Monday, March 02, 2020

Ramesh Gandhi, 1936-2020


I am Nancy Gandhi, Ramesh Gandhi's wife. On 22 February Ramesh, who had been suffering from heart disease for the last five years, was finally unable to draw even one more breath. At the end, he slipped away silently in the afternoon, asleep. He died at home, as he wished, and he was cremated the same night without any rituals, which was also his wish.

A couple of weeks earlier, before he lost the ability to speak, his sister-in-law, Charu, had asked him, "Bhai, are you dreaming?" and he said, "I have so many stars to count."

His primary interest was in metaphysics, but he had many talents. He was a poet, a beautiful photographer. He was human, flawed, wise. He was quick-witted, funny, depressed. He had seen enough of the world, he was ready to leave.

I will close with a statement which he wrote about himself, many years ago:

"I look at the world. I look, distancing myself, so that somehow in that looking I might see the world as a microcosm of the universe, and thus identify myself with the universe and see my being, fragile, defective, transient, incomplete and fore-doomed, in relation to it. But no matter how far my mind and perception soar, the ultimate limit of physical detachment remains the length of the umbilical cord which ties me to a life, environment, conditions, of which I am no longer a part, and with which I have no pending business. What am I doing then? Why am I not releasing myself from the life-sustaining bond which at the same time strangles me, binding me to environmental attitudes which are alien to me, and situations with which I cannot cope."

Friday, February 07, 2020


my journey
into time
backward through my mind
took me to
forests of clouds
which became dark
and rained
on the weeds that
indolently swayed
in the luxuriant green breeze

and as it became dusk
I heard my mother
calling out for me
from afar
before I could hurl
the last pebble in the pond
and frightening a frog away
unknowingly made ripples of music
I did not wait to comprehend

the complicated maze
clears into the transparent innocence of
my childhood
and as I think
of all the wisdom
of disillusions acquired
I recognise the unsullied past
of languid time
before I travelled into
the future of dehumanised present

and I close my weary eyes
to run back again into
the one time of my dissolute days
which I can relive without remorse:

through the dense trees
and marshy clearings
and shrill cries of excitement
of playful mischief
and endless capacity
to marvel and wonder
at every small search
and discovery

then I hear myself
calling out for me
in helpless wish
if not to be able to
retrieve my loss
to retain at least
the desire and ability for

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Pristine Allure

In an environment of sludge, sewage, stale moth-eaten remnants of vegetables, insects, a variety of decaying substances, where even an old, unidentifiable piece of paper also stinks... one can go on and on...
My blog:
My website:

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


is there a path to eternity
can there be a path to eternity
or should eternity be left alone

Monday, December 23, 2019

Vagabond Season

Remembering past Decembers at Taj West End, Bangalore, with its lovely gardens; and sitting on our veranda after breakfast, resting our eyes on the greenery, our ears filled with birdsong. Also, newspapers, and a glass of wine. Nothing missing but a loaf of bread, and thou.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Darjeeling, early 1980s

I love this rickety building, painted a jaunty pink— or faded to it.

Nobody who has not gone through old film negatives knows the despair of color film which has faded and shifted to a sad maroon-gray. With noise. Generally,  black and white film has fared better. Some brands of color film have lasted, others not. In India we had to take what we could get, and not many people care about what will happen to their pictures in the future, anyway.

So I struggled with this, and it’s not too bad. Rant over. Thank you for your patience.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Portrait of a Young Dog

Sheru took his job of watching at the gate very seriously. You can see that any burglar would be terrified.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019


Sheru, a German shepherd, was officially named Rolf Regent, but I quickly re-named him Sher Khan, which was just as quickly shortened to Sheru.

He was the best dog ever. He was alert, ready for fun, friendly with everyone -- even with those he was not supposed to befriend. We used to joke that if a burglar came to the gate, Sheru would run up and bark, "Welcome! Come on in!"  As it happened, he grew up to be so large that he sometimes frightened people, much to his confusion.

Sheru died in 1992.  We still miss him, and tell each other stories about his goofy ways. This picture of him when he was just getting to know us, and the world, seems to exemplify him somehow.

(This was a colour film negative, but the colours had shifted and faded, so I converted it to black and white. Sheru was just a puppy, with big paws and ears, and an enormous nose, which I emphasized by bringing the camera right up to it.)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Daughters of India


Trying to rescue a very old and damaged negative, I was reminded of the poster for the classic film, Mother India, with Nargis shot from below, a vast sky looming behind her. These girls present a much more hopeful picture, pleased to be photographed.