Light and the lack of it!

I live in Coimbatore, a city in Southern India, and love Coimbatore. A very laid back city with a unique blend of tradition and cultural heritage. Traditional Coimbatorians are very peace loving and respectful of each other; irrespective of their age.

This city made people from all over India and abroad to settle down here for their career or for retirement. Along with this, the city also imported some bad influence; such as road rage, show-off, ego, cultural shock, etc.

There was a time when one could never find out the ordinary looking man of Coimbatore, clad in his white dothi and sporting  a yellow cloth bag, was a millionaire. This down to earth man never had an ego or wanted to show off that he was rich. Slowly, with the influx of this new cultural mix, the new generation wanted to show off, most of the time, their unrealistic pomp.

One small example is the hype for top of the line luxury cars and SUVs. There was even a news that the maximum number of Audi cars sold in India was in Coimbatore! Just imagine how many of the new generation would want to show off their prized possession on the roads of Coimbatore?

Talking about the recently acquired road rage, the situation gets worse come nightfall and the roads become hell joints. What I mean is the street lights which never burn or light up our pathetic roads. Driving in the night is a nightmare! You will never see the pothole or the stray dog, donkey, horse, cattle and of course, the lone inebriated pedestrian trying to find his way home groping in the dark! To avoid hitting on any of the above, the already raged vehicle driver keeps his head lamps always on high beam. He or she is impervious to the blinding caused due to the high beam on the vehicular commuters on the opposite side. So they also put on their high beam. Result more blinding lights and more road rage and cursing under the breath!

If the street lights really worked, there is no need to put the high beam within the city. This is our curse to this once peaceful city – the light and the lack of it.

Off to Georgia….

Last year, one fine morning, when I woke as usual,  I felt a pain; as if bitten by a bug! Then i realized that it was just like what my aunt (Ananga aunt) said, I was bitten by the travel bug! The weekend was a long weekend and I had not made up my mind as to what to do or rather where to go!

The first thing that came to my mind was to go home, to India. My wife proved me wrong and said… “use this time to explore places you have never been to”.. Quickly checked the places I can go without a VISA. I found this country Georgia very interesting. For people with a residence permit in Saudi Arabia, there was no need to apply for a VISA to Georgia.

The fever rose to a new high. I started searching for cheap flights.. found.. done. Next accommodation.. AirBnB came to my rescue as usual. And lastly who can show me around the city of Tbilisi? The answer came from a nice person, Natita, who volunteered to show me around. That was it. I packed my bags. My camera kit took most of the place and weight, as usual.

The flight from Riyadh to Tbilisi  was early in the morning with a short layover in Istanbul, Turkey. The flight was half empty. The seats next to mine were not occupied and I could put out the armrests and spread out to sleep on three seats. Woke up just to shake my leg in Istanbul to walk over to the next departure gate. Again the flight was empty and I had no reason not to get some more sleep before reaching Tbilisi.

Reached my room after a bit of a confusion. Quickly freshened up and informed Natita that we could start our tour of Tbilisi. Off we went through some parts of the old city, savoring the beauty of old architecture and see some of the new architecture as well. She explained to me the story of their kings and some of the great poets and people who had built the city.

It was getting dark and the lights were coming up. So was the beauty of the night lit city. We crossed the Modern Bridge. It was an architectural marvel and the lighting was so wonderful. The theme park on the other side and the lighting of the buildings were a gift for the eyes.

Next day, went about strolling by myself. Found an Indian restaurant and got to know couple of other Indian as well there. One Indian, studying medicine in Tbilisi, Mohamed Shan, was kind enough to offer to take me around Tbilisi. So the next day morning we set off to the mountains in Shan’s car. His car was a beauty, a two door BMW. He took me to various picturesque locations and showed me a lot of architectural marvels in the form of old monasteries and houses.

We reached a place up in the mountains called Goduli. The snow covered mountain peaks were a delight to soak up through my camera. After spending some time there, we returned to Tbilisi and reached where I was staying by late evening.

