Dances with Lions

The International Lion Dance festival was held at Jakarta, and by some chance, I happened to be in the right place at the right time!

Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese and Indonesian cultures, in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume. It has evolved from the martial arts of Wushu into a more artistic skill which takes into account the lion’s expression and the natural movements.

Most often lion dances are staged as a cultural performance or a stunt during competitions. It has evolved and developed into this modern form on stilts, where teams compete based on the best skilled and most lively “lion”, coupled with the most creative stunts, choreographed moves and acrobatic difficulty

There were 18 teams and I witnessed the agility and creativity of two of them, one being the home country, Indonesia.

Here is a sequence of their performance…

1. The duo that is going to perform test the stilts

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2. The team says a prayer before stepping into the Lion costume

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3. Getting into the costume

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4. The audience wait with bated breaths…

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and just to make it clear…

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5. The Lion is ready for the leap

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6. The musicians captivate the spectators and judges with heart-throbbing rhythmic and pulsating live instruments

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7. And the lion dances…

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… so, how was it?

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9. A final salute to the audience

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10. The judges doing their thing…

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11. And the winner is………..

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12. [The 'I was there' picture] ;)

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Sightseeing in Singapore

The school was sending me for some official work to Singapore. The plan was to get there by 9:00 am, finish the paper work and then I had the whole day till my flight at 6:00 in the evening. Unfortunately, I was on a shoestring budget hence could not venture far! But the sights of Singapore in a 3 km radius were enough to remain etched in my mind forever.

Let me take you for the tour of the 6 hours I was in Singapore!

Here is the first sight straight from the taxi…

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And this one is a kind of message to one of my students…. (Stephen, I hope you are proud)

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Singapore, a city run by prefects quipped a comedian once… I vouch that he could not have said it better!

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singapore square

The red dot building – museum to all things traffic!

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After the ‘official work’ was over, I was on my own, and found my way to Chinatown! Was hesitant to shoot in the streets at first, but when I saw so many people trigger happy, I was at my camera best!

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Chinatown

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The multidude of fridge magnets to choose from (I brought quite a few  too …)

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Found a shop in Chinatown entirely dedicated to Tintin memorablia! IMG_0549

This one is for Dad… that is supposed to be the world’s largest coin…

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India is everywhere…

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And now for those bizarre signs in a bustling city

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Spent my evening at this plaza dedicated to the national flower of Singapore… the Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’

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and captured some things familiar…

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Here is the Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’ against a backdrop of the magnificent Carlton

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I could spend a day photographing the artwork along the streets.

Beginning with this bronze structure of the Vanda

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This very abstract piece which describes itself as ‘Reaching’ symbolising the infinite possiblities of growth, the shores are limitless…

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Or this one which had no description in sight…

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And this is something I could not help shooting… Singapore is a car/bike lover’s paradise!

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Spent some time in the quiet shade of a botanical garden…

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and there it was time to count the cents remaining…. a reminder that I had to head home ;)

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Singapore airport…

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Well, I wished this would be my ride

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… but instead had to be content with this one!

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With light as my brush…

I have always been fascinated with this photographic technique called Light Painting, but because of the constraints of the camera I could not get there. Finally, armed with my new DSLR and the cell phone torchlight, I am on my way to paint with light!

Here follows a set of images, not all of which may be of a ‘refined’ nature… :)

A heartful of light

A heartful of light

Starry starry lights

Starry starry light

I will love you forever

I will love you forever

Prisoner of light

Prisoner of light

Self portrait

Self portrait

Abstract light

Abstract 1

Abstract light 2

Abstract 2



The Monsoon Herald

You can take me out of Goa, but you can’t take Goa out of me…

A walk around the campus at Kasiga, and I chanced upon… Goa!Scadoxus multiflorus

These red flowers are called Scadoxus multiflorus are native from southern Africa. The Portuguese brought them to Goa, planted them around their houses and now they spread all over the coastal area. Locally known as ‘fireballs’, ‘powder puffs’, ‘monsoon roses’ or ‘blood lilies’, these flowers announce the arrival of the monsoons.

Here is a mesmerizing time lapse video of the monsoon rose, that is here today and gone tomorrow.

A tribute to magnificence

One of the places that I spent almost an hour in photography was on a recent visit to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.

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This statue of Shiva left me mesmerized. Sad to say that this work of art no longer adorns the banks of the Ganga at Rishikesh. The recent torrential rains in Uttarakhand swept it away alongwith a colossal loss of life and property.

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Is it the wrath of God or the the self-imposed wrath of humankind that leads to these catastrophes?

Experiments with my new Canon Rebel T3i

The days of shallow DOF, high ISO settings, 1/500 sec shutter speeds and near zero noise are here! I am the proud owner of a Canon 600D (Rebel T3i).

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Here are the first few experimental shots… comments are welcome!

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The driveway outside our house

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Tea time at Lansdowne (with a bit of HDR after exposure bracketting)

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Tiramisu at Pizza Hut

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Diorama with Hotwheels Colour Changer

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The Himalayan Bulbul

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Moonrise

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Sunrise

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The early bird

Down in Lansdowne

Originally known as, Kaludanda, after Kalun (Black) and Danda (Hill) in the local language, Lansdowne was founded and named after the then Viceroy of India, Lord Henry Lansdowne in 1887.

IMG_1164Today, Lansdowne is a cantonment town in Pauri Garhwal district of  Uttarakhand and houses the command office of the famous Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army.

At an elevation of 4600 ft, Lansdowne presents a unique choice of a hill station still in its pristine glory. However this may deter those who would want all the amenities of a comfortable holiday.

It was a three day getaway to this place with family and the sights of this place that relaxed my mind.

This is one of the signs you cannot afford to miss if you are driving on your own (or like us you might end up a little lost).

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The first thing that meets the eye are unending blue pine forests and thick oak trees.

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After a refreshing time in the resort we headed out for the touristy places. First there was the War Memorial, at the Parade Ground of the Garhwal Rifles Center. The Regimental Museum (also called the Darwan Singh Sanghralaya), houses artefacts from the beginning of the Regiment. No photos were allowed of course :( only this one of the entrance.

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We then headed to the two churches that Lansdowne is known for:

St. Mary’s Church was was built by Colonel AHB Hume in 1896 and has been restored now by Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre.

st marys church hdr pano2-2 Pre-independence photographs and an audio-visual display of the Regiment’s history can be viewed at this place.

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St. John’s Church is a Roman Catholic Church situated on the mall road. St. John’s Church is the only Church of worship in Lansdowne.

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Experimented with a bit of HDR to get the feel of the church interiors

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The guest book there appeared like a divine list in the light of the window … :)

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The only place that offers a bit of the usual refreshment is the Garhwal Mandal Rest house.

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For me this place, was a set straight out of a horror flick!

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Fortunately, the GMVN is constructing new wooden cottages which I plan to visit if I make this trip again.

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Tip n Top (aka Tiffin Top) is a vantage point that promises both views of the sunrise and sunset, but which also has too many people vying for space.

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Because of a technical malfunction in my car I could not wait till sunset and had to head to the local market to get a puncture removed from the tyre.

The evening was spent at Bhulla Taal (Little Brother Lake) which is maintained by the Garhwal Rifles.

IMG_1075The serene waters and the colourful paddle boats were invitation enough for me to exercise my legs and spend the time with the ducks.

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Bhulla Taal has its fair share of wildlife, and these guinea pigs kept my little son in splits.

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But the best part of the holiday for me was spending time in the balcony of the resort letting in the panoramic view around.

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The tea they made there was unmatched to any I tasted before!

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Got a few stills of the birds too…

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The evening walk too were fantastic photo ops…

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…. and there was enough time to fool around with the camera settings to get a bit artsy

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And these are a few miscellaneous shots that bear a mention… 


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Three days and a lung full of fresh air later, it was time to get back to the grind!

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