Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hypocrites rule the roost

                     I often question myself- why we have to live in a world full of rules and regulations. A world full of do’s and don’ts, of haves and have not’s, a world guided by discipline seekers and law makers. A world where a ruling party decides the fate of the nation. The common man is at the receiving end of all and he has to abide to all the laws of the books. If one has to trace down the growth as a country, one must look into the ideologies of the particular ruling party.

As far as India’s progress goes- we have been steered into the new decade of the 21st century mostly by one party who ruled for 58 years at the central level. Tracking India’s growth over all these years – there have been innumerous stalwart decisions and leaders, but equally menancing and fraudulent people at the decision level. But one question that can haunt many of us Indians is – are we heading towards the right direction inspite of being free for almost 64years. Where is our standing in terms of development towards the right path goes. Inspite of the growth trend on a upward curve, we are after expanding Indian land in horizontal direction. Grabbing parcels, mountains, hills, rivers, canals for so called development is the regular practice of the babus who sit and do almost nothing at the government offices. A look into any well positioned government officer can give a picture that he is more interested in amassing wealth from improper means and creating property pools. Diverting decisions, creating means of escape, not abiding to the law, procrastinating decisions have left us Indians bereft of the sense of pride we should have been enjoying.

               The recent news surrounding India creates a kind of panic situation and also the one of unrest. Impounding terror attacks, corruption creeping its head, malpractices all around, counter attacks of political parties on each other, mind games of the leaders for each other and many more. Much more disheartening is the fact that one comes to know that everything is staged – right from post of a chief minister to inflation, to common wealth games, scams, phone tappings, matches .Everything seems to be a part of a perfectly scripted reality show, where the audience keeps voting through smses, whilst the winner is pre decided.

               Most of the rulings by the court for national level cases are either deferred or are favoured by the person pumping more money. Be it IPL mess, Kalmadi’s histrionics, Raja’s notoriety, lobbying of the newsmakers for key decisions of national interest, everything happening around the country is well decided in advance and executed. Money rules. Even awards are not spared – there is a beeline to buy awards.

               The common man is nothing but left as a mere spectator to these dramatic events unfolding in front of him everyday. Decisions taken at very large scale percolate to the common man in manier smaller ways – price hikes, tax hikes, etc. The common man is merely party to these decision turners. With dirty politics and selfish grabbing the prime mottos, the genuineness of present time leaders is questionable.

               Often do we see many allegations, revelations, scandals, scams pointed at most of the politicians and leaders alike. These prove to be a good fodder for ‘breaking news’ for the aam janta. But these so called ‘breaking news’ turn into ‘broken down’ news after a while, with either public loosing interest in the matter or the case being suppressed. This has become the order of the day since history. The common man is being choreographed into this mode of life. Debate, discuss and 'carryon' is the modus operandi subscribed by most. These leaders take advantage of such an attitude and stage histrionics one after another.

We are nothing but living in environs where manipulation is the name of the game and ‘hypocrites rule the roost’. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

'Graph'ing Photo -4

Addition to the collection

Experiments with firecrackers during Diwali

Matheran - could capture nature at best during the wee hours of morning

Monday, November 15, 2010

'Graph'ing 'photo's -3

New addition to the collection of my photographs

Dhol player during the Ganeshotav 2010
Flags in the air
Halo around the moon during the 'Kojari Poornima'
'Insect' ing

'kid'ding around

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Its an 'ads'olute world

Any commodity in the market needs to make its presence felt for visitors and users alike to make the use of it and for that commodity to sell better. The realization of this concept lead to the origination of the idea of advertisements. To advertise means to promote. Here is a take on the way products are advertised, kind of products which are advertised and the type of advertisements which throng people’s minds.

Advertisement as a field is sheer brilliant as each advertisement needs a ‘unique’ concept and should act as a catalyst to boost sale of that particular product. Such is the brilliance of the field that it has penetrated in almost all spheres of commodity promotion. If one looks at the way product is promoted- one can see the advances being made. Right from the old ads of Nirma, the Rasna girl, utensils flying for the prestige cooker ad, liril ads, the famous garden varelli ads, cinthol , only vimal and many more. One can track with way these television ads have ‘come of age’ with passing times. ‘One black coffee  please’ made a huge stir in the way ads were being perceived and that gave rise to intelligent ads and ads driven by a pinch of humour. Cabury’s come up with ads that touch the human emotions, while fevicol tinkles the funnier side of life, they tried to create a name for itself in the advertising scenario. The recent Vodafone ads with the new character 'Zoozoo' made sure the viewers are glued to the television sets during those matches. Occasions like Diwali, certain important events like world cup, IPL, political rallies make sure the viewers are bombarded with enough content during the breaks and throughout the session. Almost 70% of the content on popular television channels are commanded by several ads. This calls for the importance advertisement is being given in the minds of the people and also by the companies.

