Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My Home and Its Terrace

I thought to jolt my head in the midnight and try and recall memories, recollect all that I could of my home, my first home, where I grew up and where I was born.  It was more than two decades ago, but its still as fresh as the smell of the breeze there used to be. Its as refreshing to draw as it used to feel there in the sweet November mornings. Home reminds me of the nicest of the things and gives me joy that is incomparable.
The terrace of my home was the most interesting place of all.  After all it was not just any other rectangle terrace and I took price in it being the way it was, a marvel of old India architecture a combination of rectangle and a circle. Terrace was where we would start our day with heading straight towards the railings with toothbrush in our mouth. Swishing the all the time while enjoying the nature from different angles and corners until the mouth went dry and paste was all eaten. For we had an entire view of the North, West and South-West and a part of East. Sun would have risen and we would wait for it to climb up the rooftop ceramic tiles and glitter on its dew-laden lacquer. We could see the East bound railway track to Howrah and the south bound railway track to Mandar Hill.  On North was the view to the street where traffic was hardly any. Once in a while a few hawkers would enter into our lane. Sometime a girl selling curd, carrying the earthen pot on her head; or sometimes a vegetable vendor with his 4 wheel cart of mix veggies or bicycle load of cauliflowers or potatoes. While being at railing we were also the instant messengers to relay information to mom that which hawker is come our way. We had our instructions to call stop for the required ones.

Then there was the Mango orchards and the very tall palm trees in the west. That was just beyond a small open filed and the next old single storey building. We always thanked god that the building prevented the ghosts from coming down to our homes; ghosts who I believed lived onto the 3 palm trees. It was deep rooted in thoughts all because of the stories from our grandpa and grandma used to tell on the same terrace. In far south-west there was a lake. It still exists. The lake was the most unknown territory for us. More so because, mom said there were crocodiles in it.  There never were I believe now. Terrace used to be the telephone then, as we would shout out to the neighbours from there. Better seen and heard if we moved to 2ndfloor terrace. Terrace was our whatsappforum and our facebook.  Terrace was our twitter and terrace was our pinterest. Smiles were shared in real time with real persons and our location was known to all. hi-fivewould be happening by throwing the nearest visible brick chip or a beetle nut to others terrace. Aiming improved by time. Terrace was what we would cross the whole of it to let the world know that we were off for a dump in the corner square. So silly of whosoever designed the house. Terrace was our shower ground and the changing sky. All we needed was just a towel in hand. Terrace is where all our clothes would dry, and terrace is where grandma would let her bottles of pickles in sun day after day. She would always know that how did some pickles go missing everyday. Grandpa would take hours to carefully shave in the winter sun. He would sit in the iron armchair with plastic stripes woven into it in designs of diamonds and checks.  I remember, he would keep his folding mirror on to top of a paint bucket, that would sit atop a wooden 3-legged stool. While summers were hot, rains were best enjoyed dancing on the terrace. We also ate the tiny ice pearls that would fall in as hailstorms. Winters were cold so all the afternoon was spent on a mat laid perpetually. I would play carom and chess with my grandpa there. Terrace was the playground and it was the study. By evening we would neatly sit around an oil lamp on ground and do our homework together enjoying the breeze and safeguarding our lamps from being blown off, while at the same time mom would be cooking in another end at the verandah.  Electricity was luxury as was the table. The terrace was our dining, as we would carefully sit in rows in the neatly laid bedsheets folded in 4 flat rolls. Post dinner, often the same terrace was our bedroom despite having about 15 rooms in that building. Dad would show us stars and constellation while we cuddled together on the hand-woven webbing cot. Sometimes we were lucky to catch a good minute long glimpse of a twinkling airplane cutting through all the studded sky. Terrace was our home and the home was our terrace. 

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Ride to Remember - Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2014, Vagator, Goa.

Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2014, Vagator, Goa.

