Monthly Archives: April 2011

Boston: Day 36 – November 14, 2010

Boston from Cambridge

Boston, looking out from Cambridge

Boston, as heard from various others, is known as a walk-able city and today I found that out. Didn’t go to downtown Boston, but quite close. It’s wide, open, and I thought Newbury Street was chic. Easy to get around and clean in layout, I think I like what I saw, which I know isn’t all of Boston, but then the bigger picture is made up of smaller snippets.

Boston path

Boston Park

Boston Street

Being here in the US is the second time in this trip that I’ve felt strange while being in a new place. I’d read that travelling for an extended period of time helps people find out more about themselves, but it’s only now that I’ve started to understand how that works. It’s sometimes a little surprising to find out things about yourself that you never earlier considered. It’s interesting to realize and understand how you respond, either by natural instinct or by habit, to a particular situation in a particular manner, and is something that becomes readily apparent if you experience it more than once. Being in new places on a very regular basis in the last few weeks has given me that opportunity, and I think it’s going to be helpful to me further in my travels to know that. Now that I know how I react habitually, I think I’ll be able to make better judgments about places I visit and stay in.

Day 35 – November 13, 2010

FL370. Pete Murray in the headphones and a new land to explore for the next 48 days. Life is good. 🙂

Day 34 – November 12, 2010

I’m back in London for the last two days of my stay in the UK. It’s mostly been about family, meeting old cousins and an aunt whom I last saw 20 years ago. It was a good blast into the past while also reminding me about how time changes us all. My most vivid memory of my cousins 20 years ago is waking up to see three pairs of eyes peering down upon me, waiting for me to wake up and come out of bed to play with them. Of all the things I must’ve done in London back then this is the only incident that I remember as if it was yesterday. Today, the same cousins of mine are all grown up, just like me, and have become individuals with their own distinct personalities. Seeing them and talking to them makes me realize just how much I’ve grown up too. From being a child travelling across a different country with my parents to now visiting the same country while treading my own path, it’s been a long journey and the story has only just begun.

Gallery: Hourglass Inversion

Chetan Sindhwani - DrummerYayati Zende - Lead Guitarist & VocalistAmit Khadikar - Lead GuitaristHemant Aligi - Bass GuitaristBass-ingIn the groove
EnergyThumperSwitchAmped-up

Hourglass Inversion, a set on Flickr.

Live performance by Hourglass Inversion at Big Wheels Motoring Cafe, near Pune.

Date – Apr 23, 2011

Hourglass Inversion

I’m taking some time off from the regular dose of travel-related posts that I dish out to talk a little bit about a new band doing the rounds in Pune nowadays. Hourglass Inversion (formerly Hourglass) is an alternative/progressive rock band making a name for itself in the local music circles lately.

My association with the band is through its vocalist Yayati, and drummer Chetan. Both these guys were with me during my B-school days and never left an opportunity to make my life miserable. In fact, so notorious was Chetan for the torture he inflicted upon freshmen that his nickname, even to this day, is Satan! Now I’m certain they’ll be eager to get hold of me for letting word out of their true nature, so under pressure to save my neck I’ll admit that I kid about the facts. Even though Chetan’s nick is still Satan, neither he, nor Yayati were ever bothered about ‘dealing’ with freshmen. They were always up to necks in music, and I was fortunate to have witnessed them perform many times during college. My friendship with Yayati grew out of admiration for his musical abilities, and it has persevered through the years solely, I think, on the basis of loving the arts. He even tried to teach me how to play the guitar, but I had already committed to photography. Someday I’ll pick up the six-string again, and then we shall jam together.

Anyway, back to Hourglass Inversion. The other two band members are Amit (lead guitars), and Hemant (bass). Together, these four make a solid base to create music. Their inspirations may be individual, but their visions for music have been combined to come out with a sound that is unique, and easy to listen to despite being progressive/alternative in nature. They have been doing gigs within the city for the past year, and have played at some big-name places such as Not Just Jazz by The Bay, Soul, Elysium, and at the 2011 Bryan Adams Rockathon. They have had media coverage in magazines and on radio, and have just come out with their first EP. Work on a web-site is presently under-way, and you’ll be able to sample their music once it is up and running. In the meanwhile, have a gander over at their Facebook profile – Hourglass Inversion, where you can listen to their first track – Someday.

Day 32 – November 10, 2010

Spent the day visiting Birmingham. Not many words to do the talking today, just some photographs.

Birmingham, UK

Birmingham

Birmingham, UK

Birmingham

Church and statue in Birmingham, UK

Church Spire

Golden evening in Birmingham

Golden light

Day 31 – November 09, 2010

Lacock Abbey

The Abbey at Lacock

Lacock is a tiny village near Chippensham in North Wiltshire. It is located off the main motorway and the countryside views en-route are as interesting as the village itself. My drive took me through many narrow B-roads in England, passing many towns and a few hamlets.  The weather being what it is in England, the sun never appeared during the day. Rain was intermittent but never caused a hindrance.

Sandy Lane road sign in Lacock

Road sign in Lacock

Restaurant in Lacock - Sign of The Angel

A restaurant in Lacock

The village, as you walk through it, seems a little familiar at times. It’s not too difficult to ascertain after a while that you’ve seen something from here, somewhere. Sure enough, after I came back home in the evening Wikipedia confirmed that BBC’s Pride and Prejudice was filmed here, along with some scenes from the Harry Potter movies, episodes of Robin of Sherwood, and various other movies and television series.

