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Why I do Photography?!

My first stint with camera I remember is clicking as a kid with my Dad’s mirror-less Kodak camera with a roll inside from the age of 9. The reason was that it helped me grab a frame that would go down for eternity – as I had seen plenty of family albums with black & white images – weddings, picnics, festivals, new born kids in studios, old family patriarchs in their rocking chairs. However the ones that held my attention for longest and I considered closest were the candid images – with my dad/mom/dadi/baba,etc. looking carelessly or sometimes not even looking at the camera. Yet they came across as loveable people – that made me love them more.

Coming back to my stint with camera – though I started at age of 9 however I did not have much control over what I shot so I felt in a way I was not improving nor learning much. I did not continue it till I came in MBA course. Here as well I did not have a camera however I felt great almost high when I saw some great images of my batch-mates and that is how I came to know about DSLR – as late as 2010.

{Late it was given the international scenario however in India – the photograph enthusiasts had started owning one since 2007-08.}

All I remember is that the first thing I wanted to buy for myself after MBA from my own money, even more than good food & clothes, was a DSLR. I felt it would be my VENT for my creative energies, it would act as my correspondent for whatever good I had to share with the world apart from my professional career where not much was in my control. It would also be my friend when I travel, meet new people, look at things differently or just when I didn’t want to express anything. And voila, it has been the best friend & companion in the world so far. Words are not enough to thank it – the fact that I can go back and revisit all that we saw together & cherish memories or better find new facts while staring at a rare image makes everything more special about it.

I had to push myself to go and click every weekend in the beginning, even silly events, not so happening places, disinterested people but the importance was on building a routine, a group of self critics who push each other and in the process share some good stuff. However, that was just a beginning.

My real turning point came during April – June 2012 when I visited Cape Town and Kashmir, I saw my photography grow by leaps and bounds. Combined with a new zoom lens, beautiful landscapes, relaxed atmosphere I just delved and delved into clicking what I loved – landscapes, candid, street. The results for the first time surprised me and I knew I have something good to share with everyone else for sure.

Post that – it was Spiti that brought good from me, Delhi Archeological buildings, recently Kasol, Northeast/Northwest India and some product/candid/street shoots that I really enjoyed while exploring. Exposure to Steve Mccurry’s work makes me push more & more. Sadly 90% of other people I find in this space are simply either wannabes, non-inspiring, ill – informed about their talents and for some reason I have not been able to tell any of them honestly what I think about their work.

Why I still click – coz it has become an inseparable aspect of my life, it helps me capture something that connects my inside with the world outside and keep it for eternity, it helps me in expressing my feeling about my surroundings, interactions with people, my perspective in one frame without saying a word and perhaps also share with the world.

I wish & hope I get to cover every inch worth on the Earth & capture everything that connects with me by my camera-mushy!

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As you are approaching 30!

Its just a number – Yes I agree, Age is a number and it depends on you how much you let it impact yourself.

However, with Age comes experience and perspective more importantly that helps you have an overall approach over important matters. It also helps you to filter things better – what is important from what is not.

For 30 specifically – I can share following specific unique changes one experiences in one’s life however remain common if you compare everyone else’s lives as a sample case :

  • You learn to spend time on your own
  • You get better grip of your professional and personal career
  • You have finally realised the importance of your family in your life
  • Your no. of friends get fewer but friendships deeper
  • You have realised what Love is really about, for yourself
  • You are wiser and calmer than your early 20s
  • You have some more financial independence
  • You have got a knock – knock to keep your physical and mental health intact
  • A bunch of your true friends have turned out to be WHAT?!
  • You have tried and tested most of the things that fascinated you as a student – money, luxury, good food, wine, etc. though not satisfied your buds completely
  • Most of us have found our mojo or passions in our lives – even if it is as simple as being a family person or just being happy all the time
  • In the end its about being yourself – having a lot of fun while doing anything anything in life!

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India – a method to the chaos

This statement is quite casually put to explain the way India operates to people trying to understand Indian system. Even scientifically a lot of institutions have  tried to find justification to the above statement with no consolidated results to showcase so far. But it won’t be wrong to suggest that above statement DOES explain a lot what is wrong and still correct with Indian system. Someone can hear a song – “Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani.. (Still heart is Indian despite everything).

