This was the poem I recited on Independence Day and for which I bagged the second prize 😉
It’s a poem by Maya Angelou titled: I know why the caged bird sings
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Shigmo (Shigmotsav/Shimga) is often called the Goa’s version of Holi (Rang Panchami). The annual Shigmo parade held on Panaji’s 18th June Road is the culmination of Shigmo celebrations. The parade is a kaleidoscope of Goa’s Hindu roots through folk dances in resplendent traditional costumes and larger than life floats depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
There are three categories on display: fugdi, romtamel and tableaux
The procession is led by a series of such Kunbi dances (a folk dance performed by village tribal women, dressed up in colourful sarees).
The Romtamel included various village groups clad in their festive colors, their pulsating drums and blowing flutes accompanied with multicolored cloths, torans, flags and column-like red spotted Dwajas
and this is the amazing goff (the ‘ribbon dance’, through co-ordinated dance moves the dancers intertwine numerous ribbons into a braid)
These were interspersed with lots of individual fancy dress entrants…
And finally came the sights that I was waiting for the whole evening… chitrarath… the shigmo floats!
It began with Laxmi bestowing blessings on everyone
and a series of other floats depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata
The waking of Kumbakarana, complete with a two-truck long float and the evil laugh hehe hahaha (which left me in splits!) was a sure shot prize winner!
And three others that were strong contenders were:
The heavenly abode
The Abduction of Sita (Sita Haran) with Rama in close pursuit
and The Dance of Shiva
Shigmo stands in stark contrast with the commercialisation of Carnival. It is truly a celebration of community, culture and creativity.
Light has the power to facilitate activity. The power to rejuvenate.
This is the theme of LIGHTS IN GOA, an International Architectural Lighting Workshop and seminar for “Activating public spaces”. This is a collaborative effort of the Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IID-Goa) and the Professional Lighting Designers’ Association (PLDA, Germany)
Lighting designers embarked on transforming urban spaces using professional designed lighting and make them pockets of social activity! Here is the one that I happened to chance upon–Kala Academy.
It took me a while to figure out the writing in light… but then I did have some help from an Hindi expert 😉 The symbols read prakash (which is light in hindi)
… somre more Indian Rangoli in light
Lighting the tree-lined Kala Academy promenade that was the work of light designer Martin Lupton from UK and his team of students. The latter fashioned waste materials like empty cartons and soft drink cans into lanterns and lighting artefacts.
The science of lighting is enlightening indeed! 😉
If you are interested in knowing more, here is the official brochure of Lights in Goa
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
~ Juliet (Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2))
This is a quote from Shakespeare’s lyrical tale of “star-cross’d” lovers. Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall in love, but are doomed from the start as members of two warring families. Juliet tells Romeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention, and that she loves the person who is called “Montague”, not the Montague name and not the Montague family. Romeo, out of his passion for Juliet, rejects his family name and vows, as Juliet asks, to “deny his father” and instead be “new baptized” as Juliet’s lover. This one short line encapsulates the central struggle and tragedy of the play.
I on the other hand do not want to dwell on the vagaries of love in this post but on a feature I rarely use on my camera… Infra-red mode.
Here are a few sample pictures of The Rose 😉
This is IR under a focus lamp
The pictures are clicked in pitch darkness. I think cats can sense IR, and the more adventurous of the two, leaped onto the table to inspect the object of my affection 😉
And if you are wondering how the original was, then here it is:
UPDATE: Here is the same in fractal format….
Melt and pour. Melt and pour. It sounded simple. That was all I needed to remember to make chocolate
Chocolate-making is something I would not have dreamt of venturing into if not for a very supportive better half, and lots of valuable suggestions from colleagues at work!
We bought the chocolate compound, searched high and low for the molds, kept the cats out of the kitchen (who found the chocolate aroma even more irresistible than fish!)
And then I realized…. Chocolate-making is a messy affair! The recipe was simple, but for me the simplest situation can turn into an emergency! But I stood the test! And after an hour of messy fingers, messy microwave and messy kitchen top, there were some yummy looking chocolate bonbons!
You are all invited!!!
In the world of digital communication, sending and or even receiving, a “real” Christmas card is a rarity! So this Christmas we decided to get back to the drawing board… and make our own “cards”!
It was a spur of the moment decision that my wife and I headed for the Bambolim beach for a quiet evening. And there we made a chance discovery. In a tiny stream opening out into the sea were numerous of these shells tossing along. We challenged each other into collecting the most, little knowing that they would end up as our Christmas cards.
These “shells” are called Mother-of-Pearl. They were once a common site on the windows of Portuguese villa houses (and today adorn a number of resorts!)
