Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hopefully, frozen for eternity



An unknown corner of Cambodia. What did they have in mind when they built these people?

Cambodia is a country I loved because despite the level of torture they have undergone, they are happy and cheerful. 

A seat on the table

Apparently this was Ted Roosevelt's favorite place. 

Mac Arthur Burney Waterfalls, October'16:






Streams of consciousness

In a lesser known part of the world, there lies a stream. A very beautiful stream.

Lassen National Park - October'16. I need to go there sometime soon when it is not covered with snow and see the craters i missed seeing last time. Or maybe, it is ok that i saw just what i did, because it was beautiful by its own right. Fare thee well. :)


Mon canapé - mon amour

I have been listening to this song quite a few times today..


Inspired by this, i did write something..

I lie back, to rest my eyes
seeking a solace, i claim i don't need.

Its not the arms of a lover that hold me close,
but the comforting warmth of a sofa,
just vacated by a tired dog.

I seek your broad chest,
a futile attempt -
but a constant dream
Easier, replacing you with the straight back,
of a reliable, known cushion..

Sans complications, this simple piece of furniture -
that I fall back on, exhausted,
unable to  move - a limb.

Without fatigue, my faithful companion,
it is shadows that surround..
Shadows in which i seek you,
Shadows which play with me
Embrace me,
Their embrace, as solid
as the dreams I harbor.

Exhaustion - I prefer much more -
than restful dreams,
for hope, is not something I want to harbor..

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Everyday beauty

I saw this rainbow while walking my dogs this evening. I was lucky enough to be greeted with this vision.
Laika and Zoya are staring into eternity. I find peace when i see the world through their eyes. Love you mom, for giving me this piece of joy every day and for helping me become better, no matter how impossible the task.

Top slip - an unforgettable safari

I know what I am and I love being what I am.. the prettiest bird around.



The deer's antlers, the hidden and the obvious - they call out to me.

I love his tail.

Sethumadai - a small piece of heaven


The hut is in focus, my attempt at conveying this message, "The woman is but the background - her life a constant battle to put the roof over her head".

Quirky Cochin

God is an artist.. As an engineer aspiring to be an artist, I pray to the biggest artist of all...


Colors, colors, colors everywhere..


Batman Rocks

Anyone who tries to argue with my dark knight love, sorry.. I am posting a few pics from the warner brothers studio. I was lucky enough to view 75 years of batman and literally fly in fantasy..





Play of lights

Both these pictures were taken from a place that i could see the Hollywood sign from in LA. I love the pictures where i can see the sun in its various forms. Perhaps, I feel like i have captured something so elusive through my lens... a beautiful tribute


What I want to be

Goya and the way he has portrayed this bull.

Proud,standing up, facing his demons - straight up. I doubt if I can be so fearless, but I want to be.

Getty Center, LA, July last year. The place i fell in love with art.




Carefree

I loved my college life a lot. Apart from the snob value of having studied in a place i consider heaven on earth, it was a time when i was relatively carefree. These pictures were taken in the Berkeley & Stanford campuses in Jul'16. For a few minutes, i wished i could be a student.. If wishes were horses..

(I know better now, some pics are completely not in great focus. I was learning!)








Flying - without wings

I tried creating this pic (again Fleet week Oct'16) in black and white as I wanted to imagine how a very old movie might have represented people getting ready to leave for war. Right under these aeroplanes there were thousands of us gathered to watch them but when you look at the sky, it is such a unique one to one relationship with them. They make you one.

These birds were in the very same sky but slightly further away. Man can try to mimic nature.. but i doubt if he can ever be truly successful. (A friend told me the unedited pic of the birds is better, but trying to be uniform here)

Photos galore - an attempted beginning

I have been taking a lot of photographs in the last few months. Not seen the light of the day as i keep meaning to edit them and then i don't really get around to it. Maybe I am not going to become the queen of creative cloud, but i guess, some of the photographs deserve a place, atleast in my blog which is in a way, my gateway to the world. (Plus i am not able to write reviews for a few books i read and i don't want to kill this blog by inactivity)

Hence, I am going to go crazy posting pictures.

I had taken this picture during the fleet week in Oct'16. Seems so far away. But looking at it now, it brings back those awesome memories from then.. Love the colors. I had tried editing this using my then new MacBook.