The traffic is the first and perhaps biggest system management representation of how Indians operate, how they flung the rules, how considerate they are towards others. Not to say that everyone is bad or everything happening here is wrong as 1000+ people die everyday in India on road but as the optimist shall say 1crore+ people are saved as well :). The requirement is definitely for making traffic laws and law guardians ie traffic policemen/ladies more empowered – increase their salaries, make them more accountable, train them, help them in becoming no less efficient than an army officer or an investment banker for that matter.

Same can be said for law & order situation in India – the police administration, the judicial system are pillars without which any democracy or country will fail. In India, there are millions of ways of finding loopholes in here to find a way for yourself. A highly functioning country cannot afford to have 1 in 2 policemen who have oodles of pounds added around the tyre region who fail to empathise forget giving help to the needy. Again, a revamp with focus on their basic qualification, aptitude, attitude, fitness, salary structure is in the order.

Agriculture, Municipal societies, Education, Medical, Government services sectors are representing above examples’ chaos as well.

There have been a few sectors which have seen privatisation post the liberalisation policy of 1992 – Aviation, Telecom/Communication, IT services, Media, Food & Beverages, FMCG, Banking, Pharmaceuticals, Construction/Infrastructure are chief I can recall among others. These sectors have seen practices from abroad coming into implementation, a good level of competition to out do each other, high influx of educated youngsters joining them, consistent growth & contribution towards GDP, certain positioning at international scenario for India.
Not to stress that jobs in these sectors are in high demand at engineering, MBA and other colleges.

My country is great – nobody can deny or takeaway that from me. Am moment and again filled with the optimism for the highest notch that my country can reach. I am also one of those old school people who value the rich culture, family values, history values that my country keeps close to Her heart. Though what is required along with the Govt reforms is change of approach/attitude of my own countrymen/ladies – to not think of themselves first at every opportunity. In public places – think for the public too, while in a queue – keep your patience for others too, while driving or being driven – respect other people’s comforts/lives too.

Today, my country is highest growing nation in the world – its no mean feat achieved basis hard work of countrymen favoured by govt policies. Let us not stop till we are able to provide every single Indian anywhere in the world with clean food to eat, clean water to drink, healthy air to breathe, clothes to cover, shed to protect heads and few other basic amenities along with respect, dignity to withstand anything.

Love, Power & Amen!

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My Wishlist for one of my States & its People

I get asked about my loyalties to which of the indian states a lot – as I have spent 13 years in U.P, 8 in Gujarat, 2 in Jharkhand, 3 in Maharashtra, 2 in Delhi, 1 in Karnataka majorly. My name is non – Indian, My surname is non detrimental in terms of nailing my origin state. My way of speaking Hindi tells people I am from North, my thoughts & lifestyle from West – so people get confused and I enjoy it as I like calling myself Indian as an identity and that’s it.

To answer the question in response to their curiosity – I tend to divide the response between North and West depending on who is asking the question and in what relevance. I sometimes also tend to explain my family background to some and how I am truly Indian in terms of my loyalties to a state.

However, if there is one State I genuinely wish to grow & come out from its old tittering historical chains – it is my state of birth and ancestors – U.P. This state was the battleground of Independence struggle, even Mahabharat, Ramayan are based here, from cultural, historical, political standpoint – I do not think any state can match U.P.’s relevance.

And it is sad to see its state in shatters – I do not have to go very far to understand it. I have toured multiple states for education, work, sports and U.P. stands out in terms of its potential of resources, population, relevance but the lifestyle, living conditions, infrastructure, facilities, law & order, women’s security, revenue generation, industrial development being far behind from other states.

The political aspects has not helped however if I have to blame one thing then I will blame the People living here themselves. Be it the man, woman, kid, elderly – they all seem to have happily accepted their grim state of affairs and love being not optimistic about future. My parents always pushed me to do well in studies however I am sure apart from that they did not have much recommendations on what does good things in life mean. 99% people I have met here do not understand the meaning of a good lifestyle, a relaxed, healthy, smiling, optimistic, quality, modernly equipped lifestyle.
They tend to somehow believe that being depressed, emotional, old school is the way ahead. I wish they will change.

Lastly and most importantly, I wish the men of this state to understand the real meaning of machoism, chauvinism and give space, respect & equal importance to women in their lives. I wish for the girls in this state to be able to achieve what they dream for and are not given any less opportunity than boys or kids of other states. (HeforShe)