Thursday Photo Challenge : Hard


It’s been sometime since I did Thursday Photo Challenge . Somehow just did not have any great pictures or maybe I wasn’t getting inspired enough to take up the challenge but here I am going for it again.

“HARD”  ((Rock, Ice, Brick, Steel, Cement,…)  is the theme this time .

 

Deforestation, indiscreet mining and rock cutting  by circumventing the laws, camouflaged by legal flaws,  is causing havoc to the fragile Eco system of Himachal Pradesh. Reckless felling of trees for cement and power plants, for dams and other industrial activities has become an environmental hazard although they give additional revenue to the state.

The seasonal rivers aren’t the same what they used to be some years back. The water levels have decreased in many areas and rivers are on the brink of drying up.

Heavy deforestation in the vicinity of reservoir and cultivation of reservoir land by locals has led to silting causing landslides and flash floods.  A disaster mitigation plan functional at the lowest level is need of the hour to stop the natural disasters and catastrophes.

 

Advertisements

Thursday Photo Theme – Family(Unconditional Love)


The theme for this Thursday is  “FAMILY” (Grandparents, Parents, Children, Family Occasions, Moms with Babies, Animals,…)

These pictures will tell you what family means. The warmth and camaraderie between us and our animal companions. Nature is a powerful teacher. I was astonished how Elsa protected and cared for Pepper’s pups. You do not have to give birth to be a mother .

 

I witnessed the most humane of all bonds in these gorgeous creations of universe. I have read and seen from close counters how animal companions (never call them pets) enrich our lives with unconditional love. Here is an example of  love and care beyond color, caste, creed, something we humans never learned.

 

 

This a sight I will remember forever. See how the little cherubs are trying to reach Elsa’s teats as she lovingly obliges. Beautiful motherly love.

Elsa moved away as the little ones gathered around their mother. It was an evening of  tremendous joy and its not just that the dogs played among themselves. we were showered with affectionate licks and cuddles as well.

There is such spontaneous surge of affection that these beautiful animals show. I have found that family extends far beyond what the society defines.

 

You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu

Thursday Photo Theme – Fire


FIRE ” (Flame, Burning, Hot Things, Matches, Lighters,…) that’s the theme this Thursday. Fire is a healer , a cleanser and a sacred symbol in Hinduism. It is a creator and a destroyer.

It is also one of the four classic elements. Fire is also one of the five elements of which all living beings are comprise and its an essential part of all major religious ceremonies.

This is a photograph of the evening Aarti ( prayer ceremony) at the ghat ( Har ki paudi )  of Ganges in the Holy city of Haridwar. I am not a religious person but some sights are breathtaking . Just to watch hundreds of devotees gather in faith to perform an age old ritual is amazing.

It is a public event full of  sound light and color . Huge flames of lamps are seen from a distance as priests wave them chanting mantras. Small diyas ( earthen wick lamps) float quietly in the calm waters of ganges carrying hopes and dreams of the masses.

In the same city a lonesome diya stands with pride in a small home a some poor with great digity and much greater reverence telling us that all one needs is the will and a light to guide us.  One doesn’t need a display to connect with the inner . one doesn’t need to to big . All that is needed is courage to brave the storms and burn bright  just like the flame of  this tiny diya.

I always say

Don’t be the spark Be the flame.

Chingari nahi lapat bano. 

Blue – Photo Theme for Thursday


This time the theme is  ” Blue ”  (Water, Sky, Vehicles, Houses, Flowers,…) and I thought one must find something unusual. Lights have a magical effect and one can do a  lot with them. Posting one photograph of blue lights wrapped on a hockey stick and inserted in a flower vase. The picture was taken on X-Mas night.

Another od my favorite is the blue smoky flame of cue de cologne burning . The lovely flames are a joy to watch and click. I am still learning to capture the fluid movement of the flame.

and let me end the post with yet another brilliant blue from my photoshop work done long time back. I am itching to get my laptop reformatted and then download the software to create magic.  Just learning to turn dreams into digital paintings.