There is my lovely golden gate bridge, the synchronous flight of those planes and two ships (or a ship and a boat rather) filled with people trying to get a better view of the festivities.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hourglass of life

I pause and I pay attention,
The slow ticking of the clock, omnious, greets me.
Perhaps it's even the trickle of sand, from my life timer..
I know not how long I have,
To try and fathom that, plain ridiculous!
Not just futile.

The sound continues to haunt me,
I continue to long,
Despite common sense reminding me not to..

I'm no romantic, but there are days, you make me one.
I long for all that could be,
But just not right now..

Maybe, time doesn't matter
Maybe, time is just a dimension..
I've eternity, I've milliseconds,
I've you, the dream - a beautuful cocoon,
Spun and strengthened everyday..

Friday, May 12, 2017

Light fantastic

Image result for light fantastic

The second Discworld book, begins right where the first one left. Rincewind has fallen over the edge of the world. But he has been saved, as the spell lodged in his brain needs him alive. This is one of the eight spells in the Octavo, the book that the creator forgot to take back after he created the world. To say it is powerful, is probably an understatement.

The heads of all the wizardly orders decide to find Rincewind as the eight spells from the Octavo need to be said together on Hogswatch Day as they watch a star come closer to the discworld and become bigger. 

They predict that something could seriously go wrong if that doesnt happen. The plot centers around their attempts and how in his characteristic bumbling fashion, Rincewind thwarts it, building up to an interesting climax. 

Rincewind and TwoFlower are more comfortable with each other in this book. Their warm camaraderie and the constant presence of the luggage leads to quite a few hilarious instances. 

Pratchett takes a dig at a lot of things we have taken for granted - take the gingerbread house where the two stay for example. They are unaware of the orders hunting for them and so they are at peace and busy tasting the different sweets on offer as furniture. They sympathize with the witch who built it, that was killed by the kids - a dig on Hansel & Gretel. This forms just a few pages in the book, but remembering it makes me laugh even now. "The animals stayed away as they lost teeth. :)"

Then, there is Cohen, my awesome old barbarian. After an adventure with the druids, the two rescue a reluctant virgin (she wants to be sacrificed) along with Cohen, who is a tottering grandfather. This is another scenario where Twoflower's rose tinted view of the world made me like him even more. The lack of Cohen's teeth and his insistence that the most important thing in life is soft paper, and his awesome sword skills would make anyone sit up and take notice. The romance that blossoms between him and the girl young enough to be his grand daughter is cute and effortless. 

While trying to save the virgin, Twoflower unwittingly enters Death's domain. His interaction with the four horsemen (of Apocalypse) and him teaching them a game with cards that refers to "something you build over water" (bridge!). Rincewind, for all his cowardice, tries his best to save his friend and later the world. 

The trolls, the wizards (especially Trymon and his penchant to organize constantly - he will destroy without caring about anything's value) & the star people, add a lot more color to the plot. Each comes with a different set of lessons and if you read deeper into the lines, makes you philosophize. So much so that you can become like the trolls who are afflicted by philosophy and spend years thinking and forget to transform back from stones. 

A very hilarious read and i guess the beauty of the book is its ability to make you laugh and think at the same time. Ultimately, the message in the book that I took away was that, it is not how skilled you are, but how ready you are to face your demons that makes you who you are. 

Beauty

I saw this tree in the middle of the road yesterday. Such beauty, Majesty! It was a pleasure to stand in her shade. Thank God nobody has destroyed her yet, in an attempt to progress.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Terry Again - The Color of Magic

I have a bad case of writer's block. I am not able to get started on my "Story of a lifetime". So I decided to start reading Terry Pratchett again. I did a marathon in 2012. It has been almost 5 years now and I want to see how I view the books through the lens of who I have become in those years.

DiscWorld is a strange and fascinating place. It is a world that is flat. It rests on the back of the great A'Tuin (a giant turtle!) who is swimming through space with four elephants that hold the world, on his back. Ankh Morpork is just one of the numerous places in the flat world, but a very active place, ruled by a Patrician. It is full of guilds and has its own Unseen university, full of wizards. The most inept of them being Rincewind.

Color of Magic is probably my least favorite in the DiscWorld series, but I started with it anyway, because well, you start from the first book.

