Wednesday, April 20, 2011

21 April 2011. What a tumultuous past few days

My friend and NICC Tutor Jeevan Pathare sums it all up so well….
No one will understand the creators games.. One minute you see someone the next you don't.. Once your duties on earth are finished he calls for you.. It is said people who are called upon young are more loved by the creator... The rest are left behind to die slowly every day.. every hour.. every minute..
Rest in peace Abhinav......
Monday  a group of students and I went out for an evening shoot at Electronic City, a mission as it required about 1.5hours of driving in peak hour traffic to get there. Just before we left on this epic journey down south, (only about 30 kms from the school) another student  whom I had never really  met before comes up and asks if he can join us on our shoot down to one of Bangalore more well promoted tourism sights – The Infosys complex. His name was Abhinav and he came from Hyderabad. I said yes and asked him how he was going to get there as the two cars we were using, Roshan’s and Smriti’s were already full so he said “I’m coming on my bike” and so off we went.
Our first port of call after a rather bumpy shortcut was to grab some food from  a nearby KFC for the crew  and upon exiting the car Arnchal and I noticed an old lady lying the gutter,  wondering if she had been struck down by a car or had simply fallen down, we headed over to her but as we neared her she suddenly sat up and moved away, kinda shocking as she looked like she was dead initially but we had seen that her mouth was full of Panbeeda  or Beetle nut juice so one can assume she just sat down for a sleep and fell over intoxicated on the narcotic, who knows anyway it was kinda weird. It set the tone for the next couple of hours when later after a long noisy, slow and  perilous drive through Bangalore’s districts (Smriti’s passion is motorcycling and thus she drives her car like she’s riding a bike, aiming for every small gap in the traffic whether she can fit in or not –LOL) and  following a brush with the security  on site we escaped their clutches and I noticed that Abhinav wasn’t among the group; no one knew where he was so we carried on and ended up back on Brigade Road shooting night photos again.
MG Roads new as yet unfinished metro station
The Infosys buildings are very unique and also very photogenic and in the tourism brochures/ sites they are billed as one of the major sites of a proud and vibrant Bangalore but shame no one told the security guards who hassled us about taking photos from a public road there – mind you I can see part of the problem, it’s very obvious and you cannot miss it.  This very successful  new age  company has gone to great expense to construct a major landmark campus and yet the buildings are surrounded by low income housing so it obvious that over time they have gotten annoyed at uninformed photographers using their unique and very photogenic buildings as analogy photos showing the new and the old sides of India.
We all shot the building ignoring the squatter housing as it was, to put it bluntly very boring to see, and we were there to marvel at the buildings not the squatter housing around the fences outside.
I just hope that the PR people at Infosys realise that they have a good marketing option here and allow what I could envisage as limited access to say some elevated viewing platforms inside or near the gates at various points around the campus and the walls surrounding their buildings to alleviate the stress caused by overzealous security guards just doing their job and at the same time promoting a very photogenic site both positively and effectively.
We also got to meet Smriti’s mum, a very learned lady who is very proud of her daughter’s talent for the arts. Later that evening everyone went their separate ways in good spirits after achieving some good results from a very mixed up evening’s adventures.
Tuesday morning dawned early with the sad news via Facebook that Abhinav has passed away in a motorcycle accident late last night. Shocked the school went into mourning mode and even though I went out to continue my work there our hearts and souls were not in it. Most of the students went into the hospital and later to the cremation.
Myself, I left later and eventually returned home rather numb to the lightening show playing out above Fraser town as a storm lashed the city. Bangalore changes quickly when it rains the roads clear rapidly as riders seek shelter from the rain but the drivers still out there try to race around on the cleared roads forgetting that most have bald tires and poor brakes and the roads are rendered treacherous due to spilt diesel and oil slicks.
 Wednesday dawned cool and refreshing, a new start to a new day and another adventure. Today I was going back out to Acharya Institute to give a practical lesson there.
Prepared and ready to go, the driver showed up on time and I retraced the long route 25kms westwards through Hebbel and other suburbs to the rural college complex that houses more than 5000 students on the outskirts of Bangalore.
A good day as I had a very receptive student audience and I got to discuss many things with the very helpful Professor Nandini Lakshmikantha there about my future plans for photojournalism training in India.
Kids - I even got to shoot a camel today - when stuck in one of the numerous traffic jams on the route back home I happened to glance out the window to see a camel wandering by, so Bubba the driver conveniently kept up with him so I could shoot off a couple of frames –hahaha you see everything in Bangalore-believe me.

a couple of pyromanics out in  the street last nite
Later tired and exhausted after a fun filled day of practical photography lessons and travelling, I was deposited back to Vino’s place in Fraser Town where I relished the role of playing tour guide to our new flatmate, Jacques Rossouw, a very talented sports photographer from Cape Town whose here to help out on the IPL coverage with Vino John. I spent a couple of hours showing him around the town and the streets, meeting people and opening his eyes to India on what is his first trip here. Later we all went out with our landlady Fatima and her friend Anita, to the house of another photographer that is related to Anita, and at his house or more specifically in his amazing recyclable garden, we had a lovely biryani meal there while discussing life and photography.
Thursday, it’s just dawned on me that there are just four days till I start the long journey home. It seems so unreal that the six weeks have literally flown by, the memories are so vivid, the hard drives are all full, the blank DVDs are all burned and yet I feel as though I haven’t finished here yet, I am still seeking new angles to shoot the place and the people from, still discovering new stories to shoot. Today I will return to NICC to pick up some images before all three of us are heading into the city to shoot some more pictures at an area I have only passed through several times at night and is full of very modern shopping malls mixed with older style buildings so it should be interesting.


  1. Yea, I still remember the first day I met you in college, and now 6 weeks are over so soon..

  2. we r missin u john..thx a lot for everything you taught us