Royal Enfield Rider Mania

The Reason

Another reason for Vagabonds to wander out, away from the city life’s hustle bustle and get onto the highways, the Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2014 was just about the break I was looking for my new classic 500cc Royal Enfield motorcycle.
With a motive of finally getting the motorcycle up for a real long ride of approximately 1400 kms to and fro, I was gearing up for the event almost a month in advance.

The Preparations

The registrations were done online at the Royal Enfield website for rupees 600. The events were scheduled for November 21st to 23rd 2014. I had almost a month in hand to travel. One of the good things was that I did not have any foreign travel coming up in this month.
This meant that I was free to plan out the trip my way. So, the next thing was to get other known people involved and spread the word that “the Royal Enfield Rider Mania” is here. And there had to be responses. It is the Thump that binds all riders. And Rider Mania was all about that thump and sound heard beyond, it was about “Music-Mates-Motorcycle”. I managed to involve around 4 more guys from my office and a few in my friends’ circle. Out of which one Ayush Mishra one of my school juniors and Sandesh Damle my office colleague managed to come.

I got in touch with the Royal Enfield Bandra store. Met a fellow sales and service staff Adesh Sawant, whom I later became friends with. Adesh was a key person who was to organize the whole ride from Mumbai to Goa and back. It was a group of almost 30 Royal Enfield / Bullet riders. Joined by a quite few veterans of highways and some of the first timers like me going for such a long ride. The team had made their reservations at Anjuna Resort, Goa. Some of us had missed that, and hence had to make out own accommodations. So a few remaining booked a nice homestay kind of place, called Martha’s breakfast home in Anjuna area. We all remained close to the venue of event Hill-Top Vagator, Goa. 

Next thing was to prepare the accessories for trip. This was a long required list for me, as I had almost nothing. The purchase started from motorcycle twin saddle bags, which would comfortable sit on both sides of the rear seat. I got a pair of dirtsack saddlebags. These are also available on their website Then I bought some bungee elastic hook chords, to be used to tie up some extra luggage in case needed. I got myself a brand new Royal Enfield full-face helmet as this is must for long rides. This one was all while with graphics reading “MLG 1901 – made like a gun”, done is pure classic styling font.  AVG the manufacturers have done a neat job in making this helmet. It is lined in interior by a tan fabric sued, which is pure comforter and houses thick cushion padding. Then there was an armored jacked for myself. I gifted myself a Royal Enfield branded Fabric jacket that came in with all in build armors, namely shoulder pad, elbow guard and back padding. The jacket also had a nice Royal Enfield branding on back done with a 3M reflective scotch under-type. A pair of Cramster long gloves followed. These came in with ample protection at knuckles, fingers and palm areas. Longer gloves meant I could ride them for long distance and in colder temperatures. I thought I will buy special shoes but my budget had been shooting beyond now. So refrained and rather used my Black high ankle leather boots from Oxford-Bridge that I had purchased a year ago from Honk Kong’s Mega Box shopping mall. The shoe was stiffer earlier but with time, it has softened in interiors. It was important to wear these boots as they have long protective leather for ankle and stiffened toes to take care of shifting gears, applying brakes and flying stone rubbles on highway. The last thing on my list was knee / shin guards. I assumed that I would get them easily but did a poor job. Even after repeated requests, they still did not deliver my Raptor Shin guards on time. As a result, I had to borrow the extra pair from one of my fellow riders.

The night before, on 19th November,  I was almost prepared with the purchase. I charged my camera batteries and packed in both my Nikon D7000 and Nikon D600 full frame bodies along with set of 3 lenses, a 50mm prime, a 10-24mm for wide and a 70-300mm for those beautiful telephoto shots, in my canvas Retrospective series sling camera bag. The ‘vanguard uprise-48’ backpack was another option but then that would not fit into my dirtsack saddlebags. All my clothes were packed in a ready-to-go Wildcraft Sling Duffle bag, which on folding could easily come in a tiny pocket. (Working at VIP Industries and using Wildcraft product was a corporate sin I was committing; but then we didn’t have something like this in our range of bags.) This was a lightweight option. I put in this duffle in one of the sidesaddles along with a pair of sport shoes and slippers. Into other sidesaddle went in my Camera bag. I also packed the essentials of water bottle, some medicines, sprain lube Volini and the extra bike spares of accelerator and clutch cable that were recommended.

