The Raghu Dixit project at the NH7 Weekender Pune

Raghu Dixit Project from Bangalore is one of the foremost indie bands of India. If you’re into folk music fused with western rock riffs then this band is for you. Their music is rooted in Karnataka and somewhere in Deep Purple (going by the guitar that accompanies the vocals). Raghu Dixit’s mission seems to popularize folk songs of poets from Karnataka and other places like Rajasthan where such folk forms survive against the vagaries of development in the modern world. That being said the band is a sell out doing gigs for corporates and music festivals at a breathless pace. They have been featured on BBC and in the MTV coke studio series besides having performed in various folk music festivals in the UK . Their music is more like ‘pop folk’ to my ears but I guess it’s the first of its kind on our shores. The all-pervasive Bollywood is easily traceable in their renditions which also explains the exceptionally large fan following I noticed at this performance in Pune. They also compose soundtracks for movies.

Sentiment forms the bedrock of the folksy tunes this band belts out. It's easy to see why lead vocalist and band front runner Raghu Dixit is so loved by an audience besotted by Bollywood.

Sentiment forms the bedrock of the folksy tunes this band belts out. It’s easy to see why lead vocalist and band front-runner Raghu Dixit is so loved by an audience besotted by Bollywood.

The Raghu Dixit project is a commercially successful band. They have made many trips to the UK and ended up collaborating with well known folk groups there. I was more enamoured by their sense of dress than the music per se.

The Raghu Dixit project is a commercially successful band. I was more enamoured by their costumes than the music per se. Especially so, as they have a designer from an art school (my daughter attends) to do it for them.

Sure the notes fall like rain from his guitar but the long sentimental intros to his songs took something away from the music, a certain simplistic sound that leaves you wanting something else. Sure the notes fall like rain from his guitar but the long sentimental intros to his songs took something away from the music, a certain simplistic sound that left  me wanting something else. Food perhaps.

Sure the notes fall like rain from his guitar but the long emotionally charged intros to his songs took something away from the music, a certain simplistic sound that leaves you wanting something else. Food perhaps.

This is Gaurav Vaz who plays the bass guitar, manages the band, makes websites, evangelizes about really cool products, takes lots of photographs, and by his own admission is obsessed with everything to do with the Internet!

This is Gaurav Vaz who not only plays the bass guitar but manages the band, makes websites, evangelizes about really cool products, takes lots of photographs, and by his own admission is obsessed with everything to do with the Internet! They have positive press all over any media channel thinkable.

Raghu Dixit Project, 2014

I’m assuming that Gaurav Vaz (seen here) had also managed the band’s arrival from Singapore for this performance here in Pune. Their fan following  includes 194403 likes on their Fb page if stats are anything to go by. Their songs on you tube have similar if not a couple of million more likes.

Bleh

Rock guitar fuses with folk songs from the hinterland of India, Here Gaurav Vaz appears as soothsayer, blessing the band’s fans who were in a wild state of ecstasy. Perfect branding is what I was thinking.

Besides the melodic arrangement driven by rousing violin parts, the track’s lyrical style also leans towards the mainstream.

Besides the melodic arrangement driven by rousing vocals and violins, the track’s lyrical style leans towards the mainstream. For John Mc Laughlin fans like myself  I was glad to have the camera for company.

Bleh

This is Bryden Lewis taking his curtain call. He plays the guitar, banjo and ukulele. He has a counterpart Parth who I couldn’t spot since I wasn’t as mesmerized by the music as the massive crowds around me.

'Amma' is mother in most South Indian languages. It was the title of the song in progress when I shot this one.

‘Amma’ is mother in most South Indian languages. It was the title of the song in progress when I shot this one.

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Like their colorful lungis (gladiator like skirts), beads and vests, the music is happy and emotionally charged, something that works with the milieu. The band has been on MTV, BBC and what not. I should’ve been impressed.

 

Check out the music. It doesn’t matter you don’t know the language. There are a couple of songs in English too.

 

 

 

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Skrat: Giving it their all at the NH7 Weekender, Pune

On day 3 of the festival, we sauntered into the grounds to discover the various stage set ups. In the Bacardi pavilion, we were drawn to a young band belting out some pretty bold guitar. A closer look revealed that these were our own homegrown crop from Chennai. Surprising to me, since Chennai and South India in general has always stood for a certain conservative approach, upholding strictly traditional/classical forms of Indian music on equally traditional instruments like the Veena, Flute, Mrudangam and Ghatam that must be learnt and practiced over an entire lifetime. Though the city is home to AR Rahman, I was caught unawares by the rebellious hard rock culture this band represented.

