Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Mumbai Local

Traveled by the Mumbai local train after a long time. I was on my way to CST (Victoria Terminus) to catch the Deccan Queen. Being a Sunday, I was spared of the usual office rush. I couldn’t help but compare travelling by the local, a few decades ago. The rakes looked better and the inside was more airy and brighter. 

 It was good to see the inclusion of an announcing system inside the bogie (with a display on an electronic board)
The Indian Railways had third class bogies too which were scrapped sometime in the  sixties.

While crossing over from the Western Railway to the Central Railway, I was happy to see the absence of the hawkers on the foot over bridge. 

It was good to see some familiar sights and landmarks, like the tower of the Railway Hospital at Byculla.
While alighting at CST, I noticed the big clock. Reminded me of the times when I used to wait to see the big hand move, which looked like an enormous task, considering the size of the clock. 

There was a mural at the station of how Victoria Terminus looked during the British era.

The "statue of progress" which is about 17 ft tall stands atop the dome. I recall reading in the papers (some where in the late sixties) that the head of the statue was broken when lightening struck the dome. It was replaced by a perfect replica (made by the students of the JJ school of Arts which is situated across the road)

The above picture was the last one I clicked before boarding the Deccan Queen to proceed to Pune. 
Talking of Pune, I remember the days when we used to travel down south, the only stretch of electrified line was between Mumbai and Pune. Further down it was the good old steam engine. 
While travelling in Deccan Queen, there was this guy from the pantry car who talked politely and served every one with a cheerful smile. His face looked familiar and I clicked his picture in haste. 

It was only later I realized that he looked very much like the fruit vendor who sits at the street corner close to my residence. 

I captured a few video clips at random and put them together to make it into a 4 min video.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rajesh Chougule

I believe that pictures speak a lot and I am very generous with the number of pictures that I use in all my blogs.
But this post of mine has only one picture.

We sometimes instantly strike a chord with some people, at short acquaintance.  Rajesh was one such guy. Very good at his work, highly skilled, but never a show off. The way he used to apply common sense and logic to get any problem solved was something that always impressed me. A very soft spoken guy, but always in the forefront to help anyone in need was his hallmark.  Being a nature lover, he never missed a chance to take part in treks including a few to the Himalayan base camps.

 His involvement in a train accident was something many could not comprehend.  At Vaibhavwadi railway station (Sindhudurg district) he fell and got trapped between the train and the platform.

A major portion of his right lower leg had been severely damaged and he lost a lot of muscle tissue in addition to multiple compound fractures. The fall on his right side fractured ribs and punctured the lungs, resulting in impaired lung function (Atelectasis) , rupture of intestine and scratches on his liver. Due to all the internal injuries, he had been on ventilator support in the ICU.  

On 24th April, the doctors decided to amputate his right lower limb above the knee. By this time the family had already spend something like Rs 7,00,000/- (mostly borrowed from relatives and friends)

With all the best efforts, Rajesh did not pull through and breathed his last a week ago.
His son is currently being trained as a Marine Engineer with the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala Kerala while his daughter has just appeared for the board exam. Even though his wife is employed part time as an accountant, we all wonder how the family is going to pull through.

For all those who want to help (in any way) can contact the following people for the details:
Clifford Samuel  Ph: +91 9881004899
Virendra Wayal  Ph: +91 9850008609
Mahendra Sokki Ph: +91 8308812657   

Or if anyone wants to make a silent contribution, here are the bank details:

ICICI Bank   a/c No 000 501 504 010
A/c  name:  Rajesh Manku Chaugule / Anita Rajesh Chaugule (joint account)
IFSC :  ICIC0000005
Branch : Bund Garden Pune, India

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kalpataru A Musical

Once in a way you get to see a good play, and if it is a musical, then nothing like it. Kalpataru is an adaptation of an ancient Kannada folk tale which was put across in an interesting manner.

The play in Hindi was put up at Symbiosis Auditorium, Pune on 24th (there was a show held in Mumbai the previous day) 

What I liked best about the play was that it was performed by school children. They had no inhibitions and performed with ease. The flawless performance was an indication of the number of rehearsals that they must have gone through.

The usual story tellers that you see in Marathi plays were present here too in the form of Chota seth and Mota seth. 

To make it interesting they have mixed a little bit of the modern, like the king sitting on the throne taking selfies 

Even though I have a lot of video footage, I made a short video of the interesting parts  which runs to about six minutes and uploaded it on YouTube.  
Special mention should be made about the singers and the accompanying tabla and peti (Harmonium)

Another thing that impressed me was that there were no photographers running around blocking the view and there were no annoying flashes. So I too put up my tripod in one corner and managed to capture some good pictures. 