 

Blue is a sensational color, a color of calmness and serenity and also of sadness and aloofness. A color of contrast , of ocean and sky. Blue is the color of the Throat Chakra, also known as Visuddha. A deeper blue symbolizes a mystical borderland of wisdom, self-mastery, and spiritual realization. It is the least gender specific color.

The blue ribbon has been widely recognized as a national symbol of child abuse awareness.

Want to know more about Blue  watch this space 

 

 

Photo Theme for Thursday : Empty


This Thursday the theme is Empty  (House, Room, Playground, Glass, Container, Chair,…)

 

 

Safdarjang’s Tomb

This is known to be the  last enclosed garden tomb and was built in 1753-54 as the mausoleum of Safdarjang, the viceroy of Awadh, (a place near Lucknow). A lesser known landmark of Delhi , it is made in the same style as the Humayun’s Tomb though it’s  not that impressive .

The tomb is made of buff-colored sandstone with the intermittent use of red sandstone and marble. The central structure has double-storeyed minarets in the corners and a bulbous dome made of marble.

According to one account the arches and domes, were brought to India from Turkey and Persia.

Delhi has a rich heritage of  these ancient monuments. It is awe-inspiring to watch these structures as they serve as testaments to Delhi’s illustrious past.

Photo Theme For Thursday – “Yellow”


Yellow is the theme for this Thursday’s photo challenge.  Yellow reminds me of Marigolds, bright sunshine, dahlias and lovely yellow sunflowers.  It also reminds me of evenings spent under Laburnum trees.. It’s yellow lantern of delicate flowers swaying with   summer breeze.

You will be surprised to see  intoxicating yellow  of the ripe jack fruit.

 

Among the tropical fruits the deep intoxicating fragrance of ripe Jack fruit and its delicious taste still makes me reminiscent of  the childhood days spent in Pune. I love the crunch in them and there is no other joy which fills my heart than carving out the ripe yellow pieces of this lovely fruit.

The morning sun rays bathed the gorgeous plant and its yellow immediately brightened up with joy.  The simple pleasure of life that gladden the heart and make life worth every living moment.

The most beautiful things sometimes grow in the midst of  thorns. During my walks in Lonavala I found this yellow beauty tucked away among spikes that drew blood at one touch. A clear sign that nature wants us not to disturb the balance it has created.

There is always something precious in what nature gives us. we just have to open our hearts to receive it.

Photo Theme For Thursday – Vehicles


Thursday theme this time is Vehicles  ((Trucks, Motorcycles, Cards, Buses, Bicycles,…) .

It happens only in India. We flaunt rules and get away with it. These first two pictures are from National Highway 24 and Rajasthan .

He may not be doing the proper  balancing act between his mother and wife at home but he sure knows how to balance his truck. Every time our car crossed a  truck like this I said my prayers. It is amazing how they bribe and get away with no fines. A regular feature on national highways.

 

He is  Aryton Senna among tractor drivers. This kids is happy with this mean machine and drives it well. Though he is underage for a driving license but that doesn’t stop him from racing the thing around.

 

This the National Capital. Chaos at the traffic signal.  The bus driver took a wrong turn and then could not reverse the long vehicle causing a jam. Meanwhile we feasted our eyes on this beauty ahead of us. This Audi was racing along with us for a long time and boys were getting hyper to take a picture. The opportunity came at this point but they could not click more pictures. The question my younger one always asks is ,” why do we always find morons and jokers behind the wheels of  such smashing beauties ? Sigh ! ” It seems they have money sweetheart. 😀

Thursday Photo Challenge : Coiled


Thursday theme for this time is “CURVED” (Bent, Rippled, Coiled, Spiraling, Twisted,…)

Snakes have always fascinated me and when to my amazement and joy I saw my elder one also handling them with as much ease and passion that I do it make me swell with pride. We have a lot of misconceptions about these enigmatic creatures. They  have been unnecessarily labeled with bad reputation due to misconceptions arising from superstitions and religious dogmas. Majority of these opinions are formed out of fear and sheer ignorance. Snakes have been misunderstood for too long, and their role in nature is too little appreciated.
Due to lack of proper information, disbelieves and fears, many important species of snakes have become rare and are threatened with extinction; so, disturbing the natural cycle of coexistence.The Wild Life Protection Act of 1972 passed by the Government of India has included all Indian snakes in the list of animals to be protected from being killed. The Act also bans sale of items made from snake skin. Exceptional import licenses are issued, but strictly for scientific purposes.

you need to be free of that  instinctive fear of reptiles to embrace them and enjoy their beauty

This is a rat snake also called jalebi snake.It is also called Dhaman.  These snakes are non venomous. The one Adi is holding is called banded racer , one of many varieties of rat snakes found in India. They feed on rats, frogs etc and are often found near rice fields and human habitations.