The Ride

At 3:30 am we were all reporting at the Royal Enfield bandra store. Guys poured in till 4:00 am. We had morning tea and some chit chats by the store while we got to know each other. The leader and Wing Commanders briefed us in for rides. All of us were given a number sticker each that we were supposed to stick onto helmets or the motorcycles. I was number 7. Ayush was at 9. Adesh was carrying the “RE” flag and was to be one of the Wings for the riders on roll. Vijay, who is also an expert mechanic at RE bandra store, was to be at the tail with his veteran ride RE 350 bullet. From the front we had a couple of experts of the machine and veteran of many Rider Mania, Mr. Sunil Karnataki and Mr. Mandar Thali. They knew highways like back of their hand. Mr. Ramesh Hariharan was another veteran holding wings of the ride.

After the briefing it was time, and leaders said, Pad Up. And all present quickly
Padded up and buckled up tight. Then the words came in ‘Mount’ and we were all on our machines. Keying it on, kicking in and turning the throttle, the 25 odd Royal Enfields, the tigers of the highways, woke up roaring and their 350, 500, and 535cc hearts started thumping as they were all lined up together in a single strand.  Wing commanders did a final check front to back. And then we surely did not hear a ‘go’ from within the helmets far ahead, but surely saw a hand waving to proceed. And the bullets, the Enfields , the roaring tigers rolled out one behind the other, all at once onto the Linking road. Lo and Behold, what a thrill of Goosebumps I felt. A sight to wait and watch for when by passers in their most expensive cars gave way to the passing caravan of Royal Riders.

As the long line of roaring thumpers, bulleters and Enfielders passed the yet so sleepy city in its wee hours of morning, the lull was broken. The silence in the air was zipped open by not only we 30 motocyclists, but as well there were many more who were to be a part of the Royal Enfield Rider Mania, and were equally ripping the streets off its sanity. The caravan passed Navi Mumbai Palm beach and halted at around Panvel from a where remaining few of the lot joined the gang. After a quick tea and early morning snacks there, there were the final words of ‘Pad-up’, ‘Mount’ and ‘Go’.

We rode all 30,
And rode in darkness,
Rode with the winds,
And rode in the chills
We rode up the hills.
We rode all along.
We thumped,
And we thumped in dark,
Thumped all aloud
And we 30 thumped all along.
30 brave hearts, we all thumped within.

It was twilight while we had crossed beautiful hills of Lonavala. A little far ahead of Pune on the highways and were again in flatter lands. Sun had come up and 30 machines were glittering in the golden light. It was time that we took a halt after almost a 90 minutes ride from Panvel.

   . ………… . … be continued.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Traveling Second Class

Traveling in a second class compartment of Indian railways has it's own typical charm. I got this opportunity by missing out on the other one. A two day small trip from Mumbai had suddenly got extended to a full week working at the factory at Nashik. And I was not prepared. I believe vagabonds are usually not prepared. Though I had my bare essentials for survival, I had to shop in for some more essentials. Not being able to get an AC chair car ticket, I got this second class sitting compartment ticket. 

And here I was waiting in the platform number 3 for my Tapovan Express to arrive at 6 pm. The platform was otherwise not very crowded till then. A few people walking and gossiping. A few trains passing by and out of which most of them brought in localities home for Diwali vacations. One passed without stopping by. I could smell the local dish vada-pao from a nearby railway catering stall. I picked up a samosa. And packed a few biscuits for journey. 