The costume, the lighting and the music were perfect which goes to say that the funding from Flowering Tree, Inc was properly utilized.

Proof of a good performance is a standing ovation at the final curtain call. 

Edit on 3rd May
Added one more short video today.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sunlight and vegetables

Nothing like seeing the morning sunlight filtering in through the green foliage when you are having your morning cup of tea. 

This is the first time that we are trying the Red Cabbage in our garden.  They are blooming well along with the normal cabbage.  We may have to wait another 3 months to pluck them.  

We found that these Grow Bags are better than normal conventional pots and it is cost effective too.
The Radish too are coming up well and it is about time to pluck them for our next salad. I wonder why they are always peeping out of the soil. 

It may take another day or two for the lettuce leaves to join the radish in the salad 

Daily morning I see one or two of these yellow flowers fully bloomed waiting for the bees. They fall off by evening. These flowers are from the sponge gourd creeper.. 

The decorative flowers are managing to hold on in one corner.

Looks like the green chillies are going to be surplus this year too. Last year there was continuous growth for six months. 

But what has got me really excited is the sight of these bunch of flowers that has come up on our Vanilla creeper. Its flowered after a gap of 2 years. 

Five years ago I had written in detail about the flowering cycle and the artificial pollination that one has to do for the Vanilla.

In a bunch, one or two flowers bloom in a day. They have to be artificially pollinated before noon. The ideal time is 9 to 10 am (they slowly close up as the sun gets hotter) If the flowers are successfully pollinated, they dry up but hold on to the stem. These stem (stalk) behind the flower grow thicker and ultimately becomes the Vanilla pods. In my attempt to pollinate, I see about 30% success this year. It requires patience and practice.  

The regular tomatoes are coming up well with the perfect round shape, but the cherry tomatoes are a peculiar variety. Never seen these oval shaped ones before. 

The mint leaves have got its perfect green sheen. I always put in a mint leaf along with a blade of lemon grass (cut into small pieces) in my morning tea.  Apart from its medicinal benefits, the aroma is very pleasing.  

A twig of the mint went into the decoration of the flan that we had yesterday. 


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Flying Umbrellas

Had been to Bharuch last month. This was my first visit to Gujarat. Like they say, the journey is more interesting than reaching the destination. 
Travelled by the double decker train, again a first time. If you happen to be on the lower deck and look out of the window, you get a worm’s eye view especially of the platform and the commuters.  

For people travelling long distance it is going to be a pain as the luggage racks don’t take in big luggage and we Indians don’t know how to travel light.  Some keep their luggage in the aisle making it difficult for other commuters to walk. 

While filming the interior ofthe train  I caught one guy accidentally dropping his luggage on a co passenger. Luckily no one was hurt. 
There are many Indian songs showing the train or travelling by train , like Jiya ho, jiya ho jiya kuch bol do, or Rajesh Khanna’s Sapno ki Rani kab ayegi tu, or Shah Rukh’s Chaiya Chaiya, but I like the one on Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat singing Hum Dono Do Premee. 

While waiting for the train at Bombay Central I saw this board outside the cafeteria. You get a glass of hot milk for Rs 10/- but if you ask for it in English you will get 50 ml less.  

Actually I had been for a wedding shoot in Bharuch. Apart from capturing the wedding and the happy atmosphere, there are other things that catch your eye. Like the pundit who keeps his match box at a funny location for easy access. 

I am usually engaged to capture candid pictures and videos while there is a professional photographer who clicks the “standard” pictures. (I refuse to do that as I have an aversion for posed pictures) 
At the same location with the same subjects, one can make the picture interesting by just waiting for “that moment”  By comparing these two pictures below you will get an idea of what I am trying to say.

 pic clicked at "that moment"

                                             posed picture clicked by the photographer

It is funny to see the reactions of the guests and the couple when something happens out of turn. Here it was the case of the Flying Umbrellas.  Most of these happened when my camera was rolling,  but I edited them out in the final cut.

It was interesting to see the bride coming to the mandap on a motor bike, riding pillion. If I had known this earlier I would have suggested to keep the headlights off as that was causing a glare, and I had a tough time keeping it out of the frame. 

During my stay there I was put up in the Guest House and was impressed by the place. 

 No trappings of a commercial hotel but at the same time all the basic amenities were there. This was attached to the Swaminarayan Temple and was again impressed by the cleanliness and management of the temple and its surroundings. 

Some how I could not find time to go inside the temple and click, maybe next time. 

Covering weddings are fun. At the editing table you have the liberty to put in your ideas  and make it more interesting. Like this Flash Dance that I captured in a wedding in Pune two months ago. 

If I were the judge I would give the bride’s father the Best Dancer award. What perfect body movement.