The intrusion of various types of media has led to the variations in types of ads too. One product is marketed differently on television, on radio, on print, in newspapers, on hoardings and also on the minds of people. One can see a totally new vocabulary for marketing of one particular product according to the media variant. The newer concept of advertising is to stimulate and make the most of the senses of human beings to attract to the product. That’s were one can find a totally voiceless ad on television for a product, a visual treat on a hoarding, perceptible voice ads on radio. A recent ad by Volkswagen Vento in the newspaper with a small device, proclaiming about the product , which was fitted to one of the page of the newspaper was a superb attempt to grab attention of the populace. Such concepts not only boost the sales of the product but also creates an identity for the product and the company at large.

For some reason several companies always stick to non-sensical ads to grab people’s attention. Some innerwear brand comes up with ads inclining towards vulgarity while some other brands knowingly create utter rubbish ads, so that they are in public talks for their stupid ideas perhaps. This tact is used as a publicity stunt in a negative manner. Mobile services too are not far behind in the rat race of advertisements. These services are seen as personal or one on one way to reach the potential customers. The promotional ads on mobile services and the non subscribed messages for various ads are sheer nuisance to the mobile users.

The ads featured in the newspaper are being unnecessarily barraged on to the readers. Huge ads covering the entire page, pages, or even supplements together are becoming a routine for the everyday reader. As in case of television ad contents, the print ads too command more than 50% of the informative space. Every page of any newspaper is filled with some or the other ad making it a commercial newspaper rather than an informative one. These newspapers are also accompanied with pamphlets marketing some other business.
The attitude of advertising on every possible surface available is the trend of the hour. Webpages with pop ups, news channels with commercial breaks, gift items with ads etc are all gimmicks to seize the attention of the eyeballs.

Our cities are not left from these advertising trends. Hoardings, large and small adorn the city and these have now become an integral part of the cityscape. Real estate ventures, large and ugly faces of stupid politicians are some of the popular types of the hoardings imposing their presence. Hefty prices for the hoardings on judicious locations are marked in the city. Some buildings even sacrifice their building façade to gain the commercials from the hoardings. The need to gain more money by placing these hoarding right in front of the windows supercedes the need for good amount of light and ventilation. Retaining walls in the city, bridges, railings, street poles etc are the most vulnerable locations to bear the brunt of forced advertising.

Nonetheless, we are now living in a world where advertisement rules the roost and the rat race to grab ‘the look’.It is becoming a mad mad world full of advertisements – its an ‘ads'olute world

Friday, October 22, 2010

Patterns of Devotion

Most human beings are god fearing. They believe in the holy spirit and each religion has its own way of offering their prayers. Each religion, according to its beliefs, have set certain rules and modes of offering prayers. Like Christians have their own way of offering prayers, muslims do it by presenting a shawl to the holy tomb. Hindus, who believe in idol worship also have their own way of offering prayers – a symbol of showing that you are devoted.

               But as Hinduism boasts of crores of deities, the form of prayers too differ and are subjected to change depending on the local beliefs. It might be surprising to know that certain deities are offered ‘prasad’ (an offering of food) made of pure vegetables and pure ghee, some other deities who come under ‘hinduism’ need
sacrificies in the form of a lamb / chicken etc. All of this is guided by beliefs and so called traditions. 

               Even though one religion has crores of deities, only a select few get the honor of being  ‘celebrity deity’. In India, holy places like ‘Tirupati’, ‘ Sai baba Shirdi’, ‘ ‘Vaishnodevi’, ‘ Lal Baug cha Raja , ‘ Dagdu Seth Ganapati , ‘Mahalaxmi from Kolhapur’ etc are the deities to name a few which can be mapped as the most popular deities amongst followers. There is an interesting pattern of devotion that exists in these popular holy places.  Lord Tirupati is the most sought after deity in terms of number of people visiting. People wait there for queue which can span to one or two days even, to get a glimpse of the god. A new trend is to ‘book’ the time of your prayer in advance and visit the temple. Several centres which offers such services are making a good business of it.