The plot begins with a great fire in Ankh Morpork. Two figures run away from the fire, having involuntarily caused it. Two Flower - the Disc's first tourist and Rincewind - the almost wizard who is acting as his guide. These two very contrary characters are adorable in their own way. The plot follows their shenanigans as one who seeks adventure actively, is with one that tries to run away from them. The luggage is another added dimension to the plot. Two Flower's luggage is made of sapient pear wood (Did i get it right?) and follows him wherever he goes.

What happens when a man does not know the worth of what he carries and shows it away unwittingly in a city crazy for gold? What happens when the same innocent soul, pays for a day, with what can feed people for months? Mayhem!

That is what Ankh Morpork is subject when TwoFlower comes to town with his gold rhinus.

The crazy twosome run away from a burning city and enter a dragon land where dragons manifest from your mind and a talking dead king stays back as a ghost. They also enter the temple of the Soul Eater and meet him (almost),  go over the rim fall (The world is a disc remember?), attempt to become astronauts,  participate as God's play dice with the Universe, drive a slaver ship crazy and most importantly, stay alive through it all.

My personal favorites are Hrun and the game of dice and that is probably what i will remember about this book when I am old and tottering.

Whether it is his comments about "insewerance" or "reflected sound of underground spirits" or the crazy sword, or the beings in trees, Terry's humor shines throughout the book like a beacon. Ultimately, that is the reason I read this book and the reason DiscWorld will remain a fond favorite I would always curl up with no matter what.

You cannot map a sense of humor and I really wish I can write like him someday.

I am going to start Light Fantastic now and I am hoping, I enjoy it more than i did this one. 

Black and White Magic

I have spent my evening listening and watching a few beautiful old Tamil songs. I have a soft corner for the language (as I have blurted out a zillion times) and I love old songs. PBS is my favorite. 

Today, I watched "Kannum Kannum Kalanthu" quite a few times and marveled at the grace and beauty of the two women dancing. Not a step out of beat and not a wasted move. So many years later ( I think it is almost 60 years now), one can still watch the song and be spellbound - that is a testament to the timelessness of some forms of art. 

Guardians of the galaxy 2 - A worthy sequel

This summer, it is raining sequels.At least, there were two, which I watched two weekends in a row. I have been waiting for this one ever since I bought a baby groot figurine, for my desk in Sausalito Bay in Jan. 

To cut a long story short, the movie does not disappoint. It has all the elements that worked in the first part - the catchy background score, Groot, the constant bickering, elaborate visuals and Gamora (come on, you know I like women who are gutsy).

The plot begins with the Guardians - Our Over Confident Peter Quill, Deadly Gamora, Funny Drax, Angry Rocket and Cute Groot guarding a battery from alien invaders. The first scene is easily the best in the movie with groot dancing to music, as the heros try to vanquish a scary monster. They get Nebula (remember Gamora's sister?) as a reward for their trouble from the Sovereign. After a cold (freezing rather) sibling reunion, the group set out to claim the bounty on Nebula. (told you, no love lost there) 

Rocket gets them into trouble as he steals the very thing they were supposed to guard and the team is on the run, followed by an efficient army from the sovereign as the high priestess is raving mad about their contempt. 

When all hope seems lost, they are saved, by none other than Peter's absent and mysterious dad. In the fight the aircraft is seriously damaged, crash lands in an unknown planet and needs serious repair. 

Rocket, Groot and Nebula are left with the damaged aircraft while the other three go to Ego's planet. Unfortunately, the ravagers arrive and pick up the stranded duo, while Peter, Gamora and Drax are cared for by Mantis in Ego's extraordinary planet. How the group gets back together and who Peter's father really is, forms the rest of the plot. 

The movie is funny. The scenes with Groot are amazing and hilarious. The emotional drama made me feel like I was watching an Indian movie. It is definitely melodramatic in places and given my liking for mushy scenes, I did enjoy it. 

Where the movie failed me was in the unnecessarily gory massacre in the Ravager's ship. Otherwise, it is definitely worth a watch, even if not the rewatch. 

The post credits scene with Groot was quite cute and I wonder how he is going to behave in the sequel if there is any. 

P.S. That is my prized possession. A chance purchase of all the guardians, sitting at home. :) 

Sunsets

A beautiful sunset I was lucky enough to see today. There's so much of beauty if you just pause to view the world. In unexpected places and in expected ones.