Identity

I am pretty new to photography and I’d like to think I have inherited my passion for it from my dad. He shot using a film camera and had a dark room in our home where he used to process all his pictures. Among our relatives, he used to be famous for his wedding photography, being one of the very few who owned a camera and knew how to use it well. Many years later, during spring/summer/winter (its all the same in chennai) cleaning we found so many photographs and negatives of people we hardly knew…it used to really capture my interest. I used to hold the negatives against the light and squint to see if I know that person.  I could see black and white snapshots of newly-weds on the threshold of their life, elders and well-wishers showering them with blessings and good wishes..the nervousness, happiness and even the tiredness of sitting for hours in front of the homaguntam, all wonderfully captured.I laughed at fashion sense of the people back then, men with their bell-bottom pants and big hair, women with their tight blouses and saris with hair piled high and kohl-lined eyes. I felt like I was holding a piece of history that my dad had forever frozen in time. I think that’s when I felt an interest towards this magical machine that made it all possible.

For a long time, and even now I have a problem identifying myself. What’s my identity? I am  a daughter, wife, friend, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, co-worker. But those are my relationships. Then  I am a software engineer, a professional. Again, that’s what I do. Is that all I am? Its a tough question and I have never been able to really answer that. At different moments of my day, depending on my mood, the phase of my life, who I am and what I do differs. Today, I would also like to add another adjective, that I am a photographer. I am, albeit an amateur. Its not much, but its a start and I am glad. I hope with this admission, I really take my interest seriously and commit myself into learning and improving.

I think people photography is one of the hardest to capture. My dad was very good at it but for now, I am sticking to landscape and macro. At least nature’s mood is usually easy to recognize and somewhat easy to capture. I upload on flickr and here are some of my recent pictures :

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/aachpach/

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Semmozhi Poonga

When I was little, my dad used to take my mom and myself to Hotel Woodlands near gemini flyover in chennai. This was the woodlands drive in hotel, so before we bought a car, we used to always sit inside the hotel, which was not that great. But once we had a car, we could sit inside the car itself, a waiter would come by and take our orders and bring the food, right to the car! It was such a luxury at that time. Thinking back now on how excited I used to get whenever my parents said that we could eat at woodlands drive-in makes me smile in nostalgia. That was such a simple, uncomplicated period of my life. These memories  makes me realize how badly I miss my dad and I hold on to them with a sense of desperation and fear, for that’s all I have of my dad today. ..

Anyways, getting back to my glory ( :D) days, my tale would not be complete without mentioning the HUGE, extra long dosas I used to see everyone ordering and falooda…oh yes, those tall glasses filled with vermicelli, ice cream and milk. Those were so popular back then.

My dad used to tell me that the woodlands hotel owner leased the land near the for 99 years. It was a really big piece of land. I guess they couldn’t renew the lease after the 99 years because that site has been taken over by the tamil nadu govt. Recently, I saw pictures of how they have turned the site into a park for the public. No matter the politics, it gladdens my heart to hear about some more greenery in chennai. Every bit of flora helps 🙂

Check out some of pictures of semmozhi poonga…do let me know if you’ve been there..

The difference between people in the US and back home – random musings

As my sixth year anniversary of leaving the nest and following my dreams to study abroad went by…I have been musing over the differences I have seen among people living in the US versus people in India…

Here are a few random thoughts from my experience living in different parts of the US over the last six years –

  • Smiling at total strangers:

I think the most common scenario one sees at the airport when an Indian comes FOB is that a perfect stranger smiles at you…the indian freezes in her/his track..is totally bemused..turns to look around to see if this phoren stranger is smiling at someone else..and then hestitantly returns a half smile back.  This was so new to me..this concept of actually being friendly and nice to total strangers!! I mean in india, if an unmarried girl smiles at a strange boy on the street..in most cases, the boy will think that the girl is interested in him and go behind her..if a boy smiles at any woman on the streets, the woman will think the boy is interested in her..and if she is pretty vocal, she will give him a piece of her mind!

  • Making conversation about some random topic

This is another thing…it could be because I have never lived as an “adult” in India..and being the youngest of all my cousins both from my dad’s and mom’s side, I guess no one really treated me as one.
But here, even to random strangers or to office mates, its just so easy and “un-weird” to make a conversation about a totally random topic. Some examples of such topics are: sports (always a safe bet), weather (duh), something thats going on at that place etc. Am not saying that this does not happen in India…I have seem countless aunties who have just met to start gossiping about others but in general, this seems easier here. Again, it could be tied to the being more friendly part.

  • Time

The concept of time is very different in US, compared to India. Goras and even desis after being here a few years tend to value and respect each other time. In my years here, most goras will almost always be on time. But although a US-based desi will want others to respect their time, they will hardly ever be on time (I too am guilty of this). Its just too engrained in us desis. IST or Indian Standard Time is now notoriously famous. Every gora knows that if he ever tells a desi a time, they need to always adjust to IST.

To be continued…

Speed Dating…..for geeks?

Now that’s a first. Speed dating for software engineers was held in NYC. Check it out.

All unix-ed out?

If you are not, check out http://xkcd.com/. priceless! hope you have fun 🙂

Topeka it!

Ah, its definitely April Fool’s day. and Google has done it again! Google changes its name to Topeka to recognize the city of Topeka in Kansas, which changed its name to ‘Google’ for one month to vie for a spot in Google’s new “Fiber for Communities” program. Check out the full story here.

Also, if you check out YouTube today, you will see the new Text-only mode option to videos, that apparently will save Google $1 per second.

Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!

Master Cleanse daily log -Day 3,4

Well, I will have to report that regrettably, I was not able to stick to my diet completely. It was a culmination of several factors that did me in- the weekend, the husband, the friends and the need for said husband and friends to want me to prove my affection by going out to dinner with them.  Its a conspiracy, I tell you. Its some kind of hidden movement by…wait for it..”The Others”. Ha!

But I am back on it now so although tomorrow is Day 5, I plan on sticking to this diet until Day 12.

PS: For the uninitiated, uncaring, unLOST minds who think I have just lost my marbles..well, umm..you could be right.

*I may or may not be LOST*