This trend of sorts is now spreading to other deities which are frequented by such a large number of populace. Whilst visiting these believers shower the god ( and the associated trusts) with huge amount of money and other valuable accessories. A gold crown for the ganapati, a golden traditional cap for Shri Sai Baba, interior of the temple made of silver and what not. These are the kind of offerings the ‘strong believers’ in the deity offer. There is a certain rat race to gift glamorous items to the lord just as a publicity gimmick. These attention seeking followers don’t do it with ‘heart’, but they do it with full ‘money and political power’. One who grants these heavy duty items to the idol and its trusts is a loyal believer –whereas one who goes with a pure feeling of devotion sans any costly accessory is a mundane visitor. One can clearly see commercialization of religion and religious values which are being exploited by the political will power.

               The other factor deciding the popularity of the deity is the amount of time a mundane visitor takes to get ‘darshan’ of the lord. Two days to see the lord means the deity is popular amongst the masses. To avoid such time consuming practices, a newer fashion is to set up a replica of a certain popular temple in other parts of the country and world – to decentralize the crowd??? Its like creating a chain of temples. Isn’t this another business of sorts?

               Another pattern of unusual devotion is the crazy loyalty of the people of South India towards the South Indian heroes. Names like Rajnikant, Chiranjeevi, MGR are equivalent to almighty and temples to worship them are built. It is indeed a ritual for the true south Indian movie fan to worship these ‘lords’ along with other regular gods. A procession carrying the movie reel of a Rajnikanth movie, to creating a larger than life statues of these stars is no new practice for the people down south. This epidemic spreads across all the places in the world where a true south Indian fan lives.

Few are the places where one can satisfy oneself with the whole hearted emotion of devotional offerings. With the kind of religious practices going around, one can certainly find himself lost into these ‘patterns of devotion’.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My smartphone's true connection

                    Smartphone is the new device which many of us aspire to possess some or the other day. Rather than being a pride, it is slowly becoming a status symbol too. I am still not amongst the league of smartphone populace, but I do desire to have one of my own, someday!

                    Smartphone as the name suggests is supposed to be chic. It should carry the features a ‘regular’ mobile device has, plus it should incorporate the features which can really astonish, surprise and create a sense of excitement for the user every time they use it. Even though I am not amongst the rather ‘elite’ club of smartphone users, but I often wonder what features can actually make me excite. One feature that can set my smartphone apart from mundane mobile devices according to me is the feature to read peoples mind and send across the emotions (in a true way).

                    The way I see mobile device, is a gadget meant to connect people to each other. Imagine if this gadget incorporated feelings of the user. What if these feelings are transmitted to each other in real time. The normal mobile device does the same feature in a rather boring manner in the form of text messages or photographs or voice calls. This doesn’t make the messages ‘really personal’ as one would like to be connected. An actual smile of the sender along with a ‘Hi’ cannot have ‘the real essence’ a message is meant to carry, rather than a mere smiley. Even voice over the phone can seem less personal than actually meeting or knowing what the person is feeling.

                    It can integrate other features like capturing the reaction of the receiver which the sender is unaware of. Making the smartphone extremely personal would be the feature. A sense of belonging towards the tool could really make it personal and special than other ordinary mobile device. Addition of a webcam or a facility to actually feel the expressions and reaction to a call or sms would set it apart for me. Meeting someone in person is no doubt an experience, but since this gadget is the bridge to connect them, one can imagine a near to real experience via such smartphone. Bridging the gap of human connect with the help of a tool can make my smartphone in a different race altogether.

For me, such an application can signify my smartphone’s ‘true connection’.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stop making fun of Ganesha

Lord Ganesh is the most revered deity of Indian Culture. Every work – be it major or minor begins by worshipping or remembering this deity primarily. He has a special place in the hearts of most Hindus alike all over the world.

History denotes that worshipping lord Ganesh was a ritual limited only at select few homes. It was an honour for the so called ‘elite communities’ to have the privilege to worship him openly. Later with the influences of several leaders, was the festival of celebrating Ganesh Chathurthi at a mass scale and amongst the public was introduced. The celebration of this festival was seen as a catalyst to boost unity and oneness amongst the people. This festival reached to several parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and other states. It gained instant momentum and its gait spread like a wild fire. With times, the ganesh festival was seen as a major event in the calendar of Indian festival. It started creating mass public presence on the streets and major public spaces. Welcoming the idol with music and dance gained impetus with the years as it spread across several cities.