One more day of strolling through the city and evening dining out with my recent friends made my day and I started to pack my bags. Shan offered to drop me to the airport. On the way went to Natiti’s work place. Bid farewell to Natiti and Girogi. On the way Shan took me to a beautiful park atop a hill.

And it was time to say bye to Tbilisi, only to plan for the next visit in 2017.

Can’t be without pets!

 

My career took me to different parts of the world. The last was to Africa. I was in My furry friends in Kampala, Uganda.Uganda, Zambia, Swaziland, Rwanda and Nigeria. Most of the time I was in Uganda. The place where I used to stay had a few four-legged friends as well. I wanted to keep a dog in my room; but, the apartment management was not very supportive. However, the furry friends were welcome. The black was a male(Black mischief)  and the spotted cutie was a female (I named her Cutie). Cutie was quick to learn a few tricks. She would never enter my kitchen. She would wait for me to fill her bowl with milk and would drink only when I told her that she could! I thought only dogs were obedient and loyal. Cutie was an exception!

One of my colleagues had a pure African breed dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback.  I had heard about this breed. They are very daring hunting dogs. They are known to chase a full grown lion up a tree, running for cover. Though over years, the ferocity of this breed has come down, still they exhibit the temperament for which they are well known. For me, it was a dream come true to touch and fondle a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

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My job took me to Swaziland, which is down south in Africa and close to South Africa. A very picturesque place full of hills and valleys.  I am told that Swaziland is known as the Switzerland of Africa!

As luck would be, the place where I was put up had three guard dogs, which were let loose in the night. The first night, I thought I heard the familiar sound of the paws on the ground. I stepped out of my room and was surprised to see three huge dogs! Don’t know what attracts me to them or vice versa, I end up in canine company. From the next day onward  they would be waiting in the evening for me to return from work. Of the three, the below one was my favorite. He was very mature for his age.

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When my team in Uganda gave me a farewell, one of them said, they were thinking of packing a pup for me to take home to India! Then they realized that it was not easy to take one without the papers and dog passport. How I wished, I could have taken one home!  Maybe , another day……

 

Cheers!

LK

SNAPPPZ!

From childhood I had been fascinated with images. I had a box camera when I was young with a limited budget for buying film. My attempts with the box camera maybe influenced my uncle, who gave me his SLR camera.In fact TWO! One Yashica and the other a Pentax.

Around 1985 the camera did help me pay some part of the tuition fee and the canteen expenses. One famous cinematographer allowed me to take still shots during indoor shoots. The camera helped me to understand the real life behind the reel life. Made some friends in the cinema fraternity.

Came 1991, I lost my cameras as well as the synchronized flash units and the works along with the car in which we were traveling. More than the cameras and the kits, my wife lost a lot of her prized possessions along with the car.It brought the curtains to a fairly long experiments with the lens.

By 2001, the digital era had dawned and I bought an aim and shoot digital camera. I was thrilled, for, I did not have to visit the labs to the get the output! Slowly, one thing led to another and I ended up with a Nikon professional DSLR camera. I now tread the long lost roads of my earlier clicking days! Compared to my earlier days, when I used to think twice before exposing the film to the light, now I only worry about the space in the memory card! I click almost everything. what ever catches my eye, I try to picture and see if the scene was etched properly on the media.

My love for dogs is as strong as my passion for photography. My favorite breed is the Doberman. I like the ripple of the muscles as it cuts through the wind, its spectacular aerodynamic body skimming against the glowing sunset. This one scene has been my favorite. I have clicked a lot of snaps of my Dob, Rocky. Earlier I had a Snoopy and then a Blacky, all Dobermans! The expression on their faces conveyed a thousand words.

I understand dog behavior and know the best time to take their snaps. Generally, the snaps turn out the true temperament of the breed. This Dec 31st, 2012, when I took a retirement from my job, I thought, why not make my passion for pet photography into a commercial alternative? With that in mind, I quickly hosted a web site http://www.snapppz.in. This way, I can see different dogs and enjoy their characteristics as well.

Now, let me wait and see how the picture draws out to be!

Cheers!
LK

ALWAYS WATCHFULL
ALWAYS WATCHFULL