Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Indian Express

My wife said that we have to switch over to The Indian Express.
“Why can’t we also subscribe to The Indian Express and read all the leaked news instead of reading about some Techies being hijacked and murdered and how bad the traffic jam is going to be today with that lady with the saree over her head trying to fly some plane”
I said: “Its not good to read leaked news, and shame on you. You don’t know the name of the president of India. You have to give everyone a chance. It cannot be Kalaam forever”
Meanwhile my son interjected: “Papa what is this Liberhan report?”
Me “It’s a long story son. But the jist of it is that nobody did anything 17 years ago”
Mother-in-law : “Oh my God look they are demolishing the . . . . . . . . .”
Me : “for Gawd’s sake. . . . .where is that remote. . . . . . .some one please put that TV off.. . . . .. ..Ma I told you umpteen times what they are showing is something that happened many many years ago”
Son: “So what happened 17 years ago?”
Me :“Son, do you know what Bofors is?”
Son: “No”
Me : “See, that is why commissions and inquiries are set up. At regular intervals they will open and close the files so that every generation down the line will know what Bofors is”
Son: “Papa that picture you took of the Taj hotel, was it before or after the incident?”
The Taj Hotel
Me : “What incident? No incident happened there”
Son: “But Pa, we have video footing of Kasab with an automatic. . . . . “
Me : “Don’t jump to conclusions. Those video things are the result of some faulty CCTV installed at the wrong places. Investigations are going on and maybe after about 17 years we will hear actually what happened and where the bullet proof jacket disappeared. It will also be established that the Judge was right in giving Kasab non-veg biriyani in the prison. For all you know he may be put in a rubber dinghy and send back the way he came. Poor fellow”
Son: “and the other picture that you took in the night, was it because you knew that it would be torched in the night”
The Taj Hotel
Me: “What utter rubbish. Don’t go about spreading such rumors. I just clicked some pictures because I liked the way Taj Hotel looked at night. As it is I am having a bad name because people are using my pictures in their blogs and Viquipedia in some foreign language which I can't read. Somebody has even put it on Newspapers24.com , whatever that is. . . . . . .Hey who put that TV on again?”
Wife: “Aha there is our PM. I hope Obama bends properly when he greets our prime minister”
Me: “It is not for us to decide the degree of difficulty whenever Obama meets heads of states”
Mother-in-law: “With our PM in the USA and our President in Pune who is going to take care of our country in the centre?”
Me” “Don’t worry Ma, this is not a classroom where we need some one to mind the class. We have got some well behaved elected members in the centre who can take care of us. After all we have elected them”
Son: “But Pa you did not tell me what Bofors is”
Me: “So far I have only understood that it is some big gun and something to do with some one by the name of Quattroachi”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Hippie Culture

When I was in school, I used to get these “hand me down” text books from Mr M. (Don’t confuse this M with the one in James Bond movies)

Probably this was a measure taken to cut corners at home but I used to envy the other students who used to have clean new books. The advantage of the hand me downs was that you get to read the next year’s books as soon as the school closed, while others had to wait till the school opened. I used to finish all the stories from the English text book.(Maths text book goes into hiding) The only problem was that there used to be a lot of markings in them. Underlined sentences, important questions, smiley faces !! most of them marked in ink or pencil. So my first task was to rub off everything that was in pencil. Aha so much cleaner.

Then one fine year the hand me downs stopped. Reason ? Mr M stopped going to school. Why? He turned into a Hippie!! “Wow long live the hippie culture”

Later on I met him one day. What a transformation ! Long hair, ragged clothes, bathroom slippers, and the worst part was he smelled and looked dirty. One day I asked him “don’t you have bath?” His explanation “see when you don’t take bath, there is a layer of dirt formed on your skin. This layer prevents germs and disease from entering your skin”

I didn’t know what to make out of it. I mean when you are a school going child you would like to skip a bath may be two or three in a row, but I reasoned that if this is going be the end result then I better have nothing to do with the hippies. I wonder what Mr M is doing now. I know his full name but don’t want to pen it down here, in case he is reading this. (school drop outs too read blogs – ask Peter Jackson)
These thoughts came back to me when I stumbled upon this cartoon by R K Laxman.

One of you is my son and I want him to come with me home

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I stand corrected

I stand corrected.

Now I have to add Sachin Tendulkar's name too as the person whom I admire from the cricket fraternity.
And the reason why I admire him has nothing to do with cricket.
read the last line of my earlier post And that is cricket for you

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Better be careful

The other day I was strolling down Koregaon Park when a handsome man came out of the famous German Bakery and smiled at me as he passed by. I dared not smile back for the simple reason that he looked like a foreigner (probably an Asian holding an American passport) How do I know all that? Well in these difficult days its best to know and check the credentials of a person before you smile back. Who knows after some years there may be an inquiry and I may find myself behind bars for smiling back at a person who came to India with evil intentions. Later on I found the same handsome man saunter into the nearby gym. I hope the trainers there won't speak to him. Can't they see that his father is a diplomat from Philadelphia. I pity those trainers as they are going to face the music after a couple of years.

I am also worried about the trip that I made to Kochi last year to visit my in laws. I do remember strolling down outside the Taj Residency (now named Gateway) with my wife. I hope no one saw us taking that stroll. After all one has to be careful in case there are some anti social elements staying there in the Taj.

