Friday, October 21, 2016

Away, Ensconced

Far from the madding crowd,
far from Thomas Hardy,
far from your own madness.
Question: Is it madness
to be in the midst of madness,
or is it madness
not to be in it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


fasten seat
and other belts
what more

the speed of light
cannot be experienced
or felt

apart from being
no alternative
to waiting
as no comprehension
will be dispensed

suspend belief
and expectation

Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Richard Strauss

Monday, October 17, 2016

Life, and Eternal Darkness of Enlightenment

who knew, knows, such days would come to pass
who knows, knew, what life,
living and not living
with experiences experienced,
lost or escaped, would hold.

who knew, knows, 
that the screen of final darkness 
lurking here, there, everywhere
now, anytime, anywhere, will fall.

who can wonder
that when the forever darkness arrives,
if one has not lived through
the up and down of light and shadow, 
one would not have known the meaning of light
or the meaning of darkness,
let alone eternity before or after.

transient as we are, 
no one would have known that we are not
and are while we are,
that before or after, 
let alone the light, the spark, the so-called life
would not have been desired, aspired to,
yearned for,
nor its absence lamented.

I thank all those who thought of and remembered me, in whichever way recognising me and thus acknowledging me, humbling me with gratitude.

Jyoti Gandhi

Subhash Barot

Guddi Vijay Rao

Bhamini Shankar

Sonya Haritha

Vinod Gandhi

Asma Hakkim

Sk shanmuganathan

Nirav Gandhi

Sonal Ganatra

Reena Patel

Minu Sanghavi

Pem Dem

Rita Lal

Vivekanandan Vivi

Nimish Tolia

Ashoka Auro

Arvind Rathnam

Pradeep J Soni

Sachin Gandhi

Dr.Taralika Trivedi

Pixy Mukherjee

Sharmila Mehta

Nam Prasad Satsangi

Arul Damodaran

Kirit Sanghvi

Kiran Bhatt

Vikash Srivastav

Shyla Shanker

Siva Kumar

Payal Satish

Pradeep Bokaria

Anoop Rajan

Piyush Jain

Pravin Gandhi

Ajit Chitturi

Purvi Goradia

JS Sathishkumar

Ramanidharan Ramaswamy

Dananjay S Bhatt and Mamta

Dinesh Kumar Bhattarai

Sri Rajesh

Viji Srikanthan

Subhasis Bose

Utkarsh Majmudar

Devyani Gandhi

Sujaya Menon

Raj Kumar

Sohail Sarooshi

Ramesh Raman

Sudha Shivkumar

Nimish Tolia

Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy

Ranjan Mistry Pratap

Sangeeta Thapa

Pradip Chakraborty

Rajani Sheth

Fathima Sharafath

Premalatha Seshadri

Kanan Mehta

Madhavan Nair

Vivek Sial

Hemant Manek

Shashibhai Bhatt

Surekha Kothari

Gayatri Sundarakandan

Kashmira Soni

Mukesh Soni

Shahzenan Parpia

Anant Maringanti

Siddharth Hande

Kavitha Prasad

and very good friends from
The Photographic Society of Madras
Classic Photos
The Chennai Photography Learners Club
Single Frame Photography 

the staffs of Taj and ITC groups of hotels

friends from foreign consulates and cultural centers,

IITs and premier colleges where I have been honored with invitations to judge debates or to lecture on subjects from films, philosophy, space, and metaphysics

Fraternity at Film Censor Boards, and Board to Select Films for International Film Festivals

and those who came home, or called me
short or long-distance
sms-ed or emailed
and those whose names have somehow been missed out

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Who You


Taken on a boat ride in one of the lakes of the Adirondacks, upstate New York. As I took the picture I wanted one of the boys to turn, so I made some noise with my shoe. This boy did turn to look, and I clicked.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mind and Festivities, Cheer and Melancholy

The following is my response to a comment / sermon on my blog post, Failure of Good Over Evil (see below):

Comment:  Like space mind is unfathomable so to rationalize every action is not possible .Traditions have evolved over the millennim's experiences and followed by millions unquestionably whether it is right or wrong similarly if one's action bring smile on some ones face that is good conversely is evil.QED (sic)

Response:  Mind, generally, in the context of human beings, means separately or collectively, heart and brain, and excludes other visceral parts and anatomical, physiological functions within the composite that we call the human body. Since the human mind, that is the brain and heart combo again, is fathomable, you must be singularly gifted or cursed with a mind which is unfathomable and therefore causes you to be deprived of the ability to ‘rationalise its every action', thus bestowing upon you a special ability to correspond to clear ecstasy or maniacal depression depending on the designated time and day of the year, not only in every part of the world that you inhabit, but with universal sameness.

The point that you missed in what I was stating here ( was that mankind, while not being devoid of ability for great cheer or depth of depression, cannot manipulate that ability according to the dictates of the annual calendar, on designated days for the purpose of joy and downright misery. The 'designation' of days for cheer and days for mourning lose their meaning because they lose the spontaneity which is essential for it to be congruent with an individual's state of mind at a particular moment of a particular day or night, in a particular place on earth.