Western music and that too Garage Rock of an Independent nature must be hard to do in a city like Chennai is what I was thinking. I was happy to see my perceptions blow to pieces with Skrat’s raw energetic sounds.

Skrat as I found out later has been in the Indie rock scene since 2006. They’re a bunch of school friends who’ve been jamming together through their days in engineering college. They have 3 albums under their belt and over 100 gigs in India and abroad. Quite a stomp!

A qualified engineer, TT Sriram appeared to be the frontrunner of the band thoroughlly enjoying himself on vocals and guitar.

A qualified engineer, TT Sriram appeared to be the frontrunner of the band thoroughly enjoying himself on vocals and guitar. I’m wishing them good luck in the international arena, they seem to be fit and ready.

He may look dead pan but the bass guitarist Satish Naryanan sure knows how to pack in some clearly energetic rocking notes.

He may look dead pan but the bass guitarist Satish Naryanan sure knows how to pack in some punch with clearly energetic, rocking notes. 

Tapass Naresh on drums

Tapass Naresh on drums is as vital as the guitars and vocals, if not more. When he took time out to study further in the UK, the band almost disbanded, waiting and praying for his return.

Skrat is a three-piece alternative rock band and the constantly changing graphics in the eyes of the backdrop had me perfectly amused.

Skrat is a three-piece alternative rock band. The constantly changing graphics in the eyes of the backdrop had me transfixed. Not to mention the music itself. Here they were rocking to a song called ‘Stomp’

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The band exudes a certain boyish charm and the music they make is perfectly hummable. The sound is big and bold coming from a 3 piece ensemble. A certain raw energy I enjoyed latching on to.

Here’s a song that I liked, hope you like it too.

 

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NH7 Weekender 2014: Motopony in concert.

Music festivals are a bit like a picnic. So I try to attend as many as possible, especially the ones happening near where I live. They never fail to offer a happy break from the monotony of city life.

NH 7 Weekender is touted as the Happiest Music Festival in India. It’s a 3 day long affair, focussed on indie music from all over the world with a highlight on Indian talent. It’s been around in Mumbai’s neighbourhood or should we say, ‘Mumbai’s twin city sister: Pune’. Well, the festival was back in the neighbourhood last month with a grand line up of artistes: 54 of them to be precise. Though this is for all kinds of music lovers; for middle-aged rock and jazz lovers like myself, not all the music out here looked that attractive. So, when my husband (who was to drive us there) decided to skip the opening on day 01, I didn’t kick up a fuss. Granted that, I did regret missing a band from Mali called the Songhoy Blues. Electronica, House, Dubstep…. I didn’t mind missing that.

Sadly we went totally unprepared, with no idea of all the stage set ups. If you’re going there for the music and have the time then its best to research the bands playing. That way you know what you want to hear and most importantly be at the venue on time if not ahead, to explore the options.  There are plenty of distractions like art installations, food stalls, bars, curated flea markets, ferrous wheels and of course the geography in general. With 12 bands playing over 8 hours a day on 4 (maybe 6) stage sets, it’s best not to leave your choices to chance.

These photos here are from Day o2.

After giving a young Synth band from Mumbai ‘The Sandunes’ a listen by default (we were late for another synth band called Big city Harmonics) we moved to the other stage to sit on the grass and soak in the atmosphere. The band  up there was setting up and the ones in the know were slowly gathering near the stage. I decided to let the music get me back on my feet. Before I knew it, this band seemed to call me out with a song called Euphoria. I had no idea who they were or what kind of music they made. It felt great.

I jostled my way through the multitude until I could push no more. It took a while to manage the settings on the camera besides getting my balance in the delirious multitudes. The stage with its ever-changing lights and effects was like a magnet through the lens. I decided to focus on the musicians and not the happy people surrounding me. This band from Seattle made for one great highpoint for me. And I’m glad the Tamron 75-300 lived up to deliver these portraits for keeps.

