India & Hyderabad

Once upon a time, somewhere towards the end of January, back when you could still get to places at the drop of a hat, I had to do just that, to attend to matters of grief. I was on my way after playing “Plague Inc” game for couple of hours while tuning to news of expanding virus outbreaks. The stock market had showed a small dip. All of that got my nerves tangled a bit as to what might be awaiting.

Airports always evoke a trans-like feeling, and so as usual I had taken to just observing and watching my surroundings in quiet contemplation. Leaving the dreary winter weather behind for an interlude of sunshine and warmth certainly helped too.

No sooner than I landed and reached home, I headed up to our terrace to wander and get some air.

The kite flying festival “Sankranti” had just passed and there were few lying around that brought back nostalgia. I distinctly remember flying kites as a ten year old, from the terrace corner where now stands a broken toilet/commode. Where my dad and cousins were flying kites as the “adults” engaging with kite fights in the area and winning, there now stood a pair of quiet satellite tv dishes.

Nobody has flow kites on our terrace in half a decade. Not only has the celebrative spirit in at home and neighbourhood waned away but also newer & taller structures cropped up to limit access to the skies. Sky used to be the limit and now the sky is limited.

While I don’t affiliate myself with any school of belief, I do however find places of worship fascinating for what it means to those coming there. So I agreed to tag along with my small camera.

Attending to matters of grief in India often involves elaborate rituals, events, people, processions and places. You bring in specialist pandits who read verses that nobody understands or perhaps even cares. I suppose the ritualistic nature of the exit gives people a sense of closure.

For someone who has lived a full and uncomplicated life, the end is something to be cherished in an uncomplicated way and maybe even celebrated, but I seem to be the odd one out.

Streets

The strangeness of seeing this vehicle with, in funeral home, just left me with a feeling of silent contemplation.

The streets were just as busy and polluted as ever if not more, so not much all has changed around.

But after a week or so there, I was already looking forward to being back to Amsterdam which I now realize is home.

Winterparadijs

Christmas is here, which means lots of fun markets and fairs, which translates to expensive food, shitty drinks, random music but good company of friends and excellent opportunity for capturing some photos. That last two bits usually makes braving the cold on a weekend afternoon, quite worthwhile.

Winterparadijs event is one of the largest that happens in Amsterdam and despite me living in this city for almost 7 years, its the first time I ended up there.

The merry-go-around’s made for some interesting long exposures.

I lugged my camera while onto the elevated-merry-go-around-thing (what is it called anyway?) which produced some doozy pictures

Spottersplaats

It literally just that a spotters place, for spotting airplanes, near the Schiphol Airport. This particular spot is right beside the westernmost 18R/36L runway of the Schiphol Airport, which also happens to be the longest.

Every time my father visits me, we make it a point to go visit and often. Armed with my favorite lens (135mm f2) and the camera (Sony A7iii), I set out to capture some night shots

What sets this place apart is the proximity to the runway, with a little fence and a moat to separate, while being just a stone’s throw away. Such a lax and relaxed existence around airports is quite an unimaginable sight either in India or the US.

I particularly enjoyed watching people watch airplanes and capturing the silhouettes they cast

The sight of the airport infrastructure twinkling in the night on the horizon had a pretty dystopian feel to it.