Maha Kumbh Mela Prayag Jan 14th 2013 5:20 AM. Makar Sankranti First Shahi Snan | Apple iPhone |  Lightroom  | PS CS5 | Black & White | Explore | Mar 12, 2013 #357

~ || तद्यथा ॐ गते गते परगते परसंगते बोधि स्वाहा || ~ Adventure. Exactly.

Traveling - It leaves you speechless, then turns you in to a storyteller. - ibn battuta

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Bird that got stuck in a Tree

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No More Snow. Yay. Shouldn't I be starting this post with a goodbye to Winter? New York has been crazy past few months, and while, we may giggle & welcome much awaited arrival of Spring and warmer days, the cold, the craziness doesn't really get over or does it. For example, Yesterday, I must have walked about a mile in 3D capable mad rain and then waited at the station for the bus, extra drenched. ( Oh, I lost my umbrella or dropped it somewhere while shopping and dint have time to buy another, Right.) Well, While I haven't seen a single spring flower bloom yet, I would  say, A change is good, any change for the matter even if its in the form of rain. At least its no more subzero and I can put all my excuses to rest and get on with some city life finally.

spring will come and so will happiness. hold on. life will get... warmer. - anita krizzan

Contemplating Change, I think I never loved "change" as much as I do now. part of the hatred was the extra work that mom used to put me to whenever she moved furniture in the house. She still does it. I am just thousands of miles away, no more contributing ideas on where to place the bed and where I need the dining table and giving her a helping hand. She is a clean freak, would not like the little dirt thats left under those table legs, or the areas on the floor or wall corners that get ignored. I am either super-neat just like her or super-slovenly. Honestly, a little shifting furniture in the house make it feel like a new one or at least that is what I began to like about this regular change, a habit that I have inherited from my mother, along with other hundreds from both mum and dad, So much as, I have developed extreme hatred for anything routine, included the good for you routines.

Perhaps I can blame my "Writer's Block" on the same habitual hatred. I've been active, writing regularly, had some ideas and plan about the features I wanted to do, and all of a sudden, I am both bored of it, and can not exactly decide what I wan't to put more emphasis on. With way too many things going on in mind, I had been unable to focus on a single draft, and me trying and not succeeding to develop even 2 fair sentences about anything, has been a constant struggle past 1 week. I don't know if this is the definitive block or as one may call it. I forbid myself from researching the term this time. Instead, I thought why not clear few clouds by writing about the khichadi / mix of left-brain's activities and right brain's doings. Looks like I am succeeding, I have finished third paragraph already.

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What I have been up to for past 2 weeks, to elaborate that, perhaps would be a good idea to decode the matrix that my head and life is right now. I have been on guilt-trip, multiple at that. I have not done any crazy adventure travel ( in my own definition) this year yet, its been practically 4 months in New York with out getting out of the city for more than a day, the recent trip to Pennsylvania was just Saturday. So being in the house bored me, if not enough, I had one excuse for the all the activities possible, - The cold weather. So came march, I forced some change on me. I watched some "Black & White" Hindi movies ( Remember I did this exercise Late November until december last year but only for English movies) then I changed the music I usually listen to. I looked for Live Radio channels online. ( Always more fun then the regular downloads and youtube - well sometime I get tired of thinking about what to listen next, and of course of repeated songs - so the surprise that radio brings is always extra enjoyable) You may ask what new about radio, - well I haven't listen to radio much since the loud FM channels started. 3rd was to book my air tickets for the Next Adventure - Ah how comforting is the feeling that I have a trip to look forward to. - and 4th, was to declare April & May the two most crucial months of the year, dedicating them both for fitness.

Oh Don't praise me for my achievements as yet. I had it all coming for a long long time. Think about it. A luxury super expensive apartment, that I don't want to move from, with all the facilities, such as pool, sauna, yoga classes and what not, and how many times I have dived in to that pool or attended a class? - Zero times. Thats my first guilt trip. || I have lived in Bangalore, Bay Area thats so close to SFO and of course Delhi But I never explored the city. I have been doing the same to New York. Practically I haven't seen anything of the city in Past 1 year. Thats my second guilt trip. || Coming third is of course standing on the scale and looking down. Oh no one likes it if that needle goes clockwise. I have been extremely lazy, and Totally at the point of a cross-over. Not liked it nope.