Daneil Blue, killing it with his vocals. This one is when he went into a trance singing 'Euphoria'.Daniel Blue songwriter-guitarist, killing it with his vocals. This is when he went into a trance singing ‘Euphoria’.
'Oooo, I wanna feel good' That's Daniel Blue making us all feel good too at the NH weekender concert.

‘Oooo, I wanna feel good’ That’s Daniel Blue making us all feel the groove.

By November 30, Motopony had travelled over 3 weekends across the length and breadth of India, and were back in Baltimore on December 2 to perform there on Decemeber 4. Whew, that's amazing energy.

The band arrived in India via a gig in London. By November 30, Motopony had travelled over 3 weeks across India. They were  back in Baltimore to perform there on December 4. Whew, that’s amazing energy.

What I like about shooting pictures unofficially at concerts is that I capture what I hear. This is Nate Daley on guitar + vox on a song I liked. Its yet to be released and their trial run got the crowd hooting for more.

What I like about shooting unofficially is that I capture what I hear. This is Nate Daley on a song called ‘Live, in 1971, I wanna be there….’ I hope it’s on their new album ‘Idle beauty’ they’re touring all over the planet for.

Nate Daley had this John Lennonesque look. The colors and lighting was rapidly changing and I was jostling my way through the crowd getting a glimpse every now and then between thousands of  swaying heads. The only way possible was for me to keep the camera on manual mode.

Nate Daley had this John Lennonesque look. In the ever-changing lighting, the only sensible way of getting a sure shot was by keeping the camera on manual mode, fooling around with ultra slow film speed.

This was at the end of the show when the band members were introduced to the raving crowd. I was lucky to get this shot bang on time :-)

 The one still moment came at the end of the show when the band members got introduced. Is that some stuffing around the crotch customary to rockers of the 70’s!

This is Andrew Butler on Keys + Vox plus I suspect the wild graphics that were appearing on the screens on stage.

This is Andrew Butler on Keys. I suspect he was also responsible for the wild graphics that appeared on the screens. I was a long shot away to have seen him with such clarity. Thank you Tamron 75-300.

I love the ever changing lighting at such festivals. It involves all your senses to capture the perfect moment in a near perfect exposure. I'm glad to have Andrew Butler respond to his own sounds in sync with his visual effect.

 Ever-changing lighting is immensely challenging to shoot. It involves all your senses to capture the perfect moment in a perfect exposure. Here Andrew Butler enjoys changing lighting in sync to his keys.

The drummer Forrest Mauvis doing his bit on a song called God Damn Girl your wounds are beautiful.

The drummer Forrest Mauvis doing his bit on a song called ‘God damn girl, your wounds are beautiful’. Gosh so romantic and sexy, this band.

This is Mike Notter doing his bit on a track called June if I remember well. I loved the harmonies and the reverby guitar.

Here’s Mike Notter doing his bit on a soulful track called ‘June’. I loved the harmonies and the reverby guitar.

I love experimenting with exposures when the music sounds as special as the sounds this band makes. This is Mike Notter harking back to good old days of rock.

I enjoy experimenting with exposures when the music sounds as special as the sounds this band makes. Here, Mike Notter harks back to the good old days of rock. Something my old self is familiar with. Like Radiohead…

I love rock n roll. And I know they move the world in ways politicians cannot. Seen here Daneil Blue rousing up the crowd.

“I love rock n roll. And I know they move the world in ways politicians cannot. Seen here Daniel Blue rousing up the crowd.”

Would you walk with me would you take some time,  A song that moves like waves. The song is called Get up, come down! Here's a band member making it happen.

‘Would you walk with me, would you take some time?’ A song that moves like waves. A band member making it happen for us in the crowd.

No idle beauty this. Motopony was by far the highpoint for me at  the Nh-7 weekender, Pune.  Though I would've like to pit them against another great band I missed called Songhoy Blues.

No ‘Idle beauty’ this. Motopony was by far the highpoint for me at the Nh7 Weekender, Pune. They deserve to be there in more playlists, in more collections, on top of the heap.

And the last note  played by the band in unison. Andrew Butler on Keyboards for Motopony to thumping we want more audience.

And the last note played by the band in unison… Andrew Butler on Keyboards for Motopony to a thumping ‘We want more’ audience.

 

If the article is remotely interesting do click on the links and give the music a listen. And let me know your thoughts. Thanks for your visit.

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Descent, downhill can be fun!

