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Arre Kya Baat Hai

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City spaces can be used for open-air art exhibitions. Art  in public spaces can serve as a catalyst to stimulate the cities in different ways, as well as to improve the quality of life of people.This photo-essay is about the transformation of one such small, ordinary city square in Bologna (Italy) because of the art displays. It is also about this has influenced my personal experience of appreciating art and photography. THE CITY SQUARESWhy do cities have squares - those open spaces between the buildings?Medieval towns in Europe, and probably, all over the world, were characterized by closely knit houses, with narrow winding streets. Often such towns were surrounded by high walls with c...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Arts
  April 21, 2015, 6:43 am
Finally I am ready to start with my Guwahati city walks– discovering this city through easy walking tours. For the first Guwahati tour I have chosen a simple and beautiful city temple located at the base of a hill and surrounded by a lush green forest – the Basistha temple.Situated at the base of verdant hills, close to a waterfall, this walk will also give you an opportunity to admire nature as well as the art of young students from Guwahati.It is an easy walk, though depending upon the season, Guwahati can be a little hot and humid. So keep an umbrella or a hat with you, along with a bottle of water. And we are ready to go!REACHING BASISTHA TEMPLEThe Basistha temple is at the south-wes...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Assam
  April 10, 2015, 8:32 am
This is the second part of my post about the most beautiful or interesting fountains from around the world.The criteria for selecting the fountains presented in this post are different – beautiful fountains, quirky fountains with distinctive features and the quality of images. While I searched for the images of fountains in my image-collections, I realised that in some countries, especially in Asia and Africa, fountains are not very common, while Europe seems to be full of them.This post is about my own pictures and though I have visited some countries and some cities, I have not visited lots of places. Thus, you may find many countries missing from this post.Fountain 15: Gurgaon, IndiaThe...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Asia
  March 13, 2015, 7:44 am
Recently, while admiring a picture of a beautiful fountain, I started thinking about the most beautiful fountains that I had seen during my travels around the world. This post is a result of that reflection. This first part has fountains from countries that start with "A" to "G", that means from America to Germany.The criteria for selecting the fountains presented in this post were different such as beauty, expression of quirky ideas, quality and materials of the sculptures and the quality of images.While I searched for the images of fountains in my image-collections, I realised that in some countries, especially in Asia and Africa, fountains are not very common, while Europe seems to be ful...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Artists
  March 9, 2015, 5:14 am
The extensive and ever-increasing network of the Delhi Metro has made it relatively easy to discover different parts of Delhi. This post is about the places to visit near the Jor Bagh station on the Yellow line of Delhi Metro. This walk will take you to discover the Delhi of 16th and 17th century, including one of the most beautiful parks of Delhi.The image above shows “Shish Gumbad”, built around the end of 15th century during the reign of king Sikander Lodhi. It is one of the riches awaiting you on this metro walk.1. JOR BAGH METRO STATIONJor Bagh area of Delhi had been the city centre around 14th and 15th century during the reign of the Lodhi kings. After them for a brief period, the ...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Delhi
  March 2, 2015, 6:41 am
When I had come to Guwahati, I had not expected to find so many opportunities for an active cultural life. However, the past 2 months have been wonderful, full of stimulating discoveries. It helps that Guwahati city is relatively small and reaching most places is easy through the public transport.Here are some notes from my diary about the cultural events in the city in the past weeks. The picture above is from a Purulia Chau dance performance from West Bengal in the "Bharat Lok Parva", a festival of folk dances, music and theatre held in Guwahati that was organized by the East Zone Cultural Centre of Kolkata.***The National Youth Festival (NYF) in the beginning of Januar...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Assam
  February 23, 2015, 7:13 am
