Sunday, July 7, 2013

Empty Bottles Lights

DIY - Lights for my drawing room :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Golden Temple, Amritsar

During the winters of Dec 2012, Amit and I visited Golden Temple in Amritsar. I have never seen anything so spectacular and amazing monument ever in my life. 

As you are just about to enter the temple, the first thing that you do is wash your feet. Amazingly the water is very clean and extremely cold. Your feet are numb as you enter the temple.  

But just as you see the magnificent sight of the golden monument located right in the middle of a lake surround it from all four sides, you forget all your worries. It is so peaceful and calm. The timing is perfect as the sun rays add more glow to the shining golden temple.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I-Rock Mumbai 2012

Muharram 2012

I am sharing my experience of Muhorram, I do not want to fall in a debate whether the religious activities that are carried on are right or wrong.  In my opinion my experience of Muhorram was outstanding. The energy, unity, synchronization, music, poetries is something that touched my heart.

I came across a post online, which said Muharram Procession on 24th Nov 2012, starts from 6:00 p.m., it fascinated Amit and me and since then we both wanted to cover this event.  Initially Amit was nervous about me going to this event because we heard people say that it gets very crowded and men hit themselves with knives and a lot of blood is shed.  One guy even told Amit that its risky to get female photographers as he quoted “you don’t know what you are getting into!”  But all thanks to Amit’s friend Adil and his friends who took responsibility and helped us get to this event. The more restrictions the more it excited me and finally here we were! 

Dressed in black pants and t-shirt with a stole, we reached Dockyard road station around 6:00 p.m. My heart kept thumping as I started to hear slight sound of music.  The sound level increased as we moved closer to the event.  The beat of drums and the way music was sung was outstanding.  I got goose bumps by the whole energy. It was amazing to see so many people, ladies dressed in total black separated from men on either side.  Amit and I also split up and decided to meet after the event.  

I thought I would get better angle from top so I decided to go on the 1st floor of the building.  Ladies were all set and ready for the event.  The views were locked and there was no space for me to walk through or click.  I felt like an alien, everything was so new and unknown, so many restrictions and one mistake and I could hurt their sentiments. I had to be very careful all the time. But, to my surprise the ladies turned out to be real sweethearts, they gave me space and helped me so I could get better photographs, few of them even posed for me, one lady explained me in detail of what was about to happen and where I can get better pictures. I took her advice and went downstairs.  The kids were hanging on the railing while few sitting on the walls.  The energy started to build up, more and more people joined, light was shadowed, it all started then. 

Suddenly, guy started singing and everyone burst into tears, men started hitting their heads so hard that blood oozed out while females hit their chests.  The whole crowd was mourning.  One by one people carried Tajia.  The procession started and I could see knives with blood. 

Slowly men started moving out and I got space to sneak in and capture the juloos.  From kids to matured men, they all had knives and hit them in a certain way where in your back is cut and blood is splattered.  The ground was flowing with red liquid.  Since I was very close, blood even splattered on my hands.  Its incredible to see the amount of tolerance these guys have, to me even a small cut or bruises hurt so much.  It is just amazing and unreal to believe it until I saw it with my own eyes!!!  Hats off to all these people!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Banganga, Mumbai

18th Nov 2012, since Mumbai was declared bandh due to death of Bal Saheb Thackery, Amit, Chirag and me decided to explore the streets of Mumbai.  The real beauty of Mumbai was seen that day when all shops were shut, not a dog on the road, pollution free, empty roads almost unbelievable. We took exactly 14 mins to reach Kurla (W) from Andheri (W) :) :) :) 
One such place we have been willing to visit since a long time was Banganga !  The rectangle pool of holy water is located near the edge of the Arabian Sea at the southern tip of Malabar Hill, amidst modern-day skyscrapers and encroaching urbanization.  The pool is surrounded by wide stone stairways on all four sides.

The local kids were seen enjoying cricket match. It was great pleasure to just sit around relax and enjoy them play. They had their own rules. Direct hit inside the pool was out. Two kids were seen with a net attached to a wooden log who would pull out the ball from the pool. The kids were smart enough to use two balls ;) 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ha long Bay - Day 3

Today we started early around 7:00 a.m. Ha long Bay is 160 kms away from Hanoi. On our way, we saw typical houses, small width and long lengths. The reason for such constructions they say is that at one time in Vietnam, the government forced taxes on long width houses. Lush green landscapes were seen from our car windows. Amit could not resist and finally stopped the car to capture the beauty of Ha Long. All our excitement was killed by the driver. He would not drive above 40 speed. To add to our frustration he was listening to slow and sad Vietnamese songs. Amit and I could not take it anymore and decided to take a nap.

