Posts tagged photo diary

Finding Stories and Street Art in Penang

Penang is a spicy potpourri of Chinese, Malay, and Indian ethnicities. But I didn’t realize how thick this gravy of cultural mix is until I went to Penang.

On my first day in Penang, I stayed in a Chinese guesthouse, ate rice and fish curry at a Muslim Malay restaurant, and my evening stroll took me to Indian food stalls proudly flaunting crispy samosas.

Wait. What was happening?

Indian Malaysians, who were mostly from South India, told me that many Indians were taken to Penang to work as laborers during the 130-years rule of British over Malaysia. Penang port was the main trade route for traders from China, Spain, Arabia, and India, and the British wanted their chunk of the trade.

A Malay Chinese whom I met while hiking the Penang hill cleared my doubts about the origins of Chinese Malays. He said that the Chinese sailed to Malaysia in the 18th century to trade and work as laborers.

Over time, all three ethnicities blended to form the current Penang.

While the Chinese relished the Malaysian coconut flavors, Indians used sweet-chili sauces in their curries, and Malaysians ate biryanis and noodle soups with the same fervor.

While admiring the street art in Penang, I felt that the cultural evolution of Penang had been pasted onto Penang streets in a raw and hilarious manner.

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Natural Hot Springs, Chai, and the Timeless Manikaran Sahib

A timeless journey through Manikaran.

While sauntering around in Manikaran’s narrow lanes on my recent trip to Parvati Valley, I reminisced about my childhood journeys to Shukkartal and Haridwar with my family.

Like in those religious towns, time didn’t seem to have passed in Manikaran Sahib either.

Young girls dressed up in traditional bright Kullu dresses and Himachali topis waited to be clicked. Streets were lined with kitschy souvenir shops that flaunted neon plastic toys, rudraksha malas, and brass bracelets.

Devoted Sikhs with their Kirpans hanging around their waist walked swiftly towards the Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara. Hindu families strode to the Shiva and Ram temple to bathe their young ones who trailed behind eyeing the hot jalebis and crispy samosas that were on display at the local sweet’s shop.

If only their mother could buy them a hundred grams of jalebis the children might walk faster. But the mothers were already thinking about quickly getting their little ones undressed and bathing them in the Manikaran hot water springs.

They also had to pay their respects to Guru Nanak Ji or the Ram and Sita adorned in the Sikh and Hindu temples.

After all, the history of Manikaran dictates that the town was touched by both the Hindu gods and Guru Nanak Sahib though at different times.

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A Photographic Affair With Pushkar, Rajasthan

I went to Pushkar a few days before the Pushkar cattle fair starts.

Nearby villagers had arrived at the fairground with their cattle, and some were still on their way. Animal trade had started, though the ground was still being set up.

Hundred thousands of tourists, photographers, and locals from the nearby villages attend the Pushkar Fair every year. But as the big influx of tourists was not to come until the camel fair started, the grounds were yet to fill up.

Even though I was only carrying a phone camera, I decided to treat my visit as a Pushkar photography tour. While walking in the tiny streets of the Pushkar bazaar and wandering on the ghats of the Pushkar Lake, I not only clicked some Pushkar photos that I am happy with, I also captured some deep-felt emotions.

Now without saying much, let me take you on this photo tour of Pushkar.

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A Gorgeous Sunset on the Nusa Penida Island – Golden Postcards of Memories

Irrespective of from where and with whom you watch a sunset, each sunset is of its own kind and is perfect in its own way.

I witnessed the golden beauty submerging in the Indian ocean from the island of Nusa Penida, near Bali, and in the zen state that followed, I wrote this piece of writing which I am publishing here (with some editing).

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A Day on the Deserted Nyang Nyang Beach, Bali– With Blue Postcards of Memories

When we descended the stairs of a cliff to reach this turquoise beach visible in the distance, my nut-brown eyes first quickly scanned through the different colors that had spread themselves onto the landscape, and then they insisted on exploring each hue for prolonged periods of time and stopped listening to me.

White cottony clouds floated in a light-blue sky, which gave way to a deep-blue sea, whose green waves rolled towards us, and then they washed over the brown moss to run into the fluorescent-green corals and mix with the ink-blue pools in which black and golden stripped tiny fishes darted to and fro from one rock to another.

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A Memoir of Chile Independence Day – Or As The Chileans Call It, Fiestas Patrias.

Today is the independence day of Chile, which is also called Fiestas Patrias or dieciocho, the 18th. Having celebrated this grand day in its mother country, I promise you that the one week of celebrations preceding the independence day and on the day itself are unmatchable. And why shouldn’t they be?

On this date in 1820, Chile overthrew Spain and freed herself from 300-year-long captivity.

Chileans are thrilled around their independence day and celebrate it with honesty, love, and passion. Children, students, adults, grandparents all dress up, decorate, cook, visit their families, talk, celebrate, drink, host barbeques, dance, sing, and act.

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My Love and Hate Relationship With the Colorful India – A Story and Memory Postcards

As I move onto a new journey that takes me outside India for a couple of months, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the places that I have lived in and visited in the last one year I have been in India.

India — a country with distinct religions from the ancient Hindu to the declining Zoroastrianism, with a myriad of languages and dialects from Konkani to Jarawa, with a plethora of geographies from fathomless deserts to treacherous glaciers, with a vast network from modern sea links to old hanging bridges, with a wide assortment of food from homely dal roti to mouth-watering, overnight-cooked chicken biryanis, with a range of commutes from rusted Hero bicycles, serene camels, and obedient bullock carts to fancy Rolls Royces, from peaceful Tamil marriages that are held for two hours during daylight to exciting Punjabi wedding functions sprawled over many days in luxurious hotels spread across India; we have it all.

This large and miscellaneous congregation of people — that India is — sometimes makes me proud, but sometimes the restrictions of this collectivist society suffocate me.

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Peru – In the Golden Foliage of Poetry and Pictures.

Oh dear friend, would you convey my message if you travel to the mystical land of the Incas.


photos of peru

Could you find that old lady who guided me to the bus and tell her that I dream of her hair as I dream about the Himalayan snow.  

Could you find that little mystery-eyed girl who would be bigger by now and whisper to her that I would come again to play the game of “donde estas” with her in her home.

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Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka – A Day in the Winged Paradise

We went on a one day drive to the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary. And I was overwhelmed by its beauty.

I penned down my experience in a poem. After all, what is better than nature and poetry?

Writing down that poem here.

Related Read: If you love animals and are in South India, do visit Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Hampi, Karnataka

 

As we entered the sanctuary, painted storks glided above us in the clouded sky, 

and with our heads tilted towards the heavens,

we walked by the side of the muddy Kaveri,

to see flocks and flocks of white and grey birds just perched onto the canopies of the Arjuna and the Acacia on the islets.

The crisp air buzzed with their songs and shrieks,

though I couldn’t identify even one of those notes.

We gazed at the distant foliage to recognize the winged-ones,

but our eyes instead discovered three crocodiles who rested on the rocks with their powerful jaws wide open,

as if they were waiting for a fish to dive into their mouth.

Their stillness made us wonder if they were real or fake,

and then we saw one of them gracefully gliding into the coolness of the water,

alluring us to go behind him.

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The Lush-Green Vietnam and Its Temples – Vietnam Photo Album

 

As promised in this photo diary of the street life and rich food of Vietnam, I am back with a Vietnam photo album which showcases the country’s painting-like greenery and its rich temples.

Certain days at work, when I sit in a room and work from my desk for hours at a stretch, these photos make me feel that I am out in the green, running with the water stream, or bathing in the sunshine, or singing with the rain, or listening to the tall waterfall falling over the stones, or fine-tuning with the birds that flew above my head under the vast blue sky of those foreign lands.

Do you also long for a place that you visited in the past when you look at your travel photos? Do you still feel connected to that place?

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Bustling Street Life and Delicious Food of Vietnam – In a Photo Diary

Vietnam was alive.

With blue skies and bustling streets.

With bowls full of colorful noodle soup in which greens and mushrooms dived in.

With ladies serving soup on the street side and road junctions while sitting on the smallest stools you could ever imagine.

With the Bánh Mì sandwiches that erupted into my taste buds and the beautiful blend of the Vietnamese coffee served with condensed milk.

With the death that lingered in the war museums that crushed me to the core and I took days to recover.

With the long-curvy rides in the toiletless buses to reach one city from another.

With the streets crowded with millions of red, blue, green scooters that must have looked like crawling painted ants when seen from the top.

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