This was one adventurous lady. If I had a telephoto I would’ve liked to capture her thrill. From my point of view it takes courage to do something like that in an alien country, not to mention the weird landscape of Cappadocia.

 There she is again. On a private tour driving along and stopping by every now and then, it became hard for me to know who this was. She turned up on these two distinctly different clicks of the landscape. This is cropped in just a bit.

On a private tour driving along and stopping by now and then, it became hard for me to know who this was.

From my archives on one of the most memorable holidays of all in Cappadocia in December 2009; shot on my sweet Nikon D60 and now defunct Sigma 18-125mm I loved most. Hope you like it. For more awesome pictures do look at the Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

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Pondicherry: some street side portraits

A man enjoys the company of his best friend who is a tea stall owner. He's the regular here.

A man who looked like a daily wager at a street side tea stall. He seemed like a regular here.

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Pondy is a shoppers paradise. You can spend a great deal of time in the charming little shops  dotting the cobbled streets, except those with strict siesta timings.

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Government healthcare is not for everybody. Or at least that’s what I was thinking looking at this bent man.

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The owner of the house sits at the doorway facing the street, reading the news of the day, That way he knows what’s going on outside his house as well.

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Pondy is about cycling. It’s really the best way to go around town. Time takes another meaning here.

This is the land of the Mother Mirra Alfassa, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. Though she arrived here in 1914 and died in 1973, she is very much alive through the ashram she founded in the city.

This is the land of the Mother Mirra Alfassa, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. Though she arrived here in 1914 and died in 1973, she is very much alive through the ashram she founded in the city.

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The evangelical missionaries make one of the oldest connections between Pondy and France, dating back to the 1700’s.

Its been sixty years since the de facto transfer of French territories to India. Today, November 1st 2014 is the first time the city will celebrate its Liberation Day on the lines of Republic day and Independence day as directed by the Government of India. These were shot in June though.

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Pondicherry, a certain sense of Gallic glory gone by.

On a whirlwind trip to Pondicherry, I visited a quaint little museum in its old parts to better understand some of the charm the city exudes for the hordes of tourists it attracts. From the tiniest bits of Greek and Spanish clay pottery dating back to the Roman Empire to French chariots and carriages from the 19th century donated by old Tamilian families who inherited this past, I was at once unhappy that I had no time to visit the deserted archaeological site of Arikaedu where most of the ancient collections come from. After all, it was just 7 km away from the museum. Ah well.

That notwithstanding, I was happy to shoot some of these pictures of the surrounding area near the museum. Shooting inside the museum was prohibited though I have seen some pictures on the net taken by those who don’t take rules seriously. Good for them!

Pondicherry or Puducherry is a town that loves it's past. As seen in this picture of an old Fiat much celebrated in the 1950's. Being lovingly brought back to its old glory at a mechanics or maybe a DIY project of the owners.

Pondicherry or Pondy is a town that loves its past. As seen in this picture of an old Fiat being lovingly restored. The Fiat was a symbol of style back in the 50’s and 60’s all over India.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz. The dream car of the 60's is here being restored on the streets. Love is in the air here, even if for the material. It's a sign of the good times a family had.

Another dream car of the 60’s being given a facelift. It must’ve been great when the going was good. For now it ain’t going anywhere, not until the tyres are found!

Street Graffiti is subtle and detailed. The French street sign has an Indian twist. Any guesses why Ganesha is so loved the world over?

A French street sign with an Indian twist. To me this detailed and subtle graffiti seemed to suggest a contemporary European sensibility.

Here's the detail. I haven't seen anything so artistic by way of stencil graffiti in Mumbai.

I haven’t seen stencilled graffiti of this nature in Mumbai, hometown of the Lord Ganesha. Interesting typography.

The graffiti in Pondicherry adopts Banky's style and attitude. This was on a wall next to a garbage dump. It's a me too but adds to Pondi city's connect with Europe in modern times. I'm glad I captured this art.

Graffiti in this case adopts Banksy’s style and attitude, further illustrating Pondy’s connect with Europe in modern times.

The old city is full of little details such as this decorative sculpture which is as Indian as its European in its appeal.

The old city is full of little details such as this decorative sculpture which is as Indian as its European. Bohemian chic or new age cum old world charm? It’s hard to decide.

Pondicherry became a part of the as recently as 1954 when On July 16, 1954, the administration from the French administrators marked the end of 224 years of French rule.

Pondicherry became a part of India as recently as 1954. The transfer marked the end of 224 years of French rule in this tiny part of Tamil Nadu.

Another view of a colonial home which will probably become a hotel given its colonial appeal.

Another view of a colonial home lovingly preserved. The French quarter of this city is quiet, clean and shady. The cobbled streets are lined with charming townhouses like this one.

That is one big door, it opens completely only when you are a known visitor to this mansion. The portion open is for the security to pop up to check your creditionals and intention.

That is one big door; it opens completely only when you are a known visitor to this mansion driving up your vintage car. The partial opening is for the security to pop-up to check your credentials and intention i.e if you come walking.

Most of the old mansions facing the sea are now budget hotels run by locals. Surprisingly, they're the  least expensive

Most of the old mansions facing the sea are now budget hotels run by locals. Surprisingly, they’re the
least expensive. Their interior design aesthetic is a bit like a Tollywood movie set. Very kitsch and i don’t mean bohemian.

There's a certain romance in walking around the streets in Pondicherry. Plenty of nice places to eat some fusion food.

There’s a certain romance in walking around the streets of Old Pondicherry. Plenty of nice places to eat some fusion food. The beer here is dirt cheap as it’s a Union territory. I didn’t realise until we drove back to Auroville, else I would’ve carried a carton for the night.

The horse carriages I saw in the museum were larger, grander version of this cycle rickshaw.

The horse carriages I saw in the museum were larger, grander versions of this humble cycle rickshaw.

Graffiti everywhere. Especially on abandoned Tempos or should I say Goods carriers.

Graffiti everywhere. Especially on abandoned tempos or should I say ‘goods carriers’

Beautiful architecture everywhere. Though a weekend here is enough to imbibe the atmosphere. Unless of course you are spending time at the Aurobindo Ashram.

Beautiful architecture. Though a weekend in the city should be just about enough to imbibe the atmosphere. Unless of course you are spending time at the Aurobindo ashram learning yoga, meditation or even incense making.

This is the beach front that was badly affected by the Tsunami. Its pretty windy on a normal day, swimming is not in the culture around here.

This is the beach front that was badly affected by the Tsunami in 2004. Its pretty windy here on a normal day, swimming is not in the culture, so don’t pack that 2 piece bikini yet. Instead enjoy a stroll in your yoga pyjamas, breathing in the sea air.

The streets have seen some agitations since India gained independence. The French didn’t leave here with the British. This lane where this facade is located is so peaceful, it was hard for me to imagine any anguish, leave alone feeling it.

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Faces of Orissa: street photography, part 2

As I write this, a month or two after my visit to this village market in Orissa, there has been a flood that has claimed 39 lives leaving more than 3.3 million of the population marooned in knee-deep water in their houses and outside. I can only imagine this. As per news articles: Across the state, more than 5,300 villages have been affected with 460 of them stranded by heavy flood waters. The downpour has affected agricultural land as well. Though the floods tend to hit the coastal areas, pretty far from where I shot these simple folk, I hope they’re ok. This was in the weekly market deeper down the hinterland.

It was the prime of summer, in pelting heat, under makeshift tarpaulin (mostly large sheaths of  plastic) in saturated, primary colours: yellow, blue and orange, in an area known for its tribal culture.

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Tribals with children stand a chance of receiving aid from Government. Most are torn between living in isolation in the forests or being a part of the new economy they’re ill prepared for.

Noserings are a symbol of financial well being in this region. The more prosperous a family, the bigger the nose ring

Nose rings are a symbol of financial well-being in this region. The more prosperous a family, the bigger or more the nose rings.

Lots and lots of Baigan s(Aubergines) and Karelas (Bitter squash or is it bitter gourd in English).

Lots and lots of baigans (Aubergines) and karelas (Bitter squash or is it bitter gourd in English?). The green leaves were like arugula, very soft and tasty raw. I got 3 large bunches for just Rs.5!

Cheap product in even cheaper plastic seems to have an attraction in our village markets. No one cares nor bothers with the toxic effects of such packaging.

Cheap product in even cheaper plastic seems to have an attraction in our village markets. No one cares nor bothers with the toxic effects of such packaging. It’s a sign of progress and connects the masses to the classes.