We stopped in between to see many sculptures made of white marble. Also, many artisans were seen working on the traditional- crafts like embroidery, manufacturing of silk garments, etc. Then we freshened up in the restroom and started the journey to Ha Long Bay.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hanoi - Day 2

Mr. Tiet waited for 30 mins as we were having our breakfast. There is no such thing as vegetarian here. Even the vegetarian rice tagged on buffet had meat in it. Amit had tough time eating food. He survived on fruits and salads.

We felt safe today and started getting the feel of Hanoi. We took a map from hotel's receptionist whom Amit loved chatting to and went to explore the streets of Hanoi. The 36th street is full of souvenirs, handy craft bags, shoes, tea stalls, paintings, fresh fruits, all kinds of meat - we even saw hot water poured on tortoise to clean it's upper skin and getting it prepared to cook, vegetables, sea food, flowers, decorative masks, etc.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hanoi - Day 1

Hi Everyone !!!!
We miss you so much... Wish you all were here with us :)

Vietnam - for many people, the country sounds scary because it reminds us of the American war, poverty, diseases and all the things that a common man would think of. But let me tell u guys, you have to be here to find out and feel the real Vietnam.

We reached Hanoi airport at noon, for visa we paid 1,039,000.00 VND !!! We were so happy to be billionaires in Vietnam ;) then some Short sweet chinky looking fellow with his broken English greeted us at the airport. His name Mr. Tiet, our guide for three days, took us directly to hotel.

The whole city looked scary, narrow lanes, busy street, unknown people, felt as if we were in some different world altogether. 

Suddenly, the car stopped in one of the busy lanes and we got down. Our 3 star hotel A & EM felt very shady at first sight. We went inside and the people could not understand us due to language barrier. Mr. Tiet helped us check-in and we got our room 303. We swiped the card and saw the most amazing room. It had everything a 5 star hotel should have, from fresh fruits, hot water kettle, LCD TV, pair of slippers, hair dryer, ear buds, the most wonderful bath tub with six sprinklers, cozy soft bed, dental kit, shaving cream with razors, free wifi and most importantly located right in the middle of old quarter - 36 street. We could not wait for a hot shower!

We got ready and excited to explore Hanoi.

At first, all we could see was women. More reasons for amit to love Hanoi! We see Women riding bikes, women selling vegetables, fresh fruits, food - noodles, meat, dresses, bags, souvenirs, etc.
Hanoi is a women dominating city. All the women had perfect bodies. Any girl would kill to have that perfect shape, Flawless skin, neat hair and fashionable clothes. They wear masks and cotton jackets to protect themselves from sun tan and pollution. The women looked very hard working. They wore traditional Vietnamese clothes and a typical conical hat. They lift a wooden bar on their shoulders attached with two baskets at both ends carrying goods. They were fresh and amazingly juicy, compared to India which is also a farmers land.

Who said India had the worst electrical poles and wires! Checkout Hanoi's Cluster and web of wires.

We saw many small temples on the streets. People are very religious in Vietnam. Hanoi is influenced by Chinese culture and worship lord Buddha. While leaving I noticed a tree full of fruits. Just before entering I paid one dollar for some of these and here I realized I get them for free! I quickly plucked some and ate on our way ;) they taste like coconut and have a black seed.

In the late afternoon we sat on the roadside cafe to have local beer. We had Hanoi beer just for 20,000 dongs i.e., 1 $. Suddenly a man came to us and started praising my shoes. Then he put his bag down and removed all his equipment. He took my shoes in his hand and tried to stitch an extra sole. He was a mobile cobbler! They are so observant about shoes, that even I did not realize that the shoes I thought were brand new and classy were slightly torn. Amit quickly diverted him for a picture instead. We suddenly realized that this was the only man working. So we thought where other men can be and Amit pointed out this picture - man drying clothes in the balcony.

Another noticeable thing is that people eat their food roadside. They use small stools and sit in Groups to eat their meals.

Since we were tired from our long journey we went to our hotel to rest and sleep.