 

This one is the Indian Rock Python. One of our favorites. These snakes are beauties and are second largest and heaviest of Indian snakes. Called Ajgar in Hindi they have glossy skins and flat heads.They feed on mammals. Live prey are constricted and killed. One or two coils are thrown around the prey, holding it in a tight grip. The prey, unable to breathe, succumbs and is swallowed head first.

The population of Rock Python has depleted alarmingly during the last 50 yeas on account of heavy commercial exploitation of its skin and their products, which are in high demand in the world market. It is an endangered species and yet we are losing many of these gorgeous creatures due to common misbeliefs.

I have yet to handle a snake in the wild. Though I have seen some while visiting wild life sanctuaries. The ones we are holding come from the snake-charmers and normally don’t have poison. The practice of snake charming—catching snakes, keeping them in captivity for extended periods, and training them to perform—has traditionally been passed from one generation to another. For generations, it has provided a critical means of support for many Indian families but now due to wild life acts and growing knowledge on snakes these people are losing their livelihood. It is rare to find a snake charmer even in villages. Once an icon of Indian culture snake-charmers are struggling to survive these days.

I hope these beautiful and harmless creatures find a safe home and people shed their fears and treat them with the love and respect they deserve.

 

Music -Theme for Thursday Photography


The photo theme for this Thursday is “MUSIC” (Bands, Musicians, Instruments, iPod, Headset,…)

India has a very rich heritage of music be it folk, classical, semi classical , devotional or light music. Some of the musical instruments have evolved over centuries and are integral part of the Indian music scene. The earliest history of music can be traced to  vedic ages over two thousand years back.

Indian music developed from ritualistic in association with folk music and other music forms and gradually derived its own musical characteristics.

This picture is part of a folk music festival at Dilli Haat ( Delhi). The musicians from Rajasthan had come to play along with their folk dancers and other artists.

Dholak , Dhol and Harmonium  are used widely in Indian music especially folk and devotional music.

 Harmonium is widely used  in accompanying  the human voice in  devotional singing, wedding songs etc. Even in the Qawalli music. Infact it is the sole instrument used by Qawwals  and has received international fame It belongs to the family of free Reed Aerophones. One can find a harmonium in almost every temple, gurudwara across the globe. It is not an Indian musical intruments and was brought by French missionaries in mid 19th century to India. It is a wind instrument.

Dholak / Dhol 

The North Indian Dholak and dhol are used by bards . Dholak is the basic version of dhol.  Both are percussion instruments . Here we have a small dhol and a bigger one . Dholak has different size heads of both side of the barrel but dhol has equal size heads. One side of the dhol has high pitch and the other low pitch.

In Rajasthan the folk musicians use simple basic  instruments which are usually self sufficient. Dhol and dholak add basic rhythm to the music.  It is one of the most important and widely used instrument of the royal Rajasthan.

As children we loved to play harmonium and dholki during weddings and other festival. These musical gatherings were a special way of bonding and celebrating life. Even today it is a joy to watch these exceptionally talented folk musicians perform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday Photo Challenge : Spring


“SPRING” (New Life, Green, Melting Snow, Pleasant Weather,…) is the topic for this Thursday’s photo challenge  I love the vibrant blooms on the trees and riot of colors in every garden and roundabout, the soft shades of green that spring brings with it.

The whole earth is like a flower girl, so full of life and so beautiful.

Beautiful Hibiscus flowers in three shades . The last one a different variety used for Ganesh Puja. The flower is considered pious for various reasons.

Hibiscus is also known as china rose , jasvand, gudhal etc.

It is has medicinal properties too.

I simply love the delicate bloom and the soothing colors.