Nutrition

The
The SARS-Cov-2 virus is spreading across India quite rapidly. As I write, we are
recording between 70,000 and 90,000 new cases daily.  I have decided to be safe. I have further
decided to postpone all non-essential travel by a year. Sadly, this includes traveling
for photography. It also includes my photography projects.

Instead, I
am going through many old images, and re-editing them. I am also focusing on
writing.

It’s sad,
but safety is critical. I would say that it is a top priority these days. The virus
is spreading from the cities to the villages, where the healthcare systems are
creaky.

What is one
way to build your immunity? Eat good, nutritious food. Avoid restaurants.  I have been eating home-cooked food for the
last few months. It’s helped me lose weight. I feel healthy.

Sadly, this
is not the case with many poor people, who are the most vulnerable.

I shot this
image in Pushkar, a town in Rajasthan. I detest Pushkar, but I will come back
to that later.

I was
sitting at the edge of the town, where the edge of the desert meets
civilization. Or, what we call civilization.

A young boy
sat in front of me at the dhaba where I was sipping my sickly, sweet chai. He
had four glucose biscuits in his hand, and he looked at them sadly. These
biscuits would have cost him about 1 US cent. That’s cheap.

It was a
warm day in November, several years ago. I had not then started to become
sensitive to the issues about climate change.

A glucose
biscuit is the cheapest biscuit in the market. It is also the cheapest form of
portable energy that is available to the poorer sections of society, as well as
villagers.

It contains
carbohydrate, fat, and sugar. That’s it. When I was in the biscuit trade, I
discovered that villagers would gift fancy packs of glucose biscuits to each
other on festivals, as well as weddings.

They don’t
give anything else to a human being.

I am not
sure if they help anyone these days when the virus is spreading rapidly.

It is the way life goes. Some of us stuff ourselves to the gills and become unhealthy.
Others scrape by with what they get.


Passion Projects

My journey in photography has taken me down various paths, and I have
explored many genres.

I have not photographed all the genres I explored over the years.


I did study some tutorials on beauty and nude photography. Then, I decided
that these are not for me.

I have a lot of respect for photographers who specialize in these genres of
photography.


Spending hours retouching a model’s face is not for me. Similarly,
I explored product photography, composting and other areas of ‘commercial
photography’.


My motivation was to expand into an area of photography where I could make
lots of money. Lots of money.

My realization? I am just not motivated to excel in these fields. There is
no point in trying to enter an area where you are not motivated. Money is a
terrible reason to enter a field. Money will be the outcome of deeds
accomplished with passion — provided you possess some basic talent and
intelligence.


“People who cannot motivate themselves must be content
with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” Andre Carnegie.


So, I ask myself repeatedly: what drives me?

Repeatedly, I come to the same answers — people, culture, and the beautiful
world in which we live.

My style has been journalistic. However, of late, I’ve been pushing my own
artistic boundaries.


“Don’t settle for mediocrity. Take a chance. Take a
risk. Find that passion. Rekindle it. Fall in love all over again. It’s really
worth it.” Brian Cranston.


I also realize that I cannot, and will not, take Photoshop to the limit to
create images that look absolutely unreal. For those who like this approach, I
say — “Go for it!”


I don’t follow a rigid style or formula. However, I will come back to this
topic another day.

These days, climate change fills me with dread. I live in Delhi, or the
National Capital Region of Delhi.


The first settlers who came to Delhi about 5,000 or 7,000 years ago, were
attracted by the forest, the river and the Ridge.


The original inhabitants of Delhi will not recognize the city today. We have
buggered it beyond recognition.

The Aravalli Forest has almost disappeared, and The Yamuna River is almost
dead.


The Aravalli Forest and The Yamuna River are two of my Passion Projects.
There are restrictions on travelling because of the virus. So, I will start
with The Aravalli Forest.


The Yamuna River Project will follow.


I am now about to write my little book, “The Covidian Skies”. More on that later.


Finally, I love analog photography. My third passion project will be to
photograph Delhi with my Olympus OM-2n, my Nikon F75, some old, old analog
cameras and some pinhole cameras. More on this the next time.


“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire
that lights the way.” Anonymous.



Introducing

I started this blog called “My Camera & My Chai” while sitting at a local chai shop in Rishikesh, India. I had been booted out of my last job, and was rather angry with life and people.


For those who don’t know me, and that universe is almost as large as the population of the globe, in my last job, I was the President of the Indian operations of a Dutch multinational company. In my five years at the company, I had achieved more, I think, than many others had in twenty-five.


I used to report to a member of the Global Managing Board. During my five years there, I had had five bosses, and had a very good relationship with the first four. The last, I thought (and, still think) was a royal jackass who did not have any more brains between his ears than a stegosaurus did. My attitude must have shown, and was not good for my long-term career in the company. So, out I went.


I was flung out on my ear, so to speak, and was now required to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and my family. 


Luckily, my wife is very supportive, and she gave me the freedom to bumble along and find my path. I think I am clear now. There are two aspects of me: the photographer and the thinker. The author connects both.


Anyway, soon after I was booted out, I went to Rishikesh. The river Ganges meets the plains at Rishikesh. This is the place from where it is actually called the Ganges, or Ganga. Up to this point, it has various names. One, the penultimate river, is called The Bhagirathi.


Rishikesh is also famous for the yoga.


Anyway, we sat there at a chai shop. It was hot. The Ganges flowed merrily along its path behind me. There were two old dudes sitting at the table next to mine. They were engrossed in some sort of discussion. It seemed intense.

I fell into  brown study and reflected upon life.


We, all of us, tend to believe that we are some sort of highly intelligent species, and we are. We are not, sadly, a wise species. I sat there, sipping my chai and thinking deep, dark thoughts.


That is the moment when “My Camera & My Chai” was born. It is a blog about photography. It is also a blog about life, with all its humor, stupidity, grandeur and folly.


You won’t find me regularly giving tips on photography, or writing about some esoteric aspect of photography.


I will write about my shoots, my trips, the journeys, the people I met, my approach to photography. And, you will find the occasional sarcastic comment.

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