The ritual procession to welcome and depart the Lord is seen as a major gathering event during the ten day festival. The ambience during such a procession is real experience for those who follow it whole heartedly. But a lot of malpractices, commercialization of the event are also making its ugly presence felt during such sacrament. Nowadays, gathering of public of such a large scale brings along with it unlimited alcohol consumption, dominance and show of political power, use of weapons, unhealthy fights amongst non-sensical groups, insecurity for women are becoming regulars during this mass ritual. Such an  increase of malpractices on a social arena condemn the charm of the festival in public. The decency, holy spirit and whole heartedness of the ritual is limited to a few groups and a few traditional mandals. Instead of shunning such practices, such practices are popularized.

The salt to the injury is that this festival is also looked as a soft target for terrorists. Never do they get such mass of crowd at public places to target at. Thus recent festivals are also marred by a certain attack by terrorist groups. Thus there is always a shadow of fear and attacks during recent ganesh festivals.

Lord Ganesh, being a darling god of most is often seen in several forms and avatars. One can open up any newspaper, magazine flooded during the festival or even otherwise to stumble upon Ganesha in various poses, acts, etc. Imagining Ganesha playing a guitar, on a bike, on the sports field, Ganesha DJing in a disc, as a tattoo etc ridicules the image the deity carries along with it. Creating spiderman like Ganesha, flying ganesha, in a rock band etc and assigning him with anything in the name of ‘art’ is a bad practice indeed. He should not be treated like a mouldable clay with weird imaginations. 
His due respect lies in revering him. Creating caricatures, cartoons, using him as a mascot for several advertisements should stop.

What one doesn’t realize in the meanwhile is that, these pages of newspaper are used as scrap. They are used as wrappers, to sit on, to keep on dirty surfaces, to pack items and many more. So what one eventually does is treats this god as a scrap material by doing so. One must ask for oneself, by these acts are we worshipping the lord in a real sense. Condemning such acts and practices should be stopped to give utmost place to the god and not take him for granted. This creates a representation of a hypocrite.

Stop making fun of Lord Ganesha!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Various facets of Urban poverty

Indian poverty- a worry associated with India since the last so many known years- a subject dear to the social activists, politicians, planners, developers alike. One can see a significant leap made by India in almost all areas except poverty; it has been increasing at par with the Indian population. Every significant step towards progression is leading to additional load on the poverty structure. If one tracks down the way Indian poverty has been dealt or has ‘come of age’ – one can find several facades to it.

                      Poverty line has always been a dear subject of debate for many. It has been seen as one perennial subject on which almost all elections are being contested, and won. A subject where false promises, lack luster visions and fake assurances are given and taken. It has been 63 years the country is independent but the issue of poverty has not been eradicated, in fact it surfaces and re-surfaces constantly. It is like a popping jack which pops up its ugly face time and  again.

                     There are several poor people in India who are dealing with the fight for everyday basic needs in life. One fight to have a meal supersedes the fight to get the next one. On one hand we are flooded with images of hungry stricken poor while on the other hand we come across lot many proclaimed poors.  

                     Poverty have given rise to unhealthy attitudes amongst people. Laziness, content with whatever one gets, lack of motivation .Unprecedented levels to proclaim that we are poor are knowingly taking place in India- where we find people making money of portraying poverty. Several cases of alleged groups involved in forcing kids and children alike to beg on the roads and signals is no new news. Extracting money from these children and handling over a meager amount to the actual performers is a rather big business. The cases of cross dressers is also an example to signify the fact that people can go to unattainable levels to procure money.  The lure of falsely changing genders, dressing like woman to get some wealth forces certain sect of the poor to fall into the trap. This leads to loss of identity, both for the individual and for the society at large.

                     The new business amongst the so called poor is to acquire certain hot spots in the city which eventually become their home. All hills in the city are acquired by these people in hope that the government will provide pucca houses to them in some years at a miniscule rate. These people then shift to these pucca houses and also keep a claim on the space they commanded on the hills. It was very shocking to know that certain hutments on the slums are on rent, where the actual owner creates a lot of property in the city. These hutments in some prime locations in Mumbai comes at a price where one can built a spacious house in second tiered city. One can see proper infrastructural services being laid out for these people. Several slums in Pune have electric poles, televisions, cable tvs, proper water supply and all other amenities which other citizens are deprived of.
The game of politics is evident in this as it is only these people who vote for the favored politicians.

