Friday photo: Mother

Working as I am on a story on Bhutan for a magazine, this Friday, I give you an image from there that always brings a smile to my face. This was on the way to Takhtsang Goemba, or the Tiger’s Nest monastery near Paro, just before I had begun the hike. I had no idea just how arduous it was going to be. Ah, but that is another story altogether…

The Bhutanese – I have also seen this in Ladakh and Sikkim so far – carry their babies in such slings effortlessly, even up on steep mountain roads. This photo is particularly dear to me, the way both mother and child are smiling.

Mother

~ Also see: Friday photo series

~ And more stories from Bhutan here, including one on their natural body warmers, viz. red and green chillis…

Friday photo: South Bank

I am off next week to one of my favourite cities in the world – London. I am there on work for the first few days. And then… a quick weekend trip to Leeds, a couple of musicals, a morning food walk, lots of catching up with friends, revisiting old haunts…

This Friday, from a rainy-sunny summer afternoon (the kinds that only London can see) from South Bank:

London

Memories of London: The buskers are abusking
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Friday photo: Cliffs of Moher

Just returned from a short trip to the Republic of Ireland, where I visited Dublin, Galway and Limerick. I managed to go on a drive on part of the Wild Atlantic Way to the Cliffs of Moher.

In Ireland, they say “if you don’t like the weather, just wait for a minute; it will change.”

Although the day started off grey and gloomy, the rain stayed away and it actually turned sunny by the time I was ready to leave the cliffs. As I was walking down towards the car park, I ran into Tina singing and playing on the harp. A beautiful song for Ireland…

Cliffs of Moher

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Friday photo: Posing

I have just come back from a fun week long trip to South Africa, taking in the fabulous INDABA tourism conference in Durban and a quick tour in the beautiful Kwazulu Natal region. I explored street markets, went on a canopy tour, floated on a hot air balloon, spotted giraffe and zebras aplenty and spent hours at the luxurious spa at Karkloof.

More on all this soon. For now, my Friday photo on a bunch of curious children near Durban…

Curious

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Friday photo: Madurai

Malayadhwaja Pandiya must have been a sad king. Fate had played a cruel trick on him. After years of being childless and spending days and nights in prayer, and pouring countless kilos of pure ghee in the sacrificial fire, he had been blessed with a daughter. Alas! A daughter who was a freak; she was born with three breasts. Just as the royal couple was torn between joy and despair, a voice from the heavens informed them that her abnormality would disappear as soon as she met her consort. The girl Meenakshi — the fish-eyed one — grew up into a beautiful princess who was finally won over by Lord Shiva and married him.

Read on for my story of Meenakshi and Madurai (from a long time ago) here

Meenakshi

I was in Madurai last weekend on week, when I stayed at the lovely Heritage (more on it soon), went on food walks and explored the streets around the temple. This was possibly my tenth visit to this city and I enjoyed it as much as I did my first. The only thing that has changed is the paranoia around the temple itself – the tight security and the cameras prohibited inside the temple. This photo is from an earlier, easier time.

Must read: The divine distractions of Madurai

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Friday photo: Bioscope

This Friday, a peek into the past…

bioscope

This is one of the few images I got from this year’s Kala Ghoda Arts Festival – being there was a bit like being at Dadar station, waiting to get into the local at 8.30 am. The unending waves of crowds took me back to my early years in Bombay, to the rather unpleasant faces of the city.

Even with all the tight security, hundreds of people shopped, zipped in and out of workshops, ate pain puri, gawked at street installations (and posed for photos in front of them – our own Eiffel Towers) and generally had a most enjoyable time everyday.

But perhaps it is time to expand the scope of the festival to a larger area?

Also see: Friday photo series

Friday photo: Apsara

I used this week’s Friday photo as an excuse to dig deep into my ancient photo archives. And I came upon this old favourite. Apsaras in stone and in flesh – at the Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap.

Apsara

This is what I had written about these apsaras in a story on these temples for Mint Lounge – “When I first catch sight of them, the apsaras are resting on the cold stones of Angkor Wat. One is flexing her foot, mimicking the action of the stone apsara dancing just behind her on the wall. The others are talking to each other in muted tones, bored expressions on their faces. The American tourist, khaki shorts and all, walks up to them and points with his camera, and they spring into action instantly. As a group, they strike well-rehearsed poses, peacocks flanking the line-up, the boy with the lion’s head in between, a dancing apsara on each side of the utterly discomfited tourist, as his friend clicks. As they pose for the camera, for a dollar, I notice the boredom doesn’t shift from their faces. Shot over, they get back to rest mode without so much as a smile at their temporary benefactor”

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Also see: Friday photoseries
My story on the Siem Reap temples in Temple Performance and more on the town’s apsaras in The apsaras of Angkor.

Friday photo: New Beginnings

“Courage,” the Old Year whispers as it ends,
Weary’s the world and penitent and sad,
Waiting the touch to make all mankind friends,
Yours be the luck and strength to do it, lad.

~ Harry Irving Phillips

Happy new year! Hope this year is exciting, happy and peaceful in every way for you.

Beginnings

Here is to new beginnings…

Also see: Friday photo series