when things aren't adding up in your life start subtracting - anon

I think, Its just one thing to watch the scale, but the important thing is to feel right. feel comfortable. I have publicly admitted multiple times that I live in extremes. I am every energetic during my travels, I can be equally lazy at home. I am a slow trekker. My breathing hasn't been correct ever since I landed in bangalore for the first time. The City ruined me. I remember a trek in Himalaya I did, and I was perhaps the slowest of the entire batch. While I managed to climb 16000+ feet altitude, I never said no to the friends / porters those wanted to or helped me, I can still remember how some of the folks were either really annoyed at the fact, that I did climb Junargali ridge, or they were laughing at me, because yes, two porters were holding me hands nonstop up to the climb. Amazing its been 5+ years and I am still digging that negative energy. Here is the fact, I do lack energy and physical strength, and this is something I need to focus more on than anything else, including this blog, if I ever want to finish my 7in7 Goal.

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So just like my home country, the infinity numbered India, Which is awaiting a big political change, I am meandering a drastic change in my lifestyle. Cooking up some plans for long term projects, giving up some not so fruitful tasks, cleaning up the logs, and focussing on personal care. This course of change, though hinders my previous many commitments, I feel, its important to lay spread whatever one has accumulated in the basket over the years, and throw away what is expired, make space for something new.

Its been 5 years since I first started photography, I have so far called my photography alternative and experimental, I have stayed a novice on my own accord. Its time to give that interest a direction, and build something new on it. Its time to experiment on rather something else that has captured my interests and I never had time to discover due to many reasons. Its no good being a Polymoth, but I am one, and thats one thing I can not change, I accept. I feel we spend lot of time thinking about things those we can not do, the clutter we build and keep around us, the people those don't care about you are the people you dig more about then those who care for you and whom you should care in return. One such person is you yourself.

8 passages! I am not sure if I have cured my writer's block yet or the mental block for that matter. Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I will still have multiple deadlines, I will still be trying my best to fill in some more extra curricular activities, and goals in the day. But I will still be trying to change something to do something different. I can change, I can bring change. I am not that tree. I am the bird. Trying not to forget it.

Photographs Shot in Last month's Trip to A wildlife sanctuary in Pennsylvania USA - Full Story Here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Photographing Migratory Birds at Middle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary Pennsylvania

"A flock of geese leave their lake and take wing, turning to poems in the sky." 
~ Dr. SunWolf

Middle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary Pennsylvania USA

Bird photography is work of patience and a long lens (or not ?), The first I have acquired since my first trip to Ranganathittu in Karnataka, India back in 2010, latter, however, I haven't as yet. My kit is already heavy enough and I have no plans of expanding it, atleast for sometime now. Whether or not, I am an expert in knowing birds, or photographing 'em, I love Bird watching, also known as Birding these days. So when I got an invite from a friend to visit Middle creek wildlife management area, near Lancaster Pennsylvania, I thought why not. My long trip plan for this month was already cancelled. and this seemed like a great opportunity to go back in the wild and spend some quality time with mother nature.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Colors of Pangong Tso Ladakh, India : A Photo Essay

I was planning to publish a book review this weekend, but its taking a while. A huge book it is, Yes. Its already been a week, since I posted anything, and the fact, Its Holi tomorrow, and there is no way I'd escape the colors of the most vibrant festival on earth, Here I am dedicating this post to a magical place in the Higher Himalayas, popular world-over as the Lake of 1001 Colors.

You guessed it right. I am talking about Pangong Tso, or The Lake Pangong, situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft), and running 134 km (83 mi) long extending from Ladakh India to Tibet China. Famous for its ever-changing exquisite colors, and also known as the " Lake of Great Hollow",  Pangong is a high altitude salt-water lake about 160Kms from Leh city of Ladakh, in the state of Jammu & kashmir of North India, and is reachable via road that passes through Chang La, a mountain pass and the third highest motorable road in the world. The varying colors of the crystal clear waters in the shades of green and blue, are due to the play of light, wind and the clouds.

Yes Zorro was here too...| Chang La | Ladakh | In Explore 2012-12-23  A-View of Indus Valley from Chang La Hike.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Top 10 treks to do in Western Ghats of India

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When I was Ten, I couldn't climb a tree 5-foot tall. I got scared of every hint of sound coming from behind me when I walked alone to the loo in the night. I thought there was someone walking behind me. And yes, I saw a poker face in each square feet of the wall that had the old paint wearing off. I have been scared of many such things, since then, and till I boarded a bus full of strangers in the middle of the night in december month of year 2008. The bus took me to an extraordinarily beautiful mountain peak in the valley of Coorg, and I soon realized, my days of inner adventures were over.