I hope this reaches you on a 'designated' day for great joy and cheer so that it does not cause you to be melancholy and does not deprive you of the day's rituals of autonomous joys. Quod Erat Demonstratum.

If the above makes sense to you, please accept my bow of gratitude. If it does not, just await another designated day for joy and happiness and await the ecstasy that will fill your life, at least during the period of that special day or night or both.

Black Forest

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Failure of Good Over Evil

Man, from time immemorial, has always in a continued, uninterrupted progression of his existence, tried to vanquish evil and usher in goodness.  Thousands, perhaps millions of different kinds of rituals, methods, invocations, have evolved.  Some survive, some were modified, some could not be understood; but no matter what the root was, mankind has moved incrementally towards evil, falsehood, depradations, and criminality.

Can one dare to take a look at humanity, anywhere, everywhere, where good prevails, and bad, or evil, has not only not decreased, but has found, thanks to the fundamental deceit among men of all hues around the globe, newer, crueller, incredibly more ingenious methods for new areas of growth, which he practices without compunction, contrition, inhibition, or most of the time, even second thoughts.

What is then put on display by him, and with what expectation that one day or one week, even one moment of his lifetime, would witness the result of the goodness he does. Does he, can he, actually believe that he has done something good? If not, does he feel that beating drums, one day here, on another somewhere else, naming it this or that in a devout fashion, would compensate for all the evil that pervades throughout and only through human beings. Can he even slightly be forgiven, if such forgiving power, authority, is vested in something he believes to be god or goddess, by whichever name and in whichever language he addresses them?

I wonder, in full lamentation, even at the risk of being ostracized.  Is this act of immersion an act equal to abhorrent, fanatical rejection of the deity, or some perverse way of honoring it.

Should I expect 'divine' retribution for what may be considered blasphemy, or be rewarded for what can be considered the truth that is available for everyone to see, today, yesterday, and throughout the history of mankind.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Frills and Fancies

Bhashwati wrote:
[the] photo is like a rich sweet that has many layers of goodness and sweetness.  The flower (i think) in your photo is like pat of a bridal veil or like the frills in a white frock i used to have in childhood.

Thursday, October 06, 2016


Meditation: is it getting into a trance, or concentrating on an activity, like reading, painting, or processing accumulated experiences. Is it transcendental, or simply terrestrial; practical, or floating in clouds.

Or, as an over-simplification, at least in relation to the picture above, is it composing, fiddling with technicalities, and then just clicking a camera.

Having stated all this, now I had better meditate on whether the picture is meritorious, or deserving of anyone's attention. Any help would be helpful.

Anonymous wrote:

i dont know why you chose that title but what i noticed was that each of the three natural light sources, one of them not in the frame lead to areas of darkness rather than the more expected darkness unto light progression. as if light is preparing to meditate. And here the kadappa stones bestow such a spartan look. Same stones exude luxury in the pool side study. Kamaal hai. And the unsteady edges of the stone so well compliment the precise vertical lines of the door frames, the wall and the tiled wall pattern in the foreground. 

And the human silhouette... its like you dropped it in to a pool of light but ensured that not a beam of light would hinder its meditation. 

a very singular powerful composition.

thank you. 

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016


I took this picture of a French Bharatanatyam dancer at Mahabalipuram in 1975. I have posted two other pictures of her, here and here:

She came to Madras to learn Bharatanatyam and assumed the name Menaka, as probably the ultimate among all the mythological seductresses.  But her real name, she 'divulged' to but a few locals, was Verushka, and she claimed to be a Russian princess. (Because of her imperial bearing, real or put-on, only some of her contemporary dancers from France especially, and Europe generally, know the real story, but in Chennai and in Delhi, I have known her to be taken very seriously, and her arangetram was performed at no less than the Chidambaram Palace at Chidambaram.)  The then French Ambassador to India came to Madras, Pondicherry and Chidambaram to see her perform.

Upon her unrelenting persistence, I took pictures for her publicity brochures for performances in Paris and other European cities, despite my sense of inexperience in taking pictures of temples, but more especially, of people at long distances.

Her pose and the setting reminded me of the Devadasis ("servants of god"), traditional temple dancers who were supposed to be serving the gods' sexual needs, but in reality ended up serving the needs of the temple priests and influential visitors to the temple. The Devadasi system was outlawed in India in 1988, so the tradition and its practitioners have almost completely disappeared.

For more information about the Devadasis, see the links below:

The blog of Dr. Avanthi Meduri, a scholar of subaltern studies, the Devadasi system and a practitioner of Indian classical dance, a friend who spent prime time with us while in Madras, at the time when she was teaching at a university at Chicago; she is currently at the University of Roehampton in UK.)


Google for devadasis

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cloud Forest

now you see it
now you don't
it's one eye-blink away
from gone