I arrived in Guwahati almost 6 weeks ago. I am slowly getting to know this city and its kind and gentle people. This post is about my first impressions about the city and finding my way around it.In this short time, I have fallen in love with this city? If you ask me why, I can try to give all kind of rational reasons why this city clicked for me, but they may not be true. Perhaps sometimes, we like a city instinctively, there is some mysterious magic that works? I only know that I liked it almost from the first day I landed here.My first days in a new cityThe Indian mega cities are sprawling spaces full of millions of persons. Sometimes you can live in a city for months, without really know...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Guwahati
  February 9, 2015, 4:55 pm
Before coming to Assam in the north-east of India, I had never thought of Shiva and Kali as a couple and I had also never thought of the two couples, Shiva & Kali and Krishen & Radha, as having any common stories. This post is about understanding an aspect of Hinduism - the Shiva and Kali relationship, and the myths connecting them to Krishna and Radha.THE TRADITIONS OF GODDESS KALIKali belongs to the Hindu traditions of the north-eastern parts of India, especially Bengal and Assam. As a child, I had been to the Kali temples in Delhi but I had never taken a good look at the statues of this goddess, probably because I found her a little frightening and intimidating - her red tongue co...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Culture
  January 30, 2015, 8:50 am
“Delhi Metro Walks” are my way of discovering the city places around the metro stations. This post is about the places to visit around the “Pragati Maidan” station on the Yellow line of Delhi Metro.Delhi Metro network must be one of the fastest growing metro networks in the world. It came to Delhi only about 10 years ago and is already a complex web of lines covering large parts of the huge and growing city of 16 million persons, to which new lines and stations get added every year. It is a convenient way to discover hidden corners of the city.1 PRAGATI MAIDAN METRO STATIONThe Yellow line is one of the longest lines in the Delhi metro network – it connects Dwarka in the south-west ...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :History
  January 12, 2015, 7:31 am
Delhi Metro provides a lot of opportunities for discovering the historical heritage of Delhi through walks around the metro stations. This post is about some heritage sites in Mehrauli area of Delhi around the metro station "Qutab Minar" on the Yellow line.The image above shows  the tomb of Ghiyasuddin Balban who ruled Delhi for about 20 years in the thirteenth century. It is one of the riches awaiting you on this walk.DELHI AROUND MEHRAULIAccording to the legends, the city of Delhi was first settled in the areas around Old Fort and it was called Indraprastha.Mehrauli is one of the oldest parts of the city, inhabited at least from 10th century onwards, when Lal Kot fort was built by Tom...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :History
  December 14, 2014, 8:41 am
Delhi Metro provides wonderful opportunities for discovering Delhi and to visit its rich trove of historical monuments. This post is about discovering the Delhi of the 13th - 15th century through a walking tour from the Hauz Khas metro station.Chor Minaar or the "Tower of thieves" in the image above can give you an idea of the historical riches awaiting you on this walk.DELHI IN THE 13th - 15th CENTURIES13th to 15th centuries in Delhi are known as the "sultanat" period. In this period, Delhi was under different dynasties of Turkish origins. This period continued till mid 1500s, when Hamayun arrived in Delhi and gave rise to the Mughal dynasty.13th century saw the arrival of Slave (Mamluk) dy...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :History
  December 12, 2014, 8:16 am
During my travels I often see monuments built to remember and celebrate events that have marked the history of the countries and their people. These monuments can be about freedom from colonialism, freedom from despots and oppressive regimes, finding a safe sanctuary where their families can live with dignity and hopes for peace. This post is about such monuments from different parts of the world.The Uhuru monument (Freedom monument) from Nairobi, Kenya (Africa) shown in the picture above is a good example of what makes the freedom monuments. Usually it has freedom fighters, national flag, common men and women of the country and symbols expressing hopes for peace and prosperity. Most such mo...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Asia
  December 8, 2014, 8:56 am
The last time I had participated in the Delhi Queer Pride parade, was in 2009. After 5 years, this time I was again there for the 2014 Pride event. This photo-essay is about my sensations at the Pride parade, about what seems to have changed and what has not!THE INCREDIBLE ENERGY AND JOYCompared to 2009, this time the crowds were bigger, and more self-confident, joyful. However, I was hoping to see even bigger crowds - considering that Delhi has 16 million people, the crowd was still too small!The Pride parade was lot of fun, full of dancing, music and colours. Though I was busy clicking pictures, even I could not stop my feet from tapping at the chanting rhythm of "Azaadi, azaadi, le ke rah...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :GLBT
  December 2, 2014, 8:48 am
This post is about war memorials - monuments to remember the soldiers who had died in the wars.My feelings about the wars are ambivalent - memorials to the dead soldiers bring a node to my throat and I love visiting war cemeteries. However, I am also against the wars. Gandhi ji and his ideas about non-violence have been my inspiration. I remember being part of the protest march in London against the Bush-Blair decision to attack Iraq.Yet I believe that some times, especially when dictators, fascists and fundamentalists of different colours and ideologies kill their people, wars can be necessary.Let me start this photo-essay with the picture of a dying soldier from a war monument in Verano ce...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :India
  November 27, 2014, 11:21 am
The columnists seem almost unanimous - making Indian children learn Sanskrit is a fundamentalist-obscurantist, Hinduttva conspiracy, while learning German is something forward looking-progressive and modern.I feel that learning and knowing different languages is culturally enriching, a wonderful way for us to know the world. Thus in my opinion, learning German is fine. However, I also believe that India has neglected teaching Sanskrit to school children, depriving them of a wonderful tool in knowing their own cultural roots.THE DEBATELord Meghnad Desai, a member of House of Lords in UK, wrote about it in Indian Express:Sanskrit is today a dead language which is spoken rather badly by a few. ...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Education
  November 23, 2014, 4:46 pm
I was back in San Paulo after about ten years. Scared by the "friendly" advice on the high risk of criminal attacks in this city, during the earlier visits I had never ventured out of hotels. However, this time I was determined to forget my fears and discover the city.The first part of this photo-essay focuses on areas around the Ibirapuera park, one of the largest green areas in San Paulo city.INTRODUCTIONSan Paulo (or "São Paulo" as the Brazilians call it) is the biggest city in the American continent and along with Rio de Janieiro, the most well known Brazilian city. Fortunately, the hotel where I was staying was close to Avenida Paulista in the city centre, so inspite of my busy sc...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Brazil
  November 7, 2014, 6:09 pm
Siena is a tiny town in the Tuscany region of Italy. It has one of the most beautiful squares in the world - Piazza del campo, that holds the annual bare-back horse race called Palio. This post is about some of my favourite places in Siena.The 8 minutes long opening sequence of the 2008 James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" was shot in Siena. This sequence was pure adrenaline with shots of the Palio race and a thrilling chase over the dark brown roofs of medieval houses around the square. You can watch this sequence on Vimeo for a quick and exciting tour of the Siena city centre.TUSCANY REGION OF ITALYTuscany is considered to be one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Famous painters and...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Culture
  October 20, 2014, 5:20 pm
It was September 2014. I was staying at the JSS hospital in Ganiyari village, about 25 km from Bilaspur in Chattisgarh. This year the monsoon was late. One cloudy morning I went out for a walk along the ponds and rice fields behind the hospital. These free high resolution wall-papers are from that walk.The images of those verdant rice fields and tiny temples near the ponds remain etched in mind. I hope that these images will be also give you the calm joy that I had experienced that morning in Ganiyari. (Click on any image to open the file with the high resolution wall-paper)I think that some of these images will make for beautiful wall-papers! So here are 16 of my favourite images in high-re...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Colours
  October 13, 2014, 3:01 pm
In different aspects of life - religion, language, food, culture and festivals - India shows a "unity in diversity".In the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh in north of India, every village and hamlet has its own deity, a devi or a devta. This photo-essay looks at some of those deities, their cultural traditions and their links with other streams of Hinduism.FORGING INDIA'S CULTURAL-RELIGIOUS UNITYEach community in India often has its own ideas about gods and goddesses. All these are usually grouped together under Hinduism. Apart from their own distinctive cultural-religious traditions, they usually share some aspects of religion as explained in ancient texts of Vedas and Upanishads.Mythologi...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Architecture
  October 12, 2014, 8:21 am
Recently I saw the Ukrainian film "The Guide" (Povodyr, 2014) by director Oles Sanin. It was this year's Ukrainian entry for the Oscars in the "Best foreign film" category. This film reminded me of another older film - "Ivan's Childhood" (Ivanovo Detstvo, 1962) by Russian director Ivan Tarkovsky.Both the films revolve around a child in hostile surroundings, running to save his life. And both the films are about nationalism - "The Guide" is about Ukrainian nationalism and "Ivan's Childhood" is about Russian nationalism. This post looks at both these films.The Guide (Povodyr)"The Guide" is set in Ukraine in the 1920s, the period when the Soviet Union had just replaced the Russian empire. The p...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :History
  September 28, 2014, 11:06 am
I love reading and I started reading very early. There was a time when I read everything. I used to say that I will even read toilet paper if it has something written on it! I no longer try to read toilet papers, but I still read a lot. During my travels in different parts of the world, I have sometimes come across art, sculptures and monuments celebrating and remembering writers, poets, journalists and their books. This photo-essay is about those works of art that celebrate books and authors.This photo-essay on art and sculptures about writers and their books brings together three of my passions - reading, art and photography.About Books and ReadingIf you love reading, you may have your fav...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Authors
  August 20, 2014, 3:50 pm
The last time I had been in India for 15th August celebrations must have been around 30 years ago. Thus, being in Delhi for this independence day was a special occasion for me.Growing up in the immediate post-independence era, I had also imbibed the values of patriotism and national pride. 60 years later, my ideas about patriotism and nationalism have changed but that is another story!I remember once going to Red Fort as a child to listen to Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and the long walk back home along with thousands of other persons after the speech. Though there was no TV in those days, listening to the prime minister's speech on the radio was something to which I had always looked forward to...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Delhi
  August 16, 2014, 10:33 am
Felix Padel, the great great grandson of Charles Darwin, is a well known Indo-British anthropologist. His book "Sacrificing people - Invasions of a tribal landscape" looks at the colonial roots of the relationships between "Adivasis", the indigenous people in tribal areas of India with the rest of country."First there were the soldiers, then missionaries and now the mining companies," Padel had said in an interview. His books explore the themes of displacement and the cultural genocide of the adivasis.This post touches on some of the critical issues raised by Felix in his book "Sacrificing People" (Orient Black Swan, new updated paperback edition, 2011).In the preface to the first edition of...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Culture
  August 9, 2014, 9:15 am
A chance visit brought me to the works of a photographer from Delhi, who had clicked pictures of the rich, the powerful and the famous persons passing through the Indian capital during 1950s and 1960s. These were the works of Mr. Madan Mahatta (Mehta). He died earlier this year, but I am really glad that I could see his works and to know about him.A chance visitI was in Connaught Place in Delhi and went to an Airtel shop to get a new SIM card."You need two pictures for the SIM card and you can go to the photography shop across the road for it", the Airtel guy told me.I saw the board of "Photographers Mahatta" and walked in. The shop seemed full of cameras, tripods and other things necessary ...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Arts
  July 8, 2014, 11:37 am
Ira Trivedi's book "India in Love" is about marriage and sexuality in contemporary India. Based on a sociological research, it focuses mainly on the enormous changes occurring in urban middle class India. And, it makes for an interesting read. This post is about Trivedi's book and also presents a selection of my pictures from different parts of the world on the theme of love and sexuality.IntroductionSexuality is a taboo area in India, though in recent times, some of the walls surrounding it have been breached, giving a glimpse of the different facets.The discussions around sexuality are often linked to debates about traditions versus modernity, as well as to ideas of obscenity and pornograp...
Arre Kya Baat Hai...
Tag :Culture
  July 6, 2014, 12:11 pm
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