The bindi on her forehead is a permanent tattoo, a symbol that helps identify her tribe.

The bindi on her forehead is a permanent tattoo, a symbol that helps identify her tribe.

I knew he was fascinated by the camera more than anything else.

I knew he was fascinated by my camera more than anything else. As for me, I was taken up by his rock style hair do.

 Faux silver jewellery and printed polyester sarees from Gujarat have found their way into this region. They're cheaper to buy than weave at home, the old fashioned way.

Faux silver jewellery and printed polyester sarees from Gujarat have found their way into this region. They’re cheaper to buy than weave at home, the old-fashioned way.

Odisha may top India’s poverty list though for all the right reasons. The percentage of abjectly poor people in this state has declined faster than in any other. Despite this, however, in a measure of how poorly off they were earlier, the proportion of the poor in this state remains well above the national average.

Orissa may top India’s poverty list though for all the right reasons. The percentage of abjectly poor people in this state has declined faster than in any other. Despite this, in a measure of how poorly off they were earlier, the proportion of the poor in this state remains well above the national average.

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In Orissa, the proportion of people below the poverty line has fallen by half according to a survey done by one world international, which possibly explains why this woman wanted the camera pointed at her. She seemed better off than most with an imposing personality and an assistant to carry her shopping bags.

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Tribals freely practice shifting cultivation in their respective habitats assuming that land, forest, water and other natural resources belong to them, though recently the mining industry has wooed some of them to into the new economy promising them inclusion and a better life.

Dissent is what I saw in this man's face. Activists engage with the people to put up a fight against mining companies in this region.

Dissent is what I saw in this man’s face. Activists engage with the people to put up a fight against mining companies in this region. Despite increasing levels of income from India’s abundant mineral reserves, there has been little in the way of improved human rights protection and social development for its communities.

It's the Indian chilly that lends all the color to the culture of a place. In Odisha its no different. I love this photo dearly.

It’s the chilly that lends all the color to the culture of a place anywhere in India. In Odisha its no different. I love this photo dearly. Nothing comes close to the redness of the Indian chilly you will agree.

Thanks for taking a look, do rate, comment or like in that order!  For those interested, these were shot mostly on the Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC or Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S.  Though in my estimation classic street photography is at its impactful best black and white, shot a bit wider, the colours in this market and its equally colourful people  is what attracted me.

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The zigzag dance of rat snakes: Part 2

Auroville or at least where I stayed there, is full of snakes. One evening, after a long tiring day of cycling along the periphery of the township, I returned to my room to plunge my aching body into bed in my rustic room. I had barely closed my eyes when I heard a knock my door. A young, excited boy was asking me to please come back outside, “There are two snakes fighting, bring your camera, its amazing.” I darted out of bed even though this meant assembling my aching body parts into one moving unit all over again. In a daze, I grabbed my camera in whatever mode it was in and ran along with him to the spot. Alas the lens was my 50mm portrait lens. To get up close to the slithery creatures meant courage which I did not have. It was dusk in a shady spot under a large banyan tree, the light was fading, I was sleepy and feeling a bit creepy as well. I took a few shots and then decided this act would last more than a couple of minutes. The room was a five-minute sprint, so I dashed back to and fro with my zoom. That way I could be at a safe distance from the creatures and go about my job with a little more peace of mind. I just wish I’d kept my calm and done a better job.

This was the sharpest in my lot of 20 images. The snakes were in a reverie with fading light to add to my worries.

This was the sharpest in my lot of 20 images. The snakes were in a reverie, moving ever so fast. Then there was the limitation of the 50mm lens plus my fear of getting too close. I had fading light, high ISO and slow shutter speeds adding to my woes.

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This is a rare spectacle to watch. Though there was plenty of aggression in the act, I was sure this was how snakes feel love.  A video recording would’ve been apt but flash light might have caused disturbance to them.

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This is towards the middle of the act. For a second they’re intertwined standing upright face to face and the next they’re flat on the ground in high-speed action happening mostly around their heads.

This is synchronised dancing at its best better tahn any olympics gold medalist team at work.

This is synchronised dancing at its best; better than any olympics gold medalist team at work.

mating snakes

The greatest zigzag show; these snakes seemed to be in a love-hate relationship!

Love and rats is all we need.

