En Presente Progresivo

With every new location comes great responsibility.*  To immerse in the local culture, make new friends, explore new activities, discover new facets of your own self.

This time, we’ve moved halfway around the world, to exotic Peru. Souvik has been here for a while, and I’ve only just arrived in Lima. Fully loaded with my city bicycle, a paltry supply of desi spices, and a smattering of essential Spanish phrases such as por favor and gracias. 

The last bit – that needed to change pronto – and a quick search led me to El Sol – la escuela de español – just down the street from home. Entonces, hace 8 semanas y un pequeño descanso que estoy aprendiendo español…

Remember that joyful moment in school after all the exams that you thought you were rid of grammar, tenses, moods, and after the appearance of computers, spelling even?

That has come back to bite me all these years later. In a new idioma.gra2.jpg

 

 

I try telling myself that learning keeps the mind younger. As schools go, El Sol is fantástico. But the preteritos and subjunctivos, objectos and pronombres, tareas (homework!!!) and examen are enough to drive me just a li’l crazy by the end of each week, and I look forward to the weekly pisco sour we share to toast the newly graduated.

The eyes need help to keep up. I have a choice of glasses for classes, and my best friend these days is the prescription progressive. Not a tense, just a lens.

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* Yes, you’ve heard that somewhere.

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Relocated. Rejuvenated.

For the first few weeks upon moving to India, I simply vegetated on the couch. There was good reason to: relocating Mia, our cat has been more of a challenge than packing and moving the rest of my life in Indonesia. Once we came through Bangalore customs, cat and all, life at Reva’s got relaxed, with me having no responsibilities except playing badminton with Ira at all hours of the day, while Sara took on Mia’s welfare.

Through my vegetative weeks we waited for the rain clouds to gather and shower, admiring the beautiful sunsets from the balcony, made even more serene with a glass of wine and a light blanket.

My visits to Bangalore have a few must-do’s. Topping that list is a visit to the Canon service centre in Ulsoor, to undo all the damage I’ve inflicted on my camera up to that time. Followed by a coffee stop at the neighbouring cafe, Marzipan.  This time, we ended up servicing 2 cameras and multiple lenses, causing us to make this journey at least 3 times, with an added shopping stop at 1 MG Mall.

The whole point to this description is that through my days in Bangalore this time, I had no camera until the last weekend, but once I did, it was near impossible to drag me in from the balcony.

That’s why:

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And that:Bangalore sunset-2

Until that:

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I’m happy to be home.

The Return of the Photo Walks

After a long hiatus, I’m back at photo hunting with my good friend, Rajbir. She is determined to let me have my Indonesia farewell through as many photo opportunities as possible in these last few weeks. I am ever so grateful!

Sunda Kelapa, where I first started exploring in Jakarta. The ancient port that is still functional, with the traditional phinisi boats, transporting cargo between the islands of Indonesia. The boats at the dock weren’t our target this time. We were looking for a strip of solidity on the water, to plant our tripods and make some pictures.

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The boatman who brought us here was only too happy to extend our ride further out on the water, to spot some boats, old and new.

The sun has been playing spoilsport on some of the photo days, but on this occasion, I was literally ‘saved’ from disappointment when it stayed hidden at sunrise. See, I was meant to wake up at an absurdly early hour and get a taxi to pick Rajbir and head to the pelabuhan. Only, the phone accidentally was set on silent, and I slept through the alarms and the cabdriver’s calls! We got there well after all the exciting light, but thankfully no sun, and no guilt.

And for old times’ sake, a clichéd photo of the harbour:

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The water may be murky, but the boats look grand.

Of Butterflies, Dragonflies, Flies, and How Time Flies

It’s been FOREVER since I logged in and blogged, mostly thanks to a slight change of pace in my real life. Photography had taken a backseat, until this morning, when I joined a bunch of friends for a macro photography shoot.

I am a macro novice, and never been tempted to buy the expensive lens. We’ve found a great guy to rent camera equipment from in Jakarta – these people are priced reasonably and they give great advice too. I shan’t share the name, coz then my secret will be out! Hahaha, just kidding, good service deserves good publicity, and I shall do my bit for www.sewakamera.com.

We went to the butterfly park? museum? thingy at Taman Mini – the Indonesian showpiece ‘amusement’ park – which had to be the saddest butterfly display ever. Pity to see the live ones in captivity (Yes!). Singapore has a better park at the airport! In any case, I was there to learn macro photography, with all its technicalities, and was pretty determined to look beyond the obvious.

And then my eyes opened. WIDE. Who knew that these creepy crawlies were so cute! I’ve seen other people’s macro pictures, of course, but looking through your own (or rented) lens is a completely different feeling.

I have a long way to go, and a lens of my own to buy some day, this is just the beginning. Click on a pic and see the enlarged view, I absolutely insist. That humble little fly, I just want to enlarge and give a great big hug!

I’m not winning awards any time soon, but thanks are due to my friends who taught and inspired me today. The knees hurt from all the crouching, but who cares.

It may be the Chinese New Year of the Monkey, but it’s gonna be a weekend full of the lil bugs for me!

Yet Another India Travel Story – Introduction

It’s been a roller coaster of a summer lately, what with the traffic woes during Ramadan, then the highs of receiving the work permit, just in time for a long and hectic travel to India. Yeah, you read it right. There’s ‘work’ in the statement above. About time too. But not before some quick journeys to exotic places.

I managed to grab a short vacation to the historic towns of Mandu and Maheshwar with Reva & her friends. Chetna, our intrepid group leader, not only organised the tour and all the logistics associated with it, she also cracked the whip to make sure we had everything we needed and nobody got left behind. There was a unique ‘essentials’ list – homemade Shammi Kebabs from Hyderabad, home-baked brownies, tortes, banana loaves (all properly delegated), colouring things for the lil ones, alcohol preferences, secret social networks for the latest updates, a wicked sense of humour – to name a few.

Who better then, to write a guest post for my blog, than Chetna?

If ‘Mandu’ is evocative of romance and poetry, you’ll be surprised to know that it’s real claim to fame is not the best known tale of Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati. I was pleasantly surprised. Look out for Chetna’s post, and you’ll know.

 

The Grass is Greener

So we’ve moved house. This time the strain of moving got to me a little. Either I’m ageing, or we simply have too much stuff. Fitting things into a smaller house poses a challenge even for the puzzle-inclined type like me. Thankfully I have Souvik and Rofa to do the heavy lifting and cleaning up. We’ve tried our best to make the house look pretty – there was a lot of pushing and shoving, and the kitchen had to be organised 3 times before it met my workflow requirements. Getting the bulky sofas out of the door and putting in the compact furniture was a lot like giving birth, with loads of moaning and groaning. The best part of the house is the outdoors; not for nothing is this complex called The Green. It really is.

At the first opportunity I invited my fellow photo walkers (only one made it), and we had a jolly walk in the peak of the hot day. In addition to the welcome greenery, there’s some bizarre er…. sculptures to keep you interested. It being Friday, all the women working in maintenance had gathered together for the Friday prayers and meal. The kids, as usual, were ever willing to pose.

Yeah, living here is turning out to be entertaining!