Mother of Pearls are considered an organic mineral and created by mollusks, either oysters or abalones. These mollusks secrete fine proteins whose chemical compound is calcium carbonate, the same that is found in marble and aragonite. This substance is primarily secreted to protect itself from parasitic organisms. The substance of Mother of Pearl is the same substance created when an oyster forms a pearl! While Mother Pearls are usually a glossy or very shiny white, they can also be a slight gray or iridescent color.
Mother of pearl finds itself chopped up as part of tiles for flooring, it is also used for coating sinks and was once used extensively for buttons on jackets, coats and shirts.
On a mystical front, the white iridescent color of the Mother of Pearl can make one feel very peaceful and less stressful and calm!
An appropriate way to wish everyone the peace and warmth of Christmas!
In the storm of hectic sessions, articles for newspapers, managing two blogs and home-related work came a distraction I would never have expected would keep me gripped… Plants vs Zombies! What I initially claimed to be a “completely brainless game”, kept me occupied for hours in the evening and sometimes even late at night!
PvZ is about killing zombies using various strategies, your defences being plants of varying powers and skill sets!
But I was in for a bigger surprise! My better half gifted me this toy to remind me that life is more than Plants vs Zombies 😉
Its a common site on most car dashboards (and now adorns my own). This “Solar Flip Flap Dancing Flower” is supposed to give you positive energy… I think it does! Everytime I look at it I can’t help but smile!
You will never grow old, while there is love in your heart…
This is the song that I can always associate with Mom and Dad. It was also the song that Dad sang for me on my wedding day. And so I decided to immortalise the words on a mug that reached them on their wedding anniversary! From their engagement pic to their latest pic … they remain… forever young!
And for anyone looking for the lyrics (as sung by Nat King Cole):
You will never grow old
While there’s love in your heart.
Time may silver your golden hair
As you dream in an old rocking-chair,
So keep my love in your heart,
Remember the love-tales we told
For with my love in your heart, my darling,
You will never grow old.
Don’t be fretful, or regretful
That you will grow old much too soon.
With a love, dear, to dream of, dear,
You’ll stay like a rosebud in June.
For years now, I have harbored two dreams.
1. To have an entire collection of my favorite scale model cars
2. To photograph the intricate details of them and make them come alive!
The first may never be attainable… while I have realized the second with this 1941 Chevrolet Deluxe photoshoot
1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Convertible.
Accurate Gauges and dash inside
Dimensions: 10.25″L x 3.25″W x 3.25″H
A little more about scale model cars:
Fully built scale model cars made of die cast metal are very popular among collectors. These models are manufactured in various scales like 1:12,
1:18, 1:24, 1:43, and 1:64, among others.
Larger-scale premium models today are generally made with attention to details which replicate a real model, such as a working steering which steers the wheels in larger models, doors, trunk, and hood that open (the latter showing a detailed engine complete with things such as an exhaust system and/or other items contained in a typical car engine), and tyres mounted on a workable suspension system. In smaller scales some of the details are often eliminated.
Next stop… the Porsche Cayenne Turbo 😉
The child in me awoke once again, and this time too, the reason was TRANSFORMERS – one set of toys that I cannot stop being fascinated about.
Autobot Drift is the latest addition to my Transformer collection. Originally known as Deadlock, this Transformer was once a Decepticon who then turned to the Autobot side and took on a new body and identity.
The vehicle mode is sleek and looks like it is built for racing. It is inspired by the Japanese originated practice of “drifting” (a type of racing popularized in the US in the film “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”… an all-time favorite movie!)
Most of the vehicle is sleek and curved. The front end starts flat in front but then curves back to the windshield and out to the sides. The sides of the vehicle are not flat but instead curve inward and then back up to where the spoiler is set on the back. The cabin cover is also curved, with what appears to be an air intake mounted on top. It’s an aggressive looking vehicle for sure. The front even has very realistic looking light bulbs.
There is a lot of thought into finer details like twin exhaust pipes in the back, a raised spoiler that slopes downward, door handles, sideview mirrors and a license plate in between the exhaust pipes.
On each door is a Japanese word meaning “Samurai” in red.
Here is a size comparison with another of my “prized possessions”, Bumblebee.
The true power of Autobot Drift is hidden under the engine… a ninja katana
In Robot Mode this Transformer is a menacing killer.
Light piping is from the top of the head unlike for the other transformers, but it does make his eyes come alive.
His foot design makes him take the most gravity defying poses like the one below
His larger sword has several Japanese characters sculpted into them meaning “peerless under heaven” along with line details on the handle and a round, jewel-like detail in the center.
Tucked into each door from the car mode are two smaller swords. These too can be held in each of his hands. What’s really neat is that the way the door windows fold in creates a slot that you can slide the long sword into, allowing him to store his sword on either side of his hip or on his back.
So, now you know what this weekend was all about!
The other ‘Transformer shoots’ I have done are here: