Category Archives: Airports

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.

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.

Waiting at airports

Over the past month, I have travelled more than I did in this entire year. And spend the equivalent of several days in planes and airports. Am forever fascinated by this mode of journey despite the little annoyances of getting through immigration and security.

Watching people – as they wait, as they look towards going somewhere and arriving at their destinations, fills me with sober hope.

Disposable camera, indisposable memories

Capturing a photo on film evokes this strange feeling in me: a slice of time being arrested; the moment physically is frozen; to be stowed away; to never be lost, but to be forgotten; forever left in dust-filled boxes, in cobweb filled attics, only to let me reminiscence into the past when re-discovered decades later in future.

I have to admit that my expectation of this feeling, of using a disposable camera to be similar to that of traditional film camera – was misinformed. The idea that the very device used to capture these moments, will be lifeless and pretty much useless after doing so; made me feel the added dimension of ephemeralness to the format. I have neither expected nor anticipated this, and it has left me gasping to slow down.

With digital cameras I usually take anywhere between few hundreds to few thousands of pictures in an year. On film, a hundred pictures or so. But with a disposable camera, I managed to take a mere 30 shots in an entire year; of those 5 were a lost, forever; leaving me wondering, what was in it? where was I? what was I thinking?; questions, which perhaps, I will never get the answers for.

Here are some of my favourite moments in the “forever format”

Snow in Amsterdam

Home, Amsterdam

Shanghai, China

Airports

Lisbon, Portugal

Algarve, Portugal

Texel Island, Netherlands

45 hours

Thats the number of hours I spent last week around airports and airplanes while I made a short impromptu trip to India. This brings it to a total of about 160 hours spent around these things. The irony of long duration flights for me is that towards the end, I am both thoroughly exhausted and at the same time incredibly mentally relaxed.

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