And while in Kochi there was a Janmashtami procession in front of Jayalaxmi. While my wife was busy selecting the best dress material, I went out and clicked some pictures of the colourful procession.
dead pan


Later while downloading the pictures I found a picture of a foreign tourist who was equally fascinated by the procession. But now on a closer look I see a policeman following him. I wonder if I should report the matter to the authorities. (at least it will be a decent picture to splash around the TV and newspapers instead of a burnt out hazy black and white picture)
Looking for the right frame.
All said and done I am sure nothing will happen to me. After all I am not any famous film producer/director’s son.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Love is. . . . . . . . .

Kim met her future husband, Roberto Casali, at a Los Angeles ski club. At that time, Kim drew sketches of her funny episodes on the slopes. Roberto encouraged her to continue and she did, expressing her love for him in little cartoons. Kim and Roberto were married in 1971.

Like many self-taught artists, for many years Kim Casali felt that she was not really a professional cartoonist but rather, in her own words, "a doodler". She was born Marilyn Judith Grove in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1941 and at the age of 19 traveled to Europe and the US. She worked in various jobs, including being a waitress in a London teashop.
Her cartoon continued to grow and Roberto became her business manager. Kim was sometimes put on the spot to defend her cartoon, as some people felt the comic depicted "women as childish, simple-minded dependents."
I wonder if being childish and simple minded are bad traits for an adult. Looking at the drawings of Kim does bring a smile on everyone’s face. (at least for the romantically inclined ones)
I remember seeing these drawings first in the “Sun” magazine in the mid seventies. (which was published from Calcutta.)

Love is…….helping each other to stitch up the pillow.

Love is . . . . . . . .
Here is a couple who will be celebrating their 55th wedding Anniversary next month. I feel they must have lived through each and every cartoon strip that Kim drew. There is never a dull moment with them around.
I clicked this in low light (without a flash) to accentuate the light and shadow in the picture. (click on the picture to see the comments in Flickr)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Children's day

Today is children’s day and Puru Pratap Singh, a 4th standard student from Gurgaon, must be feeling great to have his creation flashed all over when you type the Google search.
Remember the days when you used to have those “Camel” coloring competition in school. I suppose for Puru it must have been a similar experience but he must have really put his heart and soul in it.
His work was chosen from over 4000 doodles submitted by students across the country, and was selected based on artistic merit, creativity, and expression of the theme.

I really admire the selectors as it must have been really tough with every child coming up with some thing very unique. I wonder what the other entries were.

Kids can always come up with excellent and good ideas, especially if they are the Tom Sawyer type (remember the self propelled boat made by Ishaan in Tare Zameen par)

If only we could encourage our kids to have more out door activities than sitting glued to the telly.

Came across a picture of a game where the child has to pass through a maze of criss crossed strings. Each string has a small bell attached to it. You touch the string and there goes the bell and you have to start all over again.. What a lovely way to increase the child’s concentration and patience.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Mega Pixel myth

Its about time I changed my camera. So says my wife.
Well its been on debate for a long time (and the debate is between me and myself)
Yes one part of me says “go in for a new one” and the reason being that my present camera packs off at the most unpredictable times and I miss many good opportunities. The packing off is due to my battery cover which refuses to close fully resulting in improper signal to the telescopic lens. So when the priest says “you may kiss the bride now” and I raise my camera for that special shot, my lens just retracts (like the turtle head) and just refuses to come out. By the time I switch it off and then on and have it all ready, the bride and the groom are happily sliding out of the church !!
The reason why I want to cling on to the existing Nikon Coolpix 4300 is that its an excellent camera with minimum hassles giving excellent results. I remember going for a shoot meet and one stalwart saw me clicking and said “Joe you brought this? You did not get your other one?” I said “what other one? I have only one camera” He took the camera from me (which easily fits in his palm) turned it upside down, had a closer look and said “you mean all those pictures of the war cemetery and the pictures you upload on Flickr are from this camera ?” He just could not believe it.
Kirkee War Cemetry
When people see a good photograph they assume that it must have been taken with a costly sophisticated camera.
Have you seen the road side cobbler at the corner? Have a closer look at his tools. All primitive isn’t it. But see the results he produces with those tools. All produced by his skill and ingenuity.
I believe how you use your camera makes all the difference. And you can have excellent results with a simple camera. I remember some of the initial pictures that I took with our first camera Agfa Click III.

One of them is of my parents who were ready to go to church in their Sunday best. I thought that it was the right time to click as the early morning light was perfect. Considering the fact that this was clicked almost 40 years ago with no advance technology, I think this is pretty good without a flash (and no photoshop).
dad and mom
Then came my Isoly-II which was slightly better than Click-III (more on that later)
Coming back to the present situation I am yet to decide what to buy. And that is another hurdle. So many to choose from. Did a lot of reading on the net and one thing I gathered is about the myth. “The higher the mega pixels the better your camera” Its not so. So when the salesman says “sir why don’t you upgrade your camera. What you have is only 4 mega pixels. Why don’t you go in for this 10 mega pixels” Don’t fall for it.
I read on and this is what I got:
Sharpness depends more on your photographic skill than the number of megapixels, because most people's sloppy technique or subject motion, blurs the image more than the width of a microscopic pixel. Sharpness has very little to do with image quality, and resolution has little to do with sharpness. Resolution (pixel count) has nothing to do with picture quality. Color and tone are far more important technically.
Confused? Good. So am I.
So my search is on, and hope to get the right camera at the right time.
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A camera catches your imagination. No imagination, no photo - just crap.