Lacock Church

Church in Lacock

Blue Door and railing

Blue Door

Walking the streets of Locock is a great way to get transported back in time after the bustle of urban England. The empty lanes and stone houses may not speak, but a little imagination (and even a mild dose of experience with English literature) is enough to conjure images from fictitious worlds, and times long past. I have harbored particular fascination for medieval English history, and creating scenes of life during such times was something that came readily to my brain. J As it turns out, most of the houses in the village are of 18th century construction, or earlier.

Blue door and window on street

East Street

fence and path

Fence

It doesn’t take a lot of time to explore the village, being as small as it is, but take interest in the details and you’ll soon find yourself running through two-three hours without breaking a sweat. The Fox Talbot Museum of Photography was of particular interest to me but it was closed while I was there, as was Lacock Abbey whose interior was featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Hither Way

Hither Way, Lacock

Moving east, Avebury is another tiny village that happens to be famous, but for reasons unrelated to movies. The UK appears to have a large number of places where stone formations exist, and Avebury is one of them.  Not only are the stones found here in a standing state, there are three circles that the henge at Avebury contains, one of which is the largest in Europe, 427m (1401ft) in diameter. Reading about the history of these circles, and Avebury, is an adventure in itself. Two good sources of information about these circles are –

Avebury – Wikipedia

Stones of England – Avebury

Day 29 – November 07, 2010

A tree in rain through raindrops on a window

Raindrops on a window

The rain kept me in today, again. This seems like some sort of conspiracy to keep me from shooting. I’m not sure what’s more depressing though – the fact that I can’t get outside to salvage something after the death of the D50, or this persistent feeling of inaction, not just because of not being able to shoot, but also the gnawing realization that I’m shortly about to finish the first third of this three-month journey. It’s the same kind of feeling I suffer from when I realize that Saturday is half-over and I’ll need to go back to office the following Monday. Not as strong, but very similar. The weirdest thing, though, is it doesn’t seem to make any sense. I’ve been having a great time so far, and don’t see why my stay in the USA won’t be good. Scotland was great, and I hope I’ve learned stuff through the workshop that will help me become more focused in my shooting.

The thought of planning my stay in the USA has occurred to me a few times, and having worked though an unplanned trip (in the UK) I’m not sure doing the same across the pond will be equally beneficial. It’s possible to travel across the UK in a relatively small amount of time, but I’m fairly certain it won’t work the same way in the USA where distances are large, and the places to be visited are numerous. The idea of visiting various photography institutes across the country to figure out whether or not doing a course in any of them is a good idea, as an idea in itself, is starting to fall out of favour with me. I can’t really put my finger on why and how that change in mindset is coming about, but I can feel it getting stronger. It’s not like I’m considering dumping photography as a career option completely, but the thought has got more airtime in my head over the last few days. Maybe it’s because after the workshop I find that commercial photography is not really what rocks my boat, but I already knew that.

Oh well, no point spending too much time thinking about all this stuff now. There’s more or less no way to really find out what’s going to happen before it does, and I think I’m going to let things take me wherever they want to and then figure out where to go from there.

Day 28 – November 06, 2010

Drove down to an area close to Birmingham called the Stepping Stones today. It’s in a national park in England, a couple of hours from Solihull. It’s not much in terms of adventure, but is a good way to spend some time walking around rural England, allowing yourself to be regaled by not just the geography of the area, but also by the weather that keeps you guessing.

 

All I did was walk up and down a small hill in the glorious sun, which had decided to make an appearance after all these days of rain and an impermeable cloud cover. There were many families who also seemed to be making the best of the weather. Unhurried and completely relaxed is how I’d describe the day. No real sightseeing done, but the journey across various country-roads on the way from, and back to Solihull more than made up for the slow pace.

StrandedMike

Day 27 – November 05, 2010

On the road, going nowhere

Another uneventful day today as I stayed indoors for most of the time. The weather has been quite uncooperative along with the dead camera, so the number of images I’ve been making has dwindled drastically over the last few days, and I really can’t see that changing in the next week either. In a way I’m relieved that the camera made it through the most important part of my UK visit, in Scotland. It would’ve been better if it had kept working, as that would’ve allowed me to make more of my time here. As things are now I’m not very keen to send it in for repair here, not knowing how long it could take. Moreover there’s only about a week remaining till I get to Boston, and it might be better to get it done there.

Additionally, I find that not having a camera with me seems to have slowed everything down, though it’s hard to explain. I seem to have more time for everything, including going to the market, or just doing pending edits to the images I shot in Scotland. I guess I needed this time too, and it might end up being useful for my upcoming tour of some photography schools I’ve been looking to visit while I’m in the US.

All the same, I’m starting to wonder whether my this trip will give me any useful output at all, in terms of my career. Having started off almost a month ago, I had hoped for a pattern  to emerge, thinking that maybe I’d realize something is more apt for me, but I’m presently no better off than I was back then. It’s not scary. Not yet. I know I have a lot more time remaining, but the thought does keep creeping back in to my head – what if I get back to India and I haven’t managed to figure out anything at all? Does that mean I go back to my horrible job? Would it mean I’ve wasted three months and gobs of money to achieve absolutely nothing? That can’t be good. I then catch myself thinking of all this and more, and tell myself to try to take it easy. I have some time to go before this hypothetical tragedy befalls me and my life goes down the gutter. Fate might have something else in store for me that I’m still unaware of. Give it the time it needs; the time that had been promised. Things have a way of something falling into place in the most unexpected ways and in the most unexpected places imaginable.

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