if the devils had heard his prayers, a bus promptly came along. being the gentleman he was he kindly let the ladies go before him including a fragrant Flirt-Woman. be patient,he told himself, this is not the right time to talk to her. then in a flash Babe-Magneto promptly stepped on his toes and squeezed into the already crowded bus. in an almost never before seen display of his ultra-patience, Vice-Captain Patience silently bore it all, not even asking people to squeeze in to make more space. in fact he had used so much of his patience that growing woozy he stepped back for a minute , only to have the bus driver close the doors and take off. in that vulnerable moment, he almost let his weakness take over. repentance had a strange way of diminishing his wait time. no, he decided, this was no time to repent and summoning all his remaining patience, he turned back and went back to the shade and started practising waiting for the next bus. soon he was well on his way to becoming Captain Patience.

Friday, May 06, 2005

say no to reading

its a given fact that we are a very visual species..well i dont exactly know of any other species that can read pictureless books from birth but we do understand much more quickly with a picture. its probably safe to claim that barney has accomplished much more in teaching the importance of cleaning one's room than a manual on personal hygiene. my childhood was spent on a lot of comics that had talking animals. they were all created by a couple called amar and chitra and usually began with "once upon a time in a jungle". though i was clever enough to understand that a bubble above an animal's head meant that it was talking , the fact that a monkey was talking to a crocodile or that animals peacefully assembled at a banyan tree under the auspices of a lion king to ostracize a cheating hyena completely slipped beneath the radar of my bullshit detector. the point is that i learnt most of my morals - looking before leaping , doing things slowly so there is no waste, never to leave a royal garden under the care of a monkey etc - from a rich visual medium.

then someone told my parents about one of the Rs. the argument for reading a book against watching a movie goes thusly - you use your own imagination when reading, you imagine places things and people to have a certain form and assume certain features. a movie takes away from this "wonderful" experience. so the argument goes, reading will improve imagination but it doesnt stop there. the other 2 Rs -'riting and 'rithmetic - would quickly follow making life hell. its double the effort - not only does one have to read, you also have to translate the words into pictures. i know now that imagination produces false images 100% of the time. it stems from assumption and you all know what assumption is the mother of.

lets just do away with all the reading and go visual. everyone would then be on the same page. until N T Ramarao came along everyone had vastly different images of lord krishna and ben kingsley is for all purposes the only gandhi i know. i hope u didnt spend too much efffort imagining while reading all this. i'll try to come up with a 10 panel comic strip to substitute this post but no promises because the only thing i ever did right in arts class was writing my name on the left top corner.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

america's pastime/india's timepass

jagguG is the brainchild of dopppsy ..while to all others he is just a normal, multi-millionaire cricket administrator/manipulator , to me he is a ruthless think-tank capable of turning (fan)fiction to reality and baseball diamonds to cricket pitches and hence to real diamonds

sometime in aug 2005 when brownish-yellow leaves are strewn all over the outfield in a park in chicago, jagguG talks money with his fellow sharks - raju patel , raju shah, raju patel 2, raju patel 3 and kantibhai patel. did we give MLB a run for their money or what ?? i told u the grass is mightier than the beer. now lets see as per our schedule ,the regular cricket season should end sometime in november and the playoffs start the same day abt 2 hours after the last game. raju patel , the eldest in the group and the one with a grocery store in little india for the longest time, chips in with his infinite dal-packing wisdom. but , sir, but in november the grass will be gone..i mean from the outfield. it will be winter. no one will come here braving the chicago winds even if we give them free grass and viagra. the younger raju , with a gleam in his eyes, starts - we should move the playoffs to mexico, i've been to cancun, lots of nangi chokris there, heck we might even be able to cause a early spring break there if we market it right to the goras here. raju shah, in charge of logistics due to his experience in keeping track of frozen paratha packets - that would not work , sir, we've already announced the schedule, and this chicago crowd wont even go to indiana to see the latest rajinikant movie because gas is too expensive..they wont go unless we buy southeast airlines and fly them. this is a quandary. jagguG whips out his cellphone and calls his technical consultant - hey do u still have that rain machine we got to fix matches ? do u think u can reverse it and make it suck all the snow or something - we'll postpone the winter in chicago this time.what? it will take till next winter ?? phuck you man.kantibhai, the quiet chaat-corner owner - sir if i may, i have a canadian nephew who told me something. it seems the hockey league has cancelled its season because they wanted to keep all the money from the advertising, those greedy i suggest we move the playoffs indoors and onto the ice. the NHL fans dont understand the rules of hockey and wont care less if they were seeing balls instead of fucks i mean pucks.the stingy desi crowd will definitely drive from the suburbs to downtown - we can hit 2 penguins with one snowball sir. all our sons and nephews can be the parking lot attendants and our daughters and nieces can be half-saree clad cheer-leaders. we can sell bhel and samosas out of the concession stands. well the players have to be taught ice skating but we have that 2 hour gap between the regular season and the playoffs. we can charge these fans for that training session also. everything is in place, we'll just sign the NHL agreement. jagguG interrupts - then we can sell this to the canadians too.despite inviting them to the world cup the canucks are still ignorant abt our game.maybe when they see the ice they'll make the connection that it is a sport. so everything is settled, the first ice cricket playoffs shall skate out in november. wait a minute what is that i overhear - what people in sharjah havent seen a sheet of ice at all.hey raju3 , sun baenchod, as soon as the finals end here, cut out the sheet of ice from the arena and have it shipped to sharjah u hear.we're having the next season of ice cricket in sharjah