About 5 minutes before 6 pm after the "Ting Tong announcement" made by the railway staff about the arrival of the train, the platform was swarmed in by herd of people. The train arrived in another ten minutes. And people again proved that we were all so Indian. Irrespective of being educated or illiterate, the bunch of all ages of men, women, kids and oldies, all of them clogged the entrance / exit of the compartment gate. But suddenly they realised their  folly and humbly allowed the people inside to disembark. I strongly felt a need to write to the Oxford Dictionary people to remove the beautiful word QUEUE from all the copies sold in India. It doesn't matter either ways. 

I found myself lost in the busy and almost crowded compartment after I got in. The numbers on the seat plate were almost all erased by the passage of time. I managed to find my seat number 19 which was by the window side. Ah. I was happy. And there was a shabby looking man in 30's with a weirded gaze in his hollow eyes and wearing clothes dirty enough that made me assume that he should not belong here. I signed him to move aside. And he dared to reply "aapka reservation hai Kya?" And I nodded with a supportive voice "Haan ji". He moved aside slightly reluctantly. I kept my backpack on the overhead iron shelf.  Then comforted myself in the so called my reserved seat. Except for the gentleman who sat in front of me, rest all seemed to be a misfit for the reservation compartment. The seats with their typical blue PVC cover was a trademark of Indian Railways. The fabric had torn off at many places exposing the underlying white yarns and frills. They were now grey with dirt and stains. The side wall suggested that a person whose name initials were D.K was a past traveller on the same seat. He had happily left his eternal presence using some sharp objects as his paint brush. Even animals do leave their mark. He proved to be a closer relative. 

Now I was looking out of the window. Horizontal running grills reminded me of that freedom of childhood. Sitting by window in a second class railway compartment was a luxury undefined. It opened that panoramic view of world that otherwise was not available sitting in the aisle side. I was a child again and went back a decade or two in history when father used to take us  for long family tours. The sun had already set rendering the evening sky in beautiful shades of red and  purple. My hands reached for my phone camera and I had taken a few shots by now from the moving train. My eyes had captured that trail if lights going up the mountains at distance, but my camera failed to do so. It didn't matter as long as the feeling of capturing the dusk from train window gave me that little happiness long forgotten. I will share the photo but this one is nowhere close to any of my decent photos. 

My thought were broken by a strong and typical voice that pierced in through the crowded gossiping compartment. "Chai -  chaaai" "caafeeee chaaaaaiya". The pantry guy with his tea and coffee was here.   Hot coffee in left hand and cold breeze brushing at more than 80 kmph in right hand. My hair were not combed for almost a week. Now they were all in natural backstroked manner, thickened by the smoke of the howling Diesel engine. The colours were all natural looking unlike viewed from behind the tinted glass of the air conditioned coach. By closed eyes I could tell when I passed by a rivulet now converted to a stinky nala. 

The few hours of travel had passed by smoothly. I had left behind hills of Iggatpuri and Kasara Ghats. The chill in air had transformed into warm gusts of smoky dusty wind. The sense of approaching a metropolitan city was strengthening. Small mud huts to pukka huts to small storey houses to multi floor houses. Then big buildings, some brighter street lights, multi storey skyscrapers, neon lights, billboards and bigger billboards with larger than life celebrities popping out showcasing a million dollar close up smiles. It was very obvious that we had entered the peripheral of Mumbai. People were talking in their local village dialect till now. Suddenly they stared speaking the steely Hindi typical to Mumbai slum dwellers and so called mawali type Hindi. It was rough and respect less. I never realized that we were about to reach Dadar. Time to go. 

- Just Vagabond
Travel Diaries. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Red Tram, Hong Kong

I was walking down from the very famous Victoria Peak tram terminal station, and moving towards a metro station to board train to Tsim Tsa Tui. While on a crossing I came across this very beautiful tram. I was traveling back in time. It was another moment of WOW for me. How beautifully history has been preserved in this super-fast city. So meticulously and neatly kept marvel of engineering and art, The Tram. I had shot this picture in full colours but later decided to show it as this with only highlighted Red colour.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Bund

The Bund,

I happened to be on a business trip last week, to a small industrial town called Pinghu, south of Shanghai, People's Republic of China. My colleagues planned an unexpected visit to the famous Shanghai city. I was more than happy to be a part of the game. Since they were flying off from Pudong International Airport the next day, I had to manage my own return to Pinghu. That too was sorted out quickly. We left in a cab to Shanghai from Pinghu by 3 in evening, and were in the city by around 5:30 pm. Quickly checking into a hotel we found our way to a very well known place called Xin Tian Di. This happens to be the 'firang' crowd place in Shanghai. I will write more about it later. From here, after dinner we left for The Bund. Trust me, we had to ask more than 10 people on our way to The Bund, which was hardly 15 minutes away from Xin Tian Di.
However we managed to find a taxi after our legs gave up. It was quite far than we expected.

As the taxi dropped us to a famous Flower wall by The Bund, we saw a big statue of a bull made in the Solid Brass ( I guess ).  Obviously we posed there for some candid shots. Thereafter we all headed to the river front "The Bund". And WOW was the word that I exhaled out of my lungs. The view was stunning, one of the pre-set poster view of city with the same silouhette of the skyline of Shanghai.

Experiencing the cool breeze by the Hüangpu river, I allowed myself to absorb the stunning views. I allowed the time to pass by as slow as if it was still. The river flowed smoothly, and lights shimmered. In distant right, I could see "I Love Shanghai" flashing onto a multi0storey giant building. Some cruise boats sailed onto the river giving those romantic moments a spice of love. I fell in love with Shanghai.

Monday, April 8, 2013

VIP Navigator Series luggage - the all new Printed PC collection

Now this is something special.
An all funky stylish luggage, the NAVIGATOR series for the Vagabonds.
VIP Industries Limited launches the NAVIGATOR series of products. Includes printed PC luggages, Laptop Sleeves, Laptop cases, Camera bag and more. Now unleash the traveller within you. Get Vagabonding with stylish 4 wheel bags. Available at all VIP outlet across country.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wassup Andheri 2013

The Andheri festival - Wassup Andheri 2013 was back with bang. With loads of performances and shows, the young and upcoming talents showed mumbai that they had it in them. I was there to capture the dance performances performed by Aditi Yadav's  VED INSTITUTE OF PERFORMING ARTS. Led by Aditi Yadav and co-assisted by lead performers Sanghamitra Mukherjee, Neha Sharaf, Meenakshi Varma Shah, Kanupriya and Deepti Yamini Sharma, the classical dance show was a show stealer. The Kathhak Marathon engaged the ghungroos and the bells chimed along with the thudd of the feet. At every taal and tabla beat the acoustics grew bigger and Louder and the syncronised hands feet and expressions added to the drama and action.

Wassup Andheri has given a good platform to the young and new talents. Earlier in the evening the show was anchored by actor Varun Dhawan, who co-starred in recent movie 'Student of the year'.
The evening also saw some of the standup comedians who tried their best to break laughters. it was a good effort though, not the best one.

The festival also showcased many artists of canvas and installations.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kala Ghoda - The Mumbai Art Festival

The return of the Bull, the year of the snake, the advent of the Spring, and the passing of the Silent Winter, was marked by the recently organized Kala Ghoda Art festival in the heart of the  city of  Mumbai. The art festival, pulled in more than the usual number of crowd on its closing day, 11th February. It was Sunday and I managed to steal a couple of hours from my tight schedule. Year after year the art festival of Kala Ghoda is organised in the Island City in the Fort area.

Apart from many other themes for the Kala Ghoda art festival, the skull art took the centre stage. Other national issues like the recently 'in news' rape cases and 'women safety' also shared an equal importance in the festival. Human emotions were depicted in various arts.