                      It is very hard to digest that several beggers in Mumbai have actually bought spacious apartments in suburbs of Mumbai. They own a hutment in prime locations of Mumbai , have bought apartments and continue with their occupation of begging. Certain signals, spots are considered as major locations for begging.

                      The critique here is not on falsity of poverty. There is no hiding of the fact that there are genuine poor in the country. It is a serious issue and it is really disheartening to see these deprived eyes on the streets. But much more demoralizing fact is that some of these poor give a false face to the world. On one hand there are poors who are denied access to basic amenities like toilets, schools, hospitals while many other enjoy facilities to the fullest.

Genuine , hardworking, deprived , passive, active, smart, are some of the various facets of urban poverty.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Conditioner called past

                This is a story of a life. About a voyage of a fellow called as a ‘heart’. He came into this world as an ambassador of goodwill and good faith. He came to ascertain the ways of this world and was installed along with the assembly of mind and soul . His existence into this world was like a clean slate. He developed himself to be like a sponge where he was to absorb the ways of life. He had his own way of looking into things. He nestled himself into the proceedings of life and to imbibe things which will help him figure out the meaning of life and relationships.

                 During his early days of childhood, ‘heart’s innocent eyes saw lot of pampering and lot of caring around. He saw many people looking after him. Many other ‘hearts’ cared for him. He realized that by making some sound and crying, he garnered lot of attention. He was nurtured and specially taken care of. He was sheltered into a cocoon of love and affection. Later as he grew up, he was surrounded by yet another group of ‘hearts’ and lot of curious minds. Their ways, culture, habits and way of looking at life was different than ‘heart’ . He was confused, as he got experiences which he was not accustomed to. Lot of questions kept running in his mind all the way as he familiarized himself with. This was his growing up years, from being a baby to teen.  He started developing an understanding of relationships with other hearts.

                Another stage of life grappled him with unusual experiences. This was the phase of teenage heart to being a mature one. Here he came across another sect of ‘hearts’ who had yet other interpretations of life. They had their own story to tell and our ‘heart’ imbibed a lot of them. His slate was being filled up with a lot of newer understandings of life. He realized that this world is not the way he conveived of at the time of his birth with naïve eyes and one needs lot of manipulations and improvisations to survive. He began to realize that these hearts carried with them a unique set of thoughts, cultures based on their own conditioning.

                During the course of his journey into understanding the way life unfolds for him – he came across a young and beautiful heart. A special ‘beat’ skipped for him whenever this special heart was around. Heart fell in love with this special heart and they started moving around. With his interactions with this special heart – he tried to identify himself somewhere. He was grappled at the way this special heart treated him and was also flattered at the way he himself felt about himself when in presence of the special heart. In due course of time- he proposed to her and she accepted. They started spending a lot more time with her.  He started getting to know this special heart and another layer of experiences added in his slate of life. He realized that each heart has his own way of dealing with things and the way other hearts condition themselves. He realized that the way his slate was getting designed because of the innumerable experiences he had, other hearts too had their platter of past and varied experiences. He got a much broader view of life.

                 He tried to understand how these relationships work with each other. How does this matrix of life called relationships unfurl. This intrigued himself so much that he started relating all events of his life with this puzzle. He figured out the layers he faced while being in a cocoon to an understanding heart.

                With his learnings he concluded that every beating heart is guided by a set of exclusive assortments of experiences, feelings, thoughts, nourishment of the mind, direction of the soul, understanding of human nature. Each and every relationship in this world is steered into the present condition because of the past. As one climbs the ladder of life taking one step at a time - these relationships creates a journey further based on the conditioner called past.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

'Graph'ing 'Photo' -2

Continuing with the series of photographs, some additions to the collection

Self snap during site visit 

Flower offerings to Ganpati

Shoring some clicks

Chasing the moon

Below are a series of what i call 'F-lame' experiments

Play of light against a yellow-ocher backdrop

'Graph'ing 'Photo' -1

                            Yet another Collection of my photographing experiments

Rankala during night

The sand has always been an exciting medium because of its flexibility 

Below are some of the clicks during a visit to a Pottery shop. The sizes and shapes of the pots interested me to dabble into some captures

Food is also an interesting subject to freeze in the lens. I believe, making the food presentable and likeable is the craftsmanship of the cook.

Clicking some fishes also gave me an insight into their movement pattern and how one needs to be patient to click the right moment

The fluttering of the wings can be sensed 

My camera moved while clicking this picture below, but nonetheless gave an interesting effect to the image. A rhythmic movement perhaps