Hiking, Trekking, Adventures - These words never existed in my life, until I explored Western Ghats of the Southern Himalayas. I traveled internationally, camped in the forest and hiked few hills before, But was never my second nature, this adventure though. It was my second inning in Bangalore, when I was introduced to Western Ghats, a place that inspired me, and truly changed my life, forever.

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“Landscapes have a language of their own, expressing the soul of the things, lofty or humble, which constitute them, from the mighty peaks to the smallest of the tiny flowers hidden in the meadow's grass.” Western ghats indeed are true definition of it.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Experience with BLS Center New York USA : Indian Passport Renewal Process Review & Guidelines

As much as I love traveling, I can not hate enough the drama that visa, passport, airport and immigration process brings in to ones life. they have the power to almost demotivate you to step out of your house. A long chat with Immigration officers at SFO port last year, gave me much insight about how, most often the innocent travelers are the ones who get in to unnecessary trouble for no fault of their own, while big companies keep sending their illegal workers abroad, and no one stops them, because, well, lets face it,  Its all politics, of high level. Yes.


Photo Credit

If traveling with an Indian Passport in hand, is already not unfortunate enough and if you're wondering why I said that? You'll rarely see "traveled to 99 countries" in an Indian's twitter profile. Do you think Indians are so home-centric? that they don't have enough vagabond spirit in them to travel? or they don't want to? Well Check out this spread sheet of how many countries have on-arrival visa and entry to Indians than lets say USA / Canada or a European country. Part of the reason lies in this fact indeed. Most surprising though, The Indian govt. recently announced the extension of on-arrival visa entry to about 180 countries with out expecting or requesting any sort of reciprocation of the favor. Hail India. ( Yes I am super annoyed, but I'll take that over to another post, for now lets focus on the Indian Passport alone)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Coastal India In Photos : #1 Sadashivgad Fort Karwar Karnataka

Karwar Coastal Karnataka
That's right. Brace yourself because we have another photo story and series coming up from Coastal parts of India, and I will be writing about lots of well known as well as those hidden beauties, beginning today with one from a quaint little Coastal town from far north of Karnataka, India.

The length of Indian Coastline is about 7500+ according to Wiki, both mainland and islands. So far I have explored Half or little less of it I believe, and that is from North Goa in the west to All the way south to Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram, and Chennai in the east. the length in its entirety, I explored during many trips to Canara / Kanara, Goa, and South Indian trekking and road trips. The 300KMs of Coastal Karnataka in the Monsoon season, is my most favorite. This article covers a small area of it, in North-most, The natural beauty of which, became an inspiration to India’s first noble lauterate Shree Ravindranath Tagore  to write “Prakritir Pratishoota” or “ Nature’s revenge” which later became his very first play, Sanyasi. Yes, I am talking about Karwar.

Karwar II 588

This district headquarter and a port town, Karwar was a major sea trade center, once visited by Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese, French and later the British. First known to be part of Maratha Empire, the corner town situated on the confluence of river Kali and Arabian sea became part of British Empire when they defeated Marathas and took over Karwar.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Watch With Me -- #4 : Highway The Film

Life is all about contradictions, discovering, trying the unfamiliar, experimenting, about resonance, and you learn it all on the road. 

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If you've been following this blog, or me, you know the obvious reasons I'was awaiting the release of Highway, a hindi movie produced and directed by Imtiaz Ali. A single-line story that film supposedly has, never bothered me, because the beauty of a road-trip is, when you're on the road, you don't need a story. the story develops and unfolds itself, and not just one but many stories, and who would know this better than a traveler her/him-self? Perhaps that is why, It touched me on so many levels, and the reason, I am writing about it here. This exactly is, not a review, rather a trip I took and of that, I am sharing an experience with everyone as I always do.

I watched it on friday, and twice subsequently and tweeted my first impressions on the go, that very much gave away the initial feeling that was rough and animatic. but as I delved deep inside, I could get rid of the usual bollywood cliche' and easily understood, where it was coming from. Now, since I am very good in scattering raw emotions everywhere, here, what I am offering are the contradictions and in-sections so that I don't miss the points.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ladakh From The Air : Aerial Photographs Of Indus Valley Himalaya India

"Sometimes I do think I get to places just when God is ready to have someone click the shutter!"