This photo was shot from behind of the child who was wearing this small helmet with two horns and a skull print in back. She was sitting on a mock Black bull while others happily photographed her from front. I Found this angle interesting to capture the scene from behind the scene. the plethora of people, the sea of camera clicking hands and the lights gave me a decent pick.

I will await the return of the Kala Ghoda next year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Nothing can be purer than the innocence of a new born child. I happened to click this photograph of my newborn niece. The morning light peeping from the Window on her left and the solace and comfort in which she was sleeping in the lap of her father created a perfect balance of light and mood. The crude emotion on her face that reflected purity was enchanting. How beautiful this world is...! We realize it only when we see God's creation. 
The thought of "The Child is the Father of the Man" springs up in my mind suddenly. Its about realizing that only once we see a little one that we realize that how we have developed and what we were before. The whole theory of Evolution takes a full circle.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Kolkata - City of Joy, City of Being Lazy.

Kolkata - City of Joy, City of Being Lazy.

Every moment here makes you relive the lazy charm of Kolkata. It was not too late while i realize that the flight was slightly delayed to land at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. I was last commercial passenger to exit the aircraft. Wait started when the previously filled transit bus had departed and the next one was dure to arrive.
 Meanwhile I enjoyed the wind and weather.
The super active people had not yet restored the display screen of one of the luggage belts, therefore, we were standing in confusion, so as where to expect our baggages. Finally I enjoyed everyone ogling stare at my new VIP Polycarbonate luggage, and the muffled voices in 'Bangaali' were all talking to each other. It dosent stop here.... Mannnnn, I am coming from a flight and am bladder full, please 'do your stuff and move on'... but lazy they..!!

There I found a 'subway' in bangaali airport, another 'misaal' of laziness was just going to be experienced. I asked for a 'shaami-kebab', they started makin one plain sandwich. Ans ask me why, coz., the guy at the counter forgot what I said in an awe to stare at a beautiful Assamese girl. Not my fault, neither his. And he put those shaamis to heat, and asked another fellow to make the sub. This fellow made sure to wash his hand, then pat them dry jerking off the etra water from his fingers, then he rubbed it in a towel, wiped it all dry, took out box of plastic disposable gloves, pulled a pair out of the box, slowly wore them on and then looks towards me and asked. "Sir, What is your order?"...!! Grrrrrr. I was in city of joy, the city of being ubber lazy. — at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fengjing - Traveling 1500 years in time

These are the notes that I had written on my blog on the website that is the official website of the Lonely Planet Magazine India. 
The page can be accessed at this link
and my blog on the same can be accessed at

Fengjing - Traveling 1500 years in time

Fengjing town at night in chilling temperature of almost 2 degrees.
My fingers had kind of frozen while I shot this image from another overbridge. 

The sight was much more beautiful when I got on the bridge as seen the top picture. And while
I got down from it to the river side, the scene left me spell bound and it was worth shooting it.

The same town had a very different charisma in during the day time, when the air was slighter warmer
around 7-8 degrees. And yes, It did look like the "Venice of East". Beautiful China preserved its looks
and traditions.

And the gorgeous water front that had many of these beautiful red boats, were not to be missed.
I fell in love with the lovely 'nature' once again.

"I was on one of my official trip to China in March. One night I was on my way accompanying a fellow colleague to drop him off to station. It was chilling cold and litlle i knew that I would cross an intersting sight of beautiful lights. On return from station i asked the driver to stop by the lights, and Lo- behold..! I was seeing in front my eyes set beautifully amidst the darkness of night and decorated in mist of the chilly weather was the mjestically beautiful town of Fengjing. Later I came to know that with a history of over 1500 years, this town was one of the most famous town in the late Ming Dynastry of China. Also known as Bainiu or White Ox town, this place by the south of famous Yangtze river is very sceninc for its beautiful landscape and river side culture.  After my first glimpse of that night, I again revisited the same place in day time in my next trip to China. This time the place offered me a completely different views. There were red boats floating on the river bed, and were look alikes of Shikaras on Dal Lake in Kashmir.  The sides of the river town had pavements to walk through. Each pavement had a number of rstaurants selling very authentic style chinese food and original Chinese handicrafts. Locals made steam-rice by the river side and offered fish-rice or Pork-rice for meal, wrapped in tree leaves. By-lanes sold beautiful hand made embroideries. And travelers were happy taking a ride in the Red Boats. Hanging trees overlooked the water and the view of narrow river was well intercepted by connecting bridges at regular intervals. It surely was one of the rare experiences in traveling into history 1500 years back and reliving the moments today."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Gateway of India

The Gateway of India -

As the name suggests, this place is one of the heritage sites in the country. Built in bui;t in 1911. Quoting from the Wikipidea -  "The Gateway of India (Marathi: भारताचे प्रवेशद्वार) is a monument in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. Located on the waterfront in Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai, the gateway is a basalt arch 26 metres (85 feet) high. It lies at the end of Shivaji marg.[1] It was a crude jetty used by fisher folks and was later renovated and used as a landing place for British governors and other distinguished personages. In earlier times, the gateway was the monument that visitors arriving by boat would have first seen in the city of Bombay.[2] The gateway has also been referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai[3], and has also lent its name to the city ofMumbai.[4] It is the city's top tourist attraction.[5]
The monument was erected to commemorate the landing on the Apollo Bunder of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary when they visited India in 1911. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, the foundation stone for the Gateway of India was laid on 31 March 1911. The construction of the monument completed in 1924 after the final design of George Wittet was only sanctioned in 1914. The Gateway was latterly the ceremonial entrance to India for Viceroys and the new Governors of Bombay.[6] The monument now stands at an angle of the road leading up to it as the approach road was never built due to lack of funds.[7]
The historic monument has always been a terror target from the start of the 21st century. The monument was targeted three times; twice in 2003 and then in 2008." 

I shot this image at night from my digital panasonic lumix FX 700. Usually throughout the day the place is a hangout and on visual itinerary for the visitors. Quite number of foreigners are seen moving around the place, as there are a number of other places on interest in the nearby areas. The most famous being the "Taj Mahal Hotel" right opposite to it facing the sea. The Gateway is well lit up in the evening and forms a picturesque  backdrop for portraiture or landscaping. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Of An Unknown Rider....

They have been ridden by someone...
Someone who has been nicer...
One shone with shine and glittered with colours..
The other reminded of the tough terrains and tougher times.

They cared for the metal, rubber and fiber...
They "the unknown rider".


Its between Her and me..

One Rainy Day.... she got drenched after I rode her; she looked so Hot......, I could not resist and Shot her all over. Again and Again. Every curve told a different story. Story of her endurance, of her stamina, speed, the power, the heat, and also her age that was taking a toll on beauty and thrust, but slowly. The sheen and luster were just suggestive. We both know now that she needs rest. Her steel glitters and is rustic too at some corners. It has been a fair enough a journey together, in hills and plains and in heat and rains. You have taken me across states, beyond the roads, into known and unknown, at day and night, meeting scores of Indian civilizations, being a part of my Vagabond life. Thanks my darling..! I am not leaving you so soon. 
There is enough life left in both of us.

150...... that was enough for both of us. She looked gorgeous in BLACK.

As much as her spring action.... She ensured me a super smooth ride even in the bumpiest if terrains.

And what made her run so vigorously was her Heart.. her Engine. made all the way in Germany.

It always felt nice to press against her foot rest. BRAKES.... never failed me ever.

Though rusted by now, but the tyre rims still shone with gitter.

One bad thing.. she smoked a lot. But never let the black soot out of her hole..! 