Love and rats is all we need. A 12-year-old French boy from the neighbourhood took the foremost place next to the snakes announcing that they were mating and not fighting. He lives on the property and seemed to be knowledgeable on the subject!

In response to the zigzag challenge on dailypost

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The Zigzag love dance of rat snakes

This was on a trip to Auroville, Pondicherry. The place where I stayed was in the middle of a thick forest. One evening on my way back I witnessed this amazing mating of rat snakes. They were at least 4 meters long.

This was on a trip to Auroville, Pondicherry. The place where I stayed was in the middle of a thick forest. One evening on my way back I saw this amazing mating act of rat snakes. They were at least 4 meters long.

In response to the weekly photo challenge zigzags.

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Street photography in a sea of faceless Indians

On a visit to Orissa in search of the elusive Dongria Kondh tribe, I chanced upon a weekly market in a remote village called Kakriguma. I was curious about what a flea market in a village populated with mainly tribals would have on display. I knew it would be a difficult experience, what with the summer heat beating down in a place I had no previous experience or limited knowledge of. I was at once captivated by the ladies in their brightly colored sarees and bovine nose rings. The men were nowhere near the charm the ladies exude in these parts.

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Perhaps it was her unintended sense of fashion or maybe the sheer ‘Africanness’ in the mood of the frame that drew me to this lady. It’s hard to judge a tribal from a non tribal especially in a terrain known for its political unrest.

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The weekly market has a large chunk of tribals engaged in agriculture and fishing. There was a sense of contentment on this old lady’s face. Her personality apart, I loved the cheerful contrast offered by her magenta saree.

I was captivated by the tattoos on this lady's feet. Women are decorated and have a great sense of color in these parts.

I was captivated by the tattoos on this lady’s feet. Women decorate themselves with a great sense of colour and style.

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I’m not sure if this pretty woman represents the Dongria Kondh tribe. The nose rings and hand-woven saree seemed to suggest so. Much to my disappointment, there wasn’t a single vendor selling woven fabric or clothing.

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This second generation of tribals prefers to wear blouses with their sarees most of which come in from Surat in Gujarat. Sadly, they seem to have given up the traditional blouseless drape so unique to this part of India. It classifies them as a backward class you see.

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I was hoping to see some authentic tribal jewellery here. The beads seemed commonplace with hardly any copper, brass, or white metal jewellery I so strongly associated with this region. Locals prefer plastic unfortunately.

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Turkish evil eye necklaces on display in this market! It seems to have replaced the original tribal symbols that I had come in search of. The bead necklaces are synonymous with the local culture here.

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This picture proves my theory that ladies with blouses are economically better off than the ones without! Frankly I saw a higher sense of aesthetic in the poor woman in the foreground. So much more fashionable and sensible in the hot summer sun.

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Dry fish is indigenous to Orissa. It’s salted and dried over 4 days ending up with a strong, cheesy odour. To the less hardy, the odour can be obnoxious in a market like this. The curry made from it with mustard is a delicacy is what I learnt.

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Kakriguma has a famous pottery village nearby where tribals make every kind of earthenware for home use.  Sadly, there were no takers for this lack lustre vendor. Most buyers these days prefer Aluminium pots to terracotta.

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This was the seconds stall where a poor man was selling old worn sarees to even poorer folk. The lady was happy with her find.

The fast, cheap, easy and fake has found its takers even in what was until recently a remote part of India. No matter where we live the cultural symbols of progress seem to be consumerism.

The fast, the cheap, the easy and the fake have found their takers even in what was until recently a remote part of India. No matter where we live the cultural symbols of progress seem to be consumerism. Tobacco and soaps are best sellers here.

I was under the impression that barter was the way the weekly market functioned in this village. It was all about the money, honey.

I was under the impression that barter was the way the weekly market functioned in this village. Nope, it was all about the money, honey! The new economy does not appreciate the idea of exchanging goods.

On the spot tailoring is one of the features of this market. Stitching blouses, shirts and bags at breakneck speed made for this picture.

In case you thought this happened only in Thailand, on the spot tailoring is one of the features of this market too. Stitching blouses, shirts and bags at breakneck speed in the hot sun, that’s different.

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The weekly market affords timeout with friends from neighbouring villages. The land has a history of Maoist attacks and dissent among tribals.

Posted in Photo essay, Portrait, Street Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments