Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

The culture of opacity

August 16, 2017

One of the things, I think, that impedes my country in her progress, is our culture of opacity.

As a nation, we do not seem to like sharing information at all. Government offices, political leaders, even small businesses…how many of us like to share, openly, the information that we possess?

The first thing I notice when a business gets going is that the name of the founders are immediately hidden behind a wall of anonymity. Phone numbers are withheld, as are the names of those who run the show.

I find this refusal to share in the world of wildlife, too. When a rare bird, plant or animal is sighted, the threat from others is cited as a reason to make the information secret.

This would be a useful thing to do if the information were genuinely withheld from everyone else. But what actually happens is different. The information and the knowledge become instruments of power.

To know the man at the top, to know where X animal can be seen, to understand the workings and financial dealings of (to take an example) a hospital…these, then, become privileges granted to only a few.

Alas, information can never be kept entirely secret, either. Corruption and the cooking of figures soon becomes known; everyone knows about the place where one can see something special. But the information is not open to all; it remains in the hands of the privileged elite, and always kept a secret from the “mango public” (aam janta).

Even the process of this secret transmission of information vitiates it to some extent; the information is corrupted often.

This lack of transparency, this tendency to keep information to oneself and not share it…we have to overcome this in order that all of us may stride forward on the path to progress.

Words of wisdom

August 8, 2017

He who knows, and knows he knows…
He is a sage: Seek him.
He who knows, and knows not he knows…
He is asleep: Wake him.
He who knows not, and knows he knows not…
He is a child: Teach him.
He who knows not, and knows not he knows not…
He is a fool: Shun him.

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Votive stones, Thotti Kallu Falls, 160717

Look carefully….

August 2, 2017

Look carefully at your mother…she’s the person you will probably become.
Look carefully at your daughter…she’s the person you probably were.
And both of you, look carefully at the grand-daughter…she’s probably going to be more than both of you.

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That should actually read, “parent”, “child”, and “grandchild”.

Post-processing of digital images

July 29, 2017

Post-processing of photographic images: I’d divide this into two broad categories: image enhancement, and image manipulation.

The first is the tweaking of the image to better the colours, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and other effects. The second is the active addition or removal of elements/images to or from the original photograph. The end result obtained, and its success as an image, is, I find, very subjective.

In either category, unless there is a situation where post-processing is specifically forbidden, or the RAW file must be produced, it’s entirely up to the viewer’s sense of aesthetics to rate the photograph as visually appealling, or not. I find, increasingly, images being post-processed to the point where they are more digital paintings than photography.

But as I repeat…this is entirely in the eye of the beholder, and as long as there is no intent to wilfully deceive the viewer, the image enhancement or manipulation is fine. It’s only if those images (like the five-headed snake that’s been doing the rounds for years!) are created to make a false statement, that the word “photoshopped!” (with that exclamation mark at the end) takes on a perjorative meaning.

Here’s a very witty image shared by my friend Vikram Bellur about one of the effects of post-processing:

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However, I do like the fact that post-processing is now in the hands of each and every photographer, instead of some guy dipping film into a stale chemical mix at some photo lab, and delivering images that either look in the pink of health, or are depressed and blue! And if I choose not to post-process, that rests with me, too.

Passiflora incarnata at the Butterfly Festival, 170617

June 17, 2017

Today I volunteered for the very first Butterfly Festival in Karnataka.

You can see the photos on my Flickr album

here

But amongst other things… This purple variety of the Passion Flower somehow seems to represent, to me, the intensity of passion in life…the force that often keeps us going. I had heard the interpretation of the parts of the pistil representing the Pandavas, and the many petals, the Kauravas. Today I also heard the mythology of the flower representing the Apostles of Christ. How many meanings we invest in these beauties!

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Doresanipalya Forest Research Station, Bangalore, Karnataka, 17 Jun ’17.

Half the year is gone..

May 31, 2017

It seems as if I was welcoming
The new year only yesterday…
Here I am, at the beginning
Of the sixth month.
Time seems to seep past me
Like a silent, wet flow
From a leaking tap
Rather than elapse
In clearly marked segments.
Time slowly settles
In deepening wrinkles on my face
In accumulated dust
In babies whom I cannot recognize
From my last visit.
It peeps at me from obituary columns.
It winks at me from old photographs.
It bewilders me and fogs my brain
When I stop thinking of what was,
And try to think of what will be.
The dim veil of the past,
The curtained future..
As I contemplate them,
Each second of the present
Slips away, forever, from me.

Plastic in my lifestyle

May 24, 2017

I like to think of myself as green, but apart from plastic bags, here’s a partial list of the things I use and see around me , which have plastic in them…the list goes into the hundreds each day. I started with the morning and moved through the day:

My bedside lamp.
Toothbrush/Toothpaste tube.
My “home” slippers.
A lot of items in my kitchen…spatulas, jars, containers
The containers of all my cosmetics, my combs
My mobile phone, my earphones and my bluetooth device
All the electrical/electronic devices at home (refrigerator, television, modem, laptop, wires, and so on)
Since I don’t want to use leather, all my handbags/backpacks, luggage, and shoes/sandals
My umbrella
All the electrical switches
Parts of all kinds of motorized vehicles and cycles, too
My timekeeping gadgets: watches, clocks in the home
My water bottles
The packets of various food items, snack items and sweets
The covers of magazines that are delivered or sold
So many components of the public transport that I use
Reflectors on the road, advertisement banners, sheets used as shelters

I stop at this point, as the list seems unending. Plastics are here to stay, and we cannot be hypocritical and say, “Ban plastic”. I don’t think it’s possible…it’s too useful and cheap material. We can only try to regulate its use.

The river

May 1, 2017

Rush,rush, rush…
Around me, the seconds flow past
The minutes fly
The hours march,
The months creep slowly.
I hardly feel the year’s progress
Into the lap of what-has-been.
I live in the present…
That’s a conondrum
As with every ticking second
My present becomes the past.
As I sit here, writing,
My heart starts the next beat.
I take my next breath.
I am not what I was
When I first thought of writing this.
What a relentless river Time is.

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Haircut, 130417

April 13, 2017

Snip, snip, snip, go the scissors and bits of my hair fall (the best kind of hair fall there is.) I relax and close my eyes. Will this end well or will I look like Raggedy Ann? I don’t know, but I am content to leave it to fate, and the hairdresser. The lady in the next seat, with her hair in a made-of-dye-cap, smiles at me. Snip,snip,snip…every haircut is a calendar, measuring out the time in the length of my hair. Short hair has been a great thing for me; I learnt how to swim, I didn’t have to put up sweaty hair in a perpetual bun….with a light heart, and a lighter head, I walk home. Snip, snip, snip…a half hour more out of my life, but gone in serenity and peace.

What my friend Ravikiran had to say:

I love getting a haircut – That feeling of getting that weight off your head, the metronomic rhythmic snip-snipping of the scissors lulling you into a state of mild hypnotic drowsiness, the faint musky fragrance of the talcum powder, the slap-whack-rub scalp massage at the end – all followed by a long hot shower when I get home.

I reflect…

March 7, 2017

What if the reflections
Of faith and belief, in my soul,
Are different from yours?
I might see a temple in the glass;
You might see a church spire.
Should we then fight
And argue and shed blood
Over what is right and wrong?
Surely, all these paths and reflections
Lead but to the innermost soul
Where resides the Force, the Being
That we believe in…both you and I.

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