Her name was....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A day trip to Elephanta Caves.

It was a bright Sunday morning, and I had pre-decided on the evening before to visit the world famous Elephanta Caves. Elaphanta caves are now one of the World Heritage Sites. Situated on the Elaphanta Island, these caves are named because of the presence of a huge Stone carved Elephant placed at the entrance of the Islands.

I had read about the place in my Lonely Planet India book, and accumulated some information from Internet the evening before. So, On Sunday, after my servant left after cleaning etc by 8:15 am, I hurried myself to get ready as soon as possible. I knew, it was best to catch the first steamer launch boat form behind the famous Gateways of India at Colaba. So I had managed to get a cab by 8:30 am from near my house in Worli, which dropped me at Gateway of India by 9:03 am. I thought initially that I had missed my first steamer. and that , by the time now I reach late, the island would be populated  by visitors. But, I was lucky and on the way to steamer I was able to get a ticket to Elephanta Island. Got in the steamer soon. But before that, i did not miss the chance to take a couple of shots of the Gateway of India from its back side. In steamer launch, I got on to the upper deck, though its not allowed (also mentioned in the ticket). But the steamer guy charges Rupees 10 to go and sit on the upper deck. Only limited seats are there. The steamer started and took another 45 to 50 minuted to reach to the Elephanta Island.

The whole experience of seeing the whole Bombay bay from sea was thrilling. How beautiful it looked. The moment, as the boat guy removed the anchored rope loop hooked on to pillar, steamer started leaving the shore. And slowly slowly the steamer was in the sea, Everything started getting away. Every one started getting smaller and farther. The TAJ MAHAL HOTEL and the GATEWAY of INDIA, all got farther and farther as we strode away in the middle of sea.

On way to the Elephanta Island, I crossed many other big and small boats including some Huge Cargo vessels and other kinds of vessels. I shot photos of them all. I recalled the time in 1991 or 1990 i guess, when I had come to Mumbai with my parents, and had visited these places. Now after 20 years I was living here in the same city.

The city that had grown massively from being just a Big city to a humungous Metropolis. I was was watching all the skyscrapers lined along the city's skyline, towering up and high in the sky, almost touching the clouds. Some even overlooked them.

The Horizon got bleaker as I moved away and away and the Elephanta Island came closer and visible.
I had reached finally by around 10 am. Debarked from the steamer, I was in a completely new world just a few kilometers away from the mainland Mumbai.

The small steamer port opened into a long alley pathway that was going towards the hills. I followed all other fellow travelers. The not-so-long walkway also had a small pair of rails running along the track onto which a toy train moved. The track turned right at the end and led to the footlhills of the mountains in where the caves were built.

A flight of stairs were leading to the main caves. I had to buy a small ticket for Rupees 5 only, as a tax payment ticket, that was compulsory for everyone who went up towards the caves, or may be every visitor on the island. That was some Panchayat ticket. The stairway was lined up by small little tarpaulin covered shops on either side. Since i had reached early in the morning, so the shopkeepers were busy setting up their paradises. The sun shone from top and filtered through the lush of the leaves and then finally making way through the not so enchanting but interesting Cool Blue of the tarpaulin, and then touching the lives beneath. Lives of the people who lived there and of the travelers and visitors who made sure that those live there for ever. I took a couple of shots on my way up to the caves.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

River Hoogly and Vidyasagar Setu bridge at Howrah

River Hoogly as seen from a steamer launch crossing over the river. This was shot while i was crossing over from Kolkata to Howrah. It was quite a calm and serene evening. The day was tiring as it was spent travelling. This steamer ride was taken to avoid the commotion on the Howrah Bridge. The shot was taken in a long exposure of 20 seconds while i kept the camera on the dock of the steamer. All the while the steamer smootehred along in water towards Babu ghat steamer station/port. Seen in the far left is the newly constructed Vidyasagar setu bridge, which connect the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata.

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