Talking about a place that has been photographed to death, Ladakh and this quote by none other than Ansel Adams fits the bill. One of those places in the world, where you'll find an incredible image waiting for you at every turn of your lens. Truly a place that has the ability to overpower an artist and her/his skill-sets as well as the choice of equipment. Absolutely anyone gets to bring back great imagery from this land of passes, along with stories to be told for a lifetime.

I was fortunate enough to spend a month wandering alone in this heaven on earth, and only in one digit, were the number of days when I sat on rock, in the middle of shallow indus river flow, let the icy water soak away the discomfort of cold swollen feet, These were the days I made just memories, intimate and that would bond me with nature, forever.

Rest of the days, I was perhaps a crazy forty-niner who suddenly found a gold mine. a state of mind and work that began the moment I boarded the plane from Delhi, and lasted till I had to give away the incredible views of himalayas to clouds and the mist. I love Aerial Photogrpahy. Here are a collection of images that I took when I landed in Leh for the first time. These are the images that I was able to extract from my archives in past couple of years, more will be published in future.

The images I am sharing here are all taken from the air, and not the aerial views from the peak or high view point.

Leh Ladakh | Spituk Monastery | Aerial

Spituk Monastery, also known as 
Spituk Gompa or Pethup Gompa, built in the 11th century, about eight km from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, was constructed to help develop an exemplary religious community in Ladakh.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sonoran Desert & The Hohokam People : Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Arizona - in Photos

This article / travel is part of Discovering South West USA : Arizona South to North, Navajo Tribal Park & Utah... road trip. for full transcript and approximate route please visit the link.

CAsa Grande National Monument Coolidge Arizona

What did I know about Arizona before I landed in Phoenix for the first time?
That I will be seeing tall Cactus Trees, That I'd be driving though desert, and end up in the maze of red rocks and blue lake. That I might see another mountain lion or a few desert foxes.

Whenever I travel to a new ( always mostly ) place, the first thing I do is studying google maps, highways, exit-entry points, looking at image search results, reading about local flora and fauna etc. seldom I would read 10 things to do in Phoenix or its 5 Best attractions, Not my thing, nope.

My trip to Arizona and Utah last november was also in the same league. I wanted to hit Page, and surrounding area, meanwhile exploring the places in between, and randomly selecting whatsoever would interest me. The flight to Arizona was an early morning flight, ( You might have seen my tweets cribbing about airport T8 JFK ) landing in Phoenix was peaceful, but delayed and since It was already afternoon, before we could get out of the airport, we decided to head south to Tucson, and so we did but with one more reason to go south that - we might not find this area that interesting After visiting up North - I wondered. Canyons seemed more fascinating.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Keeping up with Blogging and SEO : A Tutorial & Few Lessons Learnt

This is exactly like how I broke and then fixed my macbook's ear the other day. well. metaphorically.

Only yesterday as I was strolling on the web, I finally ended up creating an account of Google Analytics - which by the way I had been postponing for past 8 months, since I added a new photo-gallery on smugmug and I had to submit a UID there ( Optional ) The Analytics page eventually took me to Google Webmaster and what I saw there, gave me a 400W shock.

None of my website / blog pages were indexed.
For starter I hadn't logged in to webmaster in past 2 or 3 years. Ironic,Yes.
Last I remember - I were seriously writing - was in 2010 end. And around that time, I could see my articles appearing in google search as usual. The Alexa was also below 100K somewhere. After 2 years of almost ignoring this space, I came back for good Last year, and wrote a lot, But forgot to do any checks on structure / or if the data was at all visible.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ode to the Countryside : A Photo Essay - Part 1



Its a simple life. simple world. simple pleasures.

Its been a year and 2+ weeks since last I was in India and I am missing home a tad too much. So I thought why not reminisce it a little through images. These images are a little old, Six years actually. I shot them when I went to India in 2008, March I guess, and stayed back in Dad's village in Uttar Pradesh, for a month or more. My mom's village in Madhya Pradesh, I have very vague memories of. I hardly got a chance to visit since I entered teenage.

This place has changed so much  in the past 6 and 16 years when I used to go there regularly in summer vacation. Now when we are there, there are hardly any cousins to play with, any goats to take in the fields for evening walk, and sadly, we can't strip anymore, and jump in the canal close by for a cool bathing experience, neither do I see many tube- wells that had the pressure of a water fall, what a back massage that used to be. Well the childhood is gone. but I have fond memories. and I am gonna scroll through those slowly.

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