Thursday, February 28, 2013

Market makers....the people of City Market.

I could spend days and days sitting in markets watching and watching. I don't think I'd ever get bored. Not sure what that said about me!!

Anyway city market was no different - some of the most beautiful people.......

It always seems to be the elderly and the young that photographers are drawn to, the innocence at the beginning of life and the wisdom at the end, unless of course those in between have the cheek bones..... like this gorgeous young man.

But back to the kids. These two little girls were standing against two perpendicular walls, shoulders touching but could have been in two different worlds. The hauntingly beautiful with the big beseeching brown eyes on the left and the clown pulling funny faces on the right

And this little guy, in his mini adult suit, front undone, his holy string around his neck and again those wonderful huge brown eyes, reflecting the light back to you. 

And the elderly with quiet dignity perusing the news .......

Or this lady giggling watching me, clicking her......


Or we know what he's been chewing.........

It's a melee of lives, of people, of expressions, all with a story I can only guess at as I click away.

A Fragrance, a Fluster, a Firework of Flowers

Flowers, flowers and more flowers...........

Colors, smells, voices at work, at shop and at play.........full assault on all the senses and time to focus...the camera!!

City market with some other camera hustling gals and our photography maestro - Hema. When I first met Hema I had just got my first 'real' camera and could just about take a pic on full automatic. I think I have got a little better - so thanks to Hema:

The entrance gave a taste of what was to come.......

From above it looked a seething mass of color!

And now trying a little technical give an impression of movement, hustle and bustle, a blur of colors.......

Flowers arrive in the early morning - apparently the seriously early morning - like 4.30am. They are then woven/thread/twisted into garlands. The speed and dexterity at which these male and female hands move and the beauty of what they produce is  quite stunning.

The garlands are then sold individually or as a job lot..........

Of course the presentation is paramount:

 Some are however oblivious to the surrounding taking precedence.....

I'm not usually pushed to a sensory overload but this came close - I left the market with a huge bindi, flowers in my hair, and an orange - all gifts from the amazing flower market folks with whom we interacted - these are the best of my flower pics - the fruit and veg pics, the people pics have yet to come...and I have already made a date with some of my camera toting buds to revisit......

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Always something new going on......

Bangers is nothing if not a place of change. As we drive up the streets of a million little shopkeepers there is always a new shop or two. Shopping Malls, apartments, housing communities, office buildings are popping up hither and thither. Construction matching demolition. As the new springs up pushing the old out. Doesn't always feel like progress as the little guys fall prey to the big corporations but I guess or hope in the long run it is.

Wills was invited to an 8 year old Birthday party at the newly open, not quite finished Margot (above).  Opulence ruled! After swim beach bed hut, mega size suckers and hotel provided i-pad to play on.......

Even on a smaller scale there is change a foot. I went out on Friday night with some of my female expat friends to Craftwork, a live music bar. The menu was given to us via i-pad which was how we ordered our drinks and food.

And it worked........

The previous weekend I went to the opening of a German beer roof-top garden - on top of a swiss hotel in Bangers. So with German beer, sausages, suckling pig, and pickled red cabbage we listened to the accordion high above the streets of Bangers. Sometimes the incredulity of it all seems a little absurd!

On Saturday we had to go shopping to buy Wills yet another bigger pair of tennis shoes and stopped at one of the 'new' shopping malls. As we are hotting up to summer here, I wasn't expecting to find ice! But the latest attraction at the mall is ice-skating:
If your kids are too young to skate, then you can sort of skate and push them on a sort of seal shaped, if not colored sled -not seen these before.
And if time is short there is always the ice slide - down you come Wills:

Progress, in some instances, seems to be hitting here fast and furious. In some ways I guess it is easier as there is no legacy. So many cell phones here - but very few landlines. For many: the first experience of a phone is a cell. There is nothing to change from, nothing to give up. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Best six pics - from last year

Everywhere from Lonely Planet, National Geographic, NYTimes has judged, ranked and posted their best pictures from last year. The OWC is no different, the annual photo comp is fast approaching. With the exotic, beautiful and plain crazy always close to hand India has made extremely good photographers out of a lot of ex-pat trailing spouses, so competition is very tough. My pictures are no where near "la Creme de la Creme" which will be submitted but it was fun looking through the "far too many" I took last year, trying to loosely squeeze them into the three requisite categories and then think up for names for them.

This is my final effort....sadly to post pics to blogspot they have to be shrunk so quality and detail is much better in real life - well on the actual photo:

Category - Nature and Beauty:
1 - Flying Free (Varanassi - September 2012)

2 - Working Until Lunch (Hampi - December 2012)

Category - Culture of India:
1  - The Ganha carries my Sins Away (Varanassi - September 2012)

2 - Ganesha :Larger than Life (Bangalore, Pottery Town, October 2012)

Category - All things Bangalore

1- Bangalore - Life in and out of the shadows (HAL Market January 2013)

2 - Bangalore - Juxtaposition of money, tradition and faith (Bull Temple, Bangalore, May 2012)

I can't wait to see the other photo's submitted as they will without doubt be terrific. It's always fascinating to see what has caught other people's eye, the way they have captured the moment, composed the photo and the stories the pictures tell. Never short of subject matter in India!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rathasapthami - 108 Sun Salutations!

Sunday was Rathasapthami. It is essentially a day to worship Surya the sun god and what better way to do this than by Suryanamaskara - sun salutations. For those who are not, as I wasn't, yoga aficionados, the sun salutation is series of 12 yoga poses.

Sunday was the 6th annual Adarsh Vista Rathasapthami celebration/devotion and my first!

The target was 108 suryanamaskara's. 108 (I had to google here) is an auspicious number for many reasons in Hinduism but also Sikh, Islam and Buddhism.  After trolling through a few pages of the many reasons and rationals my favorite was : 1, 0, and 8: 1 stands for God or higher Truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity.

I couldn't make any of the official practices to ensure I made it to 108 in style but had a friend in the neighborhood who is yoga regular give me a few lessons and at 8.00am prompt on Sunday, along with 62 other Vista folks was ready to go.
It was actually quite an experience in sync (almost) with the others as we all worked our way through the poses to a recording keeping us more or less in time and also kept count. 
I'm not sure this will inspire me to the world of yoga but there was definitely an energy but also sense of calm and peace. At at the end of each sun salutation the group 'om' vibrated throughout.
We all made it through to 108, which took an hour plus. No aches or pains but was certainly a work out!!
And I do have the t-shirt to prove my participation. 
In a corner of the room the pooja for Lord Surya was laid out along with, can you see the silver bowl, prasad and sweets. Not sure what the net calorie position was at the end of the morning!!!

 As in so many instances, I once again thank my neighbors for letting us share in their festivals and traditions, making us feel so welcome in our second home!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia comes to Vista

For those like me who didn't have a clue Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is a world famous indian flute player. He has given performances across the world and played with renowned world famous musicians. He is highly respected within India as a classical musician who has pushed the boundaries of classical music to take it to everyone. He has received various awards for his music but also for his contribution to India.

He was scheduled to visit our neighborhood last Saturday evening, not to play, but for a short talk. There was great excitement and preparation. Vistaites were prepared to pay homage to the maestro. I was asked to take pictures - a photo assignment - if you like, which sort of raised the stress levels!!

The great man arrived to much ceremony. I love the way respect is shown in this country, especially to the elderly as their wisdom is revered. There is a quiet dignity within the enthusiasm and excitement.

The most perfect Rangoli was made at the entrance to the party hall:

 The red carpet was laid out and lined by the kids looking beautiful in their traditional indian clothes, clutching petals to shower over the great man on his arrival.

 He was then officially greeted with bindi and garlands.
Some of the Vista kids then displayed their well practiced traditional dances and classical songs. All confidently and competently performed.

The interactive talk session was short and mainly in Hindi but the hall of Vista listened intently as one of India's hero's spoke his words of wisdom. I couldn't understand a word but loved the quiet calm of his voice and that sort of inner peace the elderly and wise in the east seem to resonate. 

 At the end the vista kids surrounded the maestro for one huge picture.
 Then it was autograph time. I don't know if you can see in this picture but under his signature is a flute. Pretty cool!
 As he didn't play, I had to end with a picture of him playing at his prime.
And as to my first photo assignment......every one seemed happy with my pictures and I got some lovely emails and words of thanks!!

Indus PYP sports day again!!

This was our third time around and also a chance to see how Wills has grown.

How quickly the time has flown this last year. Our first year in India passed not slowly, not quickly, it just passed day by day, week by week..... but year two flew by. Maybe because I have more of a routine, less 'bad' indian type days or am more patient and relaxed about the small stuff, adjusted my limits and expectations to fit in with my surroundings........I don't know But I do know Wills has been growing like a weed!!

The change in two years, quite amazing. One thing has stayed constant on the athletic field. His speed, power and determination.  Second grade boys athletic champion!

When sports day falls, all the heats and a lot of the finals have been completed. So sports day has one final event per sex per grade. Which does mean there are not many parents in attendance as not many kids are actually racing. This is to accommodate the speeches - wonderfully short this year!, the yoga demonstration and the drill. The drill as previous has been practised and practised to the loss of some academics I'm sure. But it is pretty incredible to watch! The synchronization was impressive.

I have to end with a little brag on my own behalf. I did enter the parents race (under duress from Wills first grade teacher) and came in third, So now I have my own bronze medal to hang besides Wills multiple medals!