But it is not just my resort. Joining the chorus are many others. I can hear the distant boom of the music (Sheela Ki Jawani) across the forest valley well after light out. Tourists drink and dance till wee hours of the night. And in the morning they don’t care too much if they miss the safari.
In a moving photo documentary, the children of the horrific October 31-November 1-2, 1984 riots narrate personal tales bound together by the common themes of violence, loss and the death of their childhood, reports Sanchari Bhattacharya.
It is touted that the Umaid Bhawan Palace was built as a drought relief measure by Maharaja of Jodhpur Umaid Singh. The idea was to make a luxurious private residence for the Maharaha in order to create employment for the starving people of Jodhpur. I find it ironic. Imagine a man thinking of making a 347 room luxurious villa for himself out of the misery of the people is he supposed to serve. Surprisingly the Maharaja is glorified till this day as a philanthropist for his `noble gesture’. The moment you enter the Umaid Bhawan a large plaque informs you about this `generosity’.
I visited the kothas several times over the years and realized that the moment the sex-workers cross forty they are virtually done for. The clients don’t come to them, their families don’t want them and even the media doesn’t care for their sound bytes anymore. In the red-light districts of India the elderly are relegated to the lowest hierarchy. With no livelihood they are expected to clean, wash and run errands for the younger women in the kothas if they want food and shelter. Most of them suffer from many venereal diseases but they have hardly any money for treatment or medicines.
I am putting up this post with a disclaimer: I don’t believe you can learn photography in quick short tips as listed here. These `tips’ can at best be viewed as pointers. Thats why I have titled this post -` Maggie Noodle Photography Tips’. A magazine however insisted I write few quick tips on the various aspects of photography, so here they are for what they are worth.
Sanjay Austa’s ongoing photo series Gully Cricket: Cricket in Our Backyards, portrays the game as it’s played in the monasteries of Ladakh and on the beaches of Kanyakumari: Mint
In my grandfather’s time, ‘good old days’ were indeed the good old days. There were no rules for love and marriage and sex was free. You met a girl at the village fair and if she was willing, you could have a roll in the hay. If you wanted something more serious you brought her home as a bride . If you didn’t get along you simply broke off because divorce was not a stigma. Not even for women. My grandfather boasted of having married 13 times in this fashion and my grandmother thrice.
Banned books are fantastic for the obvious reasons. They question the status quo, challenge existing paradigms, question idiotic beliefs no matter how sacred, and provoke you to think anew. The very reasons the politicians and the clergy would not want you to touch them. But what is good writing if it won’t give you a fresh perspective. And what is freedom of expression without the freedom to offend. Because for how long can you read Paulo Choelho or Chetan Bhagat
Its interesting that almost all the religions of the world decided that the best way to appease their Gods was to butcher hapless animals to them. Apart from reasons of piety, I suspect it had something to do with guilt. Taking another animals life for food may have looked a bit selfish. Therefore as in most things, men decided why not do it in the name of God? You get to eat the meat and God takes all the blame for the blood and gore.
Most African Safari junkies round off their African bush adventures by dipping their feet in the waters of one of the white-sand beaches of the Zanzibar Archipelago. But I headed straight for Zanzibar even before I saw my first thomson’s gazelle. I had just completed an exhausting shoot in Tanzania and there is nothing like the Islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago to rest your body and soul. It was meant to be a quite holiday but I just could not resist picking up my camera again to photograph the quaint islands, the placid beaches, and its warm people.
If you are photographing in Assam for the first time like I was, you would do well not to carry a heavy long-angled zoom. Everything is so vast here that it wont fit your frame unless you carry a wide-angled lens in your camera bag. In Kaziranga National Park the rhinos often breach that invisible man- animal line and come close enough to ram your gypsy turtle. For this reason they send an armed guard with every three gypsies to scare the rhinos with blank shots.
As a travel photographer I had become accustomed to being the first one to arrive at any landmark at any place I visited. I would have taken the best shots with the early morning sun much before the first tourists began to troop in. But when I stepped out of my hotel in Kanyakumari at six in the morning, I was shocked to find a sea of humanity already there at the beach. Groggy-eyed I tried to look for a vantage position to photograph the rising sun. But every nook and cranny was taken and every tourist was smugly poised with his camera.
If you visit Wadi Rum in Jordan, a night’s halt is a must . Not just for the stars that shine so lustrously in the desert sky but for the exotic and authentic Arabian experience it accords. Thankfully there are no hotels in this desert so the only way you can have a lay over here is in bedouin-like camps. From the food to the interiors, the camps compete with each other in giving the best bedouin experience.
Known as `Valley of the Moon’ Wadi Rum in Jordan is not just a nature lover’s moonscape. Its also a great place for sport aficionadas. The sheer cliffs and escarpments of Wadi Rum desert offer enough challenge to the hardiest of climbers. No wonder serious mountaineering and trekkers flock to these huge sandstone mountains all the year around.
If you fly into Zanzibar you will be rewarded with fantastic aerial views of turquoise and blue waters and views of the emerald eden-like islands of the Zanzibar archipelago. Zanzibar is indeed quite an African oasis. Who would imagine white sand beaches on the African continent? But every year this beautiful island attracts thousands of tourists from around the world- chiefly from the Middle-East , Europe and Asia. Most tourists visiting the mainland for its wildlife round off their trip by cooling their heels in the cool , calm waters of Zanzibar.
Is it really possible to go without food for 13 long days? Anna Hazare demonstrated this amply by his indefinite fast at the Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi fighting for the tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill. What amazed everyone was how this 74 year old man managed to fast for that long when Yoga Guru Ramdev had to be admitted to a hospital after barely seven days without food. Ramdev for all his `yoga- cures- all’ posturing was diagnosed with bad liver and blood pressure and was quickly put on a drip.
Like all summits in the hills, Hatu Peak is also a religious place with its temple and designated deity. Once a year (June 20) people from all the apple growing villages lying below Hatu gather here for a traditional festival that has been celebrated for generations. In the past the villagers would walk up to Hatu. But today a motorable road cuts up through the dense forest and meanders to the top. The economy of the apple growers has thrived over the years and now they drive up to Hatu in their new four-wheel drives.
If Petra is Jordan’s historical heritage, Wadi Rum is its Arabian Nights. Its in Wadi Rum where folklore meets imagination. No matter which part this small peaceful Middle-Eastern country you travel in, all reference points are invariably of the desert. Its just as well. Over thousands of centuries, the life of the Jordanians have been shaped by the deserts. Almost seventy five percent of Jordan is desert-like, much of it uninhibited. The civilization is squeezed to a narrow strip around river Jordan and the Dead Sea.
When my father said he wanted to build a house in the orchards, I was surprised. What’s wrong with this one I said? We already had an orchard house. Though the house was a bit unplanned- with no attached toilets or modular kitchen, it was still beautiful. It was in the middle of our apple orchards . It was glazed on three sides and had a spacious lounging area around it. The kitchen was the old pahari-style, complete with a chulla where we burnt firewood to warm our hands and sometimes cook. The house had a huge gable with a spacious living room below it and an attic with splendid views of the apple orchard valley.
I am amused by the irony of a man who claims to own nothing, zipping by in a gleaming Mercedes while those who can actually afford one, bumping along the Delhi – Agra highway in the less than comfortable bus. I try to ask the followers about this but I am scoffed at for my `ignorance’. ” You will never understand the ways of our Guru”, they concluded.
Nizamuddin’s shrine like most sufi shrines attracts not only muslims but a fair share of christians, hindus and sikhs as well. Coupled with its tradition of music Sufi shrines such as Nizamuddin are also on the radar of fanatics who feel music is against Islam.
Anglo Arabic School is the oldest educational intuitions in Delhi and one of the oldest in India. It was established in the 1690’s by Ghaziuddin Khan the deccan commander and general of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It opened as a madrasa and took the name of its founder. Despite it ancient pedigree , it was as recent as 2002 when the very bureaucratic Archeological Survey of India declared it as a heritage monument.
But the girls did not oblige. The organisers of Slut Walk Delhi- a motley group of college students, had made it clear. This was India so no revealing outfits. The Slut Walk Delhi was christened Besharmi Morcha and the organisers were at pains to explain that the walk was not just about women’s right to wear skimpy clothes. The only skimpily clad person for miles around was a resting ascetic who sat topless